“Hidden Hunger”Written by Adam Westbrook
Tracy Boyer’s Innovative Interactivity blog has been the place to go for seeing the latest most exciting pieces of visual storytelling for some time.
Tracy’s also a multimedia journalist in her own right and has just completed a project of her own, called Honduras and the Hidden Hunger. It was produced after a long shoot in Honduras and a week in post production; it includes video, a photo essay and an excellent audio slideshow.
Have a read of her “behind the scenes” debrief of how the project went: it is an honest and familiar tale of the ups and downs of producing multimedia in the field, including technical problems and local issues (she was there, during a political coup in Honduras).
Low and behold, the audio feedback on my camera was somehow broken, so I couldn’t listen to the incoming audio while it was recording. Even worse, I couldn’t change the frequency settings on the mics (I know it’s easy to do in the menu settings, but it didn’t work for some reason on these …) so my first two interviews were recorded at an almost inaudible level. After raising the levels in Final Cut and removing the hum in Audacity, it still wasn’t perfect.
It sounds very familiar to the challenges I faced working in Iraq earlier this year.
But it’s not about a pitch perfect production process: it’s about overcoming the challenges which will always come up.
And Tracy has done that well, in particular her audio slideshow “Living with Nothing” displays some excellent understanding of the power of good audio. The piece is packed with long sequences of actuality recorded on location, which hurl you right into the story. It amazes me how some slideshow producers forget the power of this.
The only thing I would add to it audio-wise would be more of the subject’s natural speech, beneath the voice over translation.
Tracy also designed the look of the website herself, using a mixture of HTML/CSS and Flash. It’s been funded by the Putlitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting, without which (and other groups like it) you can only imagine how reporting of this kind would suffer.