Archive for the ‘Audio slideshows’ 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

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.

Tips on using natural sound

February 2, 2010

Deborah Potter over at Advancing the Story has a must-read post for video journalists on how to collect and use natural sound. Thanks Deborah!

“How Great Thou Art” amid tragedy

January 26, 2010

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod is among many denominations bringing aide to Haiti. On a just-concluded assessment trip, a team from the Kirkwood, Mo.-based church visited a gathering of refugees in Jacmel, a few hours outside Port-Au-Prince.

The refugees — many grieving the loss of loved ones, friends and homes — began singing the classic Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art.” Here is their rendition, in French, accompanying images of devastation recorded by the church team in an audio slideshow. Though I don’t understand French, I can’t remember hearing a more moving version.

The video was put together by Rudy Blank of LCMS World Mission. He used photos shot by James Neuendorf, a member of the LCMS assessment team and also of LCMS World Mission.

Disclosure: My wife, Melanie Ave, is public relations coordinator for the LCMS.

The secret to getting good…

January 26, 2010

Want to know the No. 1 secret to getting really good at something, like, say, composing music or creating multimedia projects? Eric Maierson over at MediaStorm’s blog has the answer. You have to click the link to find out what it is….

“They never met” — haunting BBC audio slide show

January 21, 2010

Check out this multimedia piece from the BBC on an artist named Michael Reagan who draws military personnel killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s called Portraits of the Fallen. Note the ambient audio, such as the sharpening of the pencil, and the spare, judicious use of music, which in my view adds just the right feel. (Wait till you get to the line, “They never met.” It will rip your heart out.) Thanks to Duckrabbit’s blog for pointing this out.

Multimedia rules to live by

January 6, 2010

Here is a good list of tips on improving your multimedia projects, courtesy of the multimediashooter blog.

Music a crucial part of cancer recovery

December 3, 2009

By Erik M. Lunsford,

I wanted to point you to an excellent story by my friend and colleague Michele Munz,  who wrote on and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today about how therapists help young cancer patients by teaching them to write and record an original song. You’ll find this in the story:

Studies show that music therapy can reduce stress, anxiety and pain. While the research is lacking on whether such therapy improves medical outcomes, doctors can see the power among their patients.

“Emotional and spiritual healing contributes to physical healing,” said Dr. Karen Gauvain, pediatric oncologist at Cardinal Glennon. “Music therapy is creative way for our patients to express their thoughts and feelings and allow for healing of the whole person.”

Also, don’t miss the audio slideshow by photographer Erik M. Lunsford that accompanies the story.

Just a post script: Michele was the star choreographer, dancer and “evil boss” in my recent music video for “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song.)”

Ten tips for using music in multimedia

November 23, 2009

Music is an all too frequently overlooked facet of multimedia production, says Eric Maierson of MediaStorm. I especially appreciate this tip:

Music should not be used as simply background sound. It’s an integral part of multimedia, as important at times as your images, narration, or video. Effective music editing creates a rhythm, a call and response, with your other media sources.

It’s great advice, so read it now!