News U: Five Steps to Multimedia Storyelling

News U: Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling had some great information. Below are just a few of the tips that I wrote down as notes.  To me this is the most important information. The general guidelines are very helpful and we all need to know and understand them.

  • Before you venture into the field, gather as much information as possible to put together a rough storyboard
  • Collect visuals — photos, videos, maps and graphics — from your sources or from the Web to get an idea of potential story components.
  • Once you’ve finished your fieldwork, refine your storyboard. Evaluate your information, figure out what has changed from your original version of the story, and map out which media you have and what should appear on each page.

General guidelines when using different media:

  • Video:
    • Keep videos short, preferably 1 or 2 minutes, no more than 3 or 4 minutes
    • Keep talking heads to a few seconds, then switch to “B-roll”
    • Because the Web uses a low frame rate, avoid action shots with a lot of movement or shots that capture nuances of emotion.
  • Audio:
    • Only use high-quality audio. One exception: really old recordings. But, by definition, they have to be scratchy and tinny.
    • Use subtitles with the audio if you have no other options or to reinforce an important point.
    • Avoid using background music unless it’s pertinent to the story.
  • Still Photos:
    • The Web is a visual medium, so be sure to include photos.
    • Text and photos should complement each other visually, as well as in their content.
    • Don’t be afraid to use Photoshop to put text directly on your photos.
    • Photos can be used two ways:
      • Individually, to set a mood or introduce a story or section of a story
      • Sequentially, to tell a story with a “slide show”
  • Graphics:
    • You can make graphics interactive by using GIS (geographic information systems.) This lets readers select a geographic area (such as their neighborhood) and get information about the region.
    • Graphics can be the centerpiece of a story.
  • Text:
    • Save text for what is left after you’ve put as much information as possible into other media.
    • Use for display type: headlines, photo captions
    • Text works best for first-person stories, political stories, analysis, op-ed pieces and short updates.
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