Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The Art of the Audio Slideshow

Posted in Adam, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on April 25, 2010

Last week I was planning on joining a prestigious line up of journalists and social media experts to speak at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Unfortunately it now joins the long list of events, weddings, classes, finances and affairs around the globe affected by the volcano whose name shall remain unpronounceable.  I was due to speak to journalists about the ‘art of the audio slideshow‘ something I have talked about passionately in lectures, training events and Frontline Club events in the past.

Click on the image below to watch the presentation yourself.

Other speakers included Andrew Lyons from London based Ultraknowledge – I have written about their innovative work for the Independent Newspaper here – and here’s a video I shot with them – my first on the new Canon 550D (more on that in a future post).

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  1. […] artykuł na: The Art of the Audio Slideshow « Adam Westbrook frontline, frontline-club, have-talked, image, past, presentation, the-image, the-past, […]

  2. paulbalcerak said, on April 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Nice and simple—I like it.

    Not sure this was intentional, but I like that you put “get your interviews” before “shoot your photos.” Can’t remember if it was you or Colin Mulvany who said it before, but when it comes to video/slideshows, it’s a good technique to record interviews first. That way, you end up looking for images to accompany your information, rather than fishing for quotes to compliment the images you already have.

  3. adamwestbrook said, on April 28, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Absolutely..I think the New York Times did it best with the 1 in 8 million series..they actually edited their audio down before sending a photographer to capture the images.

    Not always possible working solo, but still a good technique to have in mind.

  4. Jena Olson said, on April 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    That’s a great tip on getting audio prior to stills. I think it makes sense in a lot of cases….but sometimes starting with the visual can be helpful too. As a photographer, starting with the visual allows me to hone in on what is really interesting to me, especially if it’s a story with many potential threads. It gives me license (from my subject) to simply observe and see what they do, to see what is important to them…and then I can ask about it later. Ideally, I have a chance after the audio portion to also get back and get additional stills (not always possible). I think it all depends on the intention of the piece and how much time you have….

  5. adamwestbrook said, on April 30, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Hi Jena
    That’s an interesting perspective – as a former radio journalist I go into it audio first, but I can totally see how you’d go in from the other approach!

    I still feel audio drives the narrative forward more than photographs can though – can pictures move a story forward on their own?

  6. Jena Olson said, on April 30, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I do think it’s true, the audio drives the narrative and will ultimately determine the shape of the piece. But the audio is shaped by the questions we ask and the questions we leave out. Unless I already know a ton about my subject (and I’m speaking more to character pieces that explore motives and emotions), I won’t always know what questions I want to ask. For me, doing some quiet observation helps me form those questions for myself. But then, after the audio, I want to have time to create more stills that compliment the audio.

    Being a beginner in multimedia, and having my only solid experiences being more long-term personal projects where I DO have that luxury to go back and forth with the audio and visual, I also recognize that in MOST cases, starting with the audio will make the most sense, hands down.

  7. paulbalcerak said, on April 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    @Adam @Jena – Not sure if this is entirely in line with the conversation, but with regard to Adam’s question of “can pictures move a story on their own?” I thought of this video by Richard Hernandez. Richard took 54 pictures over 54 days on his daily bus route, the 54 in Oakland, California. He packaged the photos together with music and minimal text and the result is pretty cool.

    So I guess to try and answer Adam’s question, I think images can drive a story on their own, but in a more abstract way.

    Also cool: Richard put together virtually the whole project using just iPhone apps.

  8. adamwestbrook said, on May 1, 2010 at 11:41 am

    @Paul that is very cool, especially the apps elements. Really like the titles too..Not sure if there’s a story in there though is there? Or is it more of a montage? …correct me if I totally missed it!

  9. paulbalcerak said, on May 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    @Adam- No, you’re right—like I said, it’s more of an abstract representation of a certain place more than it is a traditional news story. So maybe it’s not a story, but I think there’s an argument that it’s still good journalism, in the sense that it’s capturing the “flavor” of this bus route and sort of giving us a look at what it’s like in the neighborhoods this bus rolls through every day.

  10. […] The art of the audio slideshow – and how to make one […]


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