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In Rwanda, in 1994, Hutu militia committed a bloody genocide, murdering one million Tutsis. Even though I’m not a technical person by nature, I am always on the lookout for new techniques that could be deployed to advance Christian documentary photography. Brian’s fundamental point, which he makes over and over again, is that multimedia opens up a whole new market for still photography, but photographers must gather the content with the intention of creating multimedia, and not simply try to create multimedia presentations as an afterthought.
Other images that already find a home in traditional photo essays simply need to be done in increased volumes. Brian, only half jokingly, explains that when a photographer comes to him with a project, and asks him to consider creating a multimedia presentation, Brian’s first question is whether the photographer captured audio.
Essentially there are two different skills necessary for collecting useful audio: (1) technical recording skills and (2) interpersonal Interviewing skills. The technical stuff seems pretty easy to pick up because frankly it’s a lot like photography. The actual interviewing skills are not difficult to learn: doing so requires gaining a bit of confidence.
In addition to collecting audio interviews, the photographer should from time-to-time collect ambient sounds. Even before attending the program, I have tried to adopt many of Brian’s written recommendations for collecting audio, and I have found them relatively easy to learn. Brian talks about basically two uses of video: (1) video portraiture and (2) storyline shots.
For the storyline shots, Brian tried to teach basic elements of cinematography in an hour or two.
Of the fieldwork, juggling all the tasks involved in collecting still photography, audio and video is perhaps the most daunting.  And frankly, this is where I believe the body of Christ comes in.
The order in which you do them, or indeed how you integrate these activities, obviously depends on the circumstances of what’s going around you. The ambient sounds are much more difficult for me because I have to go in and out of my photography state of mind. Brian is very open to sharing his approach, but obviously what I’m capturing here is simply the structure of the work rather than the creative inspiration they bring to the equation. 5.  Conduct a team screening, where he asks everyone and their mothers to listen and comment on the flow of the story. 7.  Make the visual edit where he takes the video and still photography and lays it on top of the audio storyline. Depending on the amount of content collected in the field, this can take weeks if not months to do.  I thank the Lord we have people like Brian and his team who can do it so well.
Brian has put a tremendous amount of thought into how these multimedia presentations can best be displayed on the Internet.


If you study the presentation on Intended Consequences above, you will see it has built-in a number of features you won’t find elsewhere. Beyond the features that allow people to share the content easily, what I find particularly exciting from the standpoint of Christian documentary photography is that he has built-in a mechanism for the viewer to get involved. When I left the seminar last week, my head was spinning, but in a good way.  I found the program enormously thought-provoking and inspiring.
The challenge is to figure out exactly how to advance Christian documentary photography in multimedia, in a sustainable way. This entry was posted in Technical and tagged "still photography", christian, documentary, markets, mutlimedia, photography. What is Christian Documentary Photogaphy?Christian Documentary Photography is simply documentary photography that embraces Christianity as the source of guidance on moral and ethical issues.
Some websites use Flash sparingly for animated advertising or small interactive elements only. For example, the button above is usually red with white text, but on rollover it becomes blue with yellow text.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend two workshops put on by Brian Storm of MediaStorm, as a part of the growing, annual festival called Footweek DC.  As you may know, MediaStorm, based in New York, is one of the leading producers of multimedia content in the world. Brian creates the image portion of the multimedia work to move very quickly, not lingering for long on any particular still photograph. In a related vein, he also seeks out the photographs leading up to and following the decisive moment.
Brian makes liberal use of photographs that establish a sense of place, as well as those focused on the details. While we spent a couple hours talking about this during the program, I’m not going to capture much of it here because Brian has already written a well-explained summary of these skills on his own website.
Positioning the microphone is key, just as positioning the lens to gain the right perspective creates the best photograph.  Controlling ambient noise is like finding lighting conditions that allow you to use a low ISO and avoid visual noise. The goal is to conduct an interview so the editors can use only the voice of the subject, and not the voice of the interviewer. The Lord gave us all different gifts, and I think this is an area where multiple people need to come together, each bringing their different gifts, that will make the whole of the effort truly outstanding.
When photographing, I tend to get into a visual zone where I am not paying attention to much else. After years of experimentation with the available tools, he concluded that no existing media player did an adequate job for his purpose, so he created his own.
It launched me in the direction of thinking about how multimedia might best be deployed to advance Christian documentary photography.  It seems to me this medium has tremendous potential to reach many people who might not be reached any other way, or at least not nearly as effectively. There was much discussion last week among the photographers present, most of them professional or students about to enter the profession, concerning the future of the business.


The button might change colour or appear to move up or down slightly when the mouse pointer rolls over it. One image is called the normal state for the image, which is how it looks when no mouse is over it. Designers create the normal state in a graphics package, then save it, for example, as email_normal. This makes it easy to define both the normal and rollover images at the same time and creates the html code needed to perform the rollover effect. The rest of the material—including dozens of photographs– came from original but unused images and new content collected specifically for the multimedia project.
That means if a multimedia presentation is say 10 minutes long, which would not be unusual for a MediaStorm creation, hundreds of still photographs might be necessary.
His projects likewise make use of rack focus sequences, where the photographer deliberately changes his focus over a series of shots. At the same time, I realize some photographers are more comfortable being a fly on the wall that doesn’t directly interact with their subjects, but rather seeks to photograph intimate, unguarded moments. There are some simple tricks that Brian recommends for interviewers to ensure the answers they receive can stand on their own.  This includes such simple techniques at asking compound questions that require the subject to restate the questions in answering them. Every once in a while, the photographer needs to put the camera down to collect the background sounds that accompany the images.
That said, I think it is possible, for example, to do the still photography and also to do separate audio interviews.
Obviously this is difficult to do profitably, because time is money, but I find the extra time really improves the product. It has easy-to-use mechanisms for commenting, and indeed the player allows others like me to post the clip on our websites, while still allowing Brian to keep track of where all it is deployed. In my next post, I will tackle the question of how multimedia can affect the business model used to produce and disseminate Christian documentary photography.
While that strategy is still necessary to produce multimedia product, the audio piece simply requires that you set aside time for a more formal and at the same time intimate discussion. Composition is still composition, but when you need to move the camera, you have to think about transitions in a way quite unfamiliar to me as a still photographer. But in general, I concluded at least I would need to partner with someone else who has experience in video for the resulting work product to be good enough for publication. To work best, the second graphic should be exactly the same size as the original, and only differ in terms of colour.



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