Topical & Visual Coverage / by Katie Edmonds


Topical Coverage

Topical overage is achieved when the area of inquiry has been investigated and documented so thoroughly that any more information collected would be redundant. In some cases the themes we're hoping to investigate may have no related evidence to document, and this is an interesting outcome. If we can say with confidence that we didn't find any examples of a category, this is an important subject for discussion during the pinup session.

Visual Coverage

When you notice something you want to capture, you will have to choose how it should be captured. In order to create a complete story you'll want to have visual coverage to express your observation in a way that offers a perspective that feels complete to your audience. The order in which you present these can be changed, but in order to allow yourself creative flexibility when you build your stories, strive to achieve solid coverage.

Establishing Shot & Soundscapes

These ways of framing help your viewer feel like they understand the context you're showing them. It's the most information that you can possible fit into one image, video clip or audio clip, calling attention not to any specific qualities, but to the overall qualities of the space. It anchors the viewer by making them feel confident that they know what they're looking at, and the perspective from which they're looking, and the context of the qualities you're presenting to them.


Medium Shot & Overheard Sounds

This is the kind of moment that establishes the human scale in the context you're examining. They make audience feel like they are there with you, that they are the same size as you, that they have a physical presence in the space that's neither god-like (establishing shot), nor that of an invisible observer who can examine anything in great detail (close up).

Close up Shot & Asking objects or people

This is the perspective of the invisible person. A close up shot is captured by someone moving in a space with great access, who can stop and examine things carefully and without the pressure of moving along or behaving within the norms of personal space. You can apprehend anything at great detail, and doing so suggests that there is a special meaningfulness to the thing that is being closely examined. Using too many of these shots will result in the audience losing trust in the authority of your visualizations, but too few and your viewers will get the sense that there isn't anything special about what you're showing them.

Moving On

Achieving a balance between visual and topical coverage, while operating within the confines of your access to people, objects and space, and your time, material and human resources, is a very complicated process. How to move on, when to move on, what to do if you haven't established coverage, what to do when the act or looking changes what you're seeing, this is all part of the process. If it feels difficult, if you're uncertain about how well you're doing, these are signs that you're really working with authenticity and care. The opportunity to explore and express these thoughts and experiences will come in the pinup session. Listen to your team, negotiate with the people with whom you are creating, and move on to the next thing.