Website Design

A website design course at the University of Wyoming

Tag: creative devices (page 1 of 3)

Week 1: Design Principles to Showcase Your Work

Why You’ll Thank Yourself for Knowing HTML & CSS

(1) You can now showcase your own material and skills: If you’re headed for a media or communication career that involves new media and social media, it’s a great idea to have your own website. You can post and host all of your journalism and communication material–print stories, audio stories, photography, video stories, slideshows, interactive graphics, artwork, etc. This effort will help you “brand” yourself. There is a lot of competition out there.

(2) You can now work with a content management system: Most large companies have a CMS (content management system) that is like a standard “shell” where you insert the content. You have little control over the layout and design, rather, you merely insert the content into the shell. With advanced knowledge of HTML and CSS, you will understand the CMS and you may even be able to make or suggest improvements.

(3) You can now design websites for others: Once word gets out that you can design websites, don’t be surprised if your friends, family, acquaintances, organizations, companies, etc., start asking you to design their website. You can make some money out of this skill!

Let’s read an article about getting a job in journalism code (from NICAR: National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting).

What are your thoughts on this Q&A about journalism and coding?

Design Principles for Creating a Clean, Professional Website

Emphasis

Definition: Highlights the importance of the site’s content. Also relates to hierarchy.

  • When creating a draft of your site, list all of the information that needs to appear on the page.
  • Then, number the information by order of importance.
  • Design the visual hierarchy so the page reflects the determined importance.
  • Avoid emphasizing everything and avoid emphasizing nothing.

Good example.

Balance

Definition: How the elements in a design are distributed and how they relate to the overall distribution of visual weight within the page. As elements are grouped together in a page, visual weight is created. You want to balance the visual weight so as to create stability. Two kinds exist:
1. Symmetrical Balance: Equal visual weight is given to elements so that two halves mirror one another. Example.
2. Asymmetrical Balance: Visual weight is distributed equally, but elements do not mirror one another. Example.

Websites can mix the two types as well. Example.

Alignment

Definition: The arrangement of elements in such a way that the natural lines (or borders) created by them match up as closely as possible.

  • Don’t mix alignments. Choose one alignment and use it on the entire page. Not-so-hot example.
  • Break this rule for creating contrast and focus. Like this.
  • Do not center everything.

Proximity

Definition: The relationships that items develop when they are close together. When items are close, ensure you want the relationship to exist. When items are far apart, relationships are less likely to exist.
Example of proximity creating relationships.
Example of potentially confusing proximity.

Repetition

Definition: Throughout the website, there are certain elements that are common and unify the disparate parts together.

  • Each page should look like it belongs to the same website.
  • Color, shape, line, fonts, spacing, layout, typography, and imagery are some examples of potential repetitive elements.
  • A benefit of repetition is predictability. Users will better understand the design, navigation, and hierarchy.

Good Examples: Color repetition. Font repetition. Layout repetition. Imagery repetition.

Poor Examples: Lack of color repetition. Lack of font repetition. Lack of layout repetition. Lack of imagery repetition.

Contrast

Definition: The visual differentiation of two or more elements. Contrast creates emphasis and focus toward the distinct elements, and can create a visual hierarchy as well.

  • Elements that have strong contrast appear distinct and unique. Elements that have weak contrast appear unified.
  • If you want elements to appear separate, use strong contrast. Go all the way. Don’t make them almost the same.
  • Ensure that some elements of your website have contrast, which subsequently creates focus. You don’t want everything to have the same visual priority.
  • Create contrast with color, size, position, and font.

Examples: Color contrast. Size contrast. Poor use of contrast. Another poor use of contrast.

Background Images

Related to contrast is the background image. Should you have one on your website? The answer: it depends. If there is enough contrast and the image is repeated in a seamless manner, then it is OK: Example 1 | Example 2.

Do not use a background image if the image if the contrast is too weak or the image is not seamlessly repeated: Example 1 | Example 2.

What are your thoughts on these examples? Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3

Flow

Definition: The path the users’ eyes follow as they examine a website. Flow results from the execution of the design principles explained above.

  • Consider that our eyes typically examine webpages from left to right and top to bottom.
  • Ensure our eyes do not bounce around the page, darting from right to bottom and back up.

Example of smooth flow. Another example of smooth flow. Example of poor flow.

Typography on the Web

This refers to the use of fonts, font size, and font style on the web.

  1. Text is appropriate size.
  2. Hierarchy of information is clear.
  3. Lines of text are not too long to read.
  4. Background does not compete with text.
  5. There is enough contrast between background and text color.
  6. Uses sans serif fonts for long portions of text.
  7. No large blocks of text in bold, italic, all caps, or small caps.

What do you think about these examples in terms of typography? Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3

Color Schemes

There are several types of color schemes to choose from when designing your website. Let’s familiarize ourselves with these terms and the color wheel.

  1. Monochromatic: Only one color is used, with varying values. Example 1. Example 2.
  2. Analogous: Several colors that sit next to one another on the color wheel are used. Example 1. Example 2.
  3. Complementary: Joins colors that sit across from one another on the color wheel. Example 1.
  4. Triadic: Three colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel are used. Example 1.
  5. Color Discord: Color discord can be visually disturbing, attract interest, relay ideas or themes, and create surprise. Example 1.

You want to pick one color strategy and stick to it in order to create a visually appealing website.

Layout and Themes

There are many options when it comes to the overall layout and theme of your website. Here are some ideas:

  1. Ultra clean and minimalist designs lean toward minimalism, but emphasize the crystal clearness of the design. They are timeless and are easier to build and maintain. They offer professionalism as well. Example 1. Example 2. Example 3.
  2. Type-focused designs use the text as a dominant element and use text in an elegant way. Example 1. Example 2. Example 3.
  3. Visual-oriented designs use images, graphics, or multimedia in an elegant way. These websites may be a little more difficult for beginners to design and maintain. Example 1. Other examples of visual-oriented websites.

Note: Definitions and listed material are adapted from The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2 as well as The Non-Designer’s Web Book, 3rd ed..

If you want to examine even more examples of websites, check out these student websites. Note that some websites are great and some are a throwback to poor web design principles from the 1990s.

Photojournalism Basics

Purpose

Photojournalism is our window to the world around us. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The purpose of photojournalism is to capture the people and events that make the news. Photojournalism can supplement a text story or can serve as a stand-alone story.

We remember news stories in images because they are powerful and emotional.

Categories

The following categories are defined by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) and included in the Best of Photography competitions. The College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) Awards also use these categories.

Feature (Enterprise): A photograph of a ‘found situation’ that features strong human interest elements, or a fresh view of an everyday scene. A picture that uses humor or focuses on the lighter side of life is well suited for this category. Examples

Portrait: A single photograph that captures a unique aspect of a local figure’s character and personality. Examples

Sports Action: A peak action picture that captures the spirit of a sports competition—either on the part of an individual or an athletic team. Examples

Sports Feature: A sports-related feature picture that depicts the jubilation of victory or the agony of defeat. The event covered should be separate from the game action or outside of the field of play. Examples

General News: Recognizing that much of the daily news coverage is planned in advance, we seek to reward outstanding achievement based on creativity and timing at organized events such as general meetings, promotional events and staged coverage opportunities. Examples

Spot News: An event that is not planned, so the photographer must react on instinct and news judgment. This picture may be of a breaking news event, or a part of issue coverage. Examples

Photojournalism Tips

The creative devices tips still apply to photojournalism. Other helpful hints are found below (adapted from Ch. 7 in our book and R. M. Thornburg’s suggestions in Producing Online News).

  1. Have a working camera with you at all times. Recall that AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post photographer, said that the best camera is the camera in your hands.
  2. Have one clear subject in your photo. The subject should be in focus and stand out from everything else in the photo. A street is not a subject. Seven people walking down the sidewalk is not a subject. One person walking down the street is a subject. Note: This rule is sometimes meant to be broken. You can take great photos of a mass crowd or a group of people, however, more skill is required. It’s easier to stick with the rules as you’re learning. Then, break them later when you know what you’re doing more.
  3. Take a lot of photos. For every subject, take 10 photos. **I can’t emphasize this enough. Move around and take a lot of photos!**
  4. Act natural. Make yourself comfortable and invisible.
  5. Move around without violating Tip 4.
  6. Place subjects so that they are moving or looking into the photo, rather than out of it. For example, if a person is pointing to the right, be sure he is at the left of your photo.
  7. Keep the light behind you so the subject’s face is lit (unless deliberately creating a shadow out of the subject).
  8. Avoid using the flash as much as possible. Use natural light.
  9. If you’re shooting sports action, then avoid evening or low-light conditions (the photos will be blurry)!
  10. Be aware of the background. Make sure there are no trees or objects protruding from your subject’s head or limbs. And, make sure there are no photobombs.

Ethics

According to the President Emeritus of the NPPA Alicia Wagner Calzada, photojournalists must live up to a high standard because ethics are “what sets us apart from art and advertising.”

She notes that when journalists are reporting, they should not cave-in to pressure from people who ask, “what do you want me to do?” Journalists should instruct people to continue their behavior as if they were not present.

Our guest speaker, AAron Ontiveroz, also noted that photojournalism is capturing history the way that the stories actually unfolded. You are telling the story with images. You are not supposed to manipulate the story. These are reasons why there is a code of ethics.

Copied from the NPPA Code of Ethics

  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

Breaking Ethics Codes

Following ethics codes is about establishing and maintaining the trust of our audience. The cases below illustrate when that trust was broken.

  1. Brian Walski from the LA Times combined two photos to create a more aggressive and confrontational presentation of the situation.
  2. Time magazine made OJ Simpson look more sinister by manipulating the color, burning the corners and shrinking the prisoner ID number on his mugshot. Newsweek did not alter the photo.
  3. Klavs Bo Christensen, a Danish photojournalist, was disqualified from a photo competition because of using too much color saturation.
    denmark_contest_images
  4. See more examples of sketchy photojournalism.

Basics of Photography

dslr-camera

While it is great to use a DSLR camera because they produce high-quality photos, you can still capture great photos using your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera.

For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on photography and photojournalism. While it is great to have an expensive digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, it is not necessary for this class. We can still take great photos with our smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras.

First things first, we’ll learn about the basics of photography and forever-useful creative devices.

Creative Devices for Composition

Good photojournalism begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.

Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.

photographer_laying

Move around to get different angles and perspectives.

Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.

Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).

Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunset light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer on skin.

shooting_into_the_sun

Shooting into the sun will create shadows on your subjects. This creates interesting contrast of color and texture. Alternatively, you could use a flash in order to provide some lighting on your subjects.

Now for the Top Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad, as well as a few more suggestions of my own. Some of these are also mentioned in Ch. 7 in the book as well.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Color: Example
  11. Texture: Example
  12. Establishing Size: Example
  13. Contrast: Example
  14. Focus: Example

Let’s take a look at some photos on The New York Times Lens photography blog and talk about what kind of devices their photos use.

A note about your rights and duties as a photographer.

  1. In public, you can photograph anyone or anything. If they approach you and request you don’t take their picture, you may respect their request; but, keep in mind that they are in public and they cannot expect any privacy in public (i.e., you can keep taking their picture).
  2. In private residences, businesses, and property, you should get permission. They may not allow photography. **You can always ask for forgiveness rather than permission, though.**
  3. If people ask why you’re taking photos, explain it is for your class blog and schoolwork.

Writing Captions

If you shoot people, then get names and put them in captions. [Many students neglect this. You NEED names. Unless the person is too far away or completely unrecognizable in the photo.]

A well-written caption adds value and context to the image instead of merely describing the contents of the photo. Consider including information that goes beyond the obvious.

If you capture an event, then who are the key players in the photo and event? When was the event held? What was the purpose of the event? Where was the event held? Why should the viewer care?

If you capture a portrait or photo of a person, tell the viewer more about the person or context of the photo.

(Example of a caption with a person in the photo) Kristen Landreville teaches the Online Journalism class at the University of Wyoming on Tuesday morning. She is a professor of communication and journalism and is in her fifth year at UW.

(Example of a caption without a person in the photo) Yellow fall leaves litter the lawn on Prexy’s Pasture on Tuesday. The first official day of fall was Saturday.

Your subjects’ age and job description are optional in your captions.

Blog Post #4: Creative Devices Photography Assignment

Download the Blog 4 Assignment here

HSI 2016 – Snowy Range Photography

On the first official day of summer (June 20), we traveled to the Snowy Range Mountains to practice our creative devices in a beautiful landscape one more time before HSI concludes. Here are the students’ creative results.

Abi
The Snowy Mountains

Jillian
Snowies/Mirror Lake

Tori
Top 10 Snowy Range

Eli
Snowy Range

Chase
Snowy Range

Syler
Snowy Range

Caroline
Snowy Range Trip June 2016

Andrew’s Photos

Trevor
Snowy Range

Megan
Snowy Range


Photography Contest Winners

Best Use of Creative Devices

Rule of Thirds – Andrew

Balancing Elements – Trevor

Leading Lines – Caroline

Symmetry – Chase

Viewpoint – Eli

Clean Background & Focus – Trevor

Creating Depth – Syler

Framing – Jillian

Cropping – Jillian

Color – Tori

Texture, Pattern, &  Repetition – Caroline

Contrast & Light – Megan


Top 3 Landscape Photographers

  1. Trevor
  2. Eli
  3. Caroline

Top 3 Portrait Photographers

  1. Abi
  2. Syler
  3. Caroline

 

HSI, Day 2: Photography Basics & Critical Thinking About Your Online Identity

Multimedia

Blogging Workshop

— Finish Blogging Workshop, if needed —

Document Your HSI Experience with Photography

We will go on three field trips during this class: Vedauwoo, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, and the Snowy Range Mountains. At each field trip, I want you to take as many photos as you can that use the creative devices and strategies that we learn today.

During class, we will edit our photos in Photoshop and you will share your HSI photography and memories on your blog.

You are not allowed to use your phones during HSI unless you are in my class. And, you are only allowed to use your phones for class-related activities. No Snapchating your friends back home!

Let’s get started with how to take better photos using Creative Devices.

How to Take Better Photos Using Creative Devices for Composition

Good photography begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  5. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer.
  6. Look Around: Are there any objects protruding from any subjects’ heads? Like a tree or pole in the distance? Are there any potential “photo bombs” around that will draw your attention away from the main subject?

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as four more suggestions of my own.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Color: Example
  11. Texture: Example
  12. Establishing Size: Example
  13. Contrast: Example
  14. Focus: Example

Let’s take a look at my photos here and you tell me your thoughts on creative devices that I used.

Now that you know how to take better photos, you can avoid cutting people’s heads off and having poles or trees stick out of people’s heads!

It takes 100 photos to get about 5 great photos. The point: TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS!

Video is different. Strive to take 20-30 seconds of video. Don’t walk around or move the camera while taking video. Stay still and pan (move side to side). Always take video in horizontal (landscape) format.

Activity: Photo Practice

Let’s practice our photography skills around campus. Here’s a list of things to photograph this morning. Be sure you can tell me what creative device you used!

Our goal: Take 50 photos in 15 minutes. Work fast!

  1. The inside or outside of the Geological Museum
  2. The enormity of Prexy’s Pasture
  3. An extreme close-up photo of something in Prexy’s Pasture
  4. A flower, tree, or animal
  5. Your HSI friend and/or instructor
  6. Climb on top of an object (preferably, a steady object) and take a photo from up above
  7. Something that has made you happy at HSI
  8. A physical object that can be interpreted as the first letter of your first name
  9. Get on your belly on the ground somewhere and take a photo

Activity: Photo Reflection Blog Post

Let’s discuss your photos. What did you take photos of? What did you learn about photography?

Now, in your blog post, post your five best photos. For each photo, please explain what creative devices are used in the photo.

Write a paragraph about you learned about photography.


 

Media Literacy

Activity: Survey on Social Media Privacy and Expression (see handout)

— Take Survey —

— Discuss Results in Groups of 2 —

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Your Online Identity

Activity: Interactive on How Teens Share Information on Social Media

Our first discussion topic today revolves around your online identity. Check out this visual data about what teens are doing online.

More information about social media and teens in 2015.

Important note: There are no right or wrong answers to the blog post questions and discussion. In fact, more diversity in the class’s opinions is actually helpful. We get to learn more when people share their unique and genuine opinions.

Let’s write a blog post about these questions and discuss them as a class. Please answer:

  • How does your own online behavior compare to the data that we just examined?
  • How many limits do your parents put on your online identity and internet time?
  • How do you think your online identity should look for college? For when you want to get a job?
  • What privacy concerns exist for you and potential college admissions officers and employers?
  • Is it right for a college or employer to reject/fire you based on your online identity?

— My Thoughts —

Be proud of whatever you write on your blog and whatever you share online. You do not want to regret something in the future. Remember, if it’s posted online, it’s there F O R E V E R!

Basic Photo Editing Tips

Photo Editing Tips

Now that you’ve seen some evidence of what NOT to do, let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop.

Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.

Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.

Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.

Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.

Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.

Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.

Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.

Avoid wondering into strategic communication image editing for this Blog Post 5- Photojournalism.

Good luck being photojournalists for the week!

Video Storytelling Project

Video Storytelling

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the project instructions.

1. Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.

Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

2. Production (When You’re On-Location)

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

 

Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experinece with video or unless you have a high-quality video camear. If you decide to use camea movements, see the techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

 

Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)

Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office) and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading  a trial version of Adobe Premiere.

Conceptual Editing. You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.

The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.

Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.

Project Requirements

Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Editing is smooth

 

Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story with Reporter Narration – Zachary Laux and Cameron Patey
Online Gaming

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story Without Reporter Narration – Nic Behnke and Shane Staley
Snowy Range – New Terrain Park

Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story without Reporter Narration – Tiffany Le Gal and Anna Rader
MLK Jr. Days of Dialogue/March @ University of Wyoming

Example of Promotional Approach – Courtney Gifford, Travis Hoff, Sam Weinstein
Border War: The ROTC Story

Photo Editing for Journalism and Strategic Communication

Photo Editing Tips

Now that you’ve seen some evidence of what NOT to do, let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop.

Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.

Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.

Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.

Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.

Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.

Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.

Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.

Avoid wondering into strategic communication image editing for this Blog Post 5- Photojournalism.

Good luck being photojournalists for the week!

Photography Basics

For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on photography and photojournalism. First things first, we’ll learn about the basics of photography and forever-useful creative devices.

Creative Devices for Composition

Good photojournalism begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  5. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer on skin.

 

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as five more suggestions of my own. Some of these are also mentioned in Ch. 7 in the book as well.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Experimentation: Example
  11. Color: Example
  12. Texture: Example
  13. Establishing Size: Example
  14. Contrast: Example
  15. Focus: Example

 

Let’s take a look at some photos on The New York Times Lens photography blog and talk about what kind of devices their photos use.

A note about your rights and duties as a photographer.

  1. In public, you can photograph anyone or anything. If they approach you and request you don’t take their picture, you may respect their request; but, keep in mind that they are in public and they cannot expect any privacy in public (i.e., you can keep taking their picture).
  2. In private residences, businesses, and property, you should get permission. They may not allow photography. **You can always ask for forgiveness rather than permission, though.**
  3. If people ask why you’re taking photos, explain it is for your class blog and schoolwork.

 

Writing Captions

Your subjects’ age and job description are optional in your captions.

If you shoot people, then get names and put them in captions. [Many students neglect this. You NEED names. Unless the person is too far away or completely unrecognizable in the photo.]

A well-written caption adds value and context to the image instead of merely describing the contents of the photo. Consider including information that goes beyond the obvious.

If you capture an event, then who are the key players in the photo and event? When was the event held? What was the purpose of the event? Where was the event held? Why should the viewer care?

If you capture a portrait or photo of a person, tell the viewer more about the person or context of the photo.

(Example of a caption with a person in the photo) Kristen Landreville teaches the Online Journalism class at the University of Wyoming on Tuesday afternoon. She is a professor of communication and journalism and is in her second year of teaching.

(Example of a caption without a person in the photo) Yellow fall leaves litter the lawn on Prexy’s Pasture on Tuesday. The first official day of fall was Saturday.

 

HSI, Day 11: Media Stereotypes & Finalize Flickr Slideshow

Class Discussion & Blog Post

Today we will examine various media stereotypes of the past and discuss if you think any stereotypes have changed.

On your blog, please write a post that answers these questions:

  1. To what extent have gender stereotypes changed?
  2. To what extent have racial stereotypes changed?
  3. What stereotypes on TV exist for people with disabilities?
  4. What stereotypes on TV exist for people who are GLBT?
  5. Please provide some example TV shows from the past decade to illustrate your arguments.

Finish Any Photo Editing & Create Flickr Sets & Embed Into Your Blog

For the remainder of today’s class, let’s finish up any photo editing we need to do. And, let’s make sure we get all of our Flickr slideshows posted to our blog.

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