MediaStorm Workshop: Broken Lines

I’m excited to share my latest production from the MediaStorm Advanced Multimedia Workshop.

The talented team consisted of Martine Fougeron, Richard Kendall,
Frank de Ruiter and Simon Schorno.

From the description:

Joe Soll never met his birth parents. Raised by upper-middle class New Yorkers, he spent half of his life tormented by the death of his mother.

But then one day, that story suddenly began to unravel.

“I felt crazed,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with it.”

What followed was a three decade search for the truth and a mystery that would haunt him for years.

Through almost unbearable personal pain, Joe has devoted his life to a single question, where did I come from?

The quest for that answer has redefined him, setting Joe on a mission to help others.

Broken Lines was co-produced with Jennifer Readfearn plus two awesome interns: Leandro Badalotti, who helped with post, and Tucker Walsh, who created some lucious visuals.

The piece was made better by the insights and audio assists from teacher-extraordinaire Bruce Strong.

See Broken Lines here.

Also, make sure to check out the other, excellent workshop story Voice co-produced by Tim McLaughlin and Rick Gershon.

Edit: I committed a huge oversight. I forgot to acknowledge Brian whose vision touches everything we do at MediaStorm.

A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan by Seamus Murphy

This one was a beast. Some numbers:

  • 30-plus hours of interviews
  • 26,000 images
  • 9 months of production

  • It was the most complex project I've ever undertaken. But now it's done, and I am so very proud.

    From the description:

    Outsiders often see Afghanistan as a problem in need of a solution: a conflict region that needs more troops or another election. But in seeing Afghanistan as a problem, the people of the country, and their desire for self-determination, are often overlooked.

    From the Soviet invasion and the mujahideen resistance to the Taliban and the American occupation, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan examines thirty years of Afghan history. It is the story of ordinary citizens whose lives play out in the shadow of superpowers. There are tales of violence to be sure, but there is also love and even romance.

    Based on 14 trips to Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan is the work of renowned photojournalist Seamus Murphy. His work chronicles a people caught time and again in political turmoil, struggling to find their way.

    This was, at every turn, a collaborative project and special acknowledgement begins with Seamus Murphy and his luminous photography. At MediaStorm, the continued support of Brian Storm and the design skill of Tim Klimowicz; as well as a great epilogue co-produced by Tucker Walsh and a tremendous sound mix by Bruce Strong, without which subtitles would have been a necessity.

    Fianlly, a special thank you goes to my partner in crime, Leandro Badalotti, who gave me guidance when I was lost and humor when I was in need. He made this project better in more ways than he knows.

    Please watch A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan here.

    MediaStorm Workshop: A Thousand More

    For the tenth MediaStorm Advanced Multimedia Reporting Workshop, I was joined by Kristina Budelis, Piotr Malecki, and Jeff Rhode.

    Rick Gershon served as Director of Photography and our intern Leandro Badalotti did just about everything else.

    About the project:

    As a toddler, Philly Mayer was healthy and happy. A chubby baby, he was quick to laugh and eager to get up on his own feet.

    And then, before his first birthday, Philly suddenly stopped walking. His motor skills began to deteriorate.

    After a slew of tests and endless emotional upheaval, doctors diagnosed Philly with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that occurs in an estimated 1 out of every 6,000 births and leaves the spine underdeveloped. His parents were told that he would not live past seven.

    A Thousand More is the story of one family’s determination to give their son a whole and vital life. In the midst of a great burden, one small child – with a seemingly endless supply of love – can be the blessing that holds a family together.

    I'm super proud of this one.

    Watch A Thousand More here.

    Also, be sure to check out Nine Digits, a great workshop story by my MediaStorm colleagues Tim McLaughlin and Jennifer Redfearn.

    Driftless in New York Times

    In his review of the Rural Route Film Festival, New York Times critic Mike Hale singled out Danny Wilcox’s Frazier’s Driftless photography, saying:

    They get to the heart of an anomie and a sense of endlessly declining fortunes that were as true 30 years ago as they appear to be today.

    Of the MediaStorm production, Hale noted:

    Nothing in the festival will ring more true for generations of former farm children than the offhand comment of a young woman in Driftless: “Moving from Iowa to Denver was just as easy as changing the brand of mascara I use."

    Read the full review here.

    Final Cut Pro X: First Impressions

    After spending a week with Apple's remodeled Final Cut Pro, I wrote a short piece about my impressions for the Mediastorm blog. From the review:

    Instead of a transition–a continuation of the Final Cut Pro story, if you will–Apple redefined the narrative without preparing editors. As blogger and editor Adam Lisagor noted, it’s like Apple is a TV network that suddenly decided you’d be better off without the main characters you’ve been following closely for more than a decade. No warning, no nothing. One day they just decided, Those old folks, don’t worry about where they went, you just pay attention to these the new, hip youngsters and everything will be fine.

    Read the essay here.

    MediaStorm Online Multimedia Training

    I’m excited to announce the release of MediaStorm’s online training.

    From the MediaStorm blog:

    You can select from three Training Modules – a Reporting Track, a Post-Production Track, or The Making Of: The Amazing Amy, or you can opt for a full subscription that includes everything (along with other Modules that we’ll be producing throughout the year).

    Along with Brian Storm, I host three modules on post-production. Topics include pictured editing, using music, and editing techniques.

    For more information, see the online training site.

    Innovative Interactivity Names Two Projects Best of 2010

    Innovative Interactivity, Tracy Boyer's multimedia blog, listed two project I produced this year in its best of 2010 roundup. The first is Three Women, a movie I wrote and directed, with accompanying photographs by the gifted Pam Chen.

    The other is Undesired by Walter Astrada, a MediaStorm production.

    You can see the rest of the list here.

    The Bride Price by Stephanie Sinclair

    A longer version of The Bride Price by Stephanie Sinclair can now be seen on the MediaStorm site. I originally produced this project for the International Center for Research on Women in 2008.

    From the description:

    These early unions, no matter the geography, often have catastrophic results: Young brides discontinue their educations. Youth and inexperience leave them vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their spouses.

    See the project here.

    Two New Projects on MediaStorm

    In my haste to announce my new film Three Women, I neglected to post two other projects recently released on MediaStorm.

    The first is Lisa Robinson's Snowbound, which I produced and edited. The project was a bit of a departure as it's the first non-narrative piece I've produced at MediaStorm.

    From the description:

    Snowbound explores the mystery of a winter landscape. This journey may lead one to discover a sense of peace in an often uncharted world.

    View Snowbound here.

    The second project is Airsick by Lucas Oleniuk. This piece was originally produced by the Toronto Star. At MediaStorm, I re-edited a handful of scenes and helped oversee the creation of new titles by the abundantly talented James Gundersen.

    See Airsick here.

    Multiclip Workflow on MediaStorm Blog

    Multiclips are an efficient way to sync two or more video clips when using Final Cut Pro. They provide an easy to switch between camera angles using a simple point-and-click or pop-up menu. Setting up a multiclip though can sometimes be painful, particularly if you want to use audio from one camera throughout while switching back-and-forth between video angles.

    So when in doubt, document; I've written a brief tutorial on creating and using multiclips that's now available on the MediaStorm blog, available here.

    Also, check out Steve Martin's longer essay, The Essentials of Multicam Editing in Final Cut Pro, on for further information.