A new multimedia project, in duet

Collaboration is to be the next step in my multimedia journey.

It’s a natural progression, and a welcome one.  The past year of learning has at times been a lonely process.  But it’s been necessary.  It’s hard to work with someone else, when you don’t know how the process works.  It’s one reason I took a Flash course.  I’m not a designer, but it helps to understand how it all works.  Reporters who don’t at least understand the basics of audio and video, hoping the photo department will pick it up, is destined to frustrate some photographers and videographers.

Last week, photographer Jaime Oppenheimer and I worked on the drug court story.  This week, we got more ambitious and embarked on our new project.  We’re still putting the details together, and I’ll post it here once we finish.  But I thought I’d share the process as we go.

We went to prison.  It was a guided tour, but the state officials were gracious and pretty much left us alone to do our reporting.  We spent hours, and Jaime left her still camera in the car.  She shot everything with a Sony HD cam, and she’ll pull stills off the video.  She hooked up a shotgun mic to the camera, and lugged a heavy tripod along.

I took along my Edirol09 and a pair of earphones to collect some natural sound, interviews and pick up some parts that might augment Jaime’s video.

I was stoked with the information and images and stories we collected in those hours. Jaime, however, felt a little overwhelmed.

It reminded me of the different roles we’d played in the past and how they’re converging in a world of online, multimedia delivery.  As a reporter, I can never get too much information.  I can pick out the best of the best.  I had collected interviews and documents for months.  This was just the color to trim out and dress up the other information.

Jaime had all the images and sounds swimming through her head. She’d filled up two hours of video cards.  How were we going to sort it all out?

Other aspects overwhelm me, such as the thought of actually editing the video.  To me, that’s the hard part.  No problem, said Jaime.  That doesn’t bother her.

That’s where collaboration begins.  On the long drive home we talked about what we remembered about the visit.  We listed the images that stood out in our minds, the sounds, the quotes.  We made a list.  Then from there, we asked ourselves, what would be better told in video?  In stills?  What audio stood out?  What anecdotes would be better detailed in narrative text?

Soon, we had outlined a short video, numbering the scenes in order and the audio bed that would go underneath it.  I don’t think either one of us had actually scripted a video before.  It at least gave us a starting point.

Jaime has the day off today.  I’m going to try to edit some audio tracks, and then give them to Jaime to pick out some images for another video or a slide show.

When I write the story, that will further cut down our material, because we’ve decided we want the multimedia to add layers and depth, not repeat what’s in the story.

Next week, we’ll begin putting it all together. I’m excited at the prspects  I think I’m going to like this role of co-producer.

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