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.

Take Care, MediaStorm Workshop #6

For the sixth MediaStorm Advanced Multimedia Reporting Workshop, I had the good fortune to work with Gillian Laub, Elena Ghanotakis, Henrik Björnsson, and Laura Varma.

Elena reported, Henrik edited, Gillian made some beautiful imagery and Laura did so much than her official role as observer suggests.

I was also assisted by the multi-talented Brad Horn who contributed greatly to the story's structure.

About the project:

Virginia Gandee's brilliant red hair and dozen tattoos belie the reality of this 22-year-old's life. Inside her family's Staten Island trailer her caregiving goes far beyond the love she has for her daughter.

You can watch Take Care here along with two other great workshop pieces: Close to Home and Johnnie Footman, New York City's 90-year-old cabbie.

'Getting Good' on the MediaStorm Blog

I've written a short essay for the MediaStorm blog on how to get good. Here's the essence:

People tell me they want to produce work like MediaStorm. You can. Yes, we are fortunate to work with many incredibly talented photographers. But the storytelling techniques we use in our work are not revolutionary. They're the same techniques described by Aristotle in his Poetics, 2000 years ago. What's different is that we work our stories. We watch and re-watch literally dozens of times, replacing soundbites, removing the inauthentic, rearranging, restructuring, often for weeks at a time. Sometimes it feels endless but in the end, it works.

And it can for you, too.

Read the rest of the article here.

Ten Tips for Working With Music in Multimedia on MediaStorm blog

As part of an ongoing series of tutorials on the MediaStorm blog I've compiled a list of techniques that he MediaStorm team uses when working with music. From the article:

Music should not be used as simply background sound. It’s an integral part of multimedia, as important at times as your images, narration, or video. Effective music editing creates a rhythm, a call and response, with your other media sources.

Read the post in it's entirety here.

Hold Out, MediaStorm Workshop #4

I was fortunate to work alongside Zachary Barr, Uma Sanghvi, Jeff Hutchens and Nacho Corbella for the fourth MediaStorm Advanced Multimedia Reporting Workshop. As the team's coach and producer it was truly a treat to work alongside such talented and generous people. Zac reported, Uma edited, while Jeff and Nacho provided gorgeous visuals. About the project:

Atlantic Yards is Brooklyn's largest ever proposed real estate development. The plan includes a basketball arena, numerous high rises, and would cost nearly five billion dollars. To make room, many buildings have been razed and more than 600 residents have left the neighborhood. But a handful of residents refuse to leave.

See Hold Out here. And don't forget to check out A Tail Of Identity produced by Bob Sacha's team. Reviews Driftless

driftless_wired recently posted an extremely positive assessment of Danny Wilcox Frazier's project as well as it's place within the multimedia landscape.

Author Bryan Derballa says, "...the multimedia package excels in narrative by allowing these folks to tell their own stories" and "in terms of multimedia, it couldn’t come at a better time."

You can read the rest of the review here.

And if you haven't already, please check out Danny Wilcox Frazier's Driftless at MediaStorm.

MediaStorm to Screen Premier of Danny Wilcox Frazier’s Driftless at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO

I'm pleased to announce the premiere of Danny Wilcox Frazier's Driftless: Stories from Iowa at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn on May 18 at 8 p.m. I've been producing this documentary for the last year and am particularly proud of it. Danny is a jaw-droppingly talented photographer and has created an emotionally evocative piece about his home state.

Doors open at 7 p.m. There will be a book signing before the show and Q&A afterward. To ensure a reservation, please send an e-mail to Space is limited.

For general information, please see the the MediaStorm blog post.

Hope to see you there. driftlessposter.jpg

Rape of a Nation Wins Second Place at Best of Photojournalism, 2009

Marcus Bleasdale's Rape of a Nation, a MediaStorm project I produced in January 2008, has been honored with second place in the Documentary Video category at this year's Best of Photojournalism contest. MediaStorm also picked up third place for Jonathan Torgovnik's Intended Consequences, produced by Chad A. Stevens.

First prize went to Jenn Ackerman's Trapped: Mental Illness in America's Prisons.

Congratulations to all.

Beautiful Noise, MediaStorm Workshop #3

I produced Beautiful Noise along with Morag Livingstone, Mareile Paley, and Kimberley Porteous for MediaStorm's Advanced Multimedia Reporting Workshop. Morag shot photographs and video while Mareile and Kim handled editing. We produced the piece in just one week. It was particularly difficult to produce such an intimate story given the time constraints but their work speaks for itself.

See Beautiful Noise here

Shooting Stills vs Shooting Video

Why do so many exceptional photographers struggle to shoot just halfway-decent video? It's certainly not for lack of vision. The answer, I think, is more fundamental. It's a misunderstanding of how the two formats work. So basic is this difference that it often simply goes unsaid. A metaphor: Everything that is possible to capture on a camera, whether it be still or video, resides in a river. A still camera is the tip of a fishing hook, precisely capturing the briefest of moments from the water. A video camera is a large net, capturing whole sections of the river at a time. Obviously, there's nothing revolutionary about this explanation. The difficulty, however, is in the implementation.

Still photographers are trained to be active and on the move, always looking for the next best angle, the next vantage point along the water. When using a video camera, however, one needs a more passive stance, to stay in one place and let the action flow past the camera. In other words, a great moment of video is longer than a great moment captured by a still photographer.At the risk of belaboring the point, video moves through time. It doesn't stop time like a photograph. Therefore, viewers need to see video as it unfolds in order for it to make sense.

So for photographers shooting video for the first time, every shot you capture should be at least 20 seconds long. That's long enough for a viewer to understand what is happening in your footage as well as give you a little extra wiggle room at the beginning and end when you begin to edit.

Holding a shot for twenty seconds will at first feel like an eternity. Try thinking in steps:

  • Use the first five seconds to focus, hone in, check your settings. Set up your shot with the same precision you'd use for a still photograph.
  • For the next 15 seconds, do not do anything. Let me repeat: you do not do anything. Do not move the camera. Do not zoom. Do not pan. Do not move. Simply, stand there and watch the action in your viewfinder or display. Your instincts will say, "I've got it. There's so much stuff going on. Look at all the other things I can shoot." Ignore your instincts. What you are doing now, holding the shot, is capturing the footage. This is how video works.

This is shooting video at it's most basic. But the basics work and they work well.

Condition: Critical, Voices from the War in Eastern Congo for Médecins Sans Frontières

At the end of October I finished production on my second Congo piece, this time for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). 'Condition: Critical, Voices from the War in Eastern Congo' features numerous firsthand testimonials as well as the stunning black-and-white photography of Cedric Gerbehaye. From the description:

Hundreds of thousands of people are on the run, fleeing a war raging in eastern Congo in the provinces of North and South Kivu. They are frightened. Many are sick or wounded. Others have been harassed or raped, or have had everything they own stolen. For more than a decade, several armed groups and the army have been fighting each other in the Kivus. The violence has made it impossible for people to lead normal lives. Life isn’t just hard in the Kivus: this region is in critical condition. And things aren’t getting any better. The destiny of everyone in this region of Congo is shaped by the war. The story of their struggle to survive needs to be told.