Television Field Production and Reporting

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2007-10-22
  • Publisher: Focal Press

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Updated in its 6thedition, Television Field Production and Reportingprovides an exciting introduction to the art of visual storytelling. Endorsed by the National Press Photographers Association, it focuses on the many techniques and tools available in television today. The new edition of Television Field Production and Reportingwill be 4-color for the first time, an absolute must in this visually oriented, rapidly changing field.

Table of Contents


About the Author


Introduction: Television Is a Language    


Chapter One: Telling the Visual Story    

The Difference Between Visual Stories and Reports

Heart, Emotion, Demeanor

Placing the Human Perspective in Perspective

The Value of Pictorial Narrative

Silence As A Writing Tool

The Silent Language of the Senses

Putting It All Together

Culture Impacts Perception

How To Plan The Visual Story

The Best Stories Convey a Sense of Progression

Find Images that Convey a Clear Story Focus

Write the Pictures First 

Reportorial Editing   

Working As Part of a Team

Prove the Story’s Focus Visually    

The Focus May Change    

Look for a Story Focus in Spot-News Events    

Tell Your Story through People    

Strong Natural Sound Helps Tell the Story    

Build In Surprises    

Keep Sound Bites Short    

Address the Larger Issue  

Challenge Your Focus Statement

Video Packages are Factual Mini-Moives

The Lead    

Provide Visual Proof for all Main Points    

The Close    

Be Hard on Yourself as a Writer    

Write from the Visuals

Look For A Story While Capturing Uncontrolled Action

Look For the Larger Story


Chapter Two: The Visual Grammar of Motion Picture Photography    

The Shot    

The Sequence

Long Shot

Medium Shot


How the Basic Shots Work Together    

Camera Movement


Moving Shot

Combination Shot    

Tilt Shot

Tracking Shot

Trucking Shot

Dolly Shot

Stabilization of Shaky Images

Shots That Help Tell the Story    

One Shots to Crowd Shots    

Master Shot with Cut-Ins    

Overlapping Action    

Matched-Action Sequences Can Be Shot in Spot News    

Jump Cuts

The Cutaway

The Motivated Cutaway

The Transition or Reveal Shot

Using Camera Movement to Enhance Storytelling

Point-Of-View Movement

Thinking Camera

How To Avoid The False Reverse    

Vary Camera Angles    

Photograph People at Eye Level

Contrast and Comparison    



Chapter Three: Video Editing: The Invisible Art    

Editing is Another Writing Tool

Toward a Philosophy of Editing    

Everyone Is an Editor    

The Cut    

Choosing Edit Points    

There Can Be No Matched Action without Overlapping Action    

Cutting on Action or at Rest    

Into-Frame/Out-of-Frame Action    

Jump Cuts    

Pop Cuts    

Devices to Compress Time and Advance the Action    

Parallel Cutting    

Shot Order Impacts the Illusion of Continuity    

Content Dictates Pace    

Cutting to Condense Time    

Composition Affects Pace    

Screen Direction    

Editing to Eliminate the False Reverse    

The Transition Shot    

Sound as a Transitional Device    

Cold Cuts    

Flash Cuts    

Cutting to Leave Space for Audience Reaction    

Communication Pays

Dissolves and Other Optical Effects    


Chapter Four: Shooting Video in the Field    

Composition Guidelines

The Rule of Thirds

Pointers for Wide Screen Composition

Use a Tripod Whenever Possible    

The Handheld Camera    

Balance the Camera

Use A Wide Stance

Control Breathing

Preplan Body Movement

Walk in Lockstep

Avoid Unplanned Camera Movement

How to Use the Zoom Lens    

Avoid Calling Attention to the Zoom

Avoid Speed and Duration of Zoon to Story Mood and Pace

Recompose the Shot as you Zoom

Storytelling and Planning    

Establish Communication in the Field    

Think Before You Shoot    

Shoot Sequences    

Shoot and Move    

Anticipate Action    

Shoot Only the Shots You Need    

Avoid Indiscriminate Shooting    

Edit in the Camera    

Shoot to Eliminate the False Reverse    

Involve the Camera in the Action    

Working with People    

Avoid Distracting the Subject   

Staging Versus Motivating 

The One-Person Band    

How to Shoot and Conduct Interviews Simultaneously

How to Photograph Your Own Standup

Shooting in Cold Weather    

Safety First    


Safety in Numbers

Plan to Make Mistakes

On Returning to the Station


Chapter Five: Writing with Light    

Photography Is the Art of Controlling Light    

Light-Mounted Fitlers

Mixing Light Sources    

Basic Lighting Patterns    

The Role of Artificial Light    

Key Light    

Contrast Control    

The Inverse-Square Law of Light    


Broadlighting and Short Lighting    

Lighting for High Definition

Flat Lighting    

Light Diffusion    

Bounce Lighting    


Essential Lighting Equipment    

Lighting in Sunlight    

How to Light a News Conference    

Setting Up Lights in Cooperation with Other Crews    

Lighting Etiquette    

Lighting Spot News at Night    

Photographing Subjects with Dark Skin    

Large-Scale Lighting    



Chapter Six: The Sound Track    

How Microphones Work    

Directional Patterns    

On Choosing a Mike    


Frequency Response    

Microphones for the Video Journalist    

The Wireless Transmitter-Receiver    

The Mixer    

Essential Points for Audio    

Techniques to Reduce Wind Noise    

Be Aggressive    

The Microphone Hears Differently    

Sound Perspective    

Stereo and Surround Sound

Covering News Conferences    

Recording Group Discussions    

The Two-Person Interview    

Record Room Tone    

The Seductive Quality of Nat Sound    

Watch What You Say    

Sound and Video Accessories    


Chapter Seven: The Broadcast Interview: Shooting the Quotation Marks    

Establish Trust    

Practice Good Manners   

The Most Important Interview Question    

Save Your Questions for the Interview    

Do Your Homework    

How to Frame Interview Questions   

Use a Wireless Microphone 

The Art of Listening    

Avoid the Easy Questions    

Avoid Two-Part Questions    

“How Do You Feel?”    

Anticipate Questions the Viewers Would Ask    

Practice the Fine Art of Hesitation    

Pitch Reporting Opportunities    

Prearrange Signals between Reporter and Photographer    

How to React without Appearing to Agree    

Retain Control of the Interview    

Interviewing Children    

The Talking Head    

Influencing How Viewers Perceive the Subject    

One-Eyed Talking Heads    

Body Language    

After the Interview Is Over    

Interviews Allow Reporting through Direct Observation    


Chapter Eight: Video Script Formats    by Luan Akin


VTR VO (Voice-Over Video)    

VTR VO (Voice-Over Video)VO/SOT/VO (VO SOT or A/B for Short)    

Intros to Live Shots    

Live Intros to Packages    

Package Scripts    

Reporter and Anchor Closes    

The Case for Caps and LowerCase    




Chapter Nine: Writing the Package    

Define Your Focus    

Write the Beginning (Studio Lead-in)

Write the Package Lead

Write the Middle or Main Body

Write the Close    

Preplanning the Package    

Spot-News Packages    

Set a High Standard for Packages    

Use Natural Sound Liberally    


Chapter Ten: Write Like a Storyteller by John Larson

Transmitting The Experience    

Writing Your First Sentence     

The Three Horses – Storytelling Tools for Video Stories    

First Horse: Surprise

Second Horse: Quest

Third Horse: Character

Tips for Writing Strong Stories    


Chapter Eleven: Video Journalism: Storytelling on Your Wosn by JohnLarson

The Big Picture

Size Matters–Bigger Is Not Always Better

Bottom Line

Starting Out, Over Or Up

Six Overlooked Tools For Video Journalists

Minute By Minute–One Man Band Lessons Learned in the Field

A Guide Tour: Lessons Learned


Chapter Twelve: How to Improve Your Storytelling Ability    

Seek Gradual Improvement  

Have a Story  

Involve the Camera

Sequences Don't Advance the Story

Don't Try to Show All of New Zealand

Pursue Your Interest in People

Motivate Viewers to Watch

Develop Video Fluency

Know the Community

Curiosity Pays

See Beyond the Obvious

Show Audiences What They Missed

Help Viewers Experience The Story As You Did

Adapt Your Reporting to Story Demands    

Reporting the Nonvisual Story    

Personal Appearance and Conduct    


Shooting and Reporting Spot News    

Toward a News Philosophy    


Chapter Thirteen: Live Shots and Remotes    by Luan Akin

What Does It Take to “Go Live?”    

Spot News    

Television Live Shot Formats    


Helicopter Live Shots    

Live in the Newsroom    

Live Graphics    

Live/Anchor Intros    

Reporter Close    

Anchor Close    

Why Go Live?    

Why Not Go Live?    


Live Teases    

Some Parting Advice    

A Final Thought    


Chapter Fourteen: Law and the Broadcast Journalist    

Gathering the News    


Invasion of privacy    


Use of the Word Alleged    

Apparent Authority    


Telephone Recordings    

Subpoenas and Shield Laws    

Access Laws    

Fair Use


Chapter Fifteen: Journalistic Ethics    

A Definition of Ethics    

Effects of Competition    

Situational Ethics    


Contract With the Public

At Issue: Image Manipulation

Case Studies in Ethical Dilemmas    

Reverse-Angle Questions    

Staged News Events    


File Video 

Material Provided from Outside Sources    

Toward an Individual Code of Ethics    



Appendix A: Shooting Video: The Basics    

The Camera    

The Lens    


Appendix B: Improving Performance in Field Reporting    

Developing the Qualities That Make You Interesting and Interested 

Reasons For Standups

Seek Reaction

Communicate What You Feel about the Story   

Delivering From the Studio 

Put Experience into Your Reports    

Multidimensional Reporting    

Marking Copy

Learn How to Relax    

Develop Conversational Delivery    

Your Appearance   

Field Lighting for HDTV

Let the Audience Know You as a Friend   


Impact How People Perceive Your Sources   

Posture Matters    

Split-Focus Presentation    

The Anchor Debrief    

When You Are Before the Camera

How Reporters Evolve Into Anchors    


Appendix C: The Assignment Editor and Producer: Architects of the Newscast    

The Assignment Editor    

Assignment Editors Help Conceptualize the Package    

The Producer    

Toward a News Philosophy    


Help Make the Station a Regional Force    

Improve Audio-Video linkage    


Freshen File Video    

Use Talking Heads with Purpose    

Weather and Sports    




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