All posts by Nacho

Students + Full on commitment + No other distractions = great results

There’s no way around it. There more I do it, the more it’s confirmed.
Project based classes are the best way for students to learn multimedia.
Period.

One full week, in the field. Gathering content, then editing. Having formal and informal meetings on their scripts and planning. That’s what we did in Valparaíso with my colleagues Sebastián González, Blas Parra and Luis Melgar.

With their help, we led 10 students – 7 Chileans and 3 Uruguayans – and helped them produce 11 stories in the port town where they managed to portray the character of the city and its inhabitants in an exquisitely simple Website (http://www.cronicasdevalpo.org), programmed and designed by Eileen Mignoni.

Crónicas de Valparaíso

During this week, the evolution of the quality of their work is noticeable. Every day the students return with better results.
This full week compares to – and exceeds – the results that a student gets after a full year of instruction in regular classes.

Full on commitment + No other distractions = great results

Don’t tell my students, but my favorites are:

- A clock repairman stuck in time. La Condena de una Herencia
- A place story but not quite that. Tango, Amistad y Cinzano
- Beauty is in the details. Fragmentos
- A perfect portrait of one of Valparaiso’s longest lasting traditions. Adiós al Cerro
and the great photography in En la Caleta.

But please, explore the rest!
So enjoy and share the multimedia love!

Thoughts on video, its future and my teaching

nacho corbella

This was a great exercise. To look back and analyze what you’re doing should be a requirement of every journalist, especially the educators. I invite you to do the same, it will take you just a bit of time. It’ll be worth it, believe me.

Everyday and at every moment we are exposed – either by choice or not – to visuals on television, cinema, billboards and daily life itself. We are, in our core, audiovisual beings. Most of the information we get is through our eyes and ears, hence, it is essential for communicators to learn the audiovisual language.

It is important to remember that video, in its essence, is storytelling. While using video in storytelling in print and radio media outlets is still relatively young, there is a huge tradition of storytelling with audio and images from which we will increasingly draw. The video we see in journalistic outlets will continue to develop, becoming more vivid, complex and compelling as we look to influences outside the world of journalism.

Video storytelling is imperative to the journalism of the future because we remember 25% of what we see, 50% of what he hear, but 100% of what we feel. It is the feeling that will deepen the attention span and help media organizations define themselves as industry leaders. The greatest strength of video storytelling is its ability to give a voice to our subjects so they can tell their stories. It is our role as communicators to shape those in a manner that conveys the emotion of the story and the subject to our viewers with the least amount of intervention. Our job is to channel these experiences and not insert ourselves into them.

It is not necessary that the stories we seek be exotic or in the midst of tumultuous world events. In Tolstoi’s words “paint your village and you shall paint the world”. By that, I believe that constant documentation of people in surrounding areas reflects on major topics. Reporting on common people, but doing so in a compelling matter, will cause audience to flock to see the stories.

Obviously, there is a television tradition of journalism, with a presenter, some clips, a few images. I think that we will see less and less of this type of storytelling as the media shift to a younger audience less accustomed to this type of programming, and more accustomed to seeing raw video and hearing from those involved in the conflicts and other news events. There are broadcast outlets who already are experimenting with this by removing anchors and letting the stories present themselves. I think more immediate contact and no anchors will continue to be the most common video form on the internet. I suspect there will be a shift of this sort in broadcast in the coming years. The importance of immediacy is something that needs to be imparted on students, because they are often inclined to copy the model they see on television.

Another use of video we will increasingly see is better incorporation throughout media online. There is no need to segregate material. Increased awareness and knowledge of tablets raises expectations of immediately accessible video in reports. Html5 (when it is ready) will allow for simpler integration of video in online media presentations. We need to think of the possibilities of video beyond a neatly packaged, self standing piece and think about how we can break out these elements to allow written reporting, infographics and video reporting to compliment each other. As well, motion graphics will become more ubiquitous – as infographics have in print media– as great alternatives to traditional storytelling and will be heavily integrated to the point where people won’t notice them as a different format, but will expect them as part of the media palette.

Our duty as journalism educators is to educate our students in these new forms. Then, we must allow them and encourage to innovate. In video, we must first bring them back to the essentials, using sequences and subjects to tell stories. From this point, we can encourage the students to incorporate video in the multitude of modes the interactive world permits.

Meeting your editor half way 

I’ve gotten this question over and over by different journalists all around the globe.

How do I make my editor understand I want and NEED more time to cover deeper subjects?

Whether you are a writer, photojournalist or videographer, I am certain, you’ve had conflicts with your editor when trying to pursue a bigger story or at least one that takes a longer time to produce. The problem is time. You need time to tell the perfect story but there’s a huge lack of time in newsrooms. 

What do you do?

Meet half way. Work on daily projects or smaller projects and fulfill your goal of daily (or semi-daily) content production. The projects might not sound that exciting for you, but take it as practice and the opportunity to better perfect content creation. You will shoot better and more efficiently. By the time you get to the editing station, you’ll knock the project out in short time having shot with the final product in mind. As a consequence, you’ll please your editor with a great product and he or she will be more inclined to trust your instincts when you say you need more time to work on long term projects.

Produced by Eileen Mignoni as a another way of seeing the Chilean Inauguration. This story was shot and edited within a 24 hour period. (Click on the image, it will take you to La Tercera's Website)

Produced by Eileen Mignoni as a another way of seeing the Chilean Inauguration. This story was shot and edited within a 24 hour period.

Doing this, will give you time to work on those long term projects on which you firmly believe are worth telling, not to mention, you’ll be better prepared to cover those important, more profound stories.

Produced by a team of UNC students during the Powering a Nation 2010 project. Thanks to the generosity of the Carnegie and Knight Foundations, and the determination of the journalists, the reporters on this project were able to spend more than 10 weeks shooting and editing this project regarding the oil spill. 

Just remember, there’s always a space for both long term projects and short and sweet pieces. Just try to innovate when doing them, you’ll have a new set of tools you can use on them repeatedly.

Short, sweet and innovative project produced by Eileen Mignoni

Short, sweet and innovative project produced by Eileen Mignoni

Teaching Multimedia all over Latin America

I have begun working with SIP – IAPA (the Interamerican Press Association), producing intensive multimedia (audiovisual storytelling) workshops throughout Latin America. The first one was in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The next one will be in March in Lima, Perú.

The workshop in Guayaquil was hosted by El Universo, one of the largest daily newspapers in Ecuador.  22 students attended – a mix of reporters and editors from 10 different newspapers in Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico. They had very different levels of understanding regarding visual narratives which made it complex to convey all the new ideas they needed to be thinking about when approaching a visual project.

The main concepts I covered were the hook (the importance of the first seconds of your video), sequencing (the key of a good video production), the importance of audio (without it, there’s no story – although, you can have an exclusive visually driven story), pacing (it’s all about the rhythm), ethics and how to please both your editor and your creative needs.

We spent the first day reviewing theory, and the second day reporting and editing. After seeing some of their work, I’m confident that I was able to take them from 0-60mph (or at least 40) in just 20 hours.

I wish I would have had more time, but I’m confident I gave them a set of tools and skills that will allow them to get better.

I invite you to enjoy Eduardo Adams’ work. We tried a different narrative structure. While watching, keep in mind that this was all shot and produced in 1 day.  It’s about the October revolt in Ecuador that almost over threw the presidency of Rafael Correa, seen through the eyes of an artist who was in the streets when this happened. He felt expressing with a picture would be easier than words.

While I was there, Álvaro Torrelli a videographer from El Comercio -also keep an eye on this guy- interviewed me and here’s the result.

Chile Earthquake 4 – what the ocean took

This is the video that breaks my heart. This was the most destruction I saw of all the earthquake. The earthquake left much standing. The ocean was merciless. And these people, in this secluded town, did not receive any governmental help until Thursday – a load of clothing and food. They had 5 days of questioning why no one came.

This is the video that makes me curse the 24-hour news cycle. I understand the cycle. I understand the attention span. We want to know now what is happening, and once we’ve gathered sufficient information, we move onto another theme. I do it. I am incredibly and shamefully decisive with my attention span. I couldn’t tell you how much time I spent on the Haiti earthquake, which in terms of loss of life and, likely, destruction, was far graver. I don’t remember reading more then one story about the earthquake last year in China.

That said, that this video’s viewership will be appallingly low as here and on Nacho’s website are the only places it is published, this breaks my heart. The reason for this is that by the time the video was done and seen, nearly a week had passed since the earthquake. We shot it on Tuesday and Wednesday after the quake. It was an incredible turnaround. Nevertheless, the public’s appetite had been sated by the instant broadcast world.

Photojournalism, documentary photojournalism, visual journalism, is an incredibly invasive form of journalism. It requires absolute entrance into another’s life. If I don’t have something on tape or compact flash, it doesn’t exist. In general, I am surpassingly respectful of other people’s privacy. For me, the reason I am able and willing to intrude upon another’s life, so to speak, is that the topic matter is that important. Their story needs to be seen. People are willing to let us journalists into their lives, because the idea is that telling their story will help change the situation. In a situation like this, it may help bring aid. These people very much need aid. In not getting their story told, I feel I am betraying my part of the bargain.

But you are seeing it. That is a start. You will know that among the large cities that the earthquake brought low, too, there was a tiny seaside hamlet by the name of Perales that the ocean came and washed away. You will witness one man’s grief as he sees his destroyed house for the very first time. You will see the woman who fled from the waves without shoes. And you will meet the old man who calls his survival the greatest miracle of his life.

About the video, it was shot and edited by both Nacho and I, Eileen.

Chased by light

milla1

My primary focus has been documentary storytelling.

I LOVE spending time with people I don’t know anything about and telling their stories.
It’s a great satisfaction to be able to get immersed in an unknown world and be accepted as one more in their lives while taking photos and video of their daily activities.

But sometimes, I find refreshing taking pictures of nature. I enjoy those times when you don’t have to be putting people on every frame you take.

While on vacations in the South of Chile (one of my favorite places in the world) I just grabbed my camera and starting pointing at things.

It’s just incredible how nature amazes me sometimes. We are slaves to light situations when shooting and try constantly to find the perfect light and sometimes, we don’t succeed.  But sometimes, light finds us and there’s nothing much to do than just grab your camera, point up and shoot.

milla2

Gone out shooting

tenis_chica

Man it feels nice. Today I went with Eileen while she was on assignment for La Tercera, where she’s shooting some of the topics that the presidential candidates are focusing on.

This time it was “minusválidos” (disabled) and for that she’s following Francisca Mardones (36) who’s 17th in the world tennis ranking for handicapped people. It was amazing to see how good she was. She can probably kick my (and most people I know) butts playing tennis.

After watching the game a bit my fingers started itching and I had to grab the camera for a minute. This is my favorite shot. I just love the shadows and her arms position, kind of like a bird spreading its wings. Which is very symbolic because that was her attitude, no limits at all.

Stay tuned for Eileen’s story, it should be up soon!

Fighting against the tides

photo by Eileen Mignoni

photo by Eileen Mignoni

Man, it’s been only 3 months, but really long ones.

On one side, I’m really happy to see my family and friends in regular basis but on the other it’s been so hard to make people realize the importance of multimedia usage.

There’s definitely a need for multimedia producers and they (the media industry)know they want multimedia producers, but they don’t know exactly what they want
or don’t want to make an extra step to actually implement multimedia in their newspapers/organizations.

Either they think it’s too difficult or too expensive or just the fact that most media industries are completely immersed in their journalistic routines that their work has become a routine. So every time I present an idea or project I feel like Sisyphus.

We take our time to investigate our client and prepare a proposal that’s perfectly tailored to their needs, thinking carefully about what media types and delivery mechanism we’ll use to present the idea to their costumers and by the minute we get to the presentation, the client decides that it would be to difficult to implement.
What the Hell?! Everything we present is thought on the premise that they won’t want to spend more money, so all the tools we think of are free, 2.0 kind of stuff.

So that’s how it is, we roll a huge rock up a hill and by the minute we are ready to put in in top of it, the client pushes it down…

But it’s fine. We keep pushing and pushing, eventually it’ll stay in its place. We just gotta keep pushing harder and harder ;)

Anyone want to lend a hand?

Stretching our photographic muscles

A few days after we arrived in Santiago, a friend asked us to take just a few stills of a small carnival that was going on in Santiago.

“Why not make a small multimedia piece about it?” we said, so this is the result. Just a couple of hours shooting, having fun and trying to work together by constantly switching stills camera to video/stills camera.

The carnival was to honor San Antonio de Padua. There were around 2000 people between participants and spectators that represented all the Chilean indigenous cultures… including some unexpected guests (Check the end of the video to find out!)