Video resources for beginners

My list of links to helpful video resources is here: Video Resources

A few things mentioned in class:

  • Aspect Ratio (Wikipedia): This is either 16:9 or 4:3. Make sure you understand it.
  • The Basics of Image Resolution (Vimeo Video School): This will help you understand the many choices that are offered for video size when you are ready to export.

With faster Internet speeds, we are not as worried about file size as we used to be. However, you still do not want to upload a 600 MB video! Compressing a video can result in poor image quality and/or very poor audio quality, so it is not something to be done in a quick and sloppy way.

This is a very good tutorial at Vimeo: Trimming and Cutting with iMovie (1 min. 15 sec.). Other helpful videos for learning iMovie are linked below it on the same page.

To repeat something I said in class: I don’t promote iMovie over the more sophisticated editing programs (Final Cut and Premiere, among others). But I like iMovie — and it provides a very simple environment for learning about trimming videos and putting together short video stories.

It takes a bigger investment of time to learn the sophisticated programs. You can learn iMovie faster. If you find you like editing videos, then go ahead and move up to an editing program with more features.

Check, check and check again: Images on TV

Here’s a funny story about what happens when journalists are not careful about their work:

Photoshopped book title from Paula Broadwell’s Gen. David Petraeus’ biography goes viral on web

During the 5 p.m. newscast, 7NEWS wanted to show the book cover of the Petraeus biography, written by Broadwell. So someone did a Web image search, found an image of the book cover, and downloaded  that image.

They showed it on-air.

Only it wasn’t the correct cover.

“The editor pulled the image of the book cover from the Internet without realizing it had been doctored.”

Take this as a cautionary tale — when you’re reporting to the public, you can’t be quick and sloppy. You really MUST check things carefully, or you can end up looking like a total idiot!

A nice radio story with just a little reporter voice included

I caught this audio story (5 min.) on Only a Game over the weekend. It’s really well done, I thought — and you should note how little we hear of the reporter’s voice.

The editing is very nice.

The topic is a particular skateboarders’ trick, the McTwist.

One thing to note is that this story was reported and edited by a photojournalist, Andrew Norton. So you need to think about why a photojournalist goes out and learns how to do audio at a professional level. Uh huh. Because now he’s getting paid to put a 5-minute story on NPR.

Oh, and guess what? He was one of the students in the Transom workshop last spring, which produced the projects you critiqued earlier this semester.

Resources for Soundslides

Download and install the free demo version of Soundslides Plus for Mac.

Instructions (PDF): How to upload a Soundslides to Dropbox

Instructions for beginners: Soundslides: A Brief Introduction

See examples of Soundslides stories.

Tips for type of story, audio timing, captions, etc.:


Soundslides stories are great with a combination of natural sound and interviews. For tips on multitrack editing with Audacity, download this PDF.


Audio and photo story

The point of this assignment is for you to combine still photos and audio to create an interesting story. A true story, of course.

An audio slideshow is really a lot different from video, and that’s why the requirement is to use stills. The pace is different — the gathering of the assets is different. You can show a lot of variety and evoke a lot of feelings with a slideshow, allowing the viewer to just experience the frozen moment in each image.

However, it’s very important not to leave any image hanging there too long. A rule of thumb is to allow no more than 5 seconds for any one photo. (See more slideshow storytelling tips.)

The readings for weeks 11 and 12 should give you plenty to think about in the story you choose and how you capture it. You’ll see some examples in class. Read more of this post

To learn more about data journalism …

If you liked what we did in the past two weeks, here are some things to consider:

You could learn Python. Yeah, actually learn it. Here’s how.

When you read Yau’s chapter 8, you probably noticed he gave you three different examples. The first one used R, a programming environment that’s good for making statistical graphics. The second example used Python (yay! You have that!). The third example used Flash, in a particularly horrible way.

If you want to learn more about this stuff, you can’t try to learn three things at the same time.

But you can learn them one at a time. You could do the Python stuff in Yau’s chapter 8. You can try it. You can make it work. Read more of this post

Project pitch: What to do?

The project pitch document is a brief printed document you will hand in during class, after everyone presents his or her pitch briefly. The document must clearly state what you intend to produce for your project.

When your project proposal has been approved, you’re cleared to begin work on your project.

DEADLINE: Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. (in class). If revisions are requested, they must be submitted within 24 hours, via email.

The project assignment is described broadly on the Required Work page. The due date is on the Course Schedule page. Read more of this post