Tips for students who are producing their first audio slideshow using the Soundslides program (http://soundslides.com/). View some good examples of slideshows made with Soundslides: http://delicious.com/macloo/soundslides+examples
An audio or video journalism story – or an audio slideshow – is usually more like what you thought of as a STORY before you studied journalism. It doesn’t have an inverted pyramid shape. And while it DOES have a beginning, a middle, and an end – THIS diagram is going to be more useful to you as you try to tell these stories in an interesting way.
You probably do not have any idea what the climax will be when you go out to report the story – when you start to interview a person. But as you gain more experience, you should be able to recognize this climactic moment. A bell should ring in your brain – and you will think, “Aha! That’s my close! I’ve got it!”
So once again – to tell a good story, START by deciding what the climax will be. Do this BEFORE you begin to edit.
The second thing you need to decide is, What’s my open? Remember -- you only have one chance to get anybody to STAY and listen to your story (or watch your video). The first 10 to 20 seconds are CRUCIAL. So what do they hear? The most BORING thing they could hear is an ID – “My name is Mindy McAdams …” They don’t care! They don’t know who I am. Hearing somebody say their name is not going to make anyone want to stick around and hear the story!
After you have decided on the climax, then choose the opening. Of course you can’t give away the climax in the opening. If your story starts with – “I couldn’t believe I forgot my passport!” – then the climax has got to be BEYOND that – how they missed their flight. How the trip was ruined – or saved at the last minute! That’s why it’s important to choose the ending FIRST.
After you hook your audience, you have to draw them up, up, up to your climax and resolution. You have all kinds of material you have gathered in your interview. You are the storyteller – you can decide to use anything and to omit anything. Just stay true to your ethics – always be honest, and never change what the person meant.
If you have selected the CLIMAX and then the OPENING, the rest should be easy. All you need to do is carry the audience logically from Point A to Point B in a way that is interesting – as well as sensible.
Soundslides: A Brief Introduction (Jtoolkit.com)
Soundslides Storytelling Mindy McAdams
Overview1. Story idea2. Photos3. Captions4. Audio5. Story structure6. Making the story7. Final assembly
1. Story idea• Is your story visual?• Will you be able to get a lot of DIFFERENT shots with your camera?• Does your story have a character, an interesting person?• Do you have access? Can you complete the interview and shoot all the photos – and still make your deadline?
2. Photos• First, observe the activities or actions.• Take some time. No hurry.• Then use the camera.• Shoot things that are interesting to SEE.• Get a lot of CLOSE-UP SHOTS!• Get low, get high, find a unique angle.• VARIETY. Many different shots.
Photos• The time of a Soundslides = the time of the edited audio file• Number of photos in the slide show = time of audio (in seconds) divided by 5 – 60 seconds = 12 photos (minimum) – 120 seconds = 24 photos (minimum)• For 20 good photos, shoot 200 photos!
3. Captions• Collect all the information you will need for the captions …• At the same time when you are shooting the photos! – People’s names – Names of places, buildings, streets, etc. – Dates – Other names
Caption details!• People: Be sure to identify ALL significant people in EACH photo.• Places: The exact location of the event or events must be given in the caption on the first or second photo.• Dates: The complete date(s) of the event or events must be given in the caption on the first or second photo. That includes the YEAR.
Caption details! (2)• Other names: If your story concerns a named event, a company, a nonprofit organization, NGO, etc., make sure you include the complete name of all of those.• Correct spelling and correct capitalization are very important! ASK.• WRITE EVERYTHING – CAREFULLY!
4. Audio• If there are interesting sounds at the photo location, RECORD THEM.• The interview should be done in a QUIET place.• You may do the interview on another day.• It is best to record the interview AFTER you shoot the photos.
The interview should be about feelings, experiences, not about facts.
The reporter’s voice will not be heardin the edited audio.
5. Story structure• Strong beginning: Catch the attention!• Satisfying ending: The viewer should feel some emotion at the end.• Decide on the ending BEFORE you start to work in Soundslides.• The ending is the “destination.”• Everything in the story is leading us on a path toward the ending.
(2)What is my open?How do I grab their attention?
(3)How do I move the story from my open to my close?
6. Making the story• Look at your photos. Listen to your audio.• Think about the ENDING (ending first).• Look at your photos. Listen to your audio.• Choose photo(s) and audio for the ending.• Think about the opening.• Choose photo(s) and audio for the opening.• Be flexible. Maybe you will change it.
You must edit ONE audio fileto use in Soundslides.
Make sure you arelooking at your photoswhile you make choices in the audio editing.
7. Final assembly• Edit the audio and export an MP3 file.• Select the final photos and edit them (JPG).• Write a caption for EACH photo.• Open Soundslides.• Import the photos and the audio.• Make adjustments so that the audio and photos work well together.• Save and export.
Final advice• Before you leave the photo location …• Be sure you HAVE a STORY!• While you are interviewing, REMEMBER your PHOTOS …• Ask about the activities in your photos, or the story behind them!• Make sure it is interesting!
Review1. Story idea2. Photos3. Captions4. Audio5. Story structure6. Making the story7. Final assembly