Multimedia Immersion, Part Two: A Week Of Collaboration

Today the students learned Final Cut Pro X. Photographs by Zixi Wu       

By Bethany Swain

SYRACUSE, NY (May 15, 2013) – Twelve hours into the first day, and Lori Waselchuk felt it click.

“This is so great,” she said. “I’ve been shooting totally backwards. It has been a great first day.” 

As a coach at NPPA's Multimedia Immersion Workshop, we aim for this moment. Everyone is starting from a different place, but as long as we can help them go down their own visual storytelling path, then the week has been a success.  

Like most of the participants here, Waselchuk understands composition and exposure using her DSLR, but she and her peers came to Syracuse to enhance their shooting, editing, and producing skills with video stories. And after an exercise shooting the coaches playing the card game “Go Fish,” she was getting a handle on sequencing. Tight, medium, wide. It’s one of the building blocks that Darren Durlach outlined in his presentation to the group. Or as I was taught by Mark Anderson at my first NPPA workshop in 1999, “Wide, medium, tight, super tight, get the moment.” Back in 1999, the News Video Workshop was designed for television photojournalists and the Internet was too slow to share video, but even now the principles are the same.    

Here, I’m known as a little bit broadcast. Which is funny considering that when I’m around traditional television folks, I’m known as being a little bit Web video. But being at my first Multimedia Immersion Workshop reminds me of how much still photographers and video photographers have in common.  

We are all capturing and creating images. In video it’s just 30 pictures a second and adding sound. If you’re lucky, like I was at CNN, there’s the option of 4 channels of audio.  

You no longer need an FCC license to share stories, so whether it’s by necessity or desire a lot of people want in on the action. Tara Young, a senior video producer at Etsy, started the second day sharing two of her stories from Etsy’s original video department. She spent five years working for the company that’s known as an online marketplace for homemade crafts. 

“I like new media and the new term ‘transmedia.’ It could be social media, a tablet, creating media content for anywhere,” she said. “But, I want people to know the difference between a marketing video and an editorial story.  There is a difference and value in both,” said Young. “People are drawn to storytelling.” 

After Young’s eye opener, the room was full of glowing screens as Jason Kohlbrenner lead the group in an introduction to Final Cut Pro X.  Normally students need to pay tuition to Syracuse University to hear his lecture, but today Newhouse is opened up to the lucky participants.  And many of the coaches are learning right along beside them, and taking the opportunity to learn another new editing system.    

This week is all about collaboration. At lunch, the coaches share the best Apps. Nikon and Canon are here sharing HD-SLRs for the participants to use. During the gear presentation, we are getting model numbers and short cuts for putting together rigs on a budget. And if coffee is ever spilled on your laptop, it’s great to have an Apple rep in the room. You know, if that were ever to happen.  

Time to go. One of my students is back from his first shoot.  I can’t wait to see what he learned. 

Read yesterday’s Part One by Darren Durlach

Bethany Swain is an award-winning photojournalist, editor, and multimedia producer based in Washington, DC. She was the first woman to be named as the White House News Photographers Association Video Photographer of the Year. Swain is on the faculty of Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland.