Audio slideshows

The following points are from a presentation I gave to Kansas University journalism students in 2006

Why should photojournalists gather audio?

  • Combining photos and audio tells a more complete story
  • Audio enhances the photos; photos enhance the audio
  • Enables us to get to know our subjects better
  • Makes photographers better journalists
  • Encourages project-oriented stories

Keys to Successful Multimedia

  • Plan the audio. Know the options: Ambient sound, interview, narration, or combo
  • What is the best way to capture audio? Which type of mic?
  • Focus the story around one subject, keep the approach simple
  • Generally, it takes 12-15 photos for a simple audio slideshow
  • Pay attention to ambient sounds
  • Headphones are a big help when recording and editing
  • Location! Location! Location!
  • Avoid ambient background sound during interviews
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Don’t step on subject’s words and thoughts. No uhhh huuhhhh’s
  • Have subjects introduce themselves
  • Record interviews in short clips rather than one long 30 minute interview
  • Purchase the right gear
  • If the caption can’t be read in 5 seconds, it’s too long
  • The goal in gathering audio is to capture clips to assemble into a package

The Ethics of Audio

  • Can we loop sound? No.
  • Can we ask our subjects to repeat something on mic? Yes.
  • Can we mix sounds from different events for editorial impact? No.
  • Can we edit sound bytes containing words such as “ummmm.” Yes.

Lawrence Journal-World Multimedia

Multimedia Software

  • Flash: Complex, expensive, slow learning curve. PC and Mac platforms.
  • Soundslides: Simple, cheap, intuitive audio slideshow program.
  • Audacity: Free audio editing program. PC and Mac platforms.
  • Garage Band: Part of iLife Suite on new Mac computers. Mac only.

Multimedia Audio Equipment

  • Voice recorders: Inexpensive, good for interviews, bad for natural sound.
  • Stereo MP3 recorders: Expensive, clear and crisp sound, easy to download.
  • Minidisc recorders: Expensive, clear crisp sound, long download times.
  • Mics: Key to capturing clean audio.

Multimedia Links

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