Definition of STAND UP

By Gen J Guest Blogger Kristyn Caddell

intransitive verb

1: to rise to a standing position

2: to remain sound and intact under stress, attack, or close scrutiny

Webster’s might not best define a television news “standup”, but most everyone in the industry doesn’t need a dictionary to know the definition of a good one.  And, you have the power to define yourself, make your mark so to speak, every time you say 3,2,1, what follows that countdown can either shine or fade into TV oblivion.  But on days where the eight hours you have to turn a story only seem like five minutes, when you have to ask yourself if your phone is actually on because the call backs from interviews just aren’t coming to you. Who knows if you are even going to have a story? How in the world can you even fast forward to coming up with a creative standup. And, not to mention one that viewers and your bosses will remember?

COMMUNICATION:  The moment you know your story and you know who your photographer is (unless of course you are one-man banding) start talking.  Don’t be afraid to throw out every idea that you have, take risks.  If your ideas don’t work, don’t do them again. And if they do work, hallelujah!

“What I need from a reporter is what they want to say, this will allow me to start thinking about how it can be shot,” says WFTV Photographer Octavio Torres.

WFTV Anchor Greg Warmoth says, “Communication is huge with a photographer.”

TIME MANAGEMENT:  For me personally, I always operate as though I only have five minutes left to get something done even if I have an hour, I have trained myself to move fast no matter what.  Saving time on the front end of things will allow you the extra seconds to put more energy into having a solid standup.

“I have spent anywhere from three hours to 30 minutes on standups and have had to train myself to always think differently.  “I always allow 30 minutes to shoot and 20 minutes to edit it together,” says Torres.

“Keeping the microphone on at all times allows you to be always be ready for an active moment,” says,” WFTV Anchor Greg Warmoth .

LIGHTING:  Just because you are in a time crunch by no means do you have to be thrust into bright sun light, caught squinting and frowning because you can hardly see the camera.  And, say no thanks to obscure creepy shadows over your face. If you feel uncomfortable in the situation just imagine how the people watching will feel.

If the clock is ticking and you can’t seem to lug out the lights, ask for a reflector.  If you don’t have one, look for a shaded spot where your background is also shaded so that the sun behind you doesn’t ruin the shot.

“You want the focus to be the person on-camera you don’t need anything else to distract from that,” says WFTV Photographer Jason Freymann.

TAKE TWO:  With the exception of live shots, always remember you can shoot it more than one way.  If you have an idea and so does your photographer.  Save time, don’t argue, compromise and utilize both of your options.  Worst case you have a second standup that you don’t use instead of going back and forth with one another.  You might surprise yourself by how much time and effort you save by simply doing it both ways. Check it out during editing to see what works best with your story.

“What’s the best tidbit of my story that could lend itself to creativity?   What’s happening right now that won’t be in most of our other video,” explains WFTV Anchor/Reporter Bianca Castro.

HEY, GOOD LOOKIN’:  Putting on makeup can either be the best or worst part of your day depending on how you look at it.  Don’t wait until you get to your standup location to layer it on.  Be camera ready at all times so if something presents itself you aren’t rummaging through your bag to find your favorite eyes shadow.  Your photog will appreciate it.  And, if you use their mirrors in the car to apply go on ahead and move them back.

“It is counterproductive, you have to utilize every second the best way you can,” says Freymann.

HOW’D THEY DO THAT?  You know when you have shot a memorable standup, you can just feel it.  Below is a compilation of some recent examples of standups shot under deadline where the word creativity seems like an understatement.

 The story:

“On this particular story, we had a lot of cool options for a standup, since we were at the museum.  But when we saw the old photograph on the wall, we were immediately like, “how cool would it be if….”  We framed up our shots with the old picture but our vision really came to life with the help of our graphics department in post- production. – Bianca Castro, WFTV Anchor/Reporter

The story:

“In this piece we needed a way to show what happened in court without having a camera in court.”

“Federal Court prohibits recording devices.”

“So instead of just saying it, we tried to show the types of material that those investigators would have seen by using blurry images in the background of the standup.” – Karla RayWFTV Reporter

The story:

“We shot this in about ten minutes.”

“We started talking about this on our way out as we looked through the police report.” –  Jeff DealWFTV Reporter

The Story:

“With the collaboration of my photographer and avid editor  we came up with the angles needed  that would work best for the graphic that was made by the graphic department. It only took a few minutes.” – WFTV Anchor Greg Warmoth

The Story:

 “This definitely took a bit more time than we would like, but we had time on our side and used it.  About 30 minutes total.  We made sure to shoot every piece saying the standup in its entirety so editing cuts would be much smoother in post-production.” – Kristyn Caddell, WFTV Reporter.

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