Remembering 9/11: Stories from the attack ten years later (view this story)

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Rep: 87
Michael Fagans April 3, 2012, 9:48 p.m. permalink


First off, kudos for working on a project like this. Everyone knows the story, or some of the story, so the level of storytelling is automatically more difficult for you right out of the gate.

It would be helpful if you talked about your choice to go B/W. Why? Thought process? My only observation is that your exposure on one of the subjects was different from the others so it stood out. My 2-d professor always spoke about the requirement of good technique if you are going to do something different. I would have been tempted to only use color photojournalism images so they contrasted with the B/W video. Also, did you consider going B/W for the entire piece?

The jump cuts worked for me, they were not distracting. If you were going to cross fade on some your subjects dialogue cuts, I might have used cross fades moving back and forth from the reportage images.

I would have been very tempted to front end the quotes from the 3 min mark, the 7:22 min mark and the 8:13 min mark to pull me in. While I understand your storytelling technique in the beginning, setting the stage, that has already been done for you. So, why do I the viewer want to watch the piece, what new insight will you provide? Colin is always talking about catching people's attention at the front end of videos.

Another question I had is why are these folks your subjects or better yet, why do they now live in your community? I could have used a VO or text to "set the table" at some point.

Also, did you think about letting long pauses stand? Using silence at times? It can be overused or formulaic, but "portraits" where the person just looks at the camera with no speaking or VO can be very powerful.

At the end of the day you have a solid video. Some questions I raise because that is what the FtF site is for and I am sure you thought about many of them. There are times people make decisions for very good and hard reasons and it is helpful to know or better understand thought process. I really see growth in your work and I look forward to watching your next project.

Rep: 9
Sarah Welliver April 30, 2012, 11 p.m. permalink


Thank you so much for the critique. I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. I liked your ideas on changing up some of the dialogue.

 I decided to shoot the interviews in black and white because of the interviews all in their own way bringing up how everyone came together to help one another. That brought up in my mind the images that were b/w from 9/11 of people near ground zero with any distinction from one another muted by the debris they were covered in. I wanted to kind of reflect that. I wanted viewers to really focus on the expressions and emotion. I just felt it worked better for that reason in b/w. I agree with your thought on then keeping everything including the photos b/w. 

The reason I didn't was that this was the first time I had really worked with file photos for a project. I've used historical photos and footage, but nothing current. I just was always under the belief you didn't mess with someone else's images. Most of the shots I found were color. I just went with what I thought worked for the story my guys were telling, whether they were color or b/w. 

I do think long pauses are fantastic to let emotions coming from the people being interviewed sink in but with the piece running longer (another five minutes) I was asked to edit it to 10 or under. Looking back I think I could have chosen different places to cut that would have worked better and kept some of those pauses. I wish I had gotten more b roll of John DiFranco doing that to cover up some of my abrupt dissolves. I tried to keep as many natural pauses as I could.

You also have a good point on explaining why these four were chosen. I think it goes back to me over thinking cutting the time down. I felt I had enough at the time in their interviews and lower thirds to warrant not needing further info on who they were. I do agree I could have used at least a text slide to set the stage better. How I found them was our paper sent out a request for readers to send in their memories of 9/11for a special section. There were a lot and I narrowed them down for my project to different points of view; a business owner, a cop, a red cross volunteer and a son who lost his father, to try and paint different experiences of that day.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Again, thank you so much for the feedback and sorry for the late response.

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans June 4, 2012, 9:06 p.m. permalink

Sarah: No apologies needed. Glad you found the feedback helpful. Keep shooting and posting work for review.

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