Video Interviews 101 at LALA

Last week, we presented the video camera to the student producers from LA Leadership Academy. We reviewed some basics about video interviews, and reviewed ideas presented in previous workshops about photography, lighting and composition, and how those concepts would apply to video.

Students spent an afternoon conducting video interviews of each other as a warm-up for the Departures: LA River production. They began to figure out the technical elements by setting-up the cameras on tripods and scouting locations that would clearly represent their classrooms, while making sure the available light source could properly light their frames. They practiced applying wireless lav microphone to the interview subjects, while testing sound quality and also discussed strategies for asking questions in ways designed to capture a clear and concise response.

The students were thrilled when they could finally get behind the cameras and did a great job of answering questions without little preparation. The interviews focused on community, and students discussed roles of their community and how they engage with the people and places there. The students also expressed how they perceived the L.A. River as a way to informally assess their thoughts before the exploration of the 52 mile area begins. For students like Marcy and Amanda, the river plays a very small role in their lives. They don't see it as a river, but rather a dirty place with contaminated water, concrete and graffiti that perhaps detracts from their community. Allen and Angel expressed a stronger connection to the river. Allan used to fish there with his brother-in-law, and Angel rides on the bike paths and thinks they're a great way to travel through the city.

Below are two video clips from the workshop. Click on either of the images and their videos will appear.

Next week, we plan to go more into depth about recording sound and sound design, as the students prepare to develop and produce corridos about Los Angeles as part of their continual self-exploration, and participate in LACMA's The Corrido of LA Project, a competition for students in grades 7-12 throughout Los Angeles, where they are invited to commemorate the Mexican Revolution by composing a corrido, or ballad song about the city they call home.

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