Michigan Black Horsemen's Association (view this story)

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Rep: 20
Will Yurman May 7, 2010, 1:48 p.m. permalink

I thought this was an interesting topic for a story - the very fact that there needs to be a Black Horsemen's Association is kind of fascinating. You have some great voices in the piece - honest, real audio and the technical quality is nice as well.

Visually I was distracted by the fade to black between each image. The pulsing, especially when the pictures were changing quickly was really bugging me. I usually save fade to black for specific moments - scene or mood changes for example. So using them between your characters might have made sense, but between every photo took me at least out of the story. It's a pretty dramatic transition and I don't think it works to use it between every image.

Overall, visually, you had some nice images, but they grew repetitive. There are a lot of wide shots shot from a similar perspective - I would have liked to see some tighter images, some images shot from a different distance. It might have been nice to get them grooming the horses as well - did they brush them down or feed them or wash them? More visual variety would have helped keep me engaged.

Story-wise this felt like a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive piece and it never felt like you dove beneath the surface of the story.

You never answer 'why'. Why is there a Black Horsemen Association. Why did it start in 1985 - is it about racism, about urban black's trying to get out of the city, was it just the whim of the founders? I wanted to know why I should care about this group. You had a really cool place for a story, but I don't think you found the story itself.

As a last thought...don't forget about natural sound! I can occasionally hear a horse in the background, but you should be gathering those kinds of storytelling sounds in the same way you gather images - the sounds of the horses neighing, the riders talking to them, sounds in the barn, the crunching of feet in the snow would all help connect the viewer to the place.

I think you have a nice start here - if you have the opportunity and time, go back and keep working to find the story.

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans May 7, 2010, 3:07 p.m. permalink

Andrew:

I have to agree with Will on the fade to black.

Intentionally of not, Joe Weiss and his Soundslides program and Ken Burns have really set the visual "language" for slide shows.

Any transition or cut/fade is more effective when it is used sparingly. Hard cuts, cross fades, some movement would help your piece.

Our minds tend to "blink" on hard cuts as well as fade to black. I would encourage you to look at Kevin Wellenius's "A Life Pretty Full of Love" on this site as a good soundslide project. There are a bunch of cool and good storytelling things you can do in FCP.

Thank you for sharing. Look forward to seeing your next project.

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