Santiago’s Metro is expanding. The government opened three new stations (conveniently, days before a tight presidential election) and announced about a week and a half ago that they would begin building an entirely new line, which will connect a heavily working class area of the city with a heavily middle and upper class section.
I was given the assignment of doing a story on someone whose life would change as a result of this new metro line. As the transportation system exists now, those taking public transit take a twenty-minute bus ride to a metro station on an existing line, then taking that metro practically to the other end. One can also take a bus, but the bus follows the same route.
Firstly, Nacho suggested to me that we add a clock to the experience that shows time ticking by. And I agree that’s an awesome idea, and I decided to add a locator map too, that shows the progress. I realize that what’s important is the comparison of time between the current route and the route that will be finished in 2014. So with Jorge Cortés, subeditor of the infographic department at La Tercera, I decide to add another moving map and timer. (Originally I had thought to do an overlay when the actual timer and map stopped.)
The question then becomes how it will look and what program to use. I want that when someone moves the timeline on the scrubber, the map and clock will move correspondingly. I talk with Vicky Martinez, (Infographics and Design at La Tercera) about how this should all be laid out. It’s a lot of elements in a small space, with the true time and map needing to be clearly related to the video, but yet the two maps and clocks needing to be easily visually compared. We look at the Quenching Las Vegas’ Thirst and Climbing Kilimanjaro. Although Vicky has concerns about the quantity of information, I say that the video will not require alsolute attention. I intend to have an interview track, but I say that the video will be far more visual than anything and as the other elements are simple, one should easily be able to glance between them.
Initially, we talk of using Flash. It is what most of their interactive graphics are made in. Myself, I don’t know flash programming well enough to know how one can link all of these elements. If we use separate SWFs for different elements, then I am certain they can be coordinated to start simultaneously, but I’m not certain they will move unified all the time. Putting the video as frames in a SWF would take forever to load, she warns. (this is the way I would know how to do it, but the infographics team is going is planning to put this together for me.)
After some thinking pause time, she suggests After Effects. After Effects is new to the newsroom. Everyone I’ve encountered wants to know it, but I think only a couple have a grasp of it. I have some experience with it. I’ve done two projects with it (the second will be posted sometime this week.
“That should work, right,” she asks.
My mind begins to run possible scenarios. “It should,” I say. “I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t. I’m almost positive it will.”
And the more I thought about it and the more I dove into the second After Effects project (a presentation for the UAndes Communications Department,) the more I am certain it will.