ASSIGNMNET: Multimedia

For this assignment, you need to produce an audio slideshow that is 90-120 seconds in length. This project should bring everything you have learned together in one portfolio quality story. This is due on eLC by 12 noon on November 13.

Every image should be technically flawless – sharp, properly exposed and with good color rendering. Every image should be exceptionally well controlled – a dynamic composition with great background and edge control. And every image should add some level of knowledge to the viewer’s understanding.

The audio should be clean (think carefully about where you interview) and have some natural sounds layered in.

You need to choose a person to profile – think about someone who is newsworthy, who does something visual and who exists in good light. (I can’t stress this enough: don’t torture yourself with fighting low light situations. Don’t choose the night watchman, don’t choose the early morning chef at your favorite diner. We won’t care how amazing her story is if all your images are a wreck.)

On your first visit, pay attention to who they are and why they do the thing they do. Look for interactions, look for details. Start thinking about what your story is, what are the key elements.

On your second visit, plan on doing your interview. Find a quiet place to record – that may not be where they work. Sketch out in your head the questions you want to ask them. Remember to be flexible – if you come in with seven questions written down and stick to those seven, you might miss a great opportunity to tell a story.

After listening to your interview, start thinking about how the audio will be sequenced together – do you have visuals to match what they say?

The third visit should be to round out your photos and collect the nat sound pops that will add life to your story.

Once you have all that done, edit your audio. Use the videos and handouts on the Tutorials page, I’ll answer questions if I can. Once the audio is exported, start getting your images together. Crop and tone them in Photoshop, saving them into one folder (preferably the folder with your exported audio).

Once they’re done, you’re ready to get into Premiere and build your audio slideshow. Again, the Tutorials page has videos and a handout.

Build it, tweak it and export it. It’s due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, November 13.

Warnings: Based off of past classes, these are the things that hurt:

  • Waiting to decide – if you delay, your options on subject matter narrow and you end up trying to force a bad idea
  • Waiting to start – if you delay, you won’t have the images you need
  • Waiting to record – if you delay, they may not be available
  • Waiting to start production – as a general rule, a minute of audio will take you an hour of editing; video production will take longer
  • Waiting to export – video rendering takes a long time unless you have a high end computer, do not wait until deadline day to do this
  • Waiting to upload – your internet connection is not that fast, this will be a big file, akin to the size of Nouns and Verbs. Plan on uploading the night before at the absolute latest.

Happy to answer questions as they arise, but be aware I may take some time – I won’t be answering emails at 3 a.m. on deadline day. (Unless something has really gone wrong in my life … which is possible.)

ASSIGNMENT: Features

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Two feature photos, due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, November 27.

Look for a great moment, a telling slice-of-life image that speaks to what living, studying or working on the UGA campus or other area is like. This is to be a found moment – meaning it’s not from a scheduled or regularly occurring event. This is why you carry your camera everywhere, waiting for those little moments that makes us feel our world a little more.

Light matters: use a different type of light in each photo (hard, soft or, perhaps, diffused). Moments matter, relationships matter, story matters.

I promised you more on Dave LaBelle, so here are all of the videos on him that Francis Gardler did:

Wait until you get to Chapter 2 … powerful stuff.

Now that you’ve fallen for him (everyone does, it’s okay to admit it), head over to order your own copy of The Great Picture Hunt 2. It truly is the greatest community journalism book.

ASSIGNMENT: Multimedia, Part One

Choose a person to profile. Think about who has an interesting story, one that involves visual interactions, preferably in good light.

You want to make sure you have the ability to go back to them to add to your visual report. Do not chose an event or someone about to embark on a journey – you’ll need to make 3-5 visits would be my estimation.

Think about visual variety constantly. What does the space they exist in look like? How do they interact with that space? Look for relationships – he best images in the Smith Country Doctor story are the ones of him interacting with the patients. You will need some details, as well – your final story will be 90-120 seconds long so you’ll need 15-20 photos total.

Start listening as you document.

Start the process. Don’t delay – shallowness shows.

November 4 will be the first check-in, November 13 is the final deadline.

ASSIGNMENT: Audio Exercise

You need to tell a short story in just sounds, no voices on it. Choose something you’ll have easy access to – since this is an exercise, you can work with a friend or roommate.

Decide on a multi-step process that makes some sort of noise and then record each of the elements. Edit it together into a 20-30 second long audio narrative. Editing is key here – you need to control the pacing, levels and audio quality so we can determine what it is we’re listening to.

Email me the MP3 file by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30.

There are tutorials on audio recording and editing on the Tutorials page if you need a hand.

ASSIGNMENT: The Event, Reflective Notes

Due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, October 23, is a package of three to five images. The images can come from either a calendared news event or be related to an ongoing issue in the community.

The focus here is on news – not entertainment, not sports. News. The event or issue needs to be something the community must know about, something that will empower them to make decisions about their community.

You should be reading the local news publications (the Athens Banner-Herald, the Red & Black) and listening to local news media (WUGA) to know what’s happening in the community, that will help inform you and guide you to a newsworthy topic.

How else could you handle this crosswalk safety story?

At The New York Times, George Etheridge has a nice package of photos about a food cart operator who is trying to connect with high school kids. This goes beyond just a food story.

Even better is this Caitlin Ochs (and others) piece about what makes a New York City kid – this gets to who kids are and how they see themselves in society.

Think about what’s going on locally – concerns about decisions being made in Washington, access to local politicians, building and grounds maintenance as the winter months end, the impact of construction projects on students or local residents. The UGA calendar is full of things that can work.

For Wednesday, October 17, please bring in a written or printed note for us to send to Bob Lynn that talks, with specifics, about something in his book you feel will help you be a better visual journalism. I’ll read them and then mail them to Mr. Lynn.

As always, send along questions.

ASSIGNMENT: The Portrait

A portrait, completely controlled, of someone we should know about on campus. SHOW US something about them, tell their story, in a single frame. Due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, October 16.

Some tips …

  • Choose your subject carefully. Make sure there is something visual that you can include – this is an environmental portrait, one where we should see what someone looks like and why we need to know about them in the same frame.
  • You control this – you’re in charge of when and where this is shot, what’s in the frame and what’s not. How they pose, which way they look, what they wear, the angle you shoot from – all of those are your responsibility.
  • Think carefully about light – quality, as we discussed in class, as well as quantity. I can’t stress this enough – don’t add unnecessary challenges by choosing someone who does not exist in good light. What’s the right light? What’s the right mood to establish the story?
  • Give yourself enough time – be honest with them when setting this up, you’re slow with the camera. Gregory Heisler can get it shot in 10-15 minutes, you’re going to need more. And shoot a lot – different angles, different focal lengths. Move around, experiment – take what you learned from the effects of focal length from the Depth of Field and 36 Faces assignments and apply it here.
  • Don’t wait. Start now.

(Don’t forget that you need a complete caption.)

Here’s some more on Heisler, one of the greats of our time:

Maine Media Interview with Gregory Heisler from Maine Media Workshops + College on Vimeo.

Heisler made several references to Arnold Newman, so here’s an interview with him:

Look at the way light wraps, slices through and hides in his frames.

Some more info on portraits …

Jane Bown’s obituary contained some of her work and her approach to it.

And, of course, the master of celebrity portraiture, Annie Leibovitz is worth spending some time with.

ASSIGNMENT: Read and Study Portraits

For next Wednesday, please read the Bob Lynn book. Yes, all of it – there may be a quiz. It’s an engaging read with a ton of useful information in it, info that will help you be a better manager (if you go that route) but also be a better employee and journalist.

You also need to start studying portraits – images that are completely controlled, images that are posed by the photographer. Portraits differ from candids in how they are set up versus candids that are naturally occurring moments.

We’ll talk about the differences between headshots (essentially what you did with the 36 Faces assignment), environmental portraits and conceptual portraits next week. By Monday morning at 9 a.m., please email me what you think is a great portrait and a few sentences on why, we’ll look at these in class on Wednesday.

You should also be experimenting with the reflector you got in class – grab a classmate, roommate or friend and bend some light around them.

If you want to get geeky, there are several videos of Joe McNally floating around where he talks about portraits and light (though it’s mostly him creating light with strobes), he’s an interesting guy.

ASSIGNMENT: Depth of Field, Lens Compression and Asking Uncomfortable Questions

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Four photographs with the same composition, altering the focal length and the aperture as follows:

  • Widest focal length, widest aperture (~ f/3.5)
  • Widest focal length, aperture between f/11-f/22
  • Longest focal length, widest aperture (~ f/4.5-5.6)
  • Longest focal length, aperture between f/11-f/22

In the wide angle images, you need to have a primary subject within four feet of the camera. (Generally speaking, in a horizontal image, your primary subject would be shown from their waist to just above their head.) If you don’t, you may not see the full effect of lens expansion and compression. Remember that you need to physically move yourself between the first two and the second two so the primary subject stays the same size in all four images.

Captions count, don’t forget to collect that information while you are making the images.

Due on eLC as a compressed (zipped) file by 12 noon on Tuesday, September 25. Full resolution (no need to run through the resizing routine), full captions and the captions will be identical on all four.

If you’re still struggling with the effects of aperture and shutter speed, take a look at this Canon simulator – you can play with ISO, aperture and shutter speed to see the effects.

I have a podcast I’d like you to listen to, this one from Rob Rosenthal’s HowSound series. Rosenthal works for Transom, an organization dedicated to making better radio stories. He travels around the country doing week-long workshops that are insanely good – we’ve hosted them twice and, hopefully, will again next summer.

He is brilliant and comical and self-deprecating and insightful … I’m a fanboy, I’ll admit it.

He reached out to ask podcaster Ashley Ahern an uncomfortable question – about her appearance. Go listen.

And if you’re interested in audio storytelling, from public radio to podcasting, Transom.org is the place to start. The tutorials, the gear reviews and Rosenthal’s HowSound podcast are musts as you move forward.

Questions? Send them along, as always.

Calming Ways and Sharp Eyes

Over at The New York Times Lens blog, David Gonzalez looks back at the first African-American woman to be a staff photographer there. Ruby Washington, a South Georgia native, died earlier this year.

“The temperature would go down a couple of degrees because she had that nice, calming way and was nonthreatening with a ready smile,” Ms. (Nancy) Weinstock said, echoing the remarks of her colleagues on social media. “She would observe, step back a little, and she was very observant. She would see before shooting. She wasn’t one to shoot from the hip.”

Worth some time to look at her work.