How to Build an in-house Video Team for a Newsroom

Last updated on Nov 22, 2022

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How to Build an in-house Video Team for a Newsroom

Video is dominating social media. Anywhere you look you’ll find a video waiting to grab your attention. Every popular social media website allows video formats. In fact, most of them boost video posts in a bid to keep people on their website/ app for longer. Over the years video has gained popularity as the preferred medium for content consumption. 

With video being the hot favorite on social media publishers have a good opportunity to leverage it for followers. High quality, intriguing videos have the potential to not only build a loyal following on social media websites but also draw audience to your website. If you are looking to start with video or figuring out a way to scale it up, you’ve arrived at the right place. We spoke to Eshan Shetty, Associate Director - Video Production at GirnarSoft where he oversees production for three major automobile publications. Here is how you build a video team for your newsroom:

Why build a video team?


It is best to start with a well-defined purpose. Answer these two questions - 

  1. What are your plans? Are you planning to explore videos and do them occasionally or make kick-off videos a permanent addition to your website and social media?

If it's the former, you are better off outsourcing it to freelancers or agencies. Thanks to advancements in mobile photography, you can take the DIY approach and shoot videos on a mobile phone and edit it using online video editors. But if you want to add video in your content mix, you need to be very particular about what you want to achieve.

  • Where is audience hanging out on AKA which platform do you want to focus on?Twitter / Snap/ Insta/ Youtube / Tiktok?

    Every platform has a unique approach. There is no one size fits all here. The platform can be YouTube, Instagram, or even broadcasting live on television. Clarity on this aspect is absolutely crucial. This helps when hiring talent as well as procuring equipment. Video production is expensive and starting this journey without a clear direction is a massive drain on your resources.

    For bloggers and small publishers, you can start off shooting with a smartphone since it is cost effective. Certain big publications also use smartphones for live television since it is portable, inexpensive and can transfer data faster which is crucial in case of breaking news. "For platforms such as YouTube Shorts and Instagram, a smartphone camera can suffice but you need good editing software" says Eshan. 
  • Who's subject of your video aka What are you covering in your shoot?

    The setup and your investment in videos is directly linked to the subject (or category) of videos. If you are a technology website doing smartphone unboxings and reviews, you can have a simpler setup with a camera pointing at a table from the top. But it is drastically different when shooting fitness videos where the setup has to be movable. Shooting automobiles needs more planning and requires higher investment compared to other categories. Different kinds of content require different investments, so budget accordingly. 

 

World's Most Subscribed YouTuber MrBeast's Studio Tour

Here is a look at the setup and the equipment it takes to be the most subscribed YouTuber in the world. MrBeast has grown his YouTube channels at a phenomenal rate. In this video he showcases his studio and the camera equipment he uses for his videos. If you want to be a beast as well, here is how you start this journey. 

Finding Hidden Gems in the Job Market 

Getting the right set of people makes all the difference while building any team. After all, the output is a result of team effort. Think of the video team as a manufacturing line for video, each member does their bit to enhance the overall output. Anyone out of sync and it will show up in the final result.

Hiring the right set of people makes all the difference, the Video Production Head is the first crucial hire says Eshan. 

Video Production Head

A video production head will bring multiple years of experience across different platforms. A video production head that has worked significantly on the platform you are targeting and the category you want to be in is a big plus.

The Video Production Head needs to overlook the entire video production process, right from hiring talent, procuring video shooting equipment to planning shoots and edits.

On the other hand, the Content Head is responsible for planning the content. The higher the video output, the more content writers are needed for the process. A lot of publications leverage their editorial team for content while the video team is focused primarily on shooting, editing and publishing the video.

Creative Director

A creative director helps in developing and reviewing the creative briefs. Leads concept presentations and helps in strategic branding. Manages the creative team and works closely with the art, editorial and other relevant departments. Represents the brand and conceptualizes the digital campaigns, if any. A strong story teller who is capable of handling junior copywriters. Build contextual visual guidelines for respective teams to meet the expectations. A multitasker who is good at technology, marketing and content in order to produce visually appealing content.

Also Read: 6 Best Video Players for Newsrooms in 2022

Scriptwriter and Anchor

A scriptwriter combines excellent story-telling and subject knowledge to make the video appealing and engaging to watch. An anchor is equally important to keep the audience hooked with their presentation. The anchor also becomes the face of the channel, so invest time in hiring a good one. For publications churning out videos at a high rate, it is a good idea to have multiple script writers with one or two anchors. It is a common practice to have specific anchors for certain types of videos. 

If you are building a video team on a budget, you can hire people that write scripts as well as the anchor. Most newsrooms train their journalists for video. It is also the most cost-effective and efficient way of going about this. The text article/ review/ opinion is converted into a script by these journalists and they further anchor the video as well delivering the same content in two different formats. As you scale up, you can add scriptwriters into this mix to increase the video output.

Video Producer

A video producer manages video shoots from start to finish. Their primary role is to conceptualize the video, set up budgets, finalize shooting equipment and in some cases even shoot locations. Hiring a video producer with domain knowledge in your category help immensely. Video producers and script writers work together to shape up the script of the video. If you have budget constraints, you can consider hiring video producers with scripting experience to keep it cost-effective.

 

Ali Abdaal is a former doctor, YouTuber and Podcaster who creates content on productivity

Videographer

The videographer is the one carrying out the shoots. They need to have a good understanding of photography and have a creative outlook.

A good videographer smoothens the further video process, they understand what needs to be shot and ensures that there is more than enough footage for the edit. Hiring someone who has worked in the same category that you are gunning for will be beneficial. 

Pro Tip: When hiring replacements or adding new videographers to team ensure that they are comfortable using the camera equipment that you have already invested in. Certain videographers are efficient with certain camera gear and that makes them efficient. 

Video Editor

A video editor needs to be beyond someone who simply stitches the footage together. They need to understand the story from the script and put the video producer’s vision into the edits. No two editors edit footage similarly, pick one that brings your script to life. 

“An editor with a good understanding of the subject can produce a higher quality video with low errors. If you are putting out videos at scale, you can have an off-line editor that makes the rough cuts and lines up the footage and an on-line editor that works on the transitions and other finer details of the video. This will help you put out a higher output while maintaining quality” says Eshan Shetty.

While hiring you will spot candidates that can shoot as well as edit, they are a boon to those on a budget and can help keep costs down However, the production speed gets affected in such a scenario and can suit publications doing about 1-2 videos a week.

Graphics Designer

Graphics are needed to round off the video output. From interesting intros, flashy transitions, to quirky animations, graphics give you enough ammo to hook your audience. Good graphics can transform a simple video into extraordinary. Graphics designers work in parallel with video editors. It is possible to find candidates that create graphics as well as edit videos but just like the previous point, it comes at the cost of speed and quality. 

Procuring the right equipment

When it comes to buying equipment, you need to proceed with caution. These are big, long -term investments that will pay-off slowly over the years. The video head will take the call on the equipment with inputs from the producer and the videographer. The format and the content you are shooting will help narrow down the type of equipment you need to buy. 

You don’t always need to buy the latest models, a slightly older camera body will be cost effective. If you are going to be uploading your videos on YouTube, you don’t need a camera that shoots higher than 4K resolution. There will be cameras that shoot in the higher 8K resolutions but that will bring more challenges, so don’t get too ahead of yourself.

 

A look at how BBC News London Studio operates

Apart from the camera, you will need a good quality tripod. You will need one if you have a fixed video frame. It is also helpful while shooting subjects. Allowing you to capture some excellent panning shots. A good tripod will allow the videographer to experiment with different shots effortlessly. Depending on the subject being shot, a slider and a gimbal are good additions to the equipment list. 

No one wants to watch a video with crappy audio, the best footage with choppy audio will struggle to perform on any platform. Technology has progressed immensely in terms of audio recording equipment and they aren't as expensive as they used to be. For starters, there are bluetooth mics in the market that pair with smartphones and can record high-quality audio. Those with a bigger setup can source wireless microphones that connect into the camera directly.

With video and audio out of the way, let's get to the part where it's put together, the edit. The editing machine is usually overlooked while making equipment lists. A well-spec’d edit machine will increase the efficiency of the video editor and keep edit time down. This is crucial to reduce the turnaround time for videos. Just like a camera, an edit machine does not need upgrading too often. Apple iMacs are brilliant edit machines, an assembled Windows PC is another alternative. An iMac will require higher investment upfront but is not upgradable, a Windows PC on the other hand gives you the flexibility to upgrade components as your requirement goes up. For those looking for portability, the Apple Macbook Pro series and laptops such as the HP ZBook series, HP gaming laptops, and Alienware gaming laptops pack the performance required for editing. Don’t blow the entire budget on equipment since you will need to spend on software.

Investing in software

Editing software can be expensive, you’ll find some software sold as a subscription model as well. For those just starting off and need to keep costs down, DaVinci Resolve is a powerful video editing software available for free. For video teams using Apple computers, Final Cut Pro is a good software that needs a one-time purchase. Adobe’s Premiere Pro works on both MacOS as well as Windows. It is also considered the standard editing software in the industry. The benefit with Adobe Premiere Pro is that the edit file can be shared with other editors making it easy for collaborative work. 

Here is how The Verge shoots videos

Setting up a studio

Doing video at scale needs a controllable environment, a studio offers you that flexibility. While finalizing up a studio space, choose one with adequate height, says Eshan Shetty. The ceiling height is important to allow you to use overhead studio lights. The overhead lighting setup allows you to illuminate the frame without creating shadows. Finalize a big shooting space to create multiple shooting set-ups. This eliminates the preparation time before the shoot and helps reduce shoot times. 

A good practice is to set up a studio in a silent area, this helps reduce audio issues during shoots. Studios can be lined with sound-deadening material to reduce echos and disturbances. Those in a pinch can use the cheap and popular hack of using egg crates for sound deadening.

Distribution

Distribution is as important as creating good content. Even the best videos struggle to get traction if they are poorly distributed. Most publishers have a dedicated person for promotions, for example a YouTube Manager that looks at video performance metrics, responds to comments and sends over feedback to the Video Production Head. Alternatively, a social media manager can also carry out content distribution in a smaller setup.

Also Read: The Framework To Create A Brilliant Content Plan : Content Distribution

Building a capable video team is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The people, equipment and the process need to all fit together for the team to function efficiently and effectively. The most important step is to define why a video team is required and which platform they will focus on. The same formula can be applied while scaling the team or while catering to more platforms. This guide should serve as reference to help you build the ideal video team for your organization.

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Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy is a Senior Manager for Content Marketing at iZooto. At iZooto he's helping publishers retain their hard earned audience. He has spent 8 years in the digital publishing space as a consumer technology reviewer. He has worked with Gadgets 360, India's best technology website creating content across different formats. During his stint with NDTV he reviewed nearly 300 gadgets including smartphone, tablets, and wearables. Aditya was anchoring a show called Daily 360 that used to be streamed live on the Hop Live app.

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