Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. (view this story)

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Rep: 87
Michael Fagans May 3, 2010, 5:18 p.m. permalink


Nice multimedia project.

The still photos were very powerful and utilized well. The Elie Wiesel section also worked really well with the historical montage. The cantor singing was a great intro and outro but I really wanted to him singing or a still of him singing somewhere. The piece ends well and there was good natural (nat) sound throughout the project, the rain was very effective although it dropped out once.

In my opinion, the memorial service, if it was that, needed some kind of description, text or VO to let us know what it was or what it was meant to be. I also wonder if you talked with anyone after they got back and reflected on their experience, or even before getting on the plane. In one sense this is a physical travel piece as well as mental travel project.

Ira Glass talks about this happened, then this happened, and that led to this happening and here is what it meant. I thought the rabbi got us started on the why but I was looking for someone’s voice at the end with what it meant.

I am also wondering if you could have started with the fade in to Auschwitz-Birkenau (which was also very effective) with cantor in the background and the audio clips and then done a quick VO of who, what, where, when and the map too and instead of starting with the text. Just a thought. You would have pulled me in faster. Colin is a big fan of front-loading your best stuff.

I also wanted to know who the students were that briefly talked, wasn’t sure if I was seeing their faces or not. I have done a “moving” portrait of a person a la Discovery channel and then cut to them actually talking, but I was a little confused there.

Overall I really like the project; most of my notes are things to think about on your next piece and overall storytelling. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans May 3, 2010, 8:54 p.m. permalink

A photojournalist I respect, trust and listen to added the following thoughts:

I did not need any talking heads. It is better when we hear comments over a still frame.

The cantor provides a haunting end.

And it could have even been a opening sound with the long horizontal well known rail tracks, then with the suitcases, the shoes, the bunks...

So many ways to put puzzles together.

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi May 4, 2010, 4:16 a.m. permalink

I'm not usually a big fan of photos mixed into video. Here, my reaction was the opposite. The photographs captured a feeling and a mood, while the few video clips of people walking around seem thrown in. They're not as carefully composed as your photographs.

I would have skipped the shots of the students in transit and go right into your strongest visuals, like the gate. Aside from those travel shots, the beginning is very strong. The quotes provide a nice build-up. I feel like the end doesn't really go anywhere. I agree with Michael, I'd like to hear "what it meant."

Rep: 6
David Berman May 5, 2010, 5:28 a.m. permalink

Thanks for your feedback. It was a hard assignment down to the weather, the very tight schedule, shooting stills and video and the personal effect the trip had on me. (see link below) all good excuses I know!

I would have liked to done some more when we returned but, as ever, the time was just not available.
I take your comments on board about the Rabbi singing and thank you for your time in watching and commenting on the piece

my personal account of the day.

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