May 9, 2013
By Mitzi Mock
Every June we host a two-week Multimedia Storytelling Institute designed to equip journalists, educators and other communications professionals with the skills they need to produce and distribute their own multimedia projects. For those hoping to learn new storytelling tools, the prospect of dedicating two weeks to a workshop can be both thrilling and daunting. On one hand it’s a chance to step away from your regular work life to develop new creative media skills. On the other hand, committing the time and resources for two weeks without being sure what you’ll gain may leave you feeling reluctant. You may be asking yourself, “What exactly will I be able to do after it’s all over?”
Over the course of the institute, which runs from June 10-21, 2013 we will cover a lot of ground, but there are five key skill sets that we want everyone to walk away with. Here is what you will know how to do when you go back to work:
1) How to plan a video project:
A good videographer knows that the most important work comes before a shoot. For a video project to be viable, a producer has to ask herself, “What are the scenes and the soundbites I will need to make the story work? What sort of access will I need to capture this material? What factors could affect my shooting (lighting, sound, time of day)?”
We’ll lead you through this planning process. You’ll learn how to produce a storyboard and a shot list, which will organize your video shoot and inform the way you edit your video together. A well thought-out plan can be the difference between a compelling, professional piece and the stuff of old home movies.
2) How to use a video camera (really):
For most of the workshop we’ll be working with the Canon Vixia – a standard HD consumer video camera. Like most modern camcorders it offers basic automatic settings. However, you can enhance your shooting and better troubleshoot in tricky locations when you have a deeper understanding of the manual settings that come with most video cameras. We’ll show you how to set the white balance, monitor audio levels and adjust focus to get the most out of your shots. We’ll also review the basics of a Canon Rebel DSLR camera for those who want to incorporate still photos in their videos.
We all know that compelling video is more than just good lighting and sound – it’s composition. So we’ll go over framing techniques for common shooting scenarios like sit-down interviews or man-on-the-street interviews (stand-up shots). We’ll also talk about capturing “b-roll” sequences – a combination of close, middle and wide shots that illustrate a scene or demonstrate how something is made.
3) How to use Photoshop and Adobe Premiere CS6:
At the end of the workshop you should be able to use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 to import, edit and compress videos for web. You’ll be able to weave together different scenes, clean-up audio and add basic text to your videos. We’ll also show you how to polish still photos in Photoshop through cropping and basic color/contrast corrections. You’ll learn how to incorporate these image into your video storytelling.
4) How to create data visualizations:
Some of the most compelling information about our world can be found in data. We’ll teach you how to take advantage of free open-source tools to clean up data files, produce charts and graphs, and create interactive data maps. We also discuss the main design principles of intelligent data visualization: clean design, proportion, color combinations etc.
5) How to use social media to grow and engage with your audience:
Once you’ve learned how to produce multimedia projects, you’ll need to know the best ways to distribute your content. During the institute you will meet with social media experts, including managers from Facebook and LinkedIn, who will go over best practices to for growing and engaging an online audience on multiple platforms (including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and HootSuite, among others). We’ll go over case studies and discuss proven techniques for managing a social media plan with limited resources. By the end of the institute, you will be able to set up an efficient social media strategy for your organization.