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Archive for March, 2010

Trudging along

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Preoccupation with my website inspiration and post post-production video recovery fogged my vision for an adequate Friday afternoon final project update. So, at long last, here it is:

Simply put: As of right now, I don’t posses enough assets to build a storyboard — yet. But, I do see that on the horizon. As I mentioned before, for better or for worse, I was consumed by video last week. Hopefully, that video will become some part of the final project, in one form or another. For a number of reasons, I made the decision to cut the audio separate from (and before) the video, and, in doing so, I think I progressed in technique, started to conquer the software, and produced much stronger results. While the video needs work, the audio seems cleaner, crisper, and more fluid than the previous week. Happy Kristen. Now to conquer video. Commentary? Critique?

On the docket for this week: more research, setting up more appointments, and planning interviews that will consume spring break. I’m going to jump into this with both feet, but wise planning is essential as my subject is super busy. In addition, I’d like to recut the audio from the audio assignment—clean it up and add a second bit of narration—in hopes of adding it to the final.

PS: Sadly, no photo updates for this week.

Luge Crash at the Olympics: a critique

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

The Luge Crash at the Olympics is an interactive multimedia graphic published by the New York Times immediately following the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili during Olympic training. The feature breaks Kumaritashvili’s final journey in eight parts. It combines a three-dimensional course graphic with video stills of the fatal run. Each still is annotated with a short snippet of explanation, for example: “As he comes out of turn 16, he is very high on the ramp.”

The interface is simple, clean and understandable. The feature begins with an aerial illustration of the course. It’s white design sets the stage for a winter Olympic story and blends with the stark layout of the New York Times website. The navigation, placed in the upper left corner, consists of hyperlinked slide numbers, which (thankfully) put the user in control of potentially graphic material. Each click rotates the graphic through the course following Kumaritashvili’s decent. The three-dimensional graphics are clearly rendered and easier to follow than real time video. A yellow line drawn on the course identifies where the luger was at each point.

The Flash interface allows the publication to offer depth only possible through a combination of motion graphics, stills, explanatory text and an interactive map. There’s no better way to supplement the article than this.

If I were to change anything, I would probably add audio: live commentator thoughts or natural sound for moments captured by the stills, something to bring the user into the moment. Although, perhaps the moment is not where the user wants to be.

I would certainly remove the final “point of impact” image.

Keep on keepin’ on

Friday, March 12th, 2010
I made decent progress on collecting assets for my final project this week, including photographs, audio and a video of my subject reading (and answering) GA’s 20 questions. Admittedly, my focus has been on the video project due Wednesday, but I think I’ve collected some versatile material.
I plan to focus on the video project next week, which will, I hope, be included in part or in whole with the final project. I’ll also revisit my initial audio project a third time (already revisited once for further noise reduction) and add more narration for a stronger “radio piece.”
As spring break approaches, I’m scheduling every waking (non working) moment making pictures of my subject. Paying bills, heading to work in the financial industry, and attending meetings. Every night of the week she attends an AA or GA meeting. While I can’t document the anonymous organizations from within, I can attend meetings and make my own observations for guiding the story.
I also have an interview set up with Dan Smith, Board Approved Clinical Consultant and International Gambling Counselor. Dan is my subject’s state funded GA counselor. I hope he can shed some light on pending legislation and future impact. In addition, I hope to speak with her parents or sister at some point.

The times (and projects) they are a changin’

Friday, March 5th, 2010

The derby is still a go, but probably an exterior project I’ll follow for backup.


My subject is a compulsive gambler. In 2008, she lost over $60,000 in 6 months, or just under 1.5 times her yearly salary. Her bankruptcy became final on March 1, 2010, one year after she blacklisted herself from Missouri casinos.

Senate Bill 902 (effective August 28, 2000) allows up to one cent of the state’s portion of the [casino] admission fee to be allocated to the Compulsive Gamblers Fund. This fund is used for treatment services, as well as prevention and education programs. It funds the ongoing (and intense) treatment my subject needs to stay clean.

Missouri Governor Nixon recently proposed cuts to the problem gambling treatment funds. I have heard that the Missouri House of Representatives agreed with these cuts.

Additionally, Pinnacle-owned River City Casino opened it’s doors to St. Louis today. The 1904 World’s Fair-themed complex located in South St. Louis County, was built 4/10 of a mile from Harris House, the 28-day rehabilitation center my subject called home during early recovery.

In another interesting twist: March 7 through 13 is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.

This week, I did a preliminary audio interview with my subject to flesh out the story and I have a second interview planned for Saturday. Next week, I’d like to focus heavily on my research. I hope to set up an interview with Daniel Smith, my subject’s Gambling Councilor (paid for by the Compulsive Gamblers Fund) and read up on Governor Nixon’s proposal. Production-wise, I’d like to bring video to the project, although equipment availability is crucial. Failing video, I remain armed with a camera.