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ON STORYTELLING: IT’S NOT THE GEAR, IT’S YOUR SKILL

April 6th, 2012

With the release of the new Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III, both amateur and professional photographers have new tools at their disposal. Questions abound: Which camera is better? Should I upgrade? What will it let me do? Should I go pure-video like a Canon C300 or a Sony NEX-FS700?

I am appreciative of the Canon 5D Mark II; I own two, and these compact DSLR’s have allowed me to shoot more video for my clients and for my personal projects. I’m enjoying the medium and how the combination of video, audio, and stills gives me more tools for storytelling, in spite of the increased complexity and greater workload. Will I upgrade? In due time, when it makes financial sense and there’s a need. For me, my main concerns are better ergonomics, audio capture, rolling shutter and moire.

The thing is, it’s just gear, and without story you’ve got nothing.
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Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, coolness, editing, gear, human rights, inspiration, iPhone, journalism, media, technique, technology, video, war, work of others Comments Off on ON STORYTELLING: IT’S NOT THE GEAR, IT’S YOUR SKILL

ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

December 21st, 2010

Teru_1-8Journalism is not dead, in spite of what many in the industry bemoan, it’s simply that the industry is changing. Drastically. Photojournalist Teru Kuwayama is doing just that: frustrated by traditional outlets, he spent the last year as a Knight Fellow researching new means for content distribution. This year, he’s surprised himself by winning a Knight Foundation Grant to use his new content distribution model to report from Afghanistan.

Audiences are increasingly fragmented, diverse in their interests and able to refine how, and what, they view. Largely because of the internet. RSS feeds, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are online tools allowing viewers to pick and choose their content; no longer are they bound to the morning paper and the five o’clock news hour.

Teru_UKAs content dissemination changes, so does the role of the journalist. Objective reporting is the journalist’s creed–though “objective” is becoming increasingly less so (think FOX News versus NPR).  Journalists can now publish via the web, circumventing the filters of large publishers, and so can citizens, eyewitnesses to events. Being so close to the source, their view may be myopic and rife with opinion. This may be where the journalist’s role is changing. He or she may become more a curator of information provided by eyewitness sources, feeding to the web. That means journalists need to maintain a technological leg-up on content distribution, utilizing and designing new platforms. The tool is no longer just the pen or camera.

Where does this leave traditional media outlets? They’re still powerhouses, backed by infrastructure and revenue, but I believe as their content suffers, as viewers grow increasingly fragmented, and as technology allows additional means of distribution, traditional media will need to evolve or be relegated to the back channels of the new media world. Which may not be a bad thing.

NYT-lens-basetrackWhat Kuwayama has done is use largely existing technology and code to create a website that leverages social media. His publication is Basetrack, his distribution Facebook and other social media, his photojournalists are himself, Balasz Gardi, and Tivadar Domaniczky in the field, with support from the States. His reporters are the marines, their family, and their friends who also become their readers. It is a social media microcosm of news dissemination curated by  journalists.

Does this mean Facebook is the new news platform?

Read More About Kuwayama and Basetrack:
• Basetrack.org
• Q&A at journalism.co.uk
• On PBS.org
• NY Times Lens Blog interview by war photographer Michael Kamber
• Knight Foundation Grant

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