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Roundup: Here’s how to shoot video that doesn’t suck

By board member Lauren Foster

Multimedia journalist Tim Matsui along with The Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen and video editor Corinne Chin hosted a presentation on how to produce a quality video for SPJ’s Continuing Education series on April 7. Matsui is the filmmaker of The Long Night, a feature length documentary about sex trafficking in Seattle. Chin and Hansen are experts on building short films under tight deadlines.

Here are a few takeaways from the session.

  • You don’t always need fancy equipment. You can shoot and edit fun little videos and teasers on your iPhone. Tim said iMovie is actually pretty good.
  • “You can tell a whole story in 15 seconds” – Tim Matsui
  • “If you’re not using instagram professionally you should” – Matsui (follow Tim @timmatsui)
  • “Think with your ears. Audio is often what makes a video great” – Bettina Hansen’s advice for still shooters
  • Capturing details is often what makes a video interesting. No one wants to sit and watch a guy talk in a room for 15 minutes. Notice what’s on his desk, the way he moves his hands, a pet he might have or what he hangs on his walls.
  • Be patient. Erika shot over 2 hours of footage for this short video and it made all the difference because she waited for those perfect moments that make this video so fun to watch.

Here are a few other videos that were screened:

Not all the clips Masui shared are available online but here is the trailer for his documentary The Long Night.

Matsui has recently won several prestigious awards for his film. Read his reaction to the praise in this Vantage article I Just Won a World Press Photo Award and a POYi, But I’m Not Celebrating.

Matsui has partnered with the Seattle Times to offer a free screening of the film at 6pm on April 22 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

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