Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beyond the basics

My Multimedia Journalism class is getting deeper into audio soundslides and news videos. We are taught the basic camera angles and given a few pointers on how and what to shoot for the B-roll. For example, it is always a good idea that the subject is not looking directly at the camera.

Working with the camera and editing the videos on Adobe Premiere has been a starting point for me. Meanwhile, I was back to surfing for some good work on web. I know it will take a while to produce quality online news videos. The difference in our work and theirs is, they are extremely skilled, planned and effective in communicating the message.

Wired has a multimedia section showing a variety of slides and videos. It's obvious that there are professionals behind the camera but the composition looks fairly simple. The Clover Coffee Machine video is a standard interview. The man is showing the features of the coffee machine and the camera is moving with the instruction.

For a complicated machine like that, it makes it better for the viewer to see what the machine can do while the subject is explaining. Many times while doing the story and being a beginner at the camera, you often forget what composition will work best to tell the story.

I know as students we are not expected to achieve great camera work, but it’s important to get the right message across. Just like the simple story told about making chocolate in the How to Make Chocolate video.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Getting to know Photography

This week our multimedia journalism class at VCU has been all about photography and audio soundslides. Prior to class, my knowledge on the subject was limited to casual pictures taken while traveling. The need to learn and better about this art has got me looking into various corners of web for better exposure.

A good place to learn would be Soul Of Athens, which has a great treasure of quality audio soundslides and videos. The design and content has been featured in very attractive way with plenty interactive elements keeping you indulged. The slides are spilt in four categories namely spirituality, environment, creativity and youth.

Little Mountains
in the Environment section plays like a book. Once the picture on the left fades out the next one shows up on the right. In class our skills have been limited to making the soundslide, adding our voices, throwing in some background music or natural sounds and giving movement of the pictures. The work on Soul Of Athens combines lots of these elements adding more features.

Love In The First Person (in the Spirituality section) is a combination of audio soundslide and video. The flow of the story through pictures with bits of video gives it a documentary treatment. It shows a couple talking about a new event in their life that will bring a lot of changes in their relationship. Needless to say, the pictures tell most of the story.

Their Submit Some Soul section has an image gallery of users submitting their work. If you’ve been to Athens and have some photography that you want to share then this would be the place. But I am guessing their standards for judging are very high.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A healthy online relationship

It’s a satisfying experience to read a good book or an article. Just like getting information you are looking for. I think the Health magazine has a nice mix of information and interesting facts that keep you indulged.

You don’t need to have a disease to browse and read. Though it doesn’t hurt to know about back pain and how to prevent it or surprising causes of it. If your body has been reacting in an unusual way, the Symptom Checker will be quick way to find out what’s wrong. Just type in your symptom and the results will show up with a list of connecting symptoms.

Next to Symptom Checker there is a Drug Finder, telling everything you need to know about your current medication. In the same section there is an interaction icon which helps you know the risks involved, if you combined your current drug with another one.

On a happier note, there is diet guide with a laundry list of different diets. Choose any three for comparison. For example if you are looking for the best diet out of Atkins, The Zone and Jenny Craig then select and enter, a comprehensive chart will show up listing what involves in each diet.

Along with this there is a How To Cook, Nutrition Advice, everyone’s favorite Weight Loss section and endless tips on diet and shopping. Next comes beauty addressing hair, fashion, skin, and makeup care.

There are plenty useful features on Mind and Body that will catch your interest. And yes yoga is beneficial for you. Health may not be rich with multimedia elements but it has a complete guide on what you need to know about your mind and body. I finally found a healthy online relationship.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is silly always funny?

Here’s a confession. I will watch anything funny. I mean anything. There is an extra gene woven in me to seek humor. But it’s the silly humor that needs to be consumed in small dozes. The TBS (Dept. of Humor Analysis) site falls in that silly category. But the multimedia elements in it really raise the bar for goofiness.

Right from the word go, there are crazy pop ups and surveys making you explore more. Old tricks and tools like creating funny faces by adding weird beards are also part of TBS, but the flash tools and colors are worth making the trip. For a few laughs, the Take A Survey section enables you to upload a picture and fool around adding crazy elements.

The Table of Periodic Laughter section has A to Z funny sounds. Just click on your ten best and form a composition of funny noises. The Movie Maker provides the same option of selecting a video and background score with a variety of sound effects (naturally silly ones) you can drag to the track list to compile the entire movie.

The downside is, it’s good for a few chuckles but gets boring in a few minutes. You probably wouldn’t want to revisit. Here’s an observation (for Seinfeld fans) from its Funny Shorts section that will make a long-lasting impression:

The Seinfeld show became funnier as Kramer’s dark hair grew higher.

Music on my mind

Last weekend, for my college sound slide assignment I took some pictures of an old music store. It got me thinking if lazy bodies like me could find something online for music browsing and listening. Sure there are plenty download options but, an online music store, has a complete solution for finding, listening, watching and buying music.

Somewhere I feel bad for the music stores. They suffer in business, because we choose convenience over making the attempt to visit and physically hunt for albums we desire. The online option is so readily available making it very tempting to browse.

There are times some number is stuck in your head and you probably don’t remember the artist. For minor dilemmas like these, there is YouTube, Lime Wire and many similar others but here at, you can just get your song and get options to listen to the rest of the album. There will be other options like other albums by the same artist and artists’ of similar genre. This means that you can discover new artists and share it with your friends (send tags).

I found Eagle Eye Cherry while listening to Train. For the more inquisitive ones, you can sail along with other users and see what they are listening to, and get weekly top videos and top tracks.

Overall the experience is more organized and easy to operate.