Photojournalism 1 2013

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A quick and simple guide to photojournalism for the web

A quick and simple guide to photojournalism for the web

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  • 1. Multimedia 1: Photojournalism + Audio A brief history of Mulltimedia / Mixing audio and images A/Prof Martin Hirst, Deakin University, August 2013 #alj301 @ethicalmartini The addition of audio should then take the picture and the text caption to yet another level, the fourth effect of multimedia, where the image, text and audio work together to create an experience that none could produce on their own. Brian Storm, multimedia pioneer http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0506/storm.html
  • 2. Two strands weave together Briefing 1: History of multimedia  Analogue to digital  Bigger, better and smaller  Keeping up with technique and technology  Go Mojo  DIY and the second UGC revolution Briefing 2: Introducing photojournalism  A picture is worth 1000 words  The photo-essay: tradition and controversy  Film to pixels  Art and the impact of technology
  • 3. From analog to digital  A key development in the evolution of multimedia journalism was the shift from analog to digital technology  The binary code of computing was applied to the communication arts with stunning effect  Translating sound and images to bits and bytes liberated amateurs and professionals from the dark room and the tape recorder  Portability can increase productivity and/or creativity  but the connection is not automatic
  • 4. Go Mojo Ivo Burum, has over 30 years experience as a producer, director writer and executive producer in television content across news, current affairs, documentary and docu-drama. Ivo was a pioneer in ‘self-shot television’ and is leading the world on mobile journalism (mojo). Ivo is often invited to conferences, he consults to global media, and is completing his PhD at Deakin University.
  • 5. From “kludge” to Mojo: 1 – stepping up
  • 6. Step 2: UGC-UGNC-UGS User-generated content [UGC]: This very broad category covers everything from the lucky or coincidental photo or video imageds; causal YouTube upload to the serious amateur blogger, Flikr afficionado or Redditor to comment threads on MSM sites, fanzines and other weird portals of doom User-generated news-like content [UGNC] – News 2.0 (Hirst 2011): ‘News-like’ content can be eye-witness, willing or unwilling participant; UGNC is a little more serious or focused than simple UGC, it is a refinement of the concept of user- generated because it has more characteristics of news, it is of a more ‘public interest’ focus. UGNC can incorporate various types of activist and citizen journalism User-generated Story (UGS) – NT Mojo; High School Mojo Ivo Burum’s PhD Stage 1: UGS is another level of conscious structuring that takes the active features of citizen journalism, but applies them to both’ news’, ‘news-like’ and non-news genres, including professional, educational and everyday story-telling.
  • 7. Is crowd-sourced UGC profitable? • Stringwire and Newsmodo are ‘crowd sourced’, entrepreneurial news and story generating models • News organisations pay a freelance fee to source material from people ‘on-the-scene’ or on ‘topic’ stories • These sites are emerging in many parts of the world as a way of harnessing freelance talent, or interested media students in an increasingly outsourced news marketplace • It is yet to be shown that they are sustainable as a variant of the new economy for news
  • 8. Photojournalism documents real life Like in traditional print journalism, the photojournalist’s job is to document a real story in the most authentic manner possible and with the utmost journalistic integrity. A Brief History of Photojournalism Dorothea Lange, Mère migrante (Migrant Mother), 1936
  • 9. Migration from print to web When Life magazine made the announcement in 1972 that it was ceasing its weekly publication, many people claimed that photojournalism was dead. However, photojournalism is just as impactful viewed on a webpage as it is when viewed on the page of a magazine. People consume news voraciously, and have come to expect solid photographic documentation of what is happening in the world around them. A Brief History of Photojournalism Gordon Parks America Gothic
  • 10. What do photojournalists do?  Hunting verbs means finding, following and capturing the action  Verbs are doing words, we want to see images of people doing things  Answer the question for viewers:  “What are they doing?” Photojournalists capture "verbs." This sounds simple, but a room of professional photographers was dumbfounded by this realization. Although photojournalists can take properly exposed and well composed photographs all day long, they hunt verbs. They hunt them, shoot them and show them to their readers. Then, they hunt more. Mark Hancock http://markhancock.blogspot.com.au/1996/01/what-is- photojournalist.html#photojournalist
  • 11. ―Just shoot me‖  There‘s nothing mysterious about broadcast technology and in the web context high-end production values are not important  However, always aim to shoot the best quality that you can—this means good light, good audio and good camera angles  There are some basic rules you should be following - ‗the rule of thirds‘, for example and how to follow action with the camera, without getting all that jerky movement that spoils the shot
  • 12. Point and shoot #1: Fill the frame  Fill the frame  Get close  Get wide  Back away when necessary  Crop in camera Within the rectangular frame there is life. Each time we bring the camera to our eyes, we fill from the fountain. We have a chance to look at the world around us and refill our wonder. Given this opportunity, we should fill our frame with life. We should fill it often and make sure it's full. Mark Hancock The rule is, keep anything that adds to the image and remove (by in-camera cropping) anything that detracts from the image.
  • 13. Keep the camera still  Great images and videos are often ruined by something preventable: camera shake.  Stability is the key to eliminating camera shake. The best way to create a stable platform for the camera or video recorder is by using a tripod.  Bracing a camera against a wall or tree eliminates several directions of movement but also restricts the PJ's options and occasionally her/his ability to frame the image at all.
  • 14. Framing the shot  A good shot will always fill the frame  Get as physically close as you can to the subject/action ―Zoom with your feet‖  Familiarise yourself with the grammar of the shot:  Long/wide/establishing shots (panoramic, scene- setting)  Mid-shots (from the mid thigh or higher)/Head and shoulders (close-up)/ECU (extreme close-up)  Portraits versus Landscapes  Choose your background carefully – ―decorate‖  Fill the frame
  • 15. Shoot for your editor (usually you)  Most times you only get one shot at getting a shot  Action speaks louder than words – shoot wide first and shoot wide often  Shoot objects that are relevant or interesting; details faces, hands, windows, artworks, flowers, friends, doors, damage, colour, emotion, metaphor, beauty, intrigue, curiosity, personality  But don‘t waste time on that till you get the action  Take time to frame an interview shot – even in the heat of the moment
  • 16. Rule of thirds  Imagine the scene you want to frame overlaid with a grid breaking it into nine rectangles of equal size  Find the major point of interest in the shot as your focal point  Frame major foreground objects into the left or right horizontal third and into the middle third  Fill at least two thirds vertically Source: sweet.vanjava The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Digital Photography School
  • 17. Source: TV Handbook Source: Ethical Martini Source: sweet.vanjava Source: Picture America
  • 18. Use ALL available light  Dark, greyed-out and grainy footage cannot be repaired in post- production (GIGO again)  Using professional lighting rigs is expensive, time-consuming and not for the D-I-Y beginner  Simple-to-use ‗hotshoe‘ lights for modern digital cameras work well for lighting faces—if you‘re close enough  When in doubt take it out(side)—there‘s nothing wrong with asking your interviewee to go outside, but be very careful about noisy locations  Open the curtains/blinds and turn on the lights  A simple table or desk lamp makes a reasonable spotlight for faces
  • 19. Lighting tips  Don‘t shoot into direct sunlight  If you‘re outside on a really sunny day, find some light/dappled shade  Don‘t shoot with the sun in your interviewee‘s eyes, they squint and look stupid  Find and use the ―backlight‖ button on your camera  If you only have a little amount of light, get it on your subject any way you can—use the desk lamp etc and bring it close, then frame the shot to leave it out (see rule of thirds)
  • 20. Action in the frame  For interview subjects – frame wide or deep enough to get hands in frame if they move, using slow tilt  If you‘re on your own, keep it simple  a good seated MCU set wide (camera close) over one shoulder,  or standing head and shoulders to mid chest [don‘t cross the line]  If in doubt, keep it wide – for crowd scenes, team sport and racing  Don‘t shoot flat – angle the camera so that the action is moving towards (not head-on) or away into a horizon or vertical vanishing point (thirds)
  • 21. Where can the camera go?  180 degree rule  for any given sequence of shots stay on one side of the subject  a half-circle along an imaginary line through the subject forms your shooting area  Crossing the line reverses the direction of action
  • 22. Photojournalism and multimedia  Smartphones combine multimedia and mobile Apps  Twitter, Instagram & Flickr  “Kludge”:  Citizen Journalism  Bystander footage  Go mojo: Ivo Burum Today's photojournalists also must master sound equipment and collection of audio in addition to cameras, lenses, and the ability to shoot compelling images Kobre, K, 2008, 'Multimedia', in Photojournalism: the professionals' approach, Focal Press, Amsterdam, pp. 269-305. Professor Ken Kobré heads the photojournalism program at San Francisco State University.
  • 23. Add sound for extra ‘oomph’  Gathering audio is a challenge for traditional photojournalists, but for multimedia it is a natural step  Nat Sot – natural sound / atmosphere ‘Atmos’  V/O – voice over / narration  Grab – audio slice from an interview with subject  SFx – sound effects / added during the edit / mix Words in a subject's own voice more powerfully convey a quote than any printed version of the same words. Sound adds the cultural richness of accent and the reality of emotion to accompanying images.
  • 24. A few sound rules  Read up and practice microphone technique  Test your microphones before using them, particularly the first time  If using a small ‗prosumer‘ camera, fit an external mic if you can  Where possible use lapel mics for interviews – if you only have one, put it on the talent, not on you  If your camera lets you ALWAYS check your audio levels in a pre-record test  Stay away from noisy locations and high wind situations
  • 25. To interview or shoot?What comes first  The chicken descended from dinosaurs, but dinosaurs also laid eggs…so  Interview before the shoot to gather information that will inform your choice of shot  Alternatively, candid shots may help reveal issues that can be broached in a question that adds value The question of whether to shoot first or ask questions is a bit like the proverbial chicken-or- egg problem.
  • 26. Ask, shoot, ask and shoot again  To find the best fit – Kobre’s “tight lock” between image, text and audio  Ask some questions to get ideas for shots  Shoot some images  Ask again, possibly after showing images to talent The real answer to "Which comes first, the interview or the photography?" lies in the need to do each more than once. Ken Kobre This approach works for static situations, where you are doing a pre-arranged interview and you have had time to prepare for the assignment A different approach may be necessary when covering an “event” such as a sporting match or protests march If you are covering a news story or current affairs, you may well want to shoot in more than one location and over several time periods or days