Update: Michael has posted a response to the comments prompted by the blogs I mention below.
Media Grunt Michael Bazeley, has a couple of posts relating to video and multimedia on his blog.
In the first post Bazley ponders the ubiquity of soundslides. He is bored of dull audio slideshows.
…audio slideshows have always felt sort of like poor man’s video to me, trying to create movement and energy out of something static. Now that video tools are so cheap and ubiquitous, and the delivery so easy, why not just use video?
The answer may be in the second of his posts, Memo to photo staffs: embrace video, where Bazeley is surprised by the results of a bit of research being done by Seth Gitner, the multimedia editor of Roanoke.com.
Seth has been asking the users of the Newspaper Video Yahoo Group about their papers use of video.
The good news is that a lot of them are diving enthusiastically into video. The bad news, in my opinion, is that in some cases, it’s not coming out of the photo departments.
Bazeley can’t understand why all the effort seems to be focused on training up reporter and photogs seem unwilling to get involved. Me neither. But I’m not sure if he thinks this is because of the exclusion of photogs or their own reticence to participate.
In the article he sites a couple of examples of video – The Bakersfield Californian producing video with little input from Photogs and the MercuryNewsPhoto.com where photogs are very involved – and both highlight problems for me.
The Bakersfield video content is hard reporting. It’s notebook in one hand and camera in the other, scene of the crime stuff. The Mercury content on the other hand is what many would call feature content.
I think both have their pro’s and cons. The Bakersfield content, for all its editorial edge, lacks the visual finesse that an experienced eye would bring. As Bazeley points out
For run-of-the-mill daily news video, it seems to be working great. But without the participation of the photo staff, you’re likely missing out on some really exceptional video storytelling possibilities.
I have a lot of sympathy for that view, but even with that participation, a lot of video content on line (including some of The Mercury content) drifts and drags – it’s lacking a strong editorial line.
So how do we strike a balance?
It’s obvious that video content works best when a reporter and a journalist work together.Franks Fight by reporter Mark Emmons and photojournalist Pauline Lubens is a cracking example of this.
But if, for now, that isn’t going to happen, if journalists and photogs are going to separated along the hard news and features line, then I would encourage both (in the nicest possible way) to ignore Michael’s first post.
Soundlsides, and other audio slideshow apps are a great way to get your head around the dynamics of creating moving stories and understanding how images and script work together, over time.
Journos: Why not try taking the photos a photog takes of a story and then script and produce a one to two minute slideshow that uses those beautiful images to full effect.
Photogs: Why not try taking a journalists video script, or brief news article and script and illustrate a one-minute story with your images images.
Then, and here is the key, why not meet in the middle of the newsroom and show each other what you have done.
For extra homework use the sideshows as a storyboard and shoot it on video.