So you’ve scheduled the interview, or got a cast and crew together for your short film, or decided you’re finally going to capture a timelapse of the sunrise from that beautiful mountain top. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, it’s important to remember you cannot predict what will happen during a field shoot. As with many things in life, being prepared is the number one goal here, so I’ve put together a list of reminders that can might help save the shoot.

1. Know the Location
What are you filming or photographing? Plan the shots ahead of time best you can, so you can determine what challenges may come up. Are you filming indoors? What will you do if the lighting is no good? The best scenario is knowing or going to the location to plan before the shoot, so you can get a feel for it, and bring any equipment to make up for issues you can foresee.

2. Make an Equipment List
There are few things worse than showing up to your location with everything but the memory card. Do yourself a favor, after you have assessed the location and your needs, take ten minutes to write down or type up a list of equipment. If you like pictures, draw out the set and the components to help you visualize if there’s anything you’re forgetting. Allow yourself time to pack up the equipment and check-off the items on your list as you gather them. Oh yeah, charge your batteries at least the night before, and don’t forget to check if the tripod has the quick-release plate attached!

3. Expect the Unexpected
Bring backups of anything within reason. Never rely on the one memory card or battery. You never know when technology is going to decide not to work, so you want to make sure you’re ready for anything. If you’re using a light kit - try to bring extra bulbs, if you’re bringing anything rechargeable - bring the wired charger (and maybe look into a car charger adapter so you can plug in there if you have no other power source). 

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
We’ve all been there, we think we can strap eight bags on our shoulders filled to the brim with equipment, and still maintain our footing. Some shoots will only require a few items, and that’s reasonable to rely on only yourself. But, when a shoot calls for more than a camera and tripod bag, it might be good to seek out a friend - remember you paid good money for your equipment, and you won’t be very happy if something breaks because you tried to do it all yourself.

Know your needs before the shoot and prep, prep, prep! Take the time to turn on equipment if it’s been a while, and make sure there aren’t any dubious error messages popping up (like that time you forgot to reformat your SD card). It’s better to take the time to organize your thoughts and items ahead of time, than it is to feel rushed and anxious about something last minute. A successful shoot of any kind starts with the proper planning!

AuthorJen Jacobs

Norfolk Community Day is quickly approaching! On Saturday, June 3, 2017,  Norfolk will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Norfolk Community Day. And what better way to celebrate than by continuing the tradition of family-friendly fun and entertainment? The NCTV staff and members of our board will be there with cameras in hand covering as much as possible. So, come visit us while you're enjoying all that Community Day has to offer.

While specific events haven't been announced yet, there are always a few annual favorites that one can expect. Like any good party these days, Community Day will typically have several inflatable games, such as the Moon Walk and Obstacle Course. The kids, or anyone for that matter, can also get their faces painted. In addition, the petting zoo, silent auction, Grade 1-6 art contest, and Norfolk Recreation's Touch-a-Truck, in the past, have always piqued the interest of the community. However, if the glory of victory or big cash prizes is more your style, you may want to try your luck in the Pie Eating Contest or Golf Ball Drop.

No matter what ends up happening, the NCTV crew will do our best to cover all the official events that we can. All of the various entertainment acts have been covered, such as Good Tymes Banjo Band, Inspiration, the Kathy Ryan Dance Studio, and the incomparable Henry the Juggler. In the past, after the plethora of footage was edited, we've had finished products that have run for around four hours! Let's see if we can have an even longer program this year! 

Oh and I must remind you all to come visit our booth, too. We'll have plenty of free/purple items for you to take home. We hope to see you there!

AuthorAndrew Barker

Every May, NCTV packs up a ton of equipment and heads on over to the KP Middle School to film Norfolk’s Town Meeting! With a few debated articles on the docket, we expected it to be a long one this year. It was a very well-attended event and was run very smoothly thanks to Norfolk’s Town Moderator, Jay Talerman.

One of the most exciting parts of this year’s town meeting from NCTV’s perspective was that we were able to stream LIVE on YouTube! Technology is always advancing and we discovered that we had the capability just a day before the meeting and were so excited to test it out. We had a larger than expected audience on YouTube during the live event and very much appreciated the feedback we received about the quality of the live stream! We hope to use this technology for future town meetings, too!

To watch the meeting, head on over to YouTube! It will also play back on our government channel soon.

To jump to a specific article, scroll down to the description of the video and click on the timecode next to the article.

If you have any questions or comments about our coverage, leave them in the comments below or e-mail us at! We’re always interested to hear what people think!

AuthorKaty Woodhams

For the typical audience member, editing is something that tends to go unnoticed. But this is exactly what should happen in most cases. Editing is the tool that helps a movie or video move smoothly from one part to the next. If you want the audience to forget they are watching a movie or video, then they should feel immersed. Choppy editing, or editing that doesn’t enhance the flow of the story, can be very distracting, and ultimately degrade the whole experience.

Some of the very basic editing tools can have the best effect. You could use straight cuts for an entire edit and that may be all you need! Nowadays this is a simple process using software in what is called non-linear editing systems. Linear editing is a thing of the past since we have become more digital, but it creates a nice visual for understanding just what editing is. Think of a physical film strip; an editor used to literally cut that to take out parts that didn’t enhance the story. We do the same thing digitally, but it’s much easier, especially since we have an undo button.

The basic cut connects two images or clips to create meaning and to move the story forward. In most videos and movies we see a cut every few seconds. This keeps our attention, since watching the same image for too long can feel boring. But timing between cuts is another very useful tool. A long take is a video clip that is longer than the typical few seconds duration, and keeps our focus on something happening in that clip. This can be used to create tension, or perhaps to make us feel like time is moving very slowly. On the other hand, keeping video clips short, so perhaps cutting every 1-2 seconds, can make a scene feel very fast, or like something very action-based is happening.

If you were editing for the first time, placing cuts and connecting video clips in various ways is a great exercise. Watch what happens when you change the length of the clips, or the amount of cuts in a scene. You can start to get a feel for the different emotions that can be conveyed through editing. Another great tip for first time editors is to use music. Music already creates some sort of feeling, which can enhance the type of edit you want to achieve. If it’s a sad scene, you’re likely to choose slow tempo music, and that tempo is a good baseline for where your cuts should be.

Once an editor has the basic cut down, and an understanding of timing, it can be fun to employ the other tools editing software allows. But at it’s most basic form, editing is all about the cut - so that should be mastered first.

NCTV is offering two free workshops to learn editing skills in the month of May. We will start with Basic Editing on Tuesday, May 2, and then Advanced Editing: Stylistic Cuts and Transitions on Tuesday, May 30. Both workshops begin at 6:30pm and you can sign up here, or just show up the day of!

AuthorJen Jacobs

Norfolk, MA may be a small town but the people have big ideas. Here at NCTV we are constantly amazed by the creativity residents bring to the station. Katy, Andrew, and I have been singing this latest production to ourselves non-stop, so we’re quite excited to share it with the world. We took some time to talk to Marissa Antosh, the talent of this video and Senior Youth Services Librarian of the Norfolk Public Library, to learn more about her and what led her to creating this.

What inspired you to create this video?
“I was captivated by the performance of Alexander Hamilton on the Grammys in February of 2016. I love musicals, especially historical ones (1776, Jesus Christ Superstar) and it was so unique. I did a Hamilton deep dive, watching all the interviews and listening to the soundtrack. I got to see the show in New York in January of 2017 and it lives up to all the hype and more.”

Did you write the lyrics yourself?
“Yes, except for the riff on the chorus is from Hamilton. There are also a few bits thrown in from Will Smith and Kanye West that I changed to fit my theme of being a librarian. I love wordplay and poetry, so it was a lot of fun to fit all the pieces together. I've never written a rap before.”

What do you do at the library (when you aren't rapping)?
“My position is Senior Youth Services Librarian. I keep an eye on all the goings-on related to kids and I primarily focus on elementary through high school students, planning programs, purchasing materials, visiting the schools, etc.”

What's your favorite part of the job?
“My undergrad degree is in English and fine art, so I like being able to put that to use. I get to be creative on a daily basis. I also love finding information for people and connecting them to things they want or need. Finally, connecting with kids and teens and (hopefully) nurturing a love of the library is a plus.”

What was the best part of creating this?
“Coming up with rhymes that fit was so fun. Rhyming ‘librarian’ with ‘Danerys Targaryen’ was a lightbulb moment. After that, I knew I had to see it through. It took a long time but it was a fun creative outlet. I also liked collaborating with one of my teens on some of the production design.”

What was the most challenging part of creating this?
“It was hard to get kids to be in the video. There are so many schedules to juggle and I tried several times to get a big group, but that didn't really work out. The kids we have in it did a great job, though.

Anything else you'd like to mention?
“Libraries are so much more than just buildings full of books, and everyone who works in a library brings something unique to the community. We have so much going on, so I encourage everyone to check out not only what we offer on the shelves, but digitally and our programming. Libraries need community support, so to quote my own song, ‘help us out, donate to your local libraries.’”

If you’re interested in creating your own videos, NCTV is here for you. As an NCTV member you can even borrow equipment (for free). We offer workshops for groups and individuals, and we’re always happy to help make your audio-visual projects a reality. Contact us, check out upcoming workshops, or stop by and say hello sometime.

A special thanks to Marissa the Librarian and everyone at the Norfolk Public Library - read more about the library and the services offered by visiting their website.

AuthorJen Jacobs

During one of the school’s half days this past week, NCTV took a trip to visit the School Age Child Care (SACC) program at the Freeman-Kennedy School! 

We started out with a short presentation about what NCTV is and what kind of stuff we offer to our community such as the opportunity for neighbors to share what is important to them as well as workshops and trainings. Almost all of the kids had heard of NCTV before which got us off to a great start! The talented skater in our favorite GIF even recognized herself on one of our slides which was a cool coincidence! 

After the short slideshow, we hooked up our camera to the big projector screen in the gym so everyone could see through the lens. Jen graciously acted as our test subject and directed us through some good and bad examples of framing up a shot. The kids did a great job pointing out what was wrong and helped us fix it for the best results. 

When our demo came to an end, the kids all got a chance (if they wanted to) to see themselves on the big screen and talk about the awesome SACC program, which Jen later turned into a sweet promo for the program! They all had wonderful things to say about SACC and the two most common responses were that SACC is a great place to meet new friends and how wonderful and caring the staff members are. What a fitting tribute to an awesome program!

We had such a great time with the kids and staff at SACC and can’t thank them enough for giving us the opportunity to share our passion with them! 

Take a look at the brand new video about SACC that this awesome group helped create: 

Click HERE for more information about SACC.

AuthorKaty Woodhams

Storytelling is an important part of all cultures. From early on humanity has been interested in documenting different aspects of life, using pictures, words, and in more recent history; photos, videos, and sound. We tell stories to share with others, to express a feeling, and sometimes just for pure entertainment. We enjoy traveling with a character through their experience, and we all tend to resonate with the character battling conflict, whether that conflict is a monster or the character’s own mind. Following a story in a narrative structure allows us to interpret and easily follow what we’re seeing.

To craft your own narrative film, you first must decide what story you want to tell. One thing to keep in mind while writing, is to write within the parameters and capabilities you will have for your film (e.g. your budget). You can write a scene about a monster attacking the city and destroying buildings, but perhaps you’ll want to consider how that is going to translate into visuals. While it can be fun to dream up extravagant action shots, sometimes it’s best to focus on a simpler story. A common structure to try that many writers use can be boiled down into a few points:

  • We meet the main character in their regular life.

  • The main character experiences a crisis.

  • The main character confronts the conflict (this is the climax of the story).

  • The main character finds a way to overcome/escape the conflict.

  • The main character returns to their regular life changed by the newfound experience/knowledge (resolution of the story).

Once the story is complete it’s time to transform that story into images. The most common approach to doing this is creating a storyboard. You can plan out the different shots using pictures that will correspond to the dialogue and action in your script/story. When you are planning your shots remember whatever the camera is seeing is what the audience will be focusing on. By framing different people and items you can tell the audience what is important in your shot. As an example: if your characters are discussing an object, you may want to show a close up of that object instead of just watching the characters talk about it, with video you have the ability to show and tell. As you become more aware of your story and framing your shots, you can find ways to enhance your story through subtle visual elements.

After the story is mapped out, and corresponding images are decided upon, you can get into the more specific elements. The lighting, coloring, and sound/music can all change the mood and feeling of your film. When something is happy, we usually have bright lighting, and when something is sad or scary we tend to go towards dark and shadowy lighting. The lighting can help indicate what the main character is feeling and give the audience insight.

Color can be subjective, but today we see blue and orange as common choices in filmmaking. The two colors are on opposite ends of the color wheel and each tends to represent opposite feelings; orange is bright and inviting, and blue creates a more desaturated look giving it a more bleak feel. These aren’t the only choices of course, the next time you watch a movie pay attention to what colors you see and how that matches the mood of what’s happening. Color theory is a topic that can be covered in great detail, choose your own palette to change the tone and mood of your film.

Sound and music can change the mood and tone as well. With various sounds you can create the feeling people are somewhere you didn’t really film - you could film in front of some trees and then add in rainforest sound effects to build an environment, for example. And most people are already very aware of soundtracks and scores in films; by adding music that conveys a certain emotion you can enhance what the characters are feeling and how that affects the audience’s emotions. Anything can seem sad with the right string instruments playing behind it

There are many other elements you can consider while composing your shots, and the more detailed you get the better your story can be understood. At its most basic, a narrative only needs to follow someone or something from beginning to end, but really exploring how we can use other visual and audial elements can make narrative filmmaking more effective. While there are many guidelines and templates out there, don’t be afraid to take your own approach. Telling stories is a tradition that existed long ago, and will continue long into the future. Stories can open our eyes to alternate perspectives, and allow us to discover more about the world and more about ourselves. So, start filming and share your story too.

AuthorJen Jacobs