Austin Is Doing Something (view this story)

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Rep: 20
Will Yurman May 24, 2010, 9:16 a.m. permalink

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for submitting the story on the mural. To answer your specific question, I thought the piece certainly made sense and made clear what was going on that day.

A few other thoughts:

At about the 35 second mark you have this shaky pan shot of the area. Most of your video is nice and steady so this really jumped out.
Think about how we generally see in the world - we look at something, focus in on a detail, turn and look at something else. We rarely do a slow pan in real life, and if we do, there is a really good reason.

The same with video - think about shooting your story in sequences. So for example, replace the jerky pan shot with a series of discreet images. An overall, a medium shot, a tight detail, a face, a different overall. That series of images, with cuts between, will be much more effective.

Most of your video is either talking heads or details of the mural, and then some medium shots of groups of people.

Especially on the web where video is relatively small on the screen, tight shots and very tight shots have lots of impact. Tight shots of the people s they looked at the mural for example, would have been good visuals here.

For a daily video this covers the basics of getting information out, but honestly, video is not the best medium for what is basically a process story. By that I mean a story that simply explains a series of events.

As a viewer I'd rather get that in a written story where I can scan and rescan for the facts.

Video is great at conveying sense of place, emotion, mood. Try and find stories, or angles on stories that let you do that.

It would have been nice to hear more from the artist about her personal connection - why did she care enough to be there. We could have heard from some of the crowd about their personal connections to AIDS/HIV and what the mural meant to them.

Your video was pretty heavy on the officials and the facts. Video - especially the audio component - can be such a powerful storytelling medium. Don't let your video stories get bogged down in the step by step process and forget about the human condition.

Rep: 4
Jennifer Lacey May 24, 2010, 11:04 a.m. permalink

Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback!!! This was originally a print story and after shooting the event, I agree, it should have stayed that way. However, my editor wanted video, so off I go.

I did capture reaction to the mural by asking attendees their thoughts. However in trying to build a story around the mural event and in the interest of respecting the viewer's time, it just seemed the video would be too long by adding more voices.

Actually no one really observed the mural. Majority of the people were standing around and talking. I observed no interaction with the mural per se.

Your point about the personal connection to mural is a good one to keep in mind. I believe I asked that but I didn't get the response I was seeking. She came in as observer and just did what the community asked.

And your points about using video to convey a sense of place, emotion or mood was a good one to help me keep in mind and frame my future stories. It's good to hear these sort of points to help build on the basics so my work is evolving.

Rep: 20
Will Yurman May 25, 2010, 10:12 a.m. permalink

Hey Jennifer,
I certainly understand what we have to do when a boss says go!

One more thought - you said, "However in trying to build a story around the mural event..."

I think that's the problem we often make. If there was already going to be a print story about the mural event, then why duplicate it? Use the place, the event, as a launching point to tell a different story - a companion story - a story better suited to the medium.

good luck down the road. post us your next video.

Rep: 4
Jennifer Lacey May 25, 2010, 3:44 p.m. permalink

Will do. You're right about creating a companion story. I'll put that on my mental note card!!

Thanks again!

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