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|| News Item: Posted 2007-05-23

The Times They Are A Changin'
We now have to hold a mic with that DSLR

By Nick Layman

Photo by

Nick Layman has found a new workflow with the emergence of multimedia slide shows. Here he has imported his photos and audio into Final Cut to produce a multimedia piece.
As photojournalists we are called to think of innovative and creative ways to deliver a story to our readers. As photographers we are trying to make images that convey a message to the audience that makes them stop what they are doing and gaze at our image for a couple seconds. Those moments that are shown in the paper can direct the reader to the paper's website with the multimedia presentation. When I go out to my driveway each morning I look across the street and down the street and see no delivery of the paper to my neighborhood.

My suggestion to someone starting out in gathering audio while shooting photos is take your time. Moments can be captured with still images or with the subjects interacting with each other. Don't panic if something is happening in the audio realm and your scrambling to break out the recording device. I have almost dropped my 70-200 lens just by trying to reach for my recorder in the bag.

Audio is an important medium and it gives the voiceless a voice. If you spend time with a person they will tell you anything and everything you need to know about their life. The only analogy that comes to mind is Forrest Gump, he thought everyone was listening on the park bench and he told his whole life story. That type of story telling is an audio production dream.

When interviewing people just be honest with them and explain what you are doing. The people I have encountered have embraced the idea of showing up to an assignment with camera and mic in tow. This gives us an upper hand to the subject because they notice you taking extra time with the project. Most of the assignments I went on without any recording device they just shrugged me off as a photographer and the writer would make the story come alive.

Some photojournalists are scared to learn audio and compare it to switching to a new camera system. We shouldn't expect the first multimedia piece we do to win any awards. It should be a learning process and there is a real balance in gathering audio and images on an assignment.

A person needs to think of ways of telling the story with photos and sound. Since doing multimedia pieces I am always looking for a beginning, middle and end. As a journalist doing this type of production I have to make sure I have sound for each element of the story. This has improved my photographer skills by looking at different ways to document the story.

The Internet is a powerful thing and with the development of the iPhone, by Apple, it is going to be even more powerful. The way people get news is going to be different and fast. People are viewing the daily Podcasts and events on their portable devices and we need to keep a leg up in the audio and video department to keep our jobs viable. When someone pulls up a story at work, school or the house many people stop at the computer and ask them what they are seeing. This type of viewing is going to make our work more available to many people.

Now that papers are redirecting their readership to the web it is making the photojournalist tell better stories and showcase their talents. Photographers are scrambling to figure out what is the difference between a shotgun and omni-directional mic. The idea of capturing audio can be a bit overwhelming but with the proper training it can take a persons career to the next level.

(Nick Layman is a freelance journalist based out of Albuquerque, N.M. he just recently graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He works for different publications and the local NPR station. He specializes in audio production and has filed stories nationally for NPR. He is willing to train photojournalists and newspapers in gathering audio for their stories.)

Related Links:
Nick's member page

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