Multimedia Storytelling - Crafting Authentic, Compelling Narratives #eduweb12 #highered

by Kate Brodock on 31 July 2012

Posted in: Conferences & Events

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Discussion on multimedia use from Renee Basick, Director of Multimedia Initiatives at University of Chicago.

This session, part of eduWeb 2012, examined trends in online consumption of multimedia, tools available for creating it, and how to choose the correct format to tell the story.


  • Use slideshows when you can identify a strong narrative arc
  • Use galleries to convey a theme through images
  • Incorporate dramatic tension, consider a surprise or reveal image
  • Capture critical moments
  • Add depth to still photos using ambient sound and interviews
  • Capture the “character” of a voices or voices as they interact
  • Capture ambient sound and layer for complexity
  • Slideshows work well for event coverage - compress time
  • Layer sound to add complexity, give “flavor” in 2 minutes or less
  • Avoid legal issues - many speakers will approve 30 second audio clips when opposed to video recording
  • Don’t forget cut-away shots of audience - required in editing to fill time to match audio
  • Mimic video by shooting sequence shots


  • Use video when your story requires motion to be understood (sports, time, energy, distance, etc)
  • Tell a story through interviews
  • Capture “b-roll” or illustrative footage to cover cuts
  • Play with editing to condense time, add drama through context, create mood
  • Use music, graphics, titles to create emotional response
  • Ride-along, Day-in-the-Life, interesting personalities all make for good videos
  • Digital stories, profiles, demonstrations of skill/talent are also good


  • Tells a “transformative” story of a space, over time
  • Interviews and ambient sound add drama, interest
  • Impressionistic, condenses time artistically
  • Hybrid video/timelapse
  • Scripted narrative
  • Behind the scenes glimpse can create anticipation/excitement
  • Solves a problem: Previews an unfinished space and indicates impact of its future


  • Is there movement? Sound” Do either of these things add understanding?
  • Is there a complicated concept or a particularly visual component? Does something change?
  • Does the story rely on ambient conditions?
  • Is the story spatial in nature?
  • Is a subject’s voice particularly unique?
  • Sometimes the most simple approach is the one that works the best.


  • Start with a bang (Cut the intro, just get right into it - UofChic loses people in the first 15 seconds if they have an intro)
  • Offer contagious emotions (people love to learn something, that translates to people sharing)
  • Be funny
  • Be personal (Get the camera close)
  • Be timely
  • Be geeky
  • Be irresistibly eye-catching
  • Be inspiring
  • Tell a story

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