Great Multimedia Projects

There are thousand of good multimedia projects. Not only the big newsrooms like The New York Times ,The Guardian and the BBC are producing great material but also students and independent producers. Watching how the best are producing multimedia content:

1. One in Eight Million by The New York Times

To be honest the New York Times is a reference in every single field but they outperform themselves when it comes to multimedia projects. “One in 8 Million” is a compilation of audio slideshows with stories about average citizens who make New York the melting pot it is.

My favourite audio slideshow is a profile of Joseph Cotton, a grandfather from Bronx, who helps raise his four grandchildren. The photography is all in black and white and it is mesmerizing.

Every character is shown through pictures depicting daily life routines of an average family. You can a great variety of stories. From a woman who likes sadism and masochism to an actor who helps men meeting woman, every story is interesting.

2. Last Word by The New York Times

I have always loved the obituary section in newspapers. The New York Times is known to interview a lot of famous people about their lives for their own obituaries. The Last Word is completely different: people were asked how they wanted to be remembered.

The way the clips start is always memorable. Ed Koch starts by asking : “Did you miss me?”. As I said before, Art Buchwald has the best start: “Hi, I am Art Buchwald and I just died”. It is brilliant and we have the feeling that we are actually watching them for the last time!

The Last Word uses clips from the interview, photos, music and one thing that I normally don’t like: voice over. Here everything works perfectly.

3. Someone Once Told Me by Mario Cacciottolo

I love this concept: people take pictures of themselves holding a card with a phrase someone told them once. It has to be something said to them directly. Then you have a slideshow with all the pictures and what the sentences mean and they chose that particular sentence. It is so simple but it works perfectly.

Here are my favourite phrases:

4. A Tour of Duty by Paul Kerley

Compared to the previous projects this one is much simpler. It is an audio slideshow with pictures from behind the scenes of British soldiers in Afghanistan. In 2007 Captain Alexander Allan completed six-month deployment to Helmand, a province in Afghanistan, and photographed a lot of his experiences while he was there.

Opposite to a lot of slideshows where the music does not work, here the background music is amazing and just helps get in the story. This is the proof that simple projects can be amazing and all you need is a good story.

5. Snow Fall by The New York Times

When I discovered the Snow Fall it reminded me of 13 Seconds in August, a project by the Star Tribune produced in 2007 after the 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, United States of America.

Snow Fall was a web project made by the New York Times about a deadly avalanche. It has been called the “future of journalism” or, at least, a new level in multimedia journalism.

To be honest it is a brilliant long format project that used a lot elements in multimedia storytelling: texts, maps, graphics, video, audio and animations. It is probably the first big journalism project that uses HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript instead of Flash. However, it took 6 months and a team of about seventeen people to be done which most of newsrooms can’t afford.

This project has been very controversial and the question remains: Is this he future of journalism? I agree that it is not  but for a different reason. This is a project where the investment is worth it as “13 Seconds in August”. It was made by a Newspaper capable of investing in this kind of project, which is not usual ,as I said. But I have to say it is the future of big multimedia projects. Is it possible to do it weekly? Monthly? No.

But again it is all about the story and the demanding. The digital market is growing and the newsroom should keep up with with the pace.

I am going to finish by saying that in Portugal there was only one newspaper capable of pulling off a project of this nature and the difference is still abysmal.

6. HighRise/Out of my window by  Katerina Cizek

Highrise is a multi-media and multiyear art project about the human experience in vertical suburbs. HighRise also included a web documentary that explores the lives of families living in high-rise buildings in 13 cities around the world. Out of my window was shot in Chicago, Toronto, Monteral, Havana, São Paulo, Amsterdam, Prague, Istambul, Beirute, Bangalore, Phnom Penh, Tainan and Johannesburg.

The project was funded by the National Film Board of canada and won an International Digital Emmy Awards in the category of digital program: non-fiction.

The stories are in 13 different languages with subtitles in English which makes it more authentic. Moreover, we have control over what we want to see and ear. We can choose to travel around with the map. It is massive!

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