Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout (view this story)

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Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany June 5, 2011, 8:57 p.m. permalink

Hi Mahala.

Excellent work, especially for turning the story in one day. Good to see a video produced by a Nikon D3s. I have one too, and I struggle with making it work as well as my traditional video camera. You did great!

Some thoughts about your video:

I like the opening with all the voices defining what swig dancing is. Nice transitional edit points within the audio edit (ask a question, answer the question.) 

Good sequencing with visual variety of shots. Love the tight shot of fingers on the keyboard. Some more tight shots like that would have been even better. 

Video looks really stable (so important) considering you used a monopod. 

You have a lot action (dancing) but only a little of the reaction (crowd) I see people clapping in the background--that would have worked great in your mix of shots. 

After I watched it again, I wasn't sure what the story was you wanted to tell. The text story description talked about the weekend-long swing dance festival, but your interview subjects only talk about what swing dancing is. This story, as an outsider, leaves me wanting more. There are many unanswered questions. Where are we? Is this a competition? What is this festival about? You can't always assume people will read the story description text. 

A story like this is a challenge for newspaper video storytellers. If there is a print story, do we tell the same story or just do a visual video story with few facts as a supplement the print story? 

Maybe I'm missing that this is a well-known event in your community and that most people already know the particulars. Just remember that a video on the web can be seen by a worldwide audience. Ask yourself: If someone watching my video doesn't know the big picture, does it still work as a story?

Finally, I do like the length at 1:50. That is just about right for me. 

Nice work Mahala, 


Rep: 7
Mahala Gaylord June 6, 2011, 4:41 p.m. permalink

Thanks so much for the feedback Colin. 

I often have trouble trying to decide how to tell the story when I'm making video feature and, at least in this case, I took the easy road out and simply tried to convey the emotion and feeling of the place rather than figure out how to describe what exactly was happening. I think part of it is I don't like videos that run too long so I end up taking out what to me seem like the boring quotes, the ones that describe where we are/what's going on. But as you stated, not everyone knows what the event is, so that is important information to include.

I did, by the way, use a tripod for the interviews, all the broll was done with a monopod though.  

Rep: 8
James Cuff June 12, 2011, 10:47 a.m. permalink

That was lovely Mahala, a really nice piece.

I agree with Colin about maybe including a couple more tight shots in the sequences.

I really liked the interviews and the way you had the subjects relay the question then cutting to another's answer.

I'm not too sure about the inclusion of the still images though. Why did you choose to do that? Is that something you regularly do or was it to cover missed shots in the edit?

Colin raises an excellent point about video's relationship with the print story. I personally believe we have to offer our readers/viewers more than what they get in the paper. Why choose to watch a video replication of a story you've just read or are reading? Especially on subscription sites.

Saying that, I wholeheartedly agree with the point that you need to make the video stand up on its own.

Rep: 7
Mahala Gaylord June 13, 2011, 11:22 a.m. permalink

I include still images semi-regularly, I like how the still image can really capture a moment, that said, maybe it doesn't always work. Did the transition from video to still bother you in this piece?  

In my next piece, i'm definitely going to be working on creating a stronger story line. I want my videos to stand up on their own with a complete narrative. 

Thanks James

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