Your final project

Technical difficulties have thrown us off schedule, but this week we should have a chance to catch up. So it’s time to put some serious thought into your final project, which will consist of a written story with at least three interviews, a video and a slideshow.

I want you to write a blog post describing your final project by next Monday, Nov. 4, at 9 a.m. This is a few days later than what I’ve posted on the syllabus (although I will update the syllabus) — again, because our videos got delayed. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to have a substantial discussion about projects in class next Tuesday, Nov. 5.

If at all possible, your project should be related to your beat. I also expect that it will be local so that you can conduct interviews in person. That doesn’t mean you can’t drive to New Hampshire. It does mean that I don’t want a story that is based solely on phone interviews with people in Los Angeles.

Your story may be about some digital-media aspect related to your beat, but that is not a requirement. For instance, let’s say your beat is the Red Sox. You could do a story about how the Red Sox are using social media. You could profile a prominent fan blogger. Or you could do something completely different, such as profiling a retired Red Sox player or groundskeeper or whatever.

In your blog post, I want to see evidence that you’ve thought this through and that you have made contact with at least one key source that you’ll need to make this happen.

Good news

The software we need to edit our videos in iMovie are now available on the iMacs you’ve been using. Please come on time tomorrow (Oct. 25) and be ready with your iPhone, your cable and your earbuds. There will be no opening — we’re going to get right to it.

Friday’s class

Please remember to bring what you need to move your video clips and still shots from your camera onto the iMac. Don’t forget to bring earphones or earbuds — you’ll be working with audio. I hope you have had a chance to go over some of the documentation that is linked from the syllabus. I am going to do some demo’ing of iMovie, but it will make a lot more sense if you already have some familiarity with it.

My goal is for you to have gotten everything successfully uploaded and to have done a rough edit by the end of class. But we’re not going to rush it, so don’t worry if we run into technical problems.

Your video assignment

Today (Oct. 8) we’ll discuss what you’ll need to get started with your video assignment. We will begin editing next Tuesday, Oct. 15, so you’ve got a week to think about a story and shoot it. Also next Tuesday, you’ll get some valuable editing tips from local videographer Steve Garfield.

The goal is to make a three- to five-minute news video. As with all of our assignments, it would be nice if you could shoot something related to your beat, but it’s not a requirement. You need to shoot the following before next Tuesday:

  • Interviews with at least three different people. Make sure you get their complete names, first and last, spelled properly.
  • A stand-up of yourself introducing the story.
  • At least three more video clips, mainly to be used as B-roll.
  • Some still photos, also to be used as B-roll.

You should make all of your shots horizontal, both video and still.

When you come to class next Tuesday, please be ready to work. Most of you will be using iMovie in the Mac lab. If you are planning to transfer your material from your camera, be sure to bring a USB cable that actually fits your camera. (You may choose to bring your video clips and photos on a CD or flash drive instead.) Also — very important — bring a pair of headphones or earbuds for video editing, since we won’t want to hear the audio.

If you are not familiar with iMovie, I will do some demo’ing in class. But there is no substitute for familiarizing yourself with it ahead of time. Take a look at Week 7 on the syllabus. Mindy McAdams’ outstanding two-part guide will be particularly useful to you. Read it. The two parts are not that long, so you may wish to print them out and bring them to class.

McAdams’ guide, though, is for iMovie ’09, and we have upgraded to iMovie ’11. Apple documentation is notoriously difficult to come by. If you have a Mac and access to the App Store, a guide called “Tutor for iMovie ’11” gets good reviews, and is only $4.99. The book “iMovie ’11 and iDVD: The Missing Manual,” by David Pogue and Aaron Miller, is excellent, but you’ll pay more.

We’ll have fun, but unless you’re already a video wiz, this is going to take longer than you think. We’ll wrap up by Oct. 25.

Getting ready for today’s class

As promised, here is part two of “The Power of Photojournalism.” And if you would like to go back and watch part one again, here is the link.

We will finish our photo stories in class today. Please be prepared to move your photos onto your computer, edit them and write captions. I will go over the steps needed to create a WordPress slideshow. Afterwards, we’ll take a look at each other’s work.

I am posting our video assignment separately. If we have time, we’ll go over it and start talking about what makes for a good video story.