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B-Roll & VNR for British News Broadcast

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Jon Collins
B-Roll & VNR for British News Broadcast
on May 28, 2013 at 10:24:57 am


Usual problem on here... no idea where to post this!

Can anyone advise me on shooting B-Roll & VNRs for the British media?

I'm interested in advised technical standards (i.e. 50mbps, frame rate of 50i or 25p) and of course anything I should include/exclude. Should I also be getting release forms for each person featured as well?


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Mark Suszko
Re: B-Roll & VNR for British News Broadcast
on May 28, 2013 at 3:06:49 pm

Can't help you on the tech standards, but I make a lot of VNR's. You probably know all these, but for the sake of copmpleteness, I'll list my rules of thumb for VNR's

Leave longer than normal "handles" on the ends of the shots to make transitions easier for the final editor.

Leave the audio tracks split for maximum utility.

Minimal color correction to be broadcast "legal".

Don't put any CG text over the actual footage, instead, put a caption with the necessary info at the head of the relevant clip. If there is any confusion about who goes with which title, you can make a 1-second freeze still with a lower third on it for reference ahead of the actual clip.

Try to get each question twice, from different angles.

Cut-aways, as many as you can fit in.

Don't bother doing your own tightly-edited example package, as no proper assignment editor will allow it to be used "out of the can" that way, for fear their competition might do the same. What you're supplying is a "construction kit" of parts that will tell the story you want told, no matter how they are ultimately assembled. You don't leave in anything that could be used contrary to the story line you're trying to tell.

I once dealt with a new producer who insisted I use up two minutes of the 15-minute feed slowly scrolling a text file that was a copy of the press release. They explained that this was in case the reporters and editors puling down the feed didn't get the advance text with details on the package.

I explained that anybody that was going this footage for an edit could just freeze-frame and read a much shorter scroll, so we could get that done in a ten second scroll, and that we could really use th rest of that two minutes for more B-roll. I was overruled.

Guess what all the comments back from stations asked for later? Not longer copies of a text file they already had with their emails and faxes, I can assure you. This producer had never seen a Chuck Lorre end credit, I guess.

I find the very hardest thing to get clients to understand about a VNR is that it is not made for the final audience, but for an audience of producers, writers, and editors, who are going to cut up and arrange the things their own way, and that if they can't edit it their own way, it isn't going to get used. Clients are used to spot commercials that are complete and stand alone. That's not a classic VNR "package". You certainly CAN fully edit and send up an edited piece. But NOBODY is going to AIR it.

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Jon Collins
Re: B-Roll & VNR for British News Broadcast
on May 28, 2013 at 3:44:37 pm

Thank you, great response.

Hopefully someone can advise me on tech standards and release forms.

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Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Re: B-Roll & VNR for British News Broadcast
on May 29, 2013 at 9:28:27 am

Hey Jon,

Mark has already extensively covered the main points, so there is not much left for the rest of us to add ;-)

However, as normally VNR's are produced on behalf of a corporate entity (including government & NGOs) then you should consider asking all external contributors to sign a release form. In particularly you should highlight how the video may be used for public broadcast. It is not in your client best interest to include people who will later complain about their involvement.

If you're just doing very short vox-pops on the street, then I find that rolling the camera whilst telling the "victim" who you are working for, should be sufficient enough. After all, you are in a public place and hopefully you are not forcing them to talk with you...

With regards to format; every broadcaster has their own set of requirements. In the UK 25 fps HD interlaced is the safest way to go.
For news agencies such as APTV and Reuters you are better off calling their commercial department and ask them what they prefer.
For digital distribution either a generic high quality MPeg2 or H.264 is normally acceptable. Just make sure that the file is not Apple centric or similar and that it is hosted on a server that won't take 8 hours to deliver it.

All the Best

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid

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Jon Collins
Re: B-Roll & VNR for British News Broadcast
on May 29, 2013 at 4:25:51 pm

Thanks, that's great to know. Luckily it'll only be stock footage so any massive issues I can sort out after.

Thanks for your help guys, much appreciated!

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