Getting Great B-roll

Let’s watch this short video from “Reframing Mexico,” a collaboration between UNC Photojournalism and Monterrey Tec.

Note when the producers use shifts in point of view: shots of a person doing something versus shots of that same action from the point of view of the person doing the action (onlooker POV versus subject POV).

Note where’s there’s motion (action) and emotion (stillness, closeups).

Find someone in class you haven’t worked with before to partner up with for another go at the “Object of Meaning” exercise. Before you head out, find out what the object is and make a shot list to plan how you will get different POVs, motion, and emotion into your video.

Be sure to have all your footage imported into Avid by the beginning of class Thursday.

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Avid Tutorials

These tutorials should help you review what we’ve done in class:

 

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Customizing Your Blog

Here are some tips for getting rid of stock elements of a WordPress blog:

Dump the username title (e.g., “Phill123′s Blog”) and the stock description (“Just another wordpress blog”). Click on “settings” in the Dashboard and replace it with a title that’s more specific to the content of your blog. Remember, what you’re doing here is building a portfolio of multimedia work about the New Paltz campus community.

Get rid of all the stock posts — such as “Hello World” — by going to “All Posts” and deleting the ones you don’t want.

Get rid of all stock widgets, such as “Blogroll.” Go to Appearance>Widgets to rename or replace your widgets.

Anything visual on your blog theme — such as a masthead photo — should be your own.

Categorize your posts to make them more searchable. You might also want to use tags. Categories are general, like the headings on a table of contents. Tags are more specific, comparable to listings in an index.

Write a fetching “About” section. Blogs tend to have a personal voice. Tell us about yourself and your interests. Include a photo.

 

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The Audio Slideshow

There is no better example of the audio slideshow than the NYT’s award-winning “One in Eight Million” series profiling everyday New  Yorkers. Here’s Elizabeth Cousins, a teenage mother.

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Audacity How To

The best guide out there to Audacity is from the Knight Digital Media Center. Check it out and have fun.

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Sample rate and bit depth

First post of the semester. In class you’ll be learning the Zoom recorders. You’ll want to keep the record settings at 48 kHz/24 bit rate to get good quality sound. But what does that mean? Here’s a good explanation of these terms from the web site Musician’s Friend.

Also, a hot troubleshooting and trouble prevention tip for audio recording and any other media production work: Read the manual! If you don’t have it, Googling the product name will do it.

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Tips for Customizing Your Blog

Some of you aren’t doing much with the stock elements of the wordpress blogs. Some tips to get you started:

1. Choose a new theme. DePo Masthead is good at this point, because it has a three column view that allows you to see three projects at once if they are your most recent three posts. In the dashboard, go to Appearance>Themes to switch themes.

2. Dump the username title (e.g., “Phill123’s Blog”) and the stock description (“Just another wordpress blog”). Click on “settings” in the Dashboard and replace it with a title that’s more specific to the content of your blog. Remember, what you’re doing here is building a portfolio of multimedia work about the New Paltz campus community.

2. Don’t neglect the “About” section. You can edit this by going to “Pages” in the Dashboard. Tell us about yourself and your blog.

3. Speaking of Pages, you don’t just have to create a linear blog, post by post. You could create a new Page or a new Category for each assignment. Experiment.

4. Don’t neglect text compliments – meaning, the text that surrounds your project. It is part of what invites your audience to click on what you’ve done. It tells them what the project is about. Plus, it’s searchable in a way that multimedia projects aren’t.

5. Speaking of searches, tags and categories are good ways to make your blog posts more searchable.

6. Get rid of all the stock posts — such as “Hello World” — by going to “All Posts” and deleting the ones you don’t want.

7. Get rid of all stock widgets, such as “Blogroll.” Go to Appearance>Widgets to rename or replace your widgets.

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B-roll sequence we discussed in class

This sequence of my husband, Bill Mead, talking about his painting process is an example of a J-cut. We see the B-roll before we see Bill talking.

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Getting Great B-roll

Let’s watch this short video from “Reframing Mexico,” a collaboration between UNC Photojournalism and Monterrey Tec.

Note when the producers use shifts in point of view: shots of a person doing something versus shots of that same action from the point of view of the person doing the action (onlooker POV versus subject POV).

Note where’s there’s motion (action) and emotion (stillness, closeups).

Think of your project. Start making a shot list to plan how you will get different POVs, motion, and emotion into your video.

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Video!

It’s the second half of the semester, a time we’ll devote entirely to making videos. Here’s Piano Man, a video short from the website Soul of Athens. Rick O’Keefe is a great talker and quite the piano player, so there’s plenty to see and hear. What do the producers do to provide variety in how O’Keefe’s story is told? Note shot types and subject matter. Also note how the producers use primary footage and B-roll.

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Slideshow embed test.

This is what your slideshow should look like once it’s on your wordpress blog.

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Converting .wav files to .mp3

Soundslides doesn’t import .wav files. Once you edit your audio, you’ll have to convert it to an .mp3 file so you can import it into Soundslides. Download the DVDsoft Free Studio 5 and use the “.mp3 and audio” tool to do the conversion. If DVDsoft doesn’t work, try one of the many free converter programs out there, such as ConverterLite.

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Audio Slideshows to Inspire You

A couple of great audio slideshow series to inspire you as you pull together your own.

We’ve already watched the slideshow on Mark Mocha. It’s part of a fantastic, Emmy award winning series that ran in The New York Times: One in Eight Million. Take in a few of these gems.

The Los Angeles Times runs a revved-up West Coast take on the audio slideshow. I mentioned this one, The Man Behind the Band, in class. It uses quick photo montages for a “fast forward” effect. Plus the audio is amazing.

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Audio Slideshows

A few tips and links we’ll talk about in class today.

Colin Mulvany, a multimedia producer at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, advises visual variety, consistent audio, and good pacing. The drama is low key in this slideshow from The Seattle Times, but the visual variety makes it a compelling audio slideshow.

Rethink your audio. You have to cut down the length, yes, but you have other options. Your slideshow may benefit greatly from “nat sound” — sounds of something your subject is doing or sounds from your subject’s life. Check out this slideshow by Brandon Ball, a student at the University of Tennessee. The nat sound helps tell the story in a new way. Here’s another example from The Los Angeles Times.

It’s crucial to always keep in mind the relationship between what we hear and what we see. Do be creative about how you illustrate your audio, but be careful of inappropriate matches between the photos and the  sound. Don’t show images of fun when your subject is speaking about something sad. Don’t use natural sound out of context — when the photos are showing something different.

Avoid these common mistakes.

More do’s and don’ts from multimedia whiz Mindy McAdams.

Wise words from Joe Weiss, the creator of Soundslides:

“The most important thing is not your photojournalism. The most important thing is not your audio journalism. The most important thing, overall, above anything else, amen, to the end of it, is the story and
how well you communicate that to the human being who’s on the other side of that computer.” Read the full interview here. And ask yourself: How well am I communicating my story?

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How to set up a blog and post your audio story on it.

We’ll be using WordPress blogs (just like this one) to display our digital storytelling finery. For class on Thursday 2/16, please set up your blog and post your audio story on it. There are a lot of steps, but the process is not that complicated.

1. Sign up for a WordPress blog here. Please give your blog a good name. Generic names (lphillips123blog, for example) look, well, generic. I also recommend that you pick the same theme that I’m using, called Twenty Eleven. It has a level of flexibility that works well for this class.

2. Create your first post introducing your audio story. Think of the intro as a few lines of copy that will nab passers-by browsing through cyberspace and get them intrigued enough to listen to your story. Be brief and specific and inviting without being overtly promotional (as in, “Listen to my awesome story!”). Keep the “Add New Post” screen up in your browser and don’t press “publish” yet.

3. In a new tab or browser window, sign up for soundcloud account.

4. If you haven’t done so already, give the .wav file of your audio story a non-generic name. Upload the .wav file of your audio story to your soundcloud account.

5. Use the “share” button to get the shortcode and copy it. Then go back to your WordPress post and paste the shortcode below your intro. Click publish.

6. Go to your blog and look at what you’ve done. The post should look something like this (an intro with a soundfile beneath it). Take a listen to make sure everything works properly.

5. Go back to

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Audacity update link

Here’s the updated Audacity. You’ll need to reload it on the lab computers to start your projects. This is the version you’ll want to load on to your own computers as well.

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Best Audacity Tutorial

The Knight Digital Media Center has an excellent tutorial on Audacity. If you’re going to download Audacity on your home computer, you can go to the links on installation.

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Supersize Me

Perhaps the most famous example of the “My Test” approach to filmmaking is Morgan Sperlock’s “Supersize Me.” He spends a month living on nothing but McDonald’s. Let’s watch this excerpt to see what it can teach us about narrative and digital storytelling.

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Tips for Customizing Your Blog

Some of you aren’t doing much with the stock elements of the wordpress blogs. Some tips to get you started:

1. Choose a new theme. DePo Masthead is good at this point, because it has a three column view that allows you to see three projects at once if they are your most recent three posts. In the dashboard, go to Appearance>Themes to switch themes.

2. Dump the username title (e.g., “Phill123’s Blog”) and the stock description (“Just another wordpress blog”). Click on “settings” in the Dashboard and replace it with a title that’s more specific to the content of your blog. Remember, what you’re doing here is building a portfolio of multimedia work about the New Paltz campus community.

2. Don’t neglect the “About” section. You can edit this by going to “Pages” in the Dashboard. Tell us about yourself and your blog.

3. Speaking of Pages, you don’t just have to create a linear blog, post by post. You could create a new Page or a new Category for each assignment. Experiment.

4. Don’t neglect text compliments – meaning, the text that surrounds your project. It is part of what invites your audience to click on what you’ve done. It tells them what the project is about. Plus, it’s searchable in a way that multimedia projects aren’t.

5. Speaking of searches, tags and categories are good ways to make your blog posts more searchable.

6. Get rid of all the stock posts — such as “Hello World” — by going to “All Posts” and deleting the ones you don’t want.

7. Get rid of all stock widgets, such as “Blogroll.” Go to Appearance>Widgets to rename or replace your widgets.

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Avid Export Settings

Here’s how to do an export. As with importing, following each step is important to make sure the video quality is optimized (in this case, for vimeo or youtube upload) and the sound stays in sync.

Before you export, make sure all the tracks you want to export are highlighted blue.

Go to file>export

Name the file

Export setting should be “send to QT movie”

Click “options.”

Options settings:

Export as: Quicktime movie

Click custom. Then go into “format options.”

Check “video.” Go into settings.

Compression type: MPEG-4 video

Bump up the compressor quality to high

Frame rate: Current (default)

Key frames every 24 frames (default)

Data rate: automatic

Click okay.

Leave “filter” alone.

Size should be “current.” Make sure “deinterlace source video” is NOT checked.

Check sound but leave settings alone – sound should be uncompressed.

Click okay.

Check Video and Audio

Width and height: should be 1280×720 (this will make the file size smaller, which is good)

Color levels: 601/709

Display aspect ratio should be native dimensions.

Then save. Then save again and the export will start.

 

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