Havin' a ball (view this story)

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Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi Aug. 9, 2010, 9:46 a.m. permalink

Your video background served you well here, Brian. This slideshow has a lot of the basics that I think someone from a still background might be missing on their first attempt:

-Natural sound matching the photos
-Sequences of varying focal lengths
-Good pacing

What I think you run into, and what I think a lot of audio slideshows run into, is the still images start to feel a bit repetitive. If a photographer were shooting this as a still package for print or a web gallery, I think you'd be hard-pressed to come up with even 8-10 stills that really stand on their own. In your 1:30 you've got 39 images, and I start to see the same thing over and over. Simple situations like present that challenge. You did a nice job getting tight faces, product details, and wide environmental shots, but the still images just don't really grab me.

I like the stylistic choice to use diptychs, it adds a little bit of visual variety to keep me interested. As far as a story subject, I think this is a great one. I've never seen a Snow Ball Stand here in New England, and have no idea what the egg custard flavor tastes like. Little cultural institutions like this that make our particular regions unique are great subjects for stories.

It looks like maybe there was a mistake in the edit at 1:35? You dissolve to black, but then come back ten seconds later with another image and a soundbite. If this was intentional, I don't get it, but I'm guessing that was meant to be edited out.

I started out as a still shooter, so I'm curious to hear how this experience was for you with a video background. Did it feel easier? More difficult? How would you compare the two processes?

Rep: 3
Submitter
Brian Tankersley Aug. 9, 2010, 4:32 p.m. permalink

Thank you Peter for taking the time to review my story.

 If you found 3 stand alone stills, then I'd be pretty happy with that. You're right, the pictures did start to seem alike after a while. The reason I edited the way I did, with the diptychs, was to try and add some variety and a slightly faster pace, to mask the fact that the pictures weren't the best. I also found that I didn't like the vertical pictures on their own within the story, too much  empty space on the sides.

Yes, that was a mistake at 1:35, it should have been edited out. I was on vacation when it aired and wasn't able to fix it.

I approached the story in a lot of the same ways I would have if it were video: wide, medium, tight, action, reaction. The hardest part was feeling comfortable with the camera, and adjusting to make sure I was at the proper setting. I found that it's easy to take a picture, but a real challenge to take a good picture. I'm not sure if that's something that can be taught, or if it's just a matter of getting out there and taking a lot of pictures.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 9, 2010, 5:09 p.m. permalink

Hi Brian,

The market I'm in here in Detroit the TV guys never do this and they always talk about wanting to take a still camera and a good audio recorder and do what you did with the snowball story.

I'm curious how it was received at the station and by your GM with a different approach to telling a story for a TV audience with stills and did the whole 1:51 play on TV? 

Is this something you and others will do more often? Was this a trial run kind of thing to see what happens and where it can go with TV?

With your video background and then shooting stills did you ever find when working on this yourself thinking "Man this would have made a better video?" Because sometimes when I'm shooting still assignments for my newspaper I think "Man this would have made a much better video" I'm just interested to hear it all from the other side :-)  Thanks

Eric

Rep: 3
Submitter
Brian Tankersley Aug. 9, 2010, 6:58 p.m. permalink

Hi Eric,

Doing this story as an audio slideshow was something that I wanted to do, thankfully my department boss gave me the opportunity. Our GM was actually very supportive. I think they liked the fact that it gave them another source of content for the web only. I'm the only one producing these kinds of stories, mostly because we are bare bones, and don't have anyone to spare from the daily news gathering. I only get to do these when I don't have any other commercial or production shoots. I really like the the slideshow format, it seem to be more intimate.

I haven't done enough of these to think about what would work better, still or video. I've been in TV for a bit now, and I really liked the challenge of trying this new format. Also, my new position takes my off of the street and this gave me a good opportunity to get back out there. I think now you have to be as versatile as possible to have some job security.

Taking a good compelling picture is very challenging, an art form that I respect. I'm hoping to try some more of these kinds of stories, and in the process improve my skill set.

I'm thankful that we have "Finding the Frame" to share our thoughts and stories, and hopefully all of us will improve.

Thanks,

Brian

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 9, 2010, 7:07 p.m. permalink

That's great Brian that your TV station and GM are supportive about it.

Looking forward to the next audio slideshow you do.

I feel the same way about doing video features as you do about stills. Very challenging, I respect it and trying to get the handle on telling the story not just making pretty b-roll. 

Take care 

Eric

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