Shooting Visuals for News Stories

Preferred shots types for Electronic News Gathering

 1) Block shot:  This type of shot can be termed the bread and butter shot for Electronic News Gathering i.e. for News and Current Affairs programs. This type of shot involves zero camera movement.  In this type of shot, the camera is framed well and without any movement the composition is recorded for 12 to 20 seconds.

2) Pan Shot and Tilt Shot:  The shot recorded when the camera is panned from right to left or left to right is called a pan shot.  And shot recorded when the camera is tilted from top to bottom or bottom to top is called a tilt shot. Both these shots need to be used only when needed. That is, when you need to establish something from one end to the other say to highlight the length of a queue you should use the pan shot. Similarly to show how tall a building is one might use a tilt.

3) Zoom

Zoom in: In this shot the shot size changes from a wide shot to a close up. Use it when you want to highlight a small aspect of a bigger thing. Eg: If you want to say that the huge elephant has a small eye.

Zoom out:  In this the shot size changes from close up to a wider shot. Use it when you want to establish where exactly something is happening.   Eg: When you zoom out from two players in a football field to the entire field. This will highlight in which part of the ground the ball actually is.

4) Top angled shot/ low angled shot:

Low angled shot: The camera is kept at the ground level and lens is pointed upwards to show how big and imposing the subject is.

Top angled shot: This shot is taken from the top to show how small a subject is.

5) Tracking (on car and foot):

Strictly speaking unless one has a steady cam these shots need to be avoided. However, in a situation like say if you want to show the amount of damage in an earthquake hit area or a war torn country tracking shot of the region even if taken from a slow moving car works well.

Tracking on foot can add drama to chase or if somebody is being followed. Eg: Following a  terrorist to his hideout.

6) Creative shots (Quick zoom, MTV type shots etc.):

In a feature story that involves covering a glamorous person or a pop singer – an MTV type shot works well. You could do quick zooms, tilted frames, shift focus etc. But be sure to take normal shots as well. This is important as your organisation may have a strict rule when it comes to using such shots.

Dos and Don’ts

Follow Video Grammar as you shoot


1) Remember to shoot cut-aways after an interview, press conference, performance, action etc.

2) Ask your cameraman to take shots with editing points. For instance, if you are shooting a person moving into the frame, wait for him to move out of frame.

3) Always visualize the end product while taking the shots.

4) Record each block shot for at least 12 seconds.

5) The ratio of visuals used to that of shot should be a maximum of 1:10. Shooting more than this is a waste of footage and time.

6) Know when to switch off and when to keep the camera in standby mode.


1) Do not forget to give pre-roll to shots taken

2) Do not forget to lock the record button after the shooting.

3) Never forget to lable the recorded tape

4) Do not forget to white balance

5) Avoid shots that might cause a jump cut.