Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ken burns and his effect

Today I found out that our most popular video this week has been a 'video' about an attempted carjacking that was not actually shot on video, but instead were stills assembled in Final Cut Pro. There is some debate as to why the 'video' is so popular, including if the word carjacking caught people’s attention, if it was a good story, if the video worked well despite a disconnect between the audio and visuals.

Secondly, I offer up a soundslides pro project that we did the 'old fashioned way,' called 'No Place To Heal.'

I would make the argument that the Ken Burns effect has its place in both still and video, that being said, I think it can be overused. The trick is finding that fine line, utilizing movement when needed and not becoming a 'one trick pony.'

I am not arguing that either of these are successful, well, I think 'No Place' is much stronger, there are some problems…but for a shoot in one day, grab some audio and put together a solid daily piece it works very well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

daily video

Part of my new job is the editing of daily video.

I won't bore you with trial details, and the first minute or so if a recap; but the second half of the video is where I get to do something fun.

Usually daily court video is a dull voice over with grainy video, medium shots and some stills thrown in when we have them, and yes, that is the first part of this. I edited this with the idea that the audience either does not remember all the details, has not followed the case or this is their first time learning about the trial.

Then I get into what I call dueling lawyers or what our web video guy calls a 'quote train.'

The basic and essential idea is to move the narrative forward with tight audio clips that inform and play off of each other. Generally in video, you use 'B roll' to hide your cuts in the narrative interview so that it does not appear that you have edited the audio. Here the quick cuts help move things along in what is otherwise a fairly static video.

For those of you not yet into video, 'B roll' is all that stuff, detail shots, action shots, long shots, essentially the cutaway shots that help keep video interesting. It is all that boring stuff TV shoots to put on the box when the talent is talking.

Yes, the quality of the video capture is not great, yes, it was assembled on Windows Movie Maker, and yes, there are some other issues, but for an on deadline web piece it works surprisingly well.

Next up will be the Ken Burns effect in Final Cut Pro and Soundslides Plus.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

operation first casualty

Sorry for the delay…

I have been meaning to blog about this video for a while.

I am not sure if it was the mood I was in that day or a great video, but I really like the Iraqi Veterans Against the War's Operation First Casualty video.

The surreal aspect of these guys patrolling the streets of America really brought home the futility of war and the sacrifices soldiers make on our behalf. There are a number of strong storytelling aspects to this video, including a strong narrative through interviews, there is a little 'shaky cam' action but it is shot fairly cleanly.

I can vouch that the way they hold their hands is often how they do 'glass house' drills and is authentic. Some of the soldiers talk about how reenacting these moments helps them.

Check it out; let me know what you think. Check them out too.