Setting-Worldbuilding Research Assignment 1 – YouTube Storyteller Pickup Ethnographies

My research is in the area of using storytelling on YouTube to motivate a call-to-action. I envision my dissertation as a hybrid of a scholarly paper, in addition to a video essay, and a series of web videos. Within that series, will be ethnographies of speakers and storytellers who utilize social media video on YouTube to motivate end-users to take a call-to-action, whether it be to an internal or external link, or within the end-users’ own lives. 

Conventions are an excellent resource to conduct interviews with multiple subject-experts at a singular time, date and place. In addition to in-depth longer interviews that are prearranged, conventions also offer the opportunity to get extra, pickup interviews with high-profile subject experts who might have limited time. These types of subject experts are people for whom you may not ordinarily be able to gain access. Securing a quick interview may be possible [with a standard release, of course], especially when the subject expert might have a new publication or product that is about to be released. 

The Hilton Orlando

For the Setting / Worldbuilding Research Assignment #1, I conducted a generic location scout at the Hilton Orlando Resort & Convention Center on how to strategically stage a setup with a camera operator and assistant to get pickup interviews with high-profile subject experts. These interviews would be outside of my scheduled interviews and during my open time blocks.

The Lounge

The Lounge area is a potential out-the-way setup for an interview, but it is out-of-the-way. Depending upon the time availability of a subject expert, the expert may not have the time to walk for a few minutes from the convention rooms to the lounge. This would only be considered for less-prominent pickup subject experts, caught on-the-fly, with more time availability.

The Lounge (Less Background)

Light is always an issue with framing windows from an interior. If the interviewee is not lit hot enough, the window will blow out and read white in the video frame. An alternative to a spacious background shot in the lounge would be to frame the interview with less background and window. However, the background in this shot is somewhat drab.

Convention Center Hallway (Sketch)

The Convention Center Hallway is ideal for very quick interviews but would likely be noisy and crowded. It would require a handheld mic with a shallow pickup pattern, as well as lavalier mics and a backup shotgun onboard the camera. To spend more time in the setting and emerge from my comfort zone, I made a sketch of the hallway, even thought I do not draw. Although I am accustomed to framing shots, I found it interesting how I concentrated for long periods of time at what I could see, yet I was unable to discern how to mechanically execute with my hand what my eyes were seeing.

Convention Center Hallway

The lighting was very dim. Although I would be shooting with a very fast shutter speed video camera, brining lights would be great. My team could be stationed in the hallway with 1 or 2 battery operated LED lights with softboxes and stands, but as the lights are somewhat large, and it would be crowded in the hallway between events, a very powerful on-board camera LED light, with the camera on a tripod and tripod dolly, would offer the most flexibility.

Convention Center Hallway, Wall

Instead of randomly picking any spot on the wall, it’s ideal to frame the shot with something in the background such as a painting or plant.

Convention Center Open Area

I observed a few large open areas where I could setup lights and a tripod, but this particular area had extra noise from adjoining escalators.

Convention Center Exterior Walkway

Going outside can be a great option if the subject expert has time. The sky does not wash out as bad because the subject is being light by the same light temperature as the exterior. Outside can be noisy though. Unfortunately, this walkway was adjacent to an HVAC system of significant size on a roof.

Walking further down the walkway towards the Orange County Convention center helped diminish the noise, as well as offer an interesting background.

Food Court Hallway

The Hallway adjacent to the Food Court would have less traffic and more space than the main hallway of the convention rooms.

Walkway to Lobby

As opposed to staging an interview in the lounge area, the walkway to the lobby split the difference between a wider more interesting background and being able to use and/or frame out some of the light from the windows.


A generic location scout for a theoretical test-run of pickup interviews was an excellent exercise. It helped me further develop the theoretical framework of what to look for in advance, once on-location in an actual conference. Depending upon the conference, registering for the conference as a member of the media may be required, however I already do possess credentials. This exercise confirmed that you want to have prearranged interviewees with a designated time and area, but when you do not have anyone scheduled in a time block, preparing in advance for pickup interviews is effective in adding a few magical names to your ethnography.

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