How To Write A Video Story

LANGUAGE OF TV/VIDEO

VO          Voice Over generally read by an anchor or
reporter who reads the copy over video.

           

SOT         A portion of an interview also called a
                    Sound bite.

VO SOT      A voice over that leads to a soundbite.

SOT VO      You can also use a soundbite to lead to a VO.

NATSOT      Ambient noise or sound or natural break in
sound when someone speaks.

TRACK        Reporter’s narration. Tracks are generally
numbered in scripts: Track: 1

STANDUP     A reporter’s on-camera presentation.

PACKAGE      A complete story that includes tracks,
standups and maybe natsot:

SCRIPTING FORMATS

FORMAT FOR VO

VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS                                  COPY GOES HERE.

GO HERE.

CU  OR TWO SHOT                           ANCHOR:

OR 2BX                                               YOUR COPY

TAKE VO                                         ===VO====

CHYRONS, LOWER-THIRDS,             YOUR COPY

SUPERS, OR ESS

NAMES,

LOCATOR

ADDITIONAL

WORDS ON THE

SCREEN

FORMAT FOR VO SOT

INSTRUCTIONS GO                         COPY AND WHAT

HERE                                                 ANCHOR READS

GOES HERE

CU OR TWO-SHOT                            ANCHOR:

OR 2 BX                                              YOUR COPY

TAKE VO                                           ===VO===

YOUR COPY

CHRYONS, SUPERS,

LOWER-THIRDS, ESS

TAKE SOT                                        ===SOT===

FORMAT FOR PACKAGE

A PACKAGE IS ALSO CALLED A STORY, A REPORT OR A PIECE.

VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS                         ALL COPY AND

CHYRONS, LOWER-                              INDICATION OF

THIRDS, SUPERS OR                            SOTS, NATSOT

ESS GO HERE.                                       AND TIME CODES

WHERE THEY

CAN

THEY INCLUDE                                       BE FOUND ON

NAMES,                                                   RAW FOOTAGE

LOCATORS                                             GO HERE

AND ANY OTHER

WORDS.

VIDEO

INSTRUCTIONS

TO EDITORS

SUCH AS

TIME CODES

AND SPECIFIC

SHOTS

GO HERE.

FOR EXAMPLE

APPLES 2:35

WIDE SHOT

MARKET 4:50

YOUR SCRIPT LOOKS LIKE THIS:

ANCHOR LEAD:

YOUR COPY

TRACK: 1

YOUR COPY

UNIONDALE, L.I.

JANET JONES                              SOT:

VICTIM’S MOTHER                       1:36 (TIME CODE)

WRITE OUT WHAT SHE

SAYS.

BABYLON, L.I.                               NATSOT: (POLICE

COP CAR 4:28                               SIREN)

CRIME SCENE                              7:23 (TIME CODE)

10:02

TRACK: 2

YOUR COPY

SOT:

10:40 (TIME CODE)

  1. KEVIN SMITH WRITE OUT WHAT HE

NASSAU POLICE                          SAYS.

CAROLYN RAMIREZ                STANDUP:

REPORTING                             WRITE OUT WHAT

YOU SAY IN YOUR

STANDUP.

 

Sample Script from CNN

This is a reporter’s script without editing instructions.

TRACK: 1

The pilots of Swiss Air Flight 111- bound for Geneva from JFK- notice a strange smell in the cockpit less than an hour after take off..

NATSOT:

TRACK: 2

Then they see small amounts of smoke..

Concerned — they ask to land at the nearest airport.

This is the air traffic control tape from that night…still haunting all these years later..

NATSOT;

Air Traffic Control tape

**Must font these**

pilot: Swissair one eleven heavy is declaring Pan Pan Pan. We have uh smoke in the cockpit, uh request (deviate), immediate return uh to a convenient place, I guess uh Boston.

ATC: Swissair one eleven roger … turn right proceed …uh … you say to Boston you want to go?

ATC: //Uh Would you prefer to go into Halifax?

Pilot: //Affirmative for Swissair one eleven heavy. We prefer Halifax from our position.

TRACK: 3

Bill Pickrell was the air traffic controller talking to the pilots.

sot: Bill Pickrelll // former Air Traffic Controller 12:47:41

It was a fairly straight forward operation, uh, up to the point where they advised that they needed to dump fuel.

TRACK:4

The plane reaches the coast of Nova Scotia…

natsot: Air Traffic Control tape

ATC: You’ve got thirty miles to fly to the threshold.

Pilot: Uh we need more than thirty miles

TRACK: 5

The pilots are worried about landing with so much fuel on board.

NATSOT Air Traffic Control tape

ATC: Swissair one eleven when you have time could I have the number of souls on board and your fuel onboard please for emergency services.

Pilot: Roger, at the time uh fuel onboard is uh two three zero tonnes. We must uh dump some fuel…

Standup: Randi Kaye

The Captain then makes a fateful decision. The plane is only 25 miles from the airport but instead of heading straight there for a landing, he takes the plane over water to dump fuel. Neither he nor the co-pilot have any idea there’s a fire just above the cockpit.

Natsot: Air Traffic Control tape

pilot: Swissair one eleven heavy is declaring emergency

(Roger) we are between uh twelve and five thousand feet we are declaring emergency now at ah time ah zero one two four.

ATC: Roger.

pilot: Eleven heavy we starting dump now we have to land immediate.

SOT: Bill Pickrell // Former Air Traffic Controller // 12:53:13

in the background I could hear the uh warning alarm for autopilot disconnecting. And he told me verbally at the same time that he was flying the plane manually that the autopilot had disconnected.

Natsot: Air Traffic Control tape

And we are declaring emergency now Swissair one eleven.

TRACK: 6

That is the last transmission from Swiss Air flight 111. The transponder also fails..but the plane is close enough to the airport that radar can strill track it as it makes an unexpected turn to the west..

SOT:

Bill Pickrell // former Air Traffic Controller // 12:56:55

Whether it was a manual input from the pilots or what the reasoning was, they flew for probably 2 or 3 minutes west and then did an 180 degree turn headed back and at that point we thought maybe they had control of the airplane but uh, they turned again and headed out toward the ocean and uh then the aircraft disappeared.

TRACK: 7

The plane slams into the Atlantic ocean 16 minutes after smoke was first reported.. hitting with such force it explodes into two million pieces..

Everyone is killed. Only one body is recovered intact.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder – found days later- reveal the fire had caused the pilot’s flight screens to go dark.. making it nearly impossible to discern up from down..

Randi Kaye CNN New York.

 

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