Archive for the ‘Music in nonfiction’ Category

Photo slideshows drive page-views

November 19, 2010

Here is a fascinating article in Columbia Journalism Review about how photo slideshows drive traffic to news websites.

Not mentioned in the article is the key role that appropriate music can play in a successful slideshow. When a slideshow can be “auto-played,” making the changes congruent with the rhythm of the music is an important technique that can enhance story-telling.

And according to the article, the quality of the slideshow will only grow in importance:

But when even bad slideshows succeed economically, where’s the incentive to make them good? That incentive, eventually, will have to come from advertisers, as they tire of the tricks that their editorial friends are playing on them. Earlier, I noted that advertisers don’t care if dozens of page views are coming from the same user, because their ads are still getting shown. But eventually this will reach a point of diminishing returns. Telling the same person about a new movie a dozen times is not as effective of telling a half-dozen people twice.

Advertisers have an easy way to hold sites accountable: rely on unique visitor, rather than page-view, counts. The page-view metric has become diluted by editorial and business tricks like recirculation tools, landing pages, and slideshows. As Gawker Media owner Nick Denton puts it, “Some page views are worth more than others.” That’s why he now judges his staff and sites’ success on a less-manipulated number: how many people come to visit, not how many pages they visit once they’re there. Denton’s reason for the switch is editorial—he wants more exclusives, and he thinks uniques are a good way to incentivize them. Advertisers should follow suit. Their ads will have greater reach if sites know that it’s unique visitors, not page views, that matter most.

And with that change of mentality will come a switch of strategy. No longer will the worst slideshows be as economically viable. Slideshow quality will rise as sites try to create iconic slideshows that bring in new visitors interested in hearing a story told as only the Internet can. Slideshows will no longer have to be a savior in scourge’s clothing.

 

SND video uses “Mad Designers” as music theme

September 24, 2010

Here’s a promotional video done in 60′s-era animation style by Brian Williamson to promote the Society of News Design’s 2011 conference in St. Louis. Brian asked me to produce a piece of music for the video, and I tried to come up with a Mad Men-esque sound to suit the visual style. (Which was a treat for me, as Mad Men is my personal favorite show).

For you musicians, I used Cakewalk’s Sonar, synths from Dimension Pro, a Hofner-style bass, a Strat with Line 6 amp and effect sounds and drum samples from Smart Loops.

Let me know what you think!

Using rhythm in pairing music with images

September 23, 2010

http://vimeo.com/15211951

Jon Patrick Fobes, a photo editor with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and an excellent musician, stresses using the rhythm of music to guide your placement of photos in audio/video slideshows. The above project, where Jon created the music and edited the slideshow, is an excellent example of what Jon is talking about. And click here to read a previous Q and A with Jon.

MediaStorm’s “Intended Consequences” skillfully uses music

June 16, 2010

Here’s a link to MediaStorm’s moving project on rape victims in Rwanda, “Intended Consequences.” Note how the original music by Pamela Chen and Sherman Jia is used to carefully underscore or highlight the material. Another skillful, and entirely appropriate, use of music in journalistic multimedia.

EMI as the Fool On The Hill?

May 18, 2010

Here is an interesting rant on TechCrunch about the ongoing Apple Corps/Apple/EMI/Beatles scrum that has, so far at least, prevented the Beatles from selling their music on iTunes, or any other digital seller, for that matter.

Thanks to Kurt Greenbaum for pointing this out to me.

“Scary Mary Poppins” shows how music can change meaning

April 2, 2010

Ok, many of you have probably seen this, but I hadn’t until Brian Storm pointed this out on the Mediastorm blog. It’s a hilarious but telling example of how music (along with some creative visual editing) can totally change the meaning of a piece of work.

This should serve as a humorous warning to those of us who advocate the use of music in nonfiction multimedia: Use with care.

Fresh eyes (and ears) on journalism

March 1, 2010

Today, British multimedia journalist and blogger Adam Westbrook launches a new series called Fresh Eyes on Journalism. His idea was to ask several people active in disparate fields to talk about the future of journalism. My contribution, about music and journalism, was posted today. Enjoy!

Fractions of a second: an Olympic musical

February 28, 2010

Here is a fascinating use of musical notes to tell a story. The New York Times’ Amanda Cox uses the timing of musical notes to show how close many of the Olympic race finishes have been.

I love this because it uses music to tell an otherwise non-musical story, to shed new light on an aspect of reality. My only suggestion: Cox could have used a different note for each sport or category of sport, instead of the same note for all sports. A minor quibble, to be sure.

Audio editing ethics

February 11, 2010

Here is another thoughtful post from Deborah Potter at Advancing the Story. This one is on the ethics of editing audio interviews. Some good points here.

Google uses music in Super Bowl commercial

February 9, 2010

Music is critical to Google’s historic Super Bowl ad above, as Adam Westbrook pointed out here. Note how the music sets just the right tone of expectant joy.

Oh and speaking of Adam, a freelance multimedia journalist and sophisticated advocate of new forms of journalism, here’s his excellent list of six tips on using audio. Right on, Adam.

UPDATE: Looks like the beautiful piano track the piece uses comes from these guys: http://www.analoguemuse.com/


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