Bringing an Image to Life

PhotoBlog (1 of 1)I really appreciated the Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency by Mindy McAdams. As a photographer who is transitioning into blogging and videography, I found the guidance invaluable.

As a blogger, I found McAdams’s advice on reaching out to the community helpful. I’m new to the scene (both as a blogger and as a UW-Madison student), and meeting other Madison bloggers helped me define my own blog’s message.

McAdams’s guidance for RSS feeds was also helpful, and I’m now an active member in the blog-o-sphere because of it.

As a videographer, I loved the simple cues McAdams offered for newbies. I’m experienced in creating compelling visual compositions in one frame, but I have difficulty translating photography into a narrative.

In photographic stories, the transitions between images are unspoken, and the viewer is left to connect the dots. It’s easier, both as a photographer and an audience, to fill in the blank.

With video, each moment must link seamlessly. The audio, visual and narrative effects have to come together in perfect harmony  in order to create a solid story. It’s overwhelming, and frankly, most of the time I’m not sure where to start.

When I first transitioned into video, my instinct was to jump right into interviews, and record b-roll later. It was stressful both for me and the interviewee, because neither of us was comfortable. After reading the Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, I realized I could change my routine.

McAdams offered a concise compositional strategy that calmed my panic as I went into a number of interviews. Instead of breathing into a paper bag, I was scanning the scene with my camera.

The first few minutes that I had behind the lens was a security blanket. It allowed me to get comfortable with the scene and to consolidate the story I was trying to tell. The interviewee had a chance to get used to the camera, and when we sat down to formally speak, the whole experience went smoothly.

McAdams’s advice was simple and essential, and I would recommend this reading to any student of communications.

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