A Guide to Getting Good

Here's the secret to getting good: practice, a lot. It's that simple and that difficult. People tell me they want to produce work like MediaStorm. You can. Yes, we are fortunate to work with many incredibly talented photographers. But the storytelling techniques we use in our work are not revolutionary. They're the same techniques described by Aristotle in his Poetics, 2000 years ago. What's different is that we work our stories. We watch and re-watch literally dozens of times, replacing soundbites, removing the inauthentic, rearranging, restructuring, often for weeks at a time. Sometimes it feels endless but in the end, it works. And it can for you, too. When I produced Driftless by Danny Wilcox Frazier I worked more hours than I thought I could. But I did. And in the end, I became a better editor for it. And the same applies to you, if you put in the hours. Malcom…

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Thomson Reuters Foundation, Red Cross and MediaStorm Produce Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope

MediaStorm along with Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announce Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope. The project marks the fifth anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Combining imagery by Reuters photojournalists with eyewitness testimony and interactive graphics, the documentary reveals the strength of the human spirit in the face of catastrophe. These are stories of compassion and hope. Surviving the Tsunami follows two previous productions with Reuters, Bearing Witness about the Iraq war and Times of Crisis about the global financial meltdown.

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MediaStorm’s Ten Tips for Working With Music in Multimedia

Music is an all too frequently overlooked facet of multimedia production. In this ongoing series of tutorials to improve your multimedia, I'll explain 10 techniques that the MediaStorm team utilizes when working with music. First, though, a few definitions commonly used to describe musical attributes. Tempo: the speed of a musical composition, how fast or slow it's played. Timbre: the voice or sound of an instrument. A stringed instrument has a different timbre than a piano or a saxophone. Pitch: the frequency of a sound. Bass notes have a low pitch; the upper octaves of a piano produce a higher pitch. Rhythm: the variation in length between sounds and accents. Rhythm is often tapped onto a surface. 1. Decide whether to use music. If the music you've chosen is not exceptional, don't use it. Viewers need only a single small reason to stop watching your work; poor music is a big one.…

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MediaStorm documents Final Cut workflows for the Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D300

Since its release, the Canon 5D Mark II has become the de facto video camera for many photojournalists. Despite some technical challenges, like the ability to follow focus and the low-fi built-in microphone, the visual quality is simply stunning. Prosumer video gear just can't touch its filmic look or depth-of-field. For examples, check out the gorgeous work of Jeff Hutchens and Nacho Corbella in the MediaStorm workshop project Hold Out. More recent workshop attendees Deanne Fitzmaurice and Doug Grant also used the 5D to beautiful effect in Family Kocktail. It's not hard to understand why the Canon 5D Mark II, and now the Nikon D300, have become so popular. But to make these files Final Cut Pro compliant there remain a number of technical hurdles. To help with this, MediaStorm has documented our workflow with each of these cameras in two separate PDFs. These documents detail the transcoding process in Compressor, demonstrate…

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MediaStorm’s Multiclip Workflow

One of the benefits of shooting two-camera interviews is the ability to cut between angles without having to use b-roll to cover an edit.

For an example of this technique see On the Road with Danny Wilcox Frazier, an interview with the Driftless photographer.

Final Cut syncs two-camera interviews by creating multiclips. Multiclips act as a sort of wrapper, bundling two or more angles into one clip so that you can seamlessly edit between them.

(NOTE: This workflow assumes that you have asked your subjects to clap their hands at the beginning of the interview as a way to sync your cameras during the editing process.)

The first step in editing a two-camera interview is to make sure both tapes will be in sync when you create the multiclip.

To do this, load the clip from the first camera angle into Final Cut’s Viewer.

Mark an IN point (I) at the first frame of your subject clapping. You may need to scrub
back and forth with the arrow keys to find it. On occasion, the visual may appear to be a frame or two off from the actual clap. Mark IN based on the sound, not the picture.

Repeat this process with your clip from the second camera angle. Mark an IN where you hear the clap here, too.


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