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Getting Started

The Rhode Island PBS Our Town project is based on the popular and successful series started by central Pennsylvania's public television station WPSU in 1996. Now, with more than 55 productions in their Our Town library, WPSU is clearly the ideal model for our own project at Rhode Island PBS, and we are grateful to them for sharing their wisdom and experience with us.

Click to watch a training video below. It includes instructions as well as tips and tricks to make yours a rewarding and enjoyable filming experience, as well as to produce the best possible footage for a great audience viewing experience.

Tips for video shooting

It’s wonderful to be part of an energetic and committed team, especially when it involves your neighbors and friends. What better way to nurture a sense of belonging and pride in your community than telling others why it’s such a special place? To help you tell the story more effectively we’ve asked our station videographers to share some of their secrets and strategies for successful videotaping:

Nothing looks better than a beautiful day. Best to shoot on days with lots of clear skies and sunshine if you can.

Pick subjects that show off your town’s uniqueness. Remember, this is your chance to show off your town to the people in a television audience who have never been there. Make them want to visit.

Landscapes and landmarks are great, but remember that people make a community unique, too. Don’t forget to show us some of the faces of the people in your town.

Remember, you won’t be telling the story of your town all by yourself. Lots of your neighbors will be helping you. Instead of giving the audience a general view of everything, pick a few places or events and give us as much detail as you can. Shoot them from a variety of angles. Shoot them at different times of the day, or even on different days. Give your subject as many different looks as possible.

Keep a shooting log

On the day of the shoot, we ask you to keep a log of what you shoot. This is used to help the producer ask you questions when you return from shooting video for the day.

You don’t need to keep a second-by-second log, just a subject by subject one.

The link to a log file template you may download is found in the blue box on the right side of this page.