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Writing Editing Scripts for Voice Over Stories on the DTV News
Electronic Photo and Video Communications

Editing Script for a VO/Bite

The following script is the way the reporters should turn in a VO/bite script for the DTV News.  This is called an editing script.  If the reporter is out sick or for some other reason does not show up for class, then someone else can be assigned to edit this story so long as the editing script, and videotape are left in the studio.  


On page 1 is the anchor lead.  This is what the news anchor says to introduce the story.  At the end of this lead is a set of editing and switching directions:

         Anchor Reading Assignment (Danielle) (VO).  This tells the anchors and crew which anchor is supposed to read this story and tells them that the voice over starts at this point in the script and show.

         This information tells the studio crew the title of the story (“Susan West Funeral”) and the story form (VO/bite, meaning “voice over and sound bite”).  A sound bite is a short piece of an interview or statement made by someone who is part of the story or is an expert being interviewed to add context to the story.

         The location identifier and the time should be superimposed on the story (Location: Funeral for Beloved Teacher/Spartanburg SC/21 August, 2004 – 0 to 4 secs).  Notice that the location identifier not only gives the location of the story, but also includes a very short teaser headline.  This particular location identifier also includes the date because that is important to the context of the story.

         Sound or audio editing directions (Nat sound bed under VO).  This tells the editor or sound engineer how to balance the sound between the anchor’s voice and the sound that is heard on the voice over portion of the edited video.


Following the anchor lead is the part of the script that is called the “voice over” or simply a “VO.”  Notice that a description of each scene and the beginning and ending time for every scene on the original tape on which this story was recorded is listed in this script.  These times are on the editing script so that the editor can find those scenes quickly and no time is wasted at the editor.  Also in this portion of the tape are editing instructions for the sound that was reported with these scenes.  Notice on page 2 the audio editing instruction says, “Nat sound bed under VO.”  This means that the reporter wants the audience to hear the sound from the scene (in other words, the “natural sound” or “nat. sound”) but that this natural sound should be turned down enough that the viewer can hear the anchor’s voice when the voice over begins.  The sound from the scene is to be kept just loud enough under the anchors voice so that it can be heard, but not so loud that it makes is hard to understand what the anchor is saying.  In other words, the sound from the scene forms a “bed” under the anchor’s voice. 


Following the voice over section of this VO/bite is a “sound bite” or “bite,” which is a piece of an interview that was recorded on videotape.  This is found on page 3.  The instructions for inserting this portion of an interview include the tape number or description (Tape 10), time on the tape (14:19:57 to 15:44:15), the identifier for the person being seen and heard (Bite - John Williams/Minister, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg) and the things that are said at the very beginning of this sound bite (INCUE: Q - “He gave her a gift of suffering…”) and the things being said at the very end of this sound bite: (OC: “…it made her better).  Note that “OC” means “outcue,” which is the cue for the sound bite to end.  You should know that that the interview identifier tells the show editor or director and the graphics editor what identifier to superimpose on the television screen to tell the viewer who this person is that is speaking.  This information gives the editor all the information that he or she needs to put the correct sound bite into the story.  The editing instructions at this point in the script also tells the editor how long the sound bite is (Time: 28 secs). 

Following the sound bite are more voice over with the necessary editing and switching instructions. 


The last thing on this script is the tag line.  This is the part of this script that the anchorperson reads while being seen on camera.  Every VO or VO/bite should have a tag line.  This gives the anchor the chance to add one last piece of information so that there is a smooth transition back to the anchors on the set.

One last thing that you should notice:  The editing instructions, times, cues, and identifiers are all in much smaller letters than the script that the anchors or the report must read.  This is so that the anchors and studio crew can easily read their part of the script without being distracted by those instructions.


News: 27-Aug-04Page 1


We’ve got some sad news to report to you about a face that won’t be seen here at Dorman any longer.


A teacher here at Dorman High who was loved by many of her students and respected by her colleagues has died.


News: 27-Aug-04Page 2

(Danielle) (VO) (Location: Funeral for Beloved Teacher/Spartanburg SC/21 August, 2004 – 0 to 4 secs)

(“Susan West Funeral” VO/bite)

(Wide of funeral service in the church sanctuary: Tape 10 - 14:25:33 to 14:40:37) 

(Nat sound bed under VO)

First Baptist Church in Spartanburg was filled with family, friends, and relatives, showing their respect for a beloved Dorman art teacher.

(Close-up of woman wiping tears from her eyes: Tape 10 - 10:12:39 to 10:58:08) 

This memorial service for Susan West took place last Saturday.

News: 27-Aug-04Page 3

 (Close woman speaking from the lectern: Tape 10 - 14:19:57 to 15:44:15) 

If you didn’t know Ms. West, you may know her work.

(Close woman speaking from the lectern: Tape labeled “Old Dorman Drawing” - 00:16:12 to 16:47:22) 

If you’ve seen this drawing of the old Dorman High building that was on Ezell Boulevard… that’s the work of Susan West.

(VO time to sound bite: 20 seconds)

(Bite - John Williams/Minister, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg: Tape 10 - 11:49:00 to 12:17:00)

(INCUE: Q - “He gave her a gift of suffering…”)   (OC: “…it made her better) (Time: 28 secs)

News: 27-Aug-04Page 3


(Shot of people leaving the church: Tape 10 - 58:46:25 to 59:00:00) 

More than 500 people showed up for the service to show their respects for Mrs. West.

(VO time following sound bite: 15 seconds) 

(End VO)                                   


Ms. West was diagnosed with cancer last year.

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