Archives for December 2011

T.J. Kirkpatrick — Fly Away

Just have some fun with this one — an innovative use of time lapse photography. And maybe one or two many drinks on the plane?

(Note: you may have to drill into the “Multimedia” section of the website.)


How Sound’s 10/19/11 podcast covers the concept of “sure-handedness” to enhance the quality of an audio story. The term refers to one of 3 key points that John Biewen (Audio Program Director at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies) gives to students of his audio storytelling clinics. Basically, the idea is to follow a clear, logical progression of ideas that move your listener through the story line. Biewen says his advice is not designed as a formula, but rather it should serve as a gut-level guideline that keeps stories interesting and moving but still allows for surprises and and twists along the way.

The strongest point in this Podcast was How Sound’s dissection of an audio story to demonstrate the points discussed. In addition, How Sound’s Rob Rosenthal describes his own organizational techniques in producing his audio stories.

This is good stuff – applicable to many forms of storytelling.

It Came From Above

Check out this article written by Shane Hurlbut, a seasoned cinematographer now working with DSLR video cameras. Hurlbut chronicles his work with a Erica Tremblay, a friend who was filming a documentary about a tornado that killed 160 people and destroyed much of Joplin, MO.

Hurlbut’s article features discussion of the tools used, the production schedule, and a trailer called “It Came From Above“.

Tony Schwartz – Audio Artist

In 1999, Kitchen Sisters produced an amazing radio story for NPR called Tony Schwartz – 30,000 Recordings Later. A replay of this radio story is re-presented in Saltcast’s 7/14/08 Podcast entitled “Knocking the Rust Out” (available on iTunes – I can’t link to the Podcast here).

Tony Schwartz was an agoraphobiac (one who has an abnormal fear of being in open spaces) who lived his life in a very small section of New York City: basically a few blocks neart his mid-town apartment. Schwartz recorded sounds all around him, chronicling such things as taxi drivers, children playing games, salesmen, city sounds — whatever interested him (and it seemed most things did interest him). Some of the sound pieces Schwartz recorded, rebroadcast in this 1999 essay, are absolutely amazing. For example, Schwartz recorded a two-minute “time series” of his niece from birth to age 14 when she died, and this two minute portrait takes the listener from sounds of the girl crying as a baby thorough learning the alphabet to growing into young adulthood. I was captivated with these sounds: I felt I was reliving the everyday experiences that Schwartz captured so simply. I really felt I was listening to someone from the grave. I listened to this recording twice, back-to-back. You may too.

Schwartz developed a global network of people also interested in sound recordings, and he exchanged audio recordings with his friends around the world. Schwartz’s audio collection came to hold 15,000 recordings collected from around the world. He said, “Voices and music of the world came into my apartment in New York City, and I travelled no further than my mailbox.”

This is an astounding audio portrait. I would highly recommend the 24 minutes to listen to it completely. You will be struck by the humanity and curiosity of a man who, despite his personal limitations, built a world out of his intense passion.

2012 Training Update

Here are some interesting multimedia training workshops I see coming up (in no particular order):

1. Santa Fe Workshops: Multimedia Storytelling with Carlan Tapp (Feb 6-10) $995
In this 5-day workshop, seasoned storyteller Carlan Tapp shares many of the inspiring and still underutilized web-based and multimedia features photographers can use as pathways to tell a narrative, a personal story, or a documentary project.

2. Santa Fe Workshops: Documentary Storytelling with Deanne Fitzmaurice (Mar 21-24) $875
In this four-day workshop, Deanne helps you venture into the Santa Fe community to create a photo essay or photo story of your own. Our goal is to document a cultural or human-interest story, one that is engaging, provocative, and told from our unique point of view. There are endless possibilities to choose from: Hispanic artisans, tattoo parlors, life at a fire station, authentic Santa Fe, or Santa Fe the “tourist town.”

3. Maine Media Workshops: Storytelling with HDSLRs with Richard Klug (Mar 11-17) $1095
Students in this workshop work directly with multimedia journalists who have first hand experience with Canon HDSLRs. Students learn the benefits and drawbacks of the camera through hands on demonstrations, lectures and daily critiques. Additionally, instructors work directly with students to help them use the camera as a means to better tell documentary stories. As a goal over the course of the week, students find, create and shoot short documentary projects. Instructors cover production workflow, file conversion, media management, and audio gathering. Students should have solid understanding of digital photography and a basic understanding of video principles.

4. Maine Media Workshops: Basic Cinematography (May 27-Jun 2) $1195
Through lectures, screenings, demonstrations, fieldwork and critique, students gain a basic understanding of how to control the motion picture image and the creative possibilities and technical characteristics of various film stocks and digital sensors. Students learn the fundamentals of lighting scenes, exposure, color theory, depth-of-field, camera angles, shot design, composition, lenses, filtration, and camera movement.

5. Maine Media Workshops: HDSLR Filmmaking for Photographers with Juan Pons (Apr 22-28) $1095
More and more Digital SLR cameras have the capability to shoot HD video, but many photographers are not familiar with the intricacies of shooting video. This workshop covers the technical aspects of working with HDSLR cameras such as menu settings, image monitoring, capturing good audio, lens choices, filters, exposure control, cine-style accessories, camera support, data management and workflow. Visual aesthetics are discussed with regard to composition, depth-of-field, shot design, camera movement, and lighting. Students shoot short projects and exercises to become familiar with the equipment and practice the art of developing a visual narrative.

6. Palm Springs Photo Festival: Demystifying DSLR Video Production (Apr 3-4) $650
This two-day workshop will serve as a serious introduction to how you can use your DSLR cameras to shoot broadcast quality motion & still projects for your clients. We’ll explore camera setup procedures, cinema lenses, stabilization choices, monitoring issues, sound options and card workflow. How and when to move the camera will be discussed as well as production strategies that optimize the budget and experience level of photographer filmmakers. Students will have an opportunity to shoot with a shoulder rig, fluid head tripod, and with a pocket dolly or slider. The workshop will also provide access to some of the latest gear and technology available for HDSLR filmmaking. Talent will be available and students will have the opportunity of shooting and directing the talent. We’ll discuss how to import your footage into Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, add sound and stills, and how basic tools in these programs can be used to edit and output projects.

7. NPPA: Northern Short Course in Photojournalism (Mar 8-10) $290 (non-NPPA member)
Ed Kashi, Benjamin Rusnak, Jeff Sedlik, Barbara Davidson, Andrew Geraci are speakers lined up to date.

8. NPPA: Advanced Storytelling Workshop (Apr 15-20) $700 ($850 after Jan 1)
During the week students will attend class and produce finished stories. There are regular assignment meetings where story ideas are evaluated and refined. Great emphasis is placed on developing a clear focus before shooting begins. Shooting, writing and editing are conducted under real world deadlines. Designed for experienced TV and newspaper photojournalist, reporters and video journalist – anyone who tells stories with pictures, sound and words.

9. Digital Journalist: Platypus Workshop (May 19-27) $1895
You will learn how to use your DSLR, along with tips and tricks to make it an incredible tool for you in editorial, corporate and filmmaking settings. We will teach you field sound recording, cinematic storytelling, the use of lenses, tripods, multimedia applications, and Apple’s latest Final Cut Pro editing software. All in an action-packed, exciting, entertaining, and informative 9 days.