Untitled Document

Archive for April, 2010

I'm outta snappy titles.

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I missed my update for last week because I was editing video for 12 hours. I’m really excited about the outcome; a montage of type with the 20 questions asked to every new attendee at Gamblers Anonymous. So far it’s received a good response, but I want to revisit it the end of the semester. Once the first question is asked and answered, I think the character is introduced enough that I can edit in BRoll over the interview to break the monotony. I’m also thinking about grouping questions together to increase the pace near the end. We’ll see. I still have more work to do before I can get that far.

My interface is done, the video is exported and placed. Everything functions. Now, it’s just a matter of pulling the rest together. My first audio assignment has been reedited and is ready to go. My next big piece is sifting through the interview with her parents, which I’ve started. My biggest challenge is pulling together details on the legislation. Every door I’ve opened has closed, so I’m not entirely certain how that will end up, which concerns me.
Push on.

Crisis Guide: The Global Economy

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Spend ten minutes looking at Crisis Guide: The Global Economy and it becomes clear why it was the 2009 winner of the Business & Financial Reporting Emmy Award. Not only is it an impressive example of journalism, it also capitalizes on every intrinsic feature unique to Flash. In addition to being a 2D animation tool, Flash is an interactive storytelling tool.  Flash facilitates “step-up-and-engage” interactivity not possible through traditional “sit-back-and-watch” multimedia. With that in mind, the Council on Foreign Relations, in conjunction with MediaStorm, produced this interactive feature to explore how the crisis came about.  Crisis Guide invites users to interact with audio, video, stills, graphs, and charts allows them to dig deep and explore a complex issue.

From a design perspective, the interface is intuitive and well organized. Only after peeling back several layers of information does the user realize the volume of information held in 860 x 548 pixels. Designers disguise this by first breaking the piece into six chapters and then breaking chapters into subchapters. Subchapters contain a myriad of storytelling features. The Timeline section breaks the economic crisis into comprehensive manageable pieces by unifying text and stills into visual, interactive timelines. Another section mixes Google Motion Charts with expert analysis in a manner that allows a high level of user interaction.

Aside from obvious designer critique of color, line, shape and basic usability, which are phenomenal, designers employed two conventions I appreciated from a film perspective: They paced the videos with music and mixed black and white still with color video. Nice attention to detail. Also, they used native languages with subtitles to explain the global impact of the crisis was a risky choice. At cPOY, judges discouraged this. But, here, it may serve to break readers from their US-centric focus.

One step backward, two steps forward

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Major triumphs this week.

Structure: The interface will have 4 chapters, separated by days from the GA daily bible, A Day at a Time. The days are:

May 20: “Compulsive gambling is a lonely disease.”  This section will focus on the compulsion and life during the active addiction.

April 1: “Avoid slippery places.” First audio piece.

March 1: “Now that we’re free and no longer gambling, we have so much more control over our thinking.” This section will focus on my subject’s recovery and post bankruptcy life. A huge part of this section includes a video interview with her parents, and may push into the current political landscape.

I haven’t settled on the fourth section header yet, but it’s near. Perhaps:

April 8: “Trash can be the foundation for treasures.” This day speaks to the long battle called recovery, which doesn’t actually start until beyond the first two years in a program.

Time to get down to brass tax. Reediting the previous audio and video pieces and then editing the final video piece. The fourth section will likely explore the political climate, including the interview with Dan Smith as well as numbers and statistics.

Final project: Epic fail.

Monday, April 12th, 2010
At some point, it happens to everyone: Lost audio. On April 3rd, I spent nearly three hours interviewing my subject and her parents. All parties were engaged, comfortable, opening up. Eventually, the interview shifted into a very organic conversation between daughter and parents, sharing feelings, divulging secrets — a true family breakthrough. I checked, double-checked, triple-checked the audio recorder and kept a dutiful eye locked on levels. Sadly, that helps little when you accidentally save the audio to the recorder instead of the card, then dutifully return the recorder — stripped clean — to the photo window.

On the positive side, I finally settled on structure for the final project. Each chapter will be based on one day in the Gamblers Anonymous book “A Day at a Time,” each day will be selected based on pivotal moments in my subject’s recovery (to be decided this week).

I also went to a few GA meetings, met people, embraced the community. I met my subject’s state funded councilor, sadly just in passing and not for an interview but hopefully that meeting is next.

This week: Re-interviewing my subject and her family. That’s slated for Saturday in a video studio (real lights, real camera, real equipment, oh my!). I also want to settle on the days used for structure and plan interview questions that lend well to those topics. Again, I’ll also chase my subject with a camera. Need — more — frames.

SportsShooter VII, Day 3

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Southern California surfer wades into the water at Huntington Beach.

A stand up paddle surfer navigates the waves at Huntington Beach in Southern California. The sport started as a way for surfing instructors to manage large groups but has emerged as a global sport.

Belmont Shore Rugby Club crushed the Huntington Beach Unicorns at Fulton Middle School in Southern California in a win so great the players lost track.

SportsShooter VII, Day 2

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Four-year surfing veteran, Michael Fu, 26, of Montery Park, was hit with his surf board Friday morning while surfing at Huntington Beach. He blames this, his first, injury on choppy waters and intense wind.

A pole vaulter successfully completes his jump at a track and field event at UC Irvine.

A University of California — Irvine long jumper nails her landing during a track and field event at UC Irvine.

SportsShooter VII, Day 1

Friday, April 9th, 2010

La Habra Boxing Club in La Habra, California has a warm sense of community rooted in rich history.

Timothy Valencia, 8, learns the ropes of boxing from former professional boxer Jerry Williams during his first visit to La Habra Boxing Club in La Habra, California. The gym and it’s unique sense of community have become a beacon for at risk youth.

Valencia has his hands wrapped by Williams during his first visit to La Habra Boxing Club in La Habra, California.

Veronica Zermeno, 19, is drawn to La Habra Boxing Club’s sense of warmth and community. Her first time in the ring, she made her opponent bleed. She apologized.