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Soundslides Projects – Fall 2014

Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson

Benjamin Banta and Andrew O’Neill

Hannah Robinson and Esther Seville

KC Schooner and Charlie McClain

Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson

Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts

Max Renton and Brooklynn Gray

Taylor Dilts and Louisa Wilkinson

Colby Kirkegaard, Blair Burns, and Nehemie Kankolongo

Look, Listen, Tell, and Show: Soundslides Assignment

Soundslides: Audio + Photos

When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. And as our guest speakers have told us, telling stories in multiple ways makes the story more accessible to your audience. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.

We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.

The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.

For story ideas, you can check out UW’s calendar of events, UW’s public outreach, UW’s news and announcements, WyoVocal, The Branding Iron, and the Laramie Boomerang. The story does not have to be university-related, but that’s where many of you may want to start brainstorming.

Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.

Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.

The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.

Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 8 – Soundslides Project assignment details.

Examples

Here are some student examples of Soundslides stories.

Brooke Eades (The Nutcracker)
Egla Negussie (Dangers of I-80)
Dyann Diercks (UW band)
Jessica Romero and Hailey Hawkes (about Roller Derby)

Tips for Gathering Audio and Photos

When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject.

However, when you are working alone in the future…

Collect the photos first if:

  1. You think the light is perfect
  2. You think the light will soon fade
  3. You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
  4. You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.

 

Collect the audio first if:

  1. You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
  2. The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
  3. The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves

 

When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.

And that’s OK.

More tips to remember for gathering photo and audio together:

Gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.

Importance of matching photos with audio.
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.

Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.

Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.

You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.

This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.

And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.

Download a free trial of Soundslides so you can work from home, too.

Student Work: Soundslides Projects

Alex Breckenridge and Scottie Melton

Dani Esquivel and William Bailey

Rachel Vliem and Rachel Wagner

Brittany Hamilton and Sami Jo Heitsch

Brett Kahler, Alex Landt, and Nichole Grady

Boyd Deuel and Miles Englehart

Denise Caskey and Jeff Nelson

Chris Banks and Keavy Ferrall

Alex Bradfield and Ashlyn Mazur

Sarah Dvorak and Carolyn Hageman

Audio Tips; Gathering Audio and Photos Together

Audio Tips

As you finish your first audio editing project and you begin your Soundslides project, please consider these tips from previous students of COJO 3530.

  1. During the audio interview, leave a brief pause after the interviewee finishes answering a question and before you begin your next question. Giving more pause will leave you more room for editing. [Adrienne Morency]
  2. Ask the interviewee to summarize or rephrase your question before answering it. And ask them to answer in complete sentences. This helps with storytelling without a narrator. [Alexandria Newman, Nic Behnke]
  3. Ensure you place the audio recorder close enough to the interviewee’s mouth so that their voice does not fade in and out during the interview. You want an even voice level during the interview, unless they’re expressing emotion. [Audrey Jensen]
  4. Resist the urge to respond or comment to your interviewee during and after everything he/she says–that means more editing for yourself or not being able to use the audio at all. [Bailey Gallo, Brooke Eades, Cameron Patey]
  5. Triple-check for any background noise that may negatively impact the interview. [Brooke Eades]
  6. Get your interviewee to clarify points that the listener may not understand or follow because of not having the context of the question. [Cameron Patey]
  7. Use the zoom feature extensively during your editing, it really helps get the cut to be as flawless as possible. [Anna Rader, Dyann Diercks, Egla Negussie, Rachel Ross]
  8. Build, don’t destroy: While editing, instead of taking the original interview and cutting it down, do the reverse. Take a blank audio track and then create an interview from the original. [Tiffany Le Gal]
  9. While editing, write down the points in the track that you’re working on. That way when you go back and listen to it, you can listen for the cut/transition and move things around faster by referencing those breaks in your notes. [Tom Hesse]
  10. Decide how you want to organize your story before you begin editing; know what the beginning, middle, and end should be before you begin editing. [Tracie Perkins]

 

Soundslides: Audio + Photos

When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.

We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.

The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.

For story ideas, you can check out UW’s calendar of events, UW’s public outreach, UW’s news and announcements, and the Laramie Boomerang. The story does not have to be university-related, but that’s where many of you may want to start brainstorming.

Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.

Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.

The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.

Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 8 – Soundslides Project assignment details.

Tips for Gathering Audio and Photos

When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject. However, when you are working alone in the future…

Collect the photos first if:

  1. You think the light is perfect
  2. You think the light will soon fade
  3. You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
  4. You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.

Collect the audio first if:

  1. You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
  2. The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
  3. The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves

When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.

And that’s OK.

Just remember to gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.

Importance of matching photos with audio:
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.

Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.

Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.

You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.

This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.

Examples

With that in mind, here are some examples of Soundslides stories.

Here are some student examples of Soundslides stories.

Brooke Eades (The Nutcracker)
Egla Negussie (Dangers of I-80)
Dyann Diercks (UW band)
Jessica Romero and Hailey Hawkes (about Roller Derby)

And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.

Download a free trial of Soundslides so you can work from home, too.

COJO 3530: Soundslides Projects

Nikki Finnesand and Jamie Hageman

Hannah Cox and Kelsey Tramp

Alex Barrett and Clinton Boutelle

John Denega

Hailey Hawkes and Jessica Romero

Josh Geiger and Chris Anselmo

Chase Harmelink and Mady Gerard

Ashlee Williams and Andee Novotny

Nikkita Miller and Edward Timmons

Kelsey Brinkerhoff and Lillian Palmer

Trevor Andersen and Brittany Rehm

Marqueston Huff and Robert Herron

COJO 3530, Weeks 10-11: Soundslides = Audio + Photos

Audio + Photos

When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.

We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.

The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.

For story ideas, you can check out UW’s calendar of events, UW’s public outreach, UW’s news and announcements, and the Laramie Boomerang. The story does not have to be university-related, but that’s where many of you may want to start brainstorming.

Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.

Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.

The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.

Let’s take a look at the assignment details.

Tips for Gathering Audio and Photos

When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject. However, when you are working alone in the future…

Collect the photos first if:

  1. You think the light is perfect
  2. You think the light will soon fade
  3. You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
  4. You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.

Collect the audio first if:

  1. You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
  2. The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
  3. The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves

When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.

And that’s OK.

Just remember to gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.

Importance of matching photos with audio:
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.

Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.

Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.

You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.

This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.

Examples

With that in mind, here are some examples of Soundslides stories.

Here are some student examples of Soundslides stories.

Brooke Eades (voted best slideshow in the class)
Egla Negussie (voted second-best slideshow in the class)
Dyann Diercks (another strong slideshow)

And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.

Download a free trial of Soundslides so you can work from home, too.

COJO 3530, Week 2: Planning for Multimedia

This week, we will cover how to critically think about and plan for your multimedia stories. This involves a basic understanding of how and why each media platform is successful. We will discuss that today. On Friday, we will segue into the related topics of navigation and usability. Let’s begin.

When you have a story to tell, critically think about the media platforms that you have available to tell the story. Your future employer may rely on you for suggesting and executing a story that is told in multiple fashions. A glance at our class schedule shows the multitude of ways in which you can tell a story. Let’s examine the qualities associated with each multimedia platform.

  1. Photo Slideshows: Photos capture moments. They are helpful for pictures that can appear in a predetermined linear format. Users can sometimes control the speed of the slideshow and sometimes cannot. Oftentimes, slideshows have audio associated with the photos. Oftentimes, captions to the photos are present. Example with audio. Example without audio.
  2. Audio: Audio captures vocal emotion. Radio is still powerful, even after all of the new media developments. Why? Sometimes, sound cannot be described in words. Sound expresses emotion like photos and words cannot. Audio must be good quality or else it can be distracting. Audio must keep the listener’s interest with powerful language and vivid descriptions. Example.
  3. Video: Video captures sequences of events. They are helpful for when you want to show action, highlight a location, or hear AND see a person central to the story. It is effective when it is short, to the point, and does not repeat the same story in other formats. The quality should be decent or else it can be distracting from the story. Example.
  4. Information Graphics: Infographics simplify complex data. They are helpful for presenting detailed visual information that includes maps, descriptions of a process, diagrams, timelines, charts, lists, data, numbers, and statistics. Example.
  5. Putting it all together: Information Layering. This is when reporters and producers use multiple points of entry into a story package. Each “point of entry” is a different media platform and each can stand alone (i.e., a complete, understandable story is told within each platform and not reliant on an earlier platform to be understood). Example.

Now let’s examine the questions for deciding if a story has multimedia potential.

  1. Can the story be broken down into several topical “chunks”? –> If yes, then consider information layering.
  2. Does the story describe a process? –> Infographics, videos, slideshows
  3. Is the story laden with figures or statistical information? –> Infographics
  4. Is there an emotional narrative to be told? –> Video, photos, audio
  5. Are there dramatic visual moments and events? –> Video, photos
  6. Does the story contain historical references? –> Infographics (e.g., timelines combined with other media)
  7. Is there potential for animations or games? –> Infographics

Depending on how you answer the questions above, you may have one or more possibilities of how you tell the story. In this class, you will have the chance to tell a story in most of the multimedia platforms, thus getting experience in each one. If you ever work with a team of media professionals, then hopefully you have the skills and knowledge necessary to critically think about how to best tell your story.

And again, I can’t emphasize enough that working across platforms is the future of media content. Think about your smartphone or tablet. It’s personal, intimate, tactile, interactive, and full of multimedia. These qualities facilitate expectations of in-depth information presented in ways YOU want to see it presented. We like options. We want to pick if we get to read, watch, hear, or explore the content.

Because nearly half of all Americans currently have smartphones, and that number continues to rise, society will continue to have greater expectations for multimedia information distribution. So let’s assume that you are proficient in several media platforms and you work with a team to create multimedia content. What happens next? That brings us to…

Navigation, Interactivity, and Usability

All media-content creators need to think about how the audience will experience and explore their work. Good multimedia presentations are intuitive and easy to explore. There is little confusion of where to click next or where to go for a particular piece of information –> this is called good “usability”.

If there is confusion with understanding the navigation (i.e., exploring the content) or the interactivity (i.e., the control the user has over the content), then there are problems with usability. Major usability problems can create frustration and anger within the user, and users  may abandon your content. Leaving the website is the easiest thing to do when there are literally hundreds of other places to get their news, product information, entertainment, etc.

This is clearly not the path you want your user to take. You want your user to fully explore and experience whatever media content you create. You didn’t spent all that time and effort for nothing. So let’s review some quick tips.

Navigation Tips

  1. Keep navigation simple: Limit choices. Avoid scroll bars and drop-down menus. Avoid layers and layers of navigation.
  2. Make navigation buttons large enough for a finger touch, not just a mouse click.
  3. Place controls and navigation in logical places. We glance pages from left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Set up navigation and controls that reflect this.
  4. Integrate multimedia into text, so if users what to explore the multimedia while reading the text, they can take a detour. This is nonlinearity.
  5. But be sure you make it easy for users to return to the previous content. –> Don’t remove key navigational buttons that were available before.
  6. Don’t change the position and location of links.
  7. Try not to offer more than 7 options for primary navigation. Exceeding 7 can overwhelm.
  8. Use clear labels and descriptions to users don’t guess where a button or link will take them.
  9. Use clean, simple design so it is easy to read and view your content.
  10. Conduct usability tests! (see more detail below)

Usability Tests

A usability test is an observation and interviewing task that involves watching users interact with the content and then asking users questions about the multimedia package’s navigation and interactivity. It provides valuable feedback for how effective the content presentation is. And research shows that you do not need to conduct dozens of usability tests to improve your content presentation.

Only 5 people are needed to reveal about 80% of the problems with a multimedia presentation. If you want to eliminate nearly 100% of the problems, then only 15 people are needed. Completely achievable.

The rest of class today will be dedicated to conducting a usability test on a multimedia presentation. You will first take the usability test yourself. You will record your answers. Then, you will ask another person (not in this class) to take the usability test as well. You will write a blog post that compares your usability test with the other person’s usability test. You will make some recommendations about what is helpful and successful and what is confusing and needs improvement. See full instructions for Blog Post #3.

Wyoming Press Association Workshops

I’m excited and honored to present two new-media related workshops to the Wyoming Press Association.

I’ve created a PowerPoint presentation for each workshop. Please download the slides and follow along.

Tech for Web Reporting

Gathering and Promoting News (and Yourself) with Social Media

If you have any questions after the workshops, please contact me via email or Twitter.

Student Work: Individual Soundslides Projects

After their group Soundslides project, students were sent out on their own to complete an individual Soundslides project. Here are the projects:

Sarah Alfred

Patrick Pajak

Alex Edwards

Jordan Dixon

Andie Knous

Caleb Tillapaugh

Megan Tanaka

Tracey Rosenlund

Jessica Peck

Andrew Joannides

Megan Elliott

Marie Smith

John Czerwinski

Justin Trygg

Jaron Jenkins

Cody Hess

Jasper Fitzgerald

Bridget Wilson

Rhanden Lind

Zach Greubel

Otis Garrison

Ashlee Oslund

Student Work: Group Soundslides Projects

Students have been working hard in teams to create their first Soundslides project. Here’s the fantastic results:

Alex Edwards & Ashlee Oslund

Cody Hess & Patrick Pajak

Marie Smith & Caleb Tillapaugh

Rhanden Lind & Tracey Rosenlund

Jordan Dixon & Megan Tanaka

Zak Bolender & Justin Trygg

John Czerwinski & Andrew Joannides

Zach Greubel & Peter Stevens

Jaron Jenkins & Bridget Wilson

Andie Knous & Jessica Peck

Sarah Alfred & Otis Garrison

Megan Elliott & Sara Whittle

Jasper Fitzgerald

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