Friday, August 14, 2009

Comment: Complex vs Simple Multimedia

Chandni Chowk - Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I received an email from a friend and veteran photojournalist, who participated in one of my earlier Introduction To Multimedia Storytelling classes. His comments are in response to my earlier post POV: Complex vs Simple Multimedia.

While I don't usually publish or publicly react to the frequent comments I get, I decided to make an exception here because (i) the wise commentary is from a working-in-the-field photographer, and (ii) because of my personal and professional respect for this photojournalist. (Some phrases have been redacted from the email).

"I appreciated your comments in your blog post. Dhiraj Singh's project was an excellent example for your advocacy of keeping things simple.

Being a member of the last generation of newspaper staff photographers, I find the changes even at my own newspaper fascinating, yet sometimes frustrating.

Granted, "...big name newspapers and mainstream media have teams of photo editors and sound engineers that create these multimedia slideshows for publication, and use sophisticated software (Final Cut Pro and a myriad of other applications...)"

Photographers or now "visual journalists" for mid & small-size newspaper are producing video and multimedia projects without the benefit of editors, production staff or even training, and do it with daily deadlines.

Soundslides is a great, fast and simple application, but people who work for publications with an on-line presence must also be able to produce video. .

Ergo, final cut... an expensive & complicated software package that has a steep learning curve and, especially for an Apple product, not very intuitive. I probably only use about $25 worth of final cut's $1000+ price tag, as I probably only use $25 worth of Photoshop CS4.

I am continually amazed by the work people have done using SoundSlides. and I always enjoy the opportunity to use it when video isn't part of the story. Unfortunately, we have weekly video quotas, whether video is the best way to tell the story or not

The above bit about small size newspapers requiring its visual journalists to produce video is let's re-read it once more, and get electrocuted again: "...are producing video and multimedia projects without the benefit of editors, production staff or even training, and do it with daily deadlines."

So once again the message to photojournalists is crystal clear. Get on the multimedia band wagon, adapt it to your workflow, work with SoundSlides (or whatever software you prefer) and/or Final Cut Pro (or Express) and learn how to intelligently and creatively juggle stills, audio and video. There is no alternative.

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