Recognizing Quality Mulitmedia…

and then realizing how short your own capabilities currently fall.

That’s pretty much what I got from the lecture on Monday for J2150. Prof. Rice showed us a bunch of really cool multimedia pieces and tried to get us to start thinking about the things that do and do not work in them.

The first and best, in my opinion, was A Thousand More – a poignant, sad story about a child who’s diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The story centers on the boy and his parents, who have to come to terms with what is basically a death sentence for their child as there is no treatment for SMA.

Besides being a heart-wrenching and viscerally compelling story, the piece was expertly made with an excellent sense of narrative and good use of all the different elements (sound, video, still photos).

So leaving aside the subject material, I was struck by the fact that I don’t know how to do any of this stuff. Okay, that’s not quite true – I do know how to do audio stories (sort of) using Adobe Soundbooth. But pictures? It took me about an hour while hanging over at the Missouri Contemporary Ballet’s practice studio to remember how to change the ISO. So half of the pictures I took of the group dancing are blurry since I couldn’t figure out how to get the right combination of settings. This is why it’s good to have friends who can show you how cameras work – I think I’ve got it mostly down now. Hopefully. We’ll see how they turn out.

Video? Well, I did use it for J2100 but only to do an interview. And we got to just use iMovie – didn’t have to figure out the more complicated and expensive Final Cut Pro X.

My point here? Thank goodness I’m taking this class. And: I’m definitely tacking on some heavy-duty convergence classes to my writing-focused interest area, Watchdog Journalism. Because I really want to be able to use these awesome storytelling tools.

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