MediaStorm Online Training Mini-Lessons Coming to YouTube

Multimedia students and professionals have used our Online Training to take their storytelling skills to the next level for three years now, letting MediaStorm's production team walk them through essential tools and techniques for improving production quality. Now we're excited to bring a few key lessons from behind the paywall exclusively on the MediaStorm YouTube Channel. Audio is our theme for April. Every Monday this month we'll release a new lesson on gathering and producing great audio from our executive producer Brian Storm and producer Tim McLaughlin's 101: Reporting Track. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be first in line for our mini-lessons.

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We Need You! Vote For MediaStorm to Receive Mission Main Street Grant

MediaStorm has some of the most passionate fans and followers on earth. As a community, we understand the importance of compassionate storytelling, and that technology and cinematic narratives can come together to create connections across the human experience. It's in this spirit that we ask for your support in Chase's Mission Main Street Grants Program. We need 250 people to vote for us by November 15th to move on to the next selection phase. Whether you're a fellow creative, storyteller, or just someone who enjoys our projects, please take a quick minute to show your support. With this grant, we will continue our commitment to you and to pushing the boundaries of digital storytelling. Thanks in advance from everyone at MediaStorm.

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#AskMediaStorm Answers Round 1: NGOs, Building Story Arc, and Don’t Forget the Room Tone!

This is the first in an ongoing series of question and answers with the MediaStorm staff. To ask a question for the next roundup use the twitter hashtag #AskMediaStorm or use the comment section below. We can’t promise we’ll answer every question (hey, we’ve got films to produce!). But if your question wasn’t answered this round there’s a chance you’ll be included next time. Stay tuned. 

This week’s questions are answered by Eric Maierson and Tim McLaughlin.

Working with NGOs: Do you have your own people looking for characters, or do you trust the local NGO staff? #AskMediaStorm –@tatublomqvist

Eric: It’s actually a bit of both. Sometimes organizations are very specific about who they’d like us to interview and sometimes they know the story they’d like to tell but don’t have a specific person in mind. In the latter case, our Director of Photography Rick Gershon will talk with people in the community and then decide who best embraces the NGO’s goals. It’s important to remain flexible and open when making these decisions.

Tim: I’ll add that Rick often interviews dozens of potential subjects before choosing someone. These short “pre-interviews” give him a greater sense of who might best represent the story of the NGO, or more importantly, who has the best story to tell.

Using (or not using) panning/zooming on stills: When, why and how much? – @colinelphick

Eric: The writer Elmore Leonard once wrote in regards to exclamation points, “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.”

I think of pans and zooms similarly. Two or three times per piece is plenty, generally speaking.

Tim: I wholeheartedly agree with Eric on this. But that being said, when I do use these techniques, I use them for a reason. If I zoom in on an image, it’s often because I want the viewer to both listen to what’s being said in the interview (not changing visuals allows the viewer more opportunity to listen to the narrative), or I want them to spend time with a specific image. Panning, for me, is used to slowly reveal new information visually, or to continue the flow of a visual sequence. If, for instance, the camera is moving from left to right in the preceding video clip, I might use a pan moving from left to right in the next shot to continue the visual flow. This isn’t a rule (there aren’t any rules really), but it’s something I do from time to time.

What is the most important thing to remember when editing a multimedia? – @TorsteinBoe 


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Multiple language subtitles now available in the MediaStorm Player

We've been rolling out some updates to the MediaStorm Player, and one of the features we're most excited about is the ability to show subtitles in multiple languages. The subtitles work both on our site and on the embedded version of our player. English subtitles are available for all of our projects. Foreign translations are currently available for the following projects: Undesired: Hindi and Spanish Intended Consequences: German Black Market: German Kingsley's Crossing: Chinese We're often asked why some of our projects have forced subtitles, while others don't. MediaStorm Producer Eric Maierson has put together a Guide to Using Subtitles that gives some insight into our thought process, and also some technical tips for creating those subtitles in Final Cut Pro. We're working on getting additional projects and languages online, and will be adding those as we get them finished. If you're interested in volunteering to help us translate our projects into…

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MediaStorm’s Guide to Using Subtitles

Sometimes the most difficult challenge regarding subtitles is deciding whether to use them or not. Subtitles present obvious aesthetic challenges—from inevitably covering the most important part of an image to turning a visual experience into a written one. If at all possible, avoid them; the obvious exception being when someone speaks a language other than that of the intended audience. Then subtitles are essential. So how do you know if you need English subtitles for someone speaking English? It’s often difficult for a producer to make this call. After listening to the same clips again and again, we learn a speaker’s cadence and nuances and they become clearer to us. Probably the best method to make this determination is to play your project for a group of people who haven’t seen it yet and see if they can understand the narration without subtitles. With fresh ears, they’ll quickly let you know if…

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