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. Longer is boring. So do the math: You need 18 GOOD photos to make a 90-second story!

See more slideshow storytelling tips — ignore the caption information in that presentation, but everything else is highly relevant to your assignment.

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.

Requirements for the story

  1. Use ONLY still photos, and no video footage.
  2. Use ONLY audio you have recorded for this story. A combination of interview(s) and natural sound will work best. You may add narration if you feel it’s necessary, but note that narration must total less than half the length of the complete story. (Audiences really don’t want to hear the reporter.)
  3. No added music. None.
  4. Length: Minimum 1 min. 30 sec. Maximum 2 min. 30 sec.
  5. Software used for editing: You must use video editing software. Adobe Premiere, Final Cut or iMovie are all fine. If you’ve never edited video before, use iMovie. See Basic iMovie 09 Tutorial (PDF) for help. To add the audio, see More iMovie 09 Tips Part 2 (PDF). It will be best if you edit your complete audio file first, and separately, in Audacity and export an MP3 that you can use in the video editing program. You should also crop, tone and resize your photos in Photoshop before you bring them into the video editing program.
  6. Captions: There is no need to write captions. However, you MUST collect ID information from your interview subjects.
  7. Lower thirds: Each person who is speaking in the audio may be identified with text showing the person’s first and last name and whatever identifying information is appropriate (e.g., president, UF Surf Club, or owner, Tasty Donuts).
  8. ID for each speaker: If the person gives an audible ID (as you were taught for Audio 1 and Audio 2), then you do not need to include a text ID onscreen. However, EVERY SPEAKER must have one kind of ID — either we hear it, or we see it as text onscreen.
  9. Include a title slide at or near the beginning. Write an interesting, appealing title!
  10. Include a credits slide at the end. The credits slide must include your first and last name, and the month and year.

See an example of title slide and credits slide: Video Training for Reporters. In this case, there are captions (all speakers are ID’d in the captions).

Submitting the assignment

Upload the video to Vimeo or YouTube (your choice).

Embed the video in a post on your own blog.

Give your blog post an intelligent headline, and write a few sentences to explain why you chose this story, what makes it special, etc. BE INTERESTING.

Post a LINK to your BLOG POST here, as a reply to this post.


Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 9 a.m.

Your reply posted here must be submitted before 09:00:00 in order to receive credit.


About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

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