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Adam Westbrook on the benefits of the audio slideshow

Submitted by on January 14, 2010 – 12:31 pm | 2,608 views

According to Adam Westbrook, freelance journalist and multimedia producer, video does action and pathos really well, but it’s not necessarily suitable for every story. Multimedia journalism isn’t simply about writers making videos.

Westbrook is “passionate” about the audio slideshow – audio mixed with stills. The audio and the images are high quality and the paraphernalia of video production has gone. This leaves journalists to focus on the actual story.

Good audio with strong photographs is a potent mix, and Westbrook illustrated this with his great piece on John Hirst, aka Jailhouselawyer:

Audio Slideshow: Hirst v. UK from Adam Westbrook on Vimeo.

So what do you need for an audio slideshow? There are obviously the usuals – a story and a camera. But journalists have to think about prospects for good photographs and the potential for great audio. For example, if you’re doing a piece on a boat, a recording of water lapping against the hull would be perfect

Westbrook stresses that the audio needs to be the first priority. Then get the pictures to match the words.

“Let the stills breathe,” he said. “A great image is about your eyes being free to move around the picture.”

Westbrook’s one piece of advice for getting into making audio slideshows is simply to start doing them. He sets himself weekend challenges – interview and photograph on the Saturday; edit on the Sunday; upload by the end of the weekend.

The industry needs innovation and that can’t be done without a fear of failure, so experiment in your own time.

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