Taking Note (view this story)

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Rep: 444
Eric Seals May 11, 2010, 6:10 p.m. permalink

Hi Steve,

Here's my ringing endorsement (no pun intended) LOL!

I was interested because I just assumed that now-a-days everything is electronic and to actually see it done the old fashion way was interesting. Makes me want to investigate if the bells at Michigan or Michigan State are the real thing. A story like this while simple, can give people that "I didn't know that" feeling afterwards.

I really lliked the way you were seeing things, there was lots of information in the piece and you didn't let it drag on and on. Your audio was also really nice.

Some stories you should think, "Is this better told with stills and slow movement to them or would video help tell the story better. In this case I think this was begging for strictly video. You were doing just great from the opening bell and time lapse of students hurrying as if the bell sounded for their next class to the detail of Larry playing with his fist in his lesson.

When you shot up at the bells at the :19 mark, I wanted to see video of it tight with the balls hitting the bells or when Larry was playing in front of his teacher from the 1:12 to 1:29 mark I wanted to see the teaching, the interaction and details of the notes on the page. Even your showcase image of the teacher with arms folded listening to Larry play is really nice and I could just see that clip of him bobbing his head, agreeing or pointing out mistakes etc as he was playing.

You have a nice eye for moments, graphics, composition. I just feel mixing your stills and the video with your nice eye isn't the best. Do video (when the story calls for it), go for the moments that you see, hold the shot and let it all happen. Let your stuff sing.

I also watched your Music and Memories on your Vimeo page. Really nice stuff as well. Loved the detail of the woman punching the old cash register, the image shot through the blinds at 1:48, lots of stuff. Nice story!

It's very weird re-reading this as if I didn't write it. I'm a still guy at heart and have been since 1993 but in doing video since Summer of 2008 I really see the storytelling power of video.

Keep up the great work!


Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan May 12, 2010, 9:12 a.m. permalink

I didn't so much mind the still images. You have a good eye, so some of your stills are very nice, however it might have been better to edit the stills tighter and use more video of the instrument over your weaker stills. I like that you use still portraits over what might be a boring talking head.

I think the piece would have been more interesting if you included more video of the guy playing and some video details. You have a still of him framed by the instrument that made me wonder what it would like like as video. I thought the sound was good.


Rep: 5
Steve Saldivar May 12, 2010, 10:13 a.m. permalink

@ Eric,

Thanks! I'm really attracted by the stories that make readers, listeners, viewers think "I didn't know that!"

I've always liked a healthy mix of video and photography but I think you're right. There are moments when I really should have been thinking video, video, video!

@ Pat - I think on my next assignment I'll train my eye to see in video. I think part of me wants to refrain from video and I don't know why. Part of the photographer in me feels I don't have much control when I shoot video. I'll be working on this as well.

Thanks for your feedback guys!

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans May 12, 2010, 10:29 a.m. permalink


At the risk of sounding pedantic, I would argue that you should think about the best way to tell the story.

Some are videos, especially when people are "doing" something. Some stories call out to be stills.

They shouldn't all be videos or all be stills and sound.

The trick and wisdom is to recognize the best tool in your box for that particular story.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals May 12, 2010, 11:06 a.m. permalink

others might differ Steve but I'd say if you're going to mix in some stills with your video put some slow movement to the stills otherwise it can be jarring in a piece coming out of or transitioning from a video sequence right into stills without the movement. It's like things just come to a dead stop otherwise.

The portrait at :30 sec through :46 sec comes to mind on this

At the 1:38 mark, how did you get the students walking to fade out and yet still keep the background going?


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