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Tutorial #20 “Crap is King” How to Report on the Not-So-Serious, but Fascinating Topics with Your Smartphone

Tutorial #20 By Gerard Braud

Although this series teaches public information officers (PIOs), emergency managers, and corporate spokespeople to upload videos to the web as an effective crisis communications strategy, it’s also important to note that “crap is king.”   In this tutorial, I encourage you to report on not just the serious crisis stories, but report on fascinating side stories about your events as well. The media love a great side story and social media users are more likely to share the side story.

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

In his song Dirty Laundry, singer Don Henley says, “crap is king,” referring to the fact that television news often gives more attention to silly things, rather than the serious. Likewise, the audience also likes those silly things, like the water skiing squirrel story on the news. You may have seen that video clip in the movie Anchorman.

Watch today’s tutorial as it features an iReport I filed called Rare Frigate Birds Tropical Storm Lee.

During Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, I filed numerous serious reports, which each received several hundred views. But the side story about the Rare Frigate Birds received more than 99,000 views in about 12 hours. I find that amazing.

Often there are stories of human victories that are sweet and need to be told to the media and the media’s audience. Keep your eyes and ears open for these stories.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

Tutorial #19 What is B-Roll? Why You Should Videotape it and Send it to the Media During Your Crisis

Tutorial #19 By Gerard Braud

 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

When uploading a video to the web or a CNN iReport during your crisis, you can either place yourself on camera as a narrator of events, or send video of an event that is still ongoing. The video of an event that is still happening is known in the media industry as “B-Roll,” or “cover video.” The news media love when you provide extra video.

As for the value of iReports, ultimately, my goal is for CNN producers to call me to ask me to be interviewed live on CNN or HLN during one of their news programs. During the interview, they will begin with me on camera talking to the anchors, then they will cut away and show the video that I’ve sent.

Watch today’s tutorial to better understand how this works.

When you are shooting B-Roll, you want to do several things that are important. First, don’t talk. Allow the video to capture the natural sounds of what is going on. After you’ve done that, add a brief narration. This will tell the video editors back at CNN what they are seeing. This is how you provide context and accuracy for your B-Roll.

Secondly, when shooting B-Roll, don’t provide an excessive amount of movement. Start by showing something important and remain motionless for at least ten seconds. With the camera or smart device still recording, pan or turn the camera slowly for about five seconds, then stop and hold the scene for another 10 seconds. This gives the video editors several options. As you look at my tutorial video, you’ll see that sometimes I also walk while taking the B-Roll.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program,Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

Tutorial #18 How to Film a Reporter Style “Selfie” Standup with Your Smartphone

Tutorial #18 by Gerard Braud —

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

You may be wondering why you would want to upload your own selfie videos to the web during your crisis. You might think it is the last thing you would want to do, or that it could make your organization vulnerable to more negative feedback or more negative press. However, filming your own web videos during your crisis and then posting it on YouTube or CNN iReports allows you to tell your story, providing official information to all of your audiences. It has to be done professionally and effectively to be received correctly.

What amazes me about iPhones, iPads and other smart devices, is that I’m able to shoot high quality video and perform all of the tasks on my own, that would otherwise require a news crew with a videographer, producer, reporter, engineer, and a broadcast camera tethered to a satellite truck.

And best of all, I can do it all while simply holding my smart device at arm’s length. At that distance, if framed correctly, no one can see my arm and no one knows that I’m doing this all by myself.

This also gives me the freedom to move, which I couldn’t do if the device was stationary on a tripod. In some situations, a colleague may want to act as your photographer, but often the video is shaky. I find it is much smoother when I hold it myself. It gives me control of movement, lighting and sound

Watch today’s tutorial, then practice this skill yourself.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program,Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

Tutorial #17 Using Skype as Part of Your Crisis Communications Plan

Tutorial #17 by Gerard Braud —

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

As more media outlets cut back on the size of their news staff, they are seeking more videos provided by eyewitnesses or experts. This is where you come in… and this creates a huge opportunity for you. I am publishing this series of tutorials to show corporate spokespeople, public information officers (PIOs), emergency managers and public relations professionals that uploading your own videos to the web during your crisis needs to be a part of your crisis communications strategy.  The ultimate goal is for a major media outlet, such as CNN, to view your video and reach out to you to seek your official information.

These days, they will likely ask you to be interviewed via Skype.

If you are unfamiliar with Skype, visit www.skype.com and download the free application for you computer, smart phone and smart tablet.

The app allows you to make regular phone calls to regular telephone numbers, or it allows you to make a call from computer to computer with voice only, or you can set up a video chat from computer to computer.

CNN and the other news outlets want you to know how to set up the video chat.

Start by downloading the app. Next, set up your profile. Much like most social media sites, you can add your contact information and a photo.

CNN producers will then either call you or ask you to call them at an assigned time, during the news program. When it is time to go live, your Skype call is what the audience at home will see.

Take a look at this specific video tutorial to learn more.

The quality of the image on Skype varies, based on the strength of your internet signal. Sometimes the image may freeze while you are live on the air. Sometimes the call will get dropped completely.

The networks know they are taking a risk when they do a Skype call, but if your location and event is news worthy and they have no news crew of their own nearby, they are willing to take the risk.

In one of my previous tutorials I mentioned that a set of ear buds or a USB headset can be useful during your live report. If you use these, you will need to find the audio button on the Skype software and select input and output for the headsets, rather than using the computer or smart device’s external speakers and microphone.

The secret to getting it right is to practice on a clear sunny day, rather than attempting to learn the hard way under the time constraints of a crisis and significant news event. Set up your account, study the account until you know all of the buttons you need to push, then establish a call between you and a colleague so you can practice.

During your practice, you’ll want to incorporate many of the other lessons you’ve learned through these tutorials, including managing audio, lighting and movement, as well as what to say.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program,Social Media iReports.pdf so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

 

Tutorial #15 How to Prepare for a Live Skype Interview with Local or National Media

Tutorial # 15 By Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

In this series of 23 articles and videos, you will learn the skills needed to film and publish an online news report video about your crisis. If your event is newsworthy and your video is shot professionally, it could lead to a live interview with local or national media.  If you are a spokesperson, public information officer (PIO), public relations professional or government agency, you should highly consider this process as a part of your crisis communications and media relations strategy.

If CNN sees your iReport and they like the content, a CNN producer will visit your profile page on CNN.com. They will collect your phone number and e-mail address and contact you, asking you to be a live guest on one of their programs.

Once a SKYPE connection has been established, you must be able to hear the producer talking to you and you must be able to hear the news anchors talking to you. If you are in a quiet location, you can turn up the volume on your smart phone or tablet and likely hear them just fine. But if there is a lot of background noise or blowing wind, you may find it necessary to use ear buds to hear the producers and news anchors.

Some ear buds have a built in microphone, which is optimal. Chances are, if it is too noisy for you to hear them, it may also be too noisy for them to hear you.

One option I select in some of my live reports is to use a USB SKYPE headset with my laptop. These headsets plug into my computer’s USB port. The headsets have earmuffs, that block out external noise so I can hear the news producers and news anchors. It also has a microphone on a flexible arm that gets very close to my mouth. This microphone makes it much easier for them to hear me, without them hearing the background noise.

Watch today’s video tutorial to learn more.

The ear buds come free with most smart devices. The USB headphones can be purchased at any electronics retailer.

As with all of the skills shared in these tutorials, you’ll want to practice on a clear sunny day by having a SKYPE call with a colleague. Don’t wait until the day of your crisis to try to sort out the technical aspects of this. The networks give you only one change to get it right. If you blow it, you are blacklisted and they will call someone who knows what they are doing.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

Tutorial #14 How to Frame Your Crisis Communications Videos Properly

Tutorial #14 By Gerard Braud

Crisis communications videos are rarely created by corporate spokespeople, government officials, emergency managers, or public information officers (PIO). However, they are an extremely effective way to communicate with your audiences in a crisis. You can be the official spokesperson and speak directly to the media about your crisis, rather than an eyewitness on the street who could be speculating or blowing your issue out of proportion. To create a quality video there are many variables, including how you frame yourself on camera.

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

Think about your vacation photos and videos. When you are in the image, do you see just a little of you and a lot of other stuff around you? Is your head in the middle of the picture, with your body at the bottom, and a bunch of sky above your head?

If so, you are likely not framing your images properly.

Photographers and videographers generally practice what is known as the rule of thirds. Photographers, especially when framing an individual in a photo or video, leave no space for sky above your head. Your hair or forehead fills the top of the frame. Your nose generally fills the center third. Your chin and neck would then fill the bottom third.

While this addresses the horizontal elements of your image, you must also consider the vertical portions of what you have framed. Often, you fill the left or right third of the frame, leaving the other two-thirds as positive space to your left or right.

Much of the poor framing we see today is the result of an entire generation of people using digital cameras. Because the yellow focus square in the viewfinder is in the middle of the viewfinder, most people stand far away from the person in the photo, then frame their head in the focus square. This is horrible. Stop doing it.

Step forward and get closer to the person whose photo you wish to take, then frame it as I have described above.

This is best understood by watching today’s tutorial video.

As with all of these video skills, you must practice in order to get it right. So after viewing the tutorial, take out your smart phone or tablet and record a video. You can also go home to your computer and look at some of your old photos. You’ll likely see that you’ve been framing pictures incorrectly for a long time… but soon you’ll be doing it right every time.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

 

 

Tutorial #13 How to Get Good Audio for Your Crisis Communications Videos

Tutorial #13 By Gerard Braud

Tutorial 13 Still Gerard Braud

Creating smartphone or iPad videos for effective crisis communications is something that is not being done by enough Public Information Officers (PIO), Emergency Managers, government officials or corporate spokespeople. Quite possibly, these groups of people are not creating videos because they have not been trained in doing so.  This series of 23 tutorials shows you some of the basic elements of creating your own selfie videos, as well as some of the more difficult elements, such as lighting and sound. These factors are a critical part of creating a professional looking and sounding video so that you can communicate effectively to your audiences in your crisis.

Have you ever watched a video you’ve shot, only to be surprised that you can hear other people talking in the background, or that the roar of the wind drowns out what you were saying or wanted to hear?

When shooting a video for a CNN iReport, for YouTube, or for any other use, you must be a multi-tasking expert. As you talk while recording the video, you must be listening as well.

Are dogs barking in the background? Are church bells ringing? Is someone nearby talking loudly on a cell phone? And the big one, is the wind blowing so hard that it drowns out your voice narration?

View today’s video tutorial to see and hear examples of all of the above.

As you’ll see in the tutorial, you have several options, including your ability to turn your back to the wind or face the wind, if wind is your problem. The correct answer depends upon where the microphone is located on your device. Another option is to use a small microphone that plugs into the headphone jack of your smart phone or tablet.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program,Social Media iReports.pdf so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

 

Tutorial #12: How to Create Proper Lighting When Creating Videos on Your Smartphone

Tutorial # 12 By Gerard Braud

Public relations professionals, emergency managers, corporate spokespeople and public information officers (PIO) need to create quality smartphone videos to communicate with their audiences effectively during their crises. Among many elements to consider when creating your own smartphone video, lighting is another tricky, but crucial one. After viewing this tutorial, make sure to practice this skill on a clear sunny day in advance of your crisis or newsworthy event, so when your darkest day comes, you have it perfected.

Tutorial 12 Still Gerard Braud

Professional photographers know how to adjust the iris on the lens of their expensive cameras. But when you take a video with your smart phone or tablet, you become a slave to the automatic iris on the device’s built in camera.

The only control you have is based on what you are shooting.

If you are appearing in your video, as I do in many of my CNN iReports, your goal is to have good flesh tones. The brighter the objects behind you, the darker your flesh tones will be. The darker the objects behind you, the brighter and more natural your flesh tones will be.

If you like to move while shooting your videos, you have to constantly be aware of what happens to the iris on the device as you move. While you are looking at the camera lens for your report, you must be looking out of the corner of your eye to have a sense for what the image looks like on your screen.

Persons with dark skin have an even harder time managing their skin tones on video.

View the tutorial video to see exactly what I’m talking about.

 

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReports website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

 

Tutorial #11: Where to Look When Using Your iPhone or iPad for a Smartphone Selfie Video

Tutorial #11 By Gerard Braud

Learning to properly shoot smartphone videos as part of your crisis communications and media relations strategy is a skill every corporate spokesperson, Public Information Officer (PIO), or public relations professional should practice and perfect. You will want to also include training for your emergency manager who heads your emergency operations center. It is crucial to practice where to look and how to hold your device in order to create a professional looking video. This can be extremely difficult during your crisis, and should be practiced on a clear sunny day when you are not under the pressure of a natural disaster, hurricane, or other crisis event.

Tutorial 11 Still Gerard BraudIf you are recording yourself, your eyes are drawn to the screen, because you see yourself. But to produce a great web video or CNN iReport, you have to avoid looking at yourself on the screen and instead, look at the camera.

This is one of the most unnatural experiences you will ever have. The camera is so small… barely a dot on the side of the device. It is so much easier to look at a big video camera lens. With a big lens, you can usually see your reflection. Not so with that little dot of a lens on your iPhone, iPad or computer.

So here is what you must do — you must take out your smart device of choice, then shoot a video of yourself and then watch it.

Take a look at this instructional video hosted on CNN iReports. It will help you understand where to look to create a great news video for iReports, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or any other outlet you may need to assist with your crisis communications needs.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

 

Tutorial #10 How to Manage the Expectations of Your Audience When Shooting Smartphone Videos During Your Crisis

Tutorial #10 By Gerard Braud

When making smartphone videos or CNN iReports, you need to plan your storytelling. Whether you are  communicating as a public relations spokesperson,  a Public Information Officer (PIO) for a federal or state agency, or for state, county or local government, it is crucial to manage the expectations of your audience. Predetermining and planning your storytelling may not seem like an easy task when it comes to hurricane season or natural disasters, but in this tutorial you will learn to do exactly what I’ve done in the past.

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

As you watch television news, especially live cable news and live breaking news in a crisis, observe the questions from the news reporters, news anchors and members of the media. They want to know how much worse will the event get?

If you recognize this, you can make this a part of your planned story telling,

During Hurricane Isaac, my goal was to manage the expectations of the national audience and the national media so they would know just how bad things would get. For the most part, it was all predictable for me, because I had been to and reported on so many hurricanes during my career as a television reporter. As a resident of Mandeville, Louisiana and as someone born in New Orleans, I had a pretty good idea of what was to come. (Although the 4 10-food alligators, the 50 dead nutria and the thousands of snakes were a surprise.)

Take a look at today’s tutorial to learn more about this, and view some of my Hurricane Isaac CNN iReports to observe what I did.

Electric utility companies are a perfect example of the kind of company that should build their media training and crisis communications strategy around managing the expectations of their audience. Some people in New Orleans were very mad at Entergy of New Orleans when the electric company didn’t have electricity restored to all of their customers on the day following the hurricane. The angry citizens called the media and complained non-stop on social media. Although all were without electricity after Hurricane Katrina, they expected faster restoration after Isaac, which was a Category 1 hurricane. Additionally, restoration to 99% of the customers may be great, but the 1% without power can still cause a public relations problem for a company.

To their credit, Entergy was holding news briefings and using social media where possible. But here is what I would like to see every investor owned utility and every Rural Electric Cooperative (Co-op) say to their customers before any big, predictable weather event:

“This storm will disrupt electrical service. You may lose electricity early as trees fall on power lines or as winds blow power lines down. Your home may survivor the storm, but in the days immediately after the storm, you may be very miserable. You won’t be able to turn on any lights. You won’t be able to cook on electric stoves. If you have an electric hot water heater, you may not have hot water. Your air conditioning (or heating) may not work. And while our electric crews and those from other communities will begin restoring power quickly, we cannot say when everyone will have their lights back on. Furthermore, if the electric meter to your home is damaged or if the electrical wiring in your home gets wet or damaged, it may be weeks or months before your power can be restored. So for that reason, we suggest you follow the advice of your local government and evacuate to an area outside of the predicted disaster zone, then return home when you can once again have modern conveniences.”

That type of statement a) tells it to the audience straight without any public relations B.S., 2) it manages their expectation for how bad things may get, and 3) it gives them a clear reason as to why they should evacuate — because many people are in denial about whether or not the wind or flooding will harm them, but they don’t want to be miserable and without creature comforts.

State, county and city governments can also benefit from this approach. Often government will call for an evacuation for public safety. Many people don’t want to evacuate because a previous hurricane did not significantly impact them. But government should emphasize that no two storms are alike and that a zone that survived one hurricane might be destroyed by the path of another storm. Government public information officers and spokespeople should also emphasize the loss of creature comforts associated with the loss of electricity, water, operating toilets, the inability to cook or buy supplies.

This technique goes hand in hand with my previous article on explaining the compare and contrast of what is and what will be. Please read that article for more valuable tips.

To continue to manage the expectations of the audience before, during and after an event, any corporation or government agency, can do exactly what I did as a citizen — they can create a CNN iReport account and file multiple iReport videos just as I did.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.