What makes a video story good isn’t just about the topic, it’s how you tell the story. In this lesson, you will focus on key elements that make for great nonfiction stories like news packages, video profiles, explainers, and short documentaries.
This activity will help students think critically about news media and understand how media narratives are constructed.
Knowing the elements of good video storytelling can help creators understand how to craft compelling narratives about civic issues, helping viewers learn and understand those issues.
When violence strikes or when people argue about actions, events, ideas or policies, we care. Conflict and controversy attract our attention by highlighting problems or differences within the community or between groups. Sometimes conflict can be subtle and manifest as tension.
The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. A generally definition is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. In media-making, creators can have empathy for their subjects and the audience can empathize with the characters.
Video stories about newsworthy issues and topics, factual information, balanced reporting, research, voice overs, soundbites, b-roll footage, infographics, reporter standup, nats (natural sound bites).
The story of one person, has voiceover (VO), b-roll, pictures, nats (natural sound), interviews of family members or peers of that one person.
Narration and/or voiceover (VO) with a host, commentary, research, personal experiences, explanations, infographics, nats (natural sound), music, entertainment.
Narration and/or voiceover (VO), scene reconstructions, archival footage, nats (natural sound), b-roll, images, research, lengthy interviews, soundbites.
When a television reporter appears in front of the camera to narrate part of a story – most often at the beginning to set up the story, in the middle as a transition or if there is no good b-roll to cover voiceover, or at the very end.
Narration done by a broadcast reporter, usually reading from a script. The reporter's voice is recorded over a sequence of video clips that tell a story.
Sounds produced in their actual setting. Natural sound, commonly known as NAT sound, puts the viewer in the place the story was told by enhancing the scene(s) with video containing rich audio such as a musician singing at a train station, a storm approaching, or the sound of a tractor plowing the field.
Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. (ISTE)
Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others. (ISTE)
Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)
Post It Notes
White board, chalkboard or other visual board
Video Conference Software. IE: Zoom or Google Meet
Padlet, Jamboard or other app for group collaboration
There are many types of video stories. In this lesson we will explore four different storytelling styles:
A good video story will have some or all of the following six essential elements:
Estimated time to complete: 30 Minutes
Explain to students that they will watch four different types of stories: a news package, a video profile, an explainer video, and a short documentary. Play them in random order without revealing the type of video stories. The purpose of this exercise is to see if they could identify each type of story based on prior knowledge.
After watching all the stories, have students IDENTIFY what type of story they are.
Using this JAMBOARD, have students place sticky notes in the box with the corresponding story type on SLIDE 2.
Note: Jamboard activity could be substituted with classroom whiteboard and markers/stickies.
Boxes (story types): Explainer, News Package, Documentary, and Profile
Sticky note (labels): DACA, PIPELINE, HEALTH, SCHOOL SAFETY
Have students place sticky notes with video and storytelling elements they recognize. Examples include b-roll, photos, narration, statistics, interviews, music, etc.
Possible characteristics. Please note there could be a combination of some or all in each category:
Estimated time to complete: 30 Minutes
EXPLAIN each of the six essential elements of a good video story by using the definitions below. Then, WATCH each video example again and have students fill out the SIX ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS RUBRIC. Students will use a five-star rating and list elements that were present in each video.
Example: Powerful Visuals: aerial shot of the pipeline, workers welding, map of the pipeline.
SIX ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS:
After identifying what makes a good video story, students will now be able to apply the essential elements to their own story. They may use the rubric as a guide to plan each element in their own stories. Ask students: Which element do you think would be the most challenging for you to capture?
Write down the six essential elements of a good story. Explain which one you think is most important and why.