Circus comes to town (view this story)

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Eric Seals Dec. 1, 2012, 6:41 p.m. permalink

Hi Cory, 

I see you were using Soundslides to create this "Circus comes to town" audio slide show. Totally understandable if you don't have access to Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro or even iMovie.  The thing about Soundslides is it's very limiting in what you can do with it but like many things with storytelling it's not always about the software but about the STORY and how it's told and keeps our interest as it moves along.

Here are some of my thoughts about it;

1. Right off the bat I noticed the audio was not good. It would have been good to have interviewed the performer in a different environment (an office with the door/window closed etc) where it was not so noisy, sounded like there was a truck or a generator in the background. 
Often times what she said competed with the background noise.  
Be sure to get the mic or the audio recorder closer to her. A good rule (depending on the quality of your gear) is to have it between 1 and 3 feet from her. If you're not sure do a test using yourself or someone else before starting the interview with her.

2. Come into the interview with pointed questions about her. Do ask the standard why she does it, what makes it fun and challenging but also ask her other things that can get to the emotion of her being in the moment when she is performing.

3. The general rule is "If you say it, show it" is so true. I notice in a few parts of your audio slideshow she talking about what it's like being in the air but you were showing her on the ground with hula hoops. 
Be sure to always match things up because is a viewer it's distracting, a head scratcher and takes our mind away from your story and instead we're asking ourselves why we're not seeing that.

3. Edit your pictures really tight like it's a picture story that you're entering in a contest or for a portfolio.  Don't put pictures in there to make the piece longer or to fill time because you have to much audio.  I'm glad you kept this short as I've seen audio slideshows that are 3 and 4 minutes long but with a tighter edit and focus you could have a short but informative piece here.

4.  Be sure to explore more with your pictures.  They often felt like record shots to me.  Almost like a "I was at the circus and he's what I saw."  This would have been a great chance (if you were allowed) to make this more into a nice profile piece about the performer.  Behind the scenes, tight crowd reaction moments to when she's in the air or performing on the ground, tight stuff on her. Just basically a good visual variety that keeps me engaged and makes me feel like I'm there.

5. Ambient or natural sound.  Besides getting better audio in the interview like I mentioned in the 1st point also be sure to get good audio of what's going on around her when she is either practicing or performing.  The noise of the crowd, the RingMaster announcing her among other things those type of characters say. If it's during practice get audio of her talking to someone coach her on her technique, things like that.

6.  The music selection by Kevin was perfect.

7. Pacing of your images could have been slower.  There were several times where they went by to quick and I wanted to study them more. 

Hope this helps.  

Be sure go go back through some of the audio slideshows that have been submitted on FtF watch them, read the reviews. Lots of great learning on here.

Take care


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