Be Your Own Newsroom: How to Make a Professional Video News Release (VNR)
- Posted by Poston Communications
- On February 14, 2020
- journalism, video, video news release
Newsrooms are busy. Journalists are asked to do more and more with less time and resources, and they are on tight deadlines. Company leaders and their marketers must get creative to ensure their stories are told. One way you can do that for your company or client is to be your own newsroom and create a video news release.
At Poston Communications, we often are asked to help professional services firms, nonprofits and other companies tell their stories. That may may be an expert talking about a current event or perhaps a business giving back in meaningful ways to the community. Delivering professional content to newsrooms exponentially enhances the chances that a story will be shared on a newsroom’s multiple platforms.
Adhering to standards are important. Here’s how to achieve the look newsrooms want:
- Use a tripod. Even if you’re shooting on an iPhone (and that’s okay, if that’s all you have as a resource), use a tripod. The video needs to be steady with wide, medium and tight shots. Shaky video won’t make air.
- If content is king, audio is the queen. Ever try to watch something with crackly audio, static or loud background noise? You’ve probably turned it off – or at least turned it down. The image may be beautifully captured, but if the audio is bad, it won’t be used. Minimize background noise and use a lavalier microphone positioned just below the chin (on a lapel or collar) and tuck in the mic cord. You won’t see a professionally shot video with any wires showing. Plug in your headphones to ensure you’re getting good audio.
- Shoot your interview using the Rule of Thirds. Frame your subject proportionally so there’s plenty of room in the space where your subject is facing. This look is easy on the eye, and that’s why it is an industry standard. When editing the interview (and we highly recommend you do), make sure to leave two seconds of lead-in time to the interview soundbite and as much as possible after. It makes everything much easier on the editor.
- Do your best with lighting. A journalist won’t expect a perfectly composed shot, but try to get your subject in natural light. If it’s indoors, find a window and ensure the subject’s face is well-lit where there aren’t shadows. Avoid shooting against windows, which make the subject become a silhouette.
- Provide B-roll. This will have journalists singing your praises! Supplemental video they can use to introduce a person, or perhaps mention your company is greatly appreciated. If possible, shoot wide, medium and tight shots to give the journalist multiple options.
- Never present video in slow motion. If you’ve seen a clip in slow motion on the news, it’s a well-intentioned move – usually to point out something the viewer may not see in real time. Let the journalist make this decision.
- Do not add any music to the video. Using music in journalism to evoke a particular emotion is a carefully considered (and often controversial) conversation that happens within newsrooms. Footage will not be used if there is music on it.
- Avoid creative, moving shots. Anything that looks or feels promotional will not be used in news coverage.
Following these tips can help you deliver a professional VNR. At Poston Communications, we do not send any “raw” footage. We send a polished b-roll and interview package. We only send out what we would want to air. It may seem like an obvious thing to point out, but we’ve seen plenty of VNRs that have strange breaks and seemingly random soundbites – the “outtakes” if you will – and you don’t want to risk that it could make air.
We separate ourselves from other agencies because we set our clients up for success. Before our clients ever step foot near the camera, we do media coaching and media training sessions to help our clients develop key messages. We cover best practices for on-camera presentation, ensuring our clients will always tell their best story.