The NPPA Multimedia Immersion workshop is continuing a tradition this week of training professionals of all skill levels in video storytelling. In its eleventh year, the workshop features lessons from a staff of professionals on the latest video editing software and hardware.
The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University is providing the facilities, computers, software, support staff and resources for the workshop. Gear is provided by sponsors Canon, Sony and B&H Photo. Additional support came from Think Tank Photo, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Penn State University. The workshop runs through Saturday, May 20.
“This is our eighth year in Syracuse,” said Seth Gitner, NPPA national secretary and co-director of the workshop. “We’ve had an amazing amount of stories – over 300 stories produced just from participants in the workshop.”
Jamie De Pould and Carli Cichocki joined Gitner as co-directors and coordinated this year’s event. Both De Pould and Cichocki have spent several years with the workshop as either a coaches or interns, and Cichocki was a participant.
The coaching team is larger than most workshops with 18 coaches from publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Star Tribune. They’ve volunteered to work with 36 participants including students from Denmark and Australia. Gitner said it is the ratio of coaches to participants that make the workshop popular – it was sold out this year and there was a wait list.
“It’s a big deal to bring in all of these amazing coaches,” Gitner said. “We’re one of the only ones to have an amazing two-to-one participant to coach ratio.”
The participants appreciate the personal attention.
“At a lot of conferences, there are these big names, and it makes you feel intimidated, but here the coaches are also talented and make you feel welcome,” said Juanisha Brooks, a participant from Washington D.C. who works at the Department of Defense.
“No question is too silly for them. Whether you have a lot of experience or not, they are there for you,” she said.
One coach echoed that sentiment.
“It’s so incredible that the students have that intimate access to somebody,” said New York Times video journalist Samantha Stark. “I’ve taught classes before but never with such a small amount of students per teacher. I’m very interested in seeing how the work comes out.”
Stark said that another thing she loved about the workshop was the chance for professionals to come together and share the ideas they’ve learned on the job. In the last decade, video has been a growing presence on the web and it affirmed that she is on the right track in her own work.
Others participants appreciated the specialized tips they learned from coaches.
“I think it’s inspiring to be alongside so many professionals who are working in this field everyday and to be able to share these tips and tricks,” said André Larsen, a director of photography and journalist with DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation).
He said he particularly appreciated a tip about leaving his car keys in his subject’s refrigerator. That way, he would remember to turn the refrigerator back on after shutting it off for better audio during an interview.
Larsen said he thought American media was often ahead of Danish media when it came to the latest trends, and he appreciated the accelerated way to learn the trends at the workshop.
“I think it’s definitely very tight – we’re not here to drink café lattes,” Larsen said. “We’re not getting too much rest, and I like that. We’re here to learn.”