Category Audio

The Power of True Multimedia

This … this … this is what multimedia can do so well

The New York Times, the Gray Lady, has put together a nearly 14-minute long tour-de-force looking at the presidential campaign. It is a stunning combination of photos, videos, audio, graphics and narrations. 
It is a complete package. 
How complete? Pay attention to the “Related Links” box below the main screen It changes throughout, offering up links to other stories the Times has done. But look closely – you can click right now and away from the may piece, or you can save them for later and watch them AFTER you’re done with the main piece
And that is brilliant conceptual storytelling, the melding of the push and pull formats in journalism. 

"Homeless in Atlanta"

John Spink at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published an audio slide show looking at a homeless woman who lives by the CSX train tracks. All told through her voice in just over two minutes, pay special note to the opening image and the signs in the background. 

I would kill to make an opening image like that …

THIS Changes Everything … Perhaps …

Canon has announced it’s replacement for the long-in-the-tooth 5D, the 5D Mark II. All of the goodness you’d expect are there – higher resolution (a whopping, card-massacring 21 megapixels), better autofocus, better shadow detail, better noise control at high ISO, etc., all with the pure joy of a full frame CMOS chip. 

As with Nikon’s D90, there’s now a video mode, as well, and it tromps the resolution of Big N’s camera –  1920 x 1080 pixel (1080p) resolution versus the D90’s 1280 x 720. But that’s not what has me tempted to call my Canon guy at 8 in the morning – it’s that the 5D has a microphone jack built into it. And that, as any video shooter knows, is the killer feature.
Every point and shoot camera, as well as the D90 has the ability to record ambient sound through a built in mic, but none (that I’m aware of) has the ability to choose the microphone and microphone placement that is optimal for the story you’re working on. Bad audio is something viewers just will not tolerate – shaky video is okay if they can hear what’s going on. 
With news shooters needing to do video and stills, this camera should allow them to do both with one kit. 
Of course, the price difference between the D90 (around $1,000) and the 5D Mark II (around $2,700) is substantial. But a high definition video camera is more than the difference between them in price. 
Update: Canon also revved their top of the line point and shoot, now called the G10. The big news is the lens goes wider (to a 35 mm/full frame equivalent of 28 mm), but they also crammed 14 megapixels onto a very small chip. I’d rather have the previous chip with this lens, but oh well … 

"Last Stop"

The New York Times has a neat multimedia feature up on the city’s subway system. But they’re done it with a little twist: Ever wonder where the train goes after you get off? The rode all of the lines to the end, and then did photos, audio slide shows or videos about the areas at the end of the lines.

(Thanks to Prof. Janice Hume for the link.)

A 14 Year Journey

Scott Strazzante and MediaStorm have published his story looking at the transition of a farm into a sub-division, as told through the farm’s family and one of the new home’s families.

It is awesome.
The story is great, it is well told and it is beautifully shot. Every time I tell my students to shoot more, I will now have an example of why: the pairing of images, similar in composition, from both sides of this story, are amazing.  

Bearing Witness: Five Years of the Iraq War

Reuters has put together a multimedia package looking at the first five years of the war in Iraq. The introduction piece is a nice summation of what Reuters has been doing to cover the war, specifically talking about using local journalists as opposed to parachuting in folks. (The intro runs just under five minutes, watch your audio – the video clips are jarring.)

I Play With … Stuff

For the Multimedia Journalism class, my students will be producing multimedia autobiographies today. They’ve been playing with audio and web design, today they get SoundSlides.

Because I still haven’t produced enough audio slide shows (I mean, who has?), I decided to do another so I had examples and samples. I scanned images at home last night (after digging through several boxes), recorded the audio in my office this morning (on the Olympus WS-300M with a Nady SP-4C mic), then edited in Audacity and SoundSlides.

Total time, excepting scanning, was less than 60 minutes. I don’t expect they’ll get through this that quick (though they’re supposed to have their audio and images ready to edit), but, really, this isn’t that hard.

We’re looking at doing a series of online/multimedia/new technology workshops for faculty later this semester. The biggest thing we’ll need to do is get them over The Fear. And that’s the same battle I have with some of my students: they are afraid of what they don’t yet know. They know they need this, they know they have to learn it. But they are afraid of failing more than they are excited by learning.

So for the 5990ers that are reading this before class: Go Fail. It’s good for you.

WooWho!! The Red & Black Goes Multimedia in a Big Way

They have dabbled, they have played. They have experimented.

Now, they’ve figured out some stuff …

In Wednesday’s edition, they broke a story about a faculty member with a history of sexual harassment charges having been filed against him, dating back almost 20 years. They also created an infographic timeline that ran on page one. Online they posted the documents they collected during their reporting.

In Thursday’s edition, they reported on a meeting with university officials. And they included a link to the audio they recorded along the right hand side (below the photo). And they posted a video of student responses to the issue.

So, let’s sum this up: They reported the story and then presented their readers with a series of “traditional” text stories, an infographic, the original source documentation, audio from a follow-up meeting with officials and a video of student responses.

There was a lot of thinking going on with this and this is a nice model of how to bring multiple tools to bear on a story.