Avoiding Old Mistakes (view this story)

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Rep: 87
Michael Fagans May 10, 2011, 9:35 p.m. permalink


I really see growth in your visual storytelling. This is my favorite of yours to date, good pacing, tight shots, holding the frame. Also, a tight edit that moves very well. Kudos.

I am also really glad you are doing this story because this seems to be one of the primary, repeating issues that Haiti faces.

But you know there is a but....

The audio had a few problems and I would like to hear the FtF community's perspective on this as well.

The first one is easy to address. The primary woman's interview was raspy. I don't know if you were too close or too far away or the wrong mic or the wrong settings, but it was not helping you.

Secondly, your VO (voice over), while providing welcome information was captured in a very 'live' room. That can be addressed via a bath towel on the table, finding a smaller room, looking for a place with drapes or other things on the wall to deaden the sound. It was aurally distracting to bounce back and forth from normal audio to your VO.

I am not sure you needed as much VO as you have. I think the voice quotes in the beginning could have stood up on their own with a summary by you after them. I felt very ping ponged by the end of this.
I also could have used some quiet time to digest what people or you had to say. A cut away shot or other construction moments would have helped me think about what was said...I never seemed to get a chance to breathe mentally.

I think in the end you just have to trust yourself. If you watch some of Colin's videos, I think he carries a nice balance between when to use a VO and when to let the people's voices come through. You provided some very important information, I just think I would have preferred blocks of VO rather than the tight cutting back and forth. I am certainly open to other people's feedback or thoughts on this.

Once again, this is a solid visual piece and I can really see how you have matured as a visual storyteller.

Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany May 15, 2011, 10:46 p.m. permalink

Phil, I agree with all of Michael's points. The big issue for me is the voiceover sounding like it was recorded in a large room.  I like your voiceover though, it add lots of information that the subject probably couldn't have added because of the language issues. Michael is right, a little more breathing room between the voiceovers and the nat sound would have helped. 

One observation: On the formal interview with Nadine, make sure your subject has enough "look room." It would have been better to have her on the far right looking into the frame, or on the left looking in. 

Excellent work,

Rep: 14
Phil Carpenter May 31, 2011, 4:24 a.m. permalink

Thanks for your comments guys.  There were some tech problems and I had to improvise. My main subject was actually the guy who I interviewed in Haiti.  To this day I have n idea what happened to the audio, but the whole thing was distorted, though it sounded fine during recording.  I discovered this only after, when it was too late to re-record.  That meant changing the focus of the whole story at the last minute.  The audio on the girl sounds distorted  because the mike shifted got stuck against the skin on her neck (if you get a chance look where the mic is).

@Colin.  Yeah the framing of Nadine sucked, didn't it ;-) 

I probably could ave used some more nat sound to punctuate the piece, but not sure I would've used too much "quite time" between interview clips.  It would pro'ly have slowed the tempo and also made it longer - drag too much.

Dunno what you guys have found, but it seems to me that an online audience loses interest really quickly.  If the tempo of a piece is too slow, with exceptions, viewers lose interest.  Especially among the kind of audience that will watch a NEWSPAPER video.

What d'you think?

Thanks much.

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