ASSIGNMENT: Multimedia (and schedules)

For your final assignment, you need to produce an audio slideshow that is approximately two minutes in length focused on your watershed story pitches. This assignment should bring everything you have learned together in one portfolio quality story.

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.

Schedule going forward:

  • Monday, April 18: Work day, lab will only be open if requested in advance
  • Wednesday, April 20: Work day, I’ll be in the lab to help answer questions
  • Monday, April 25: Work day, I’ll be in the lab to help answer questions, and deadline day – exported project is due on the server by 3:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 27: Review and discuss projects
  • Monday, May 2: Last class wrap up

On the tutorials page there is a video for Building Audio Slideshows in Premiere as well as a PDF handout – study those carefully.

Questions? Send them along.

ASSIGNMENT: Watershed Pitches

We spent a little time in class on Wednesday talking about what’s coming next, here’s the summation.

Your last project will be a two minute audio slideshow centered on the UGA watershed and the first deadline for this will be on Tuesday, April 12, at 5 p.m. You need to email me a two paragraph pitch on what story you want to pursue and that should include your main character – you need to work fast on this.

So where do you start? Think about the issues you observed on Monday as we walked Tanyard Creek. Think about the issues that were raised in the watershed modules.

From there, think about characters and action points – you’ll need to find someone to tell the story and there needs to be some visual action that you can document. Remember, this is a visual storytelling class – something but be visually interesting and that’s usually going to be some sort of action/reaction moment.

In class today we bounced around some idea – students who are doing water quality testing and following that process, clean up programs, folks who are looking at the erosion problems. With all of these, though, it’s imperative that there be something happening by the final deadline of April 22. (Yes, I know that’s coming up ridiculously fast.)

This is a short piece with a quick turnaround. You’ll be building your piece in Adobe Premiere and the tutorials page has tutorials and handouts on how to do this. I will probably give you time in class on April 18 and 20 to work on this so I can help you troubleshoot.

Timeline summation:

  • April 12, 5 p.m. – Email with story pitch
  • April 13 – Discuss pitches in class, then start shooting.
  • April 18-22 – Photograph, record interviews, produce
  • April 25 – Watch in class, then revise


I have activated three modules on eLC from the WatershedUGA program, you need to complete the first part this week. There’s a pre-test due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, then the modules and then a final assessment.

This is the first time I’ve worked with this, so please let me know ASAP if there are issues.

Next Monday, April 4, we will be touring the watershed – you’ll need boots or you’re going to get wet.

ASSIGNMENT: Audio Practice

This is an interstitial type assignment. You need to practice recording and editing audio.

For the recording, watch the Audio Recording tutorial to get started. Then, listen for a story you can tell with no words – just natural sounds. Listen for five to ten elements that you can piece together to make a story.

Then, go ahead and edit the audio. Again, watch the Audio Editing tutorial to get started. The tutorial is based on using Audacity, which is a free program available for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Make sure you get the LAME MP3 Encoder under the Optional Downloads section and connect them through the preferences in Audacity.

You can use Garage Band, Audition or Pro Tools if you have/have access to them – just make sure you know how to use them and can export the final piece as an MP3 file. That MP3 files needs to be emailed to me by noon on Sunday, March 13 – I’ll pull them all together and we’ll listen in class on Monday.

Don’t overthink this, just find some (non-coffee, non-shaving) sound story. Have a little fun with it.

Here’s that interview with Scott Strazzante I mentioned, worth reading to get his take on the impact of Common Ground on both the audience but him, as well. And here’s the Facebook group where he’s posting some new diptychs again.

I’ll email you when the ELC course has the material you need for the watershed lessons.

ASSIGNMENT: Places2Faces

Due on the server by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 4, are four photos for your Places2Faces assignment.

  • The first photo should establish the location of your story – what does it look like? Color? Texture? Geography? Architecture?
  • The second photo should establish a face that is central to your story – who lives/works/exists here? What do they look like? How does the place show in their face?
  • The third photo should fill the place with some faces – interior? Movement? Uses of the space? How full? Empty?
  • The fourth photo should show your face in the place – shift the focus. How do faces interact with the place? How do the faces reflect the place? The place the face?

All four images need complete captions – including all identifying information, contact info and in complete sentences. You can crop and tone these as appropriate, as well.

If you want another presentation on this assignment, take a look at this piece I wrote for PBS on how we use this assignment. May give you some more background or ideas.

Questions, comments or concerns? Send them along.


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 the server by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 26. Think about light and color, think about place.

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. 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 the Heisler video we didn’t get to:

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 and slices through and hides in his frames.

Some more info on portraits …

Steve McCurry talking about them on his blog.

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

And, for fun, here’s a look at a portrait project on roller derby athletes.

ASSIGNMENT: Depth of Field

This assignment looks at the effect of aperture and focal length on your images. You need to shoot a set of four photos with essentially the same composition. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Shoot this at 17 mm and f/2.8 (adjusting your shutter speed and ISO accordingly for a correct exposure). You need to have a person in the foreground, compose so you show them from the waist to the top of their head, and a background element that is at least ten feet beyond the foreground element.
  2. Shoot this at 17 mm as well, without changing your position, but set your aperture to f/11 (adjusting your shutter speed and ISO accordingly for a correct exposure).
  3. Now, you have to move back – reset your zoom to 70 mm and get your foreground element to be the same size as it was at 17 mm. Set your aperture to f/4.0 (adjusting your shutter speed and ISO accordingly for a correct exposure).
  4. Shoot this final image from the same place as the third, stopping the lens down to f/11 (and, you guessed it, adjusting your shutter speed and ISO accordingly for a correct exposure).

Why are we doing this? Well, wide angle lenses (the 17 mm setting) have a tendency to pull images apart – objects that are closer to you appear much closer and objects that are further away appear to be much further away. At the telephoto end of the spectrum, the opposite happens – we start to see what is called lens compression, the distances between foreground and background don’t appear to be as great. (Bill Millios has a nice explanation of this on the Photocrati site.)

This will also show you how different apertures will affect your backgrounds, so two lessons in one.

This assignment is due, on the Wednesday, February 17, in class. You can bring the image into Photoshop to work on the levels and curves and write the final caption.

Before next Wednesday, please go through the video tutorials on Photoshop (Menus, Windows and Tools; Cropping and Toning; and Captions). No cropping on this assignment, but levels and curves adjustments are fine.

Questions? Send them along.