Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Learn from the best

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on May 20, 2009

A brief, simple blog from multimedia producers Duckrabbit has stuck with me this week.

As well as highlighting amazing inspirational pieces of work (not to mention producing a fair few themselves), they’re also not afraid to highlight the less than good.

A frank post: “CNN should fire the producer of this audio slideshow” shows us a piece about a rehabilitation centre for children in Aghanistan, and shows us whats wrong with it.

In particular:

The point about a still photo is that your eye explores it. When you put too much motion into a slideshow you’re removing the viewers ability to pause and reflect, to explore.

Slow pans on a big screen look great … but at the small size the images are reduced to on our computer screens the panning looks as rough as a dogs dinner that even the dog refuses to eat.

This is an incredibly important point about the still photograph and its place in the audio slideshow,  and one I’ve never thought about before. (You only have to watch an audio slideshow I did from Basra to see similar seasick movements).

So these guys know what they’re talking about.

And now there’s a chance to learn from the best: with a weekend training event in Bristol, UK in July. Click here for all the details.

I had high hopes of going myself (gawd knows my photography needs some help) but sadly a prior arrangement (and a shortage of cash) keeps me out of the race.

Which means there’s one more place for you!

Some inspiring bits of multimedia

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on May 10, 2009

My own personal multimedia project is almost finished, nearly two months after I got back from Iraq. It’s been a real learning curve, on everything from slideshows to CSS, but the end is in sight.

In the darker moments when you wonder what you’re doing or why-the-hell why, inspiring works from other (more talented) producers is a shining light to keep you going. Here’s two gems I’ve seen in the last week.

01. Facing Deportation by Eileen Mignoni

Highlighted by Tracey Boyer at Innovative Interactivity, this student project, is a masterpiece of a myriad of journalistic skills, from photography, to map production to online design. What I love most is it’s simplicity – the design of the website is enticingly bare, and the interactive map showing deportation figures top notch.

02. Imber the Ghost Village, by Duckrabbit

I left a comment beneath this beautiful slideshow, saying I was engrossed. The almost haunting photographs and the subtle music drag you straight into this sad story of a village shut down by the MoD in the 1940s. I love a good historical yarn, and Imber certainly fits into it. There’s not a huge amount to it – just a couple of contributers, and some high quality images are all it needs to craft this wonderful story.