Just A Minute (view this story)

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Rep: 444
Eric Seals July 15, 2010, 10:25 p.m. permalink

I love the whole idea of your newspapers "Just A Minute" concept.  It works great!!

Bicycle, beaches, cinema and the others was a good start because it's all something so simple and things we often overlook in terms of a video piece because we look for something powerful, emotional and/or hard hitting. 
We forget it's the simple things right in front of us that we deal with everyday or every weekend.  
Bravo to you guys for this. Look forward to seeing more!

I was going to say it would be nice to have some voice or narration from a character in some of the minute shorts but then I reread your description  and you guys want only natural sound so that's cool.

I did notice that some of the audio wasn't the best and same can be said for some of the focus and shallow depth of field on some people or details but I see you're using the 5D and 7D. I'm sure you all will be pushing yourself and each other at seeing and experimenting.

Beach and cinema were my favorite and I took a good interest in the Parkour one by Jen. I'm just starting to work on a Parkour piece at the University of Michigan so it was cool to see that.

Are you doing these a few a week and if this is a long staff project will you papers website keep a good archive or dedicated a webpage to past Just A Minute's in addition to the current ones? That would be great if possible. 

I bet you guys are brainstorming a ton on other things to focus on and I'd encourage you not just to think of events or places but emotions as well. You could do so much in "Just A Minute" with;
etc, etc

I hope you'll do much more in the coming months and put them on Finding the Frame for us to see and watch.

Again, great idea!


Rep: 20
Will Yurman July 15, 2010, 11:24 p.m. permalink

Hey Eric,
Thanks for the note - really nice to hear you liked the idea. All of your ideas are good ones. We've been trying to brainstorm as much as we can and trying to get others on the staff to buy in.

The idea is to make this long-term with semi-regular updates. Given staffing I don't think we could commit to a regular once a week, but something close I hope.

good audio and in focus video are obvious shortcomings in some of it...we'll keep trying though.  The hardest part is finding enough distinct kinds of audio and then making the pacing editing work. If nothing else it's an amazing training exercise.

And yes, the web page should become an archive of all the Just A MInutes...i hope.

thanks again.


Rep: 15
Kathy Strauss July 16, 2010, 9:31 a.m. permalink

This stuff is fresh and inspiring. We should all try to do a couple of these and share them here! It's got to be hard to find great natural sound and video in the same place and smash it into a one-minute piece.
It's so great to see the Democrat and Chronicle experimenting and trying out new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely July 19, 2010, 7:19 a.m. permalink

Really nice idea to do photo essay videos.  Some nice visuals throughout the five pieces.  Love the human touches like the woman on the swing.  Love that you are focusing on  everyday life in your town.

But they seemed to be a lot longer than a minute - which is to say they don't really flow.  I think maybe this type of visual essay works better with a unifying audio track - i.e., a music video, or a narration.

I think even in this photo essay approach you guys really need to work on sequencing and transitions to make the videos move the viewer along faster.  Flow.  

When both the visuals and the audio are so choppy, you don't really get pulled into these pieces. 

Rep: 20
Will Yurman July 21, 2010, 8:46 p.m. permalink

hey Chuck,
Thanks for the feedback. I definitely agree about the flaws in some parts - sometimes things drag, we don't always have enough shots or kinds of shots or enough good audio and certainly the sequencing and pacing need to get better.

Though I don't think I'd want to go the route of music or even narration. Music would just become a crutch I think and we're all enjoying working on these as is.

We really like the idea, at least in theory. And it's a great training tool at the very least.

So I guess the question for us is: can we make the format work by improving the sequencing/transitions/pacing etc? Or is this kind of video inherently flawed and not compelling enough?

Things for me to think about late at night.

thanks again for the thoughts.

Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely July 22, 2010, 8:31 a.m. permalink

Will, I think for some stories, if you followed a process, it might flow better.  For example, for the parkour story, if they followed one person from putting on their shoes, through spiderman practice,  to ending up sweaty and having a drink, you could still have an image-driven story but you'd have better opportunities for sequences.  Of course, if you do that, you end up with a full-blown video edit that takes much longer, and you might move away from the 'still image' way of seeing. 

Perhaps this concept would work with a hybrid stills/video combination?  It might make the production less complicated and you get outside of the expected grammar of video, where you need those transitions and sequences and coherent audio.   Like SoundSlides pieces with some video where it's appropriate?

By the way, I really like the presentation on your site with the big player, sequential play-through, and thumbnails.  Love Brightcove... I'm so jealous; we're stuck on Vmix.  

Please don't take my comments as being negative, because I really like the visual approach to doing slice-of-life stories...  it's a great idea and you guys will nail the pace/flow aspect with practice!

Rep: 4
Ben Garvin July 23, 2010, 6:18 p.m. permalink

I really dig this idea for a series and I'm trying think of a way to artfully steal it.... Great work.

Rep: 20
Will Yurman July 23, 2010, 9:24 p.m. permalink

Hey Ben,
Just steal it.  Just don't do it better than us. :)

and thanks....

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