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Pocket Guide to Great Video - 1/20/2015 -

Pocket Guide to Great Video

Keep these tips close at hand the next time you venture out for video.

Elisabeth Leamy, a 13-time Emmy Award winning journalist, author, and speaker, spent eight years on air at "Good Morning America” before settling into her current postion as the "Dr. Oz” show’s consumer and investigative correspondent. Here, Leamy, a keynote speaker at AM&P’s Annual Meeting in 2014, shares her best tips with AM&P members for crafting vibrant videos:


  • For scripted videos, put objective content in the voiceover and elicit subjective comments — opinion, emotion, and controversy — for your sound bites.
  • Record and use natural sound where appropriate — birds chirping, cars honking, machines whirring, etc.
  • Try not to go more than four sentences without breaking up a voiceover with a sound bite or natural sound.
  • Form = function. Serious topics = sober shooting style. Fun segments = MTV-style with lots of movement.
  • Use lots of closeups. They grad attention because our eye doesn’t normally get to see that way.
  • When editing video, change shots in rhythm with the audio track, typically a new shot every three to four seconds.
  • Soundbites are most crisp and compelling when they are more than 20 seconds. Eight to 12 seconds is the sweet spot.
  • Consider hiring local news alums to teach you — they are used to producing great videos fast and cheap.


  • Don’t interview just the boss. Add front-line staff for relatable, authenti quotes.
  • Don’t shoot interviews in the office or conference room. Try the courtyard, lab, factory, farm — visual places.
  • Don’t pan and zoom the camera too much.
  • Don’t end on a sound bite unless it’s stellar with a clean out-cue. Script a final "big thought” instead.


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