Sunday, February 14, 2016

Still frame grab exports from video clips add duplicity to storytelling

Screen grab from the eBlade. The image is also a frame grab from video. Published Feb. 14, 2016 in the Toledo Blade.   
   Multimedia = multiple types of media.
   This is the entire focus of Kent State's Teaching Multimedia grad students, who are currently learning the multitude ways of storytelling using still photos, video, audio, infographics and timelines (just to name a few) on various web publishing platforms.
   It can be pretty daunting when you're just realizing how much is available out there. But fear not. You don't have to use all of the tools every time. This blog post will highlight a simple example of using audio and video, and exports of frame stills from those videos.
   Because video was requested for a story of a man preparing to take his dog to Westminster, I had the added responsibility of capturing audio and moving images.
Top four are still images. The last two are video frame grabs used in the story.
   Taking both stills and video is always difficult because the quality of either the stills or video suffer.
   In my case, it's almost always the stills that suffer because I get so wrapped up in the video, which is captured with a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera and a Sennheiser MKE 400 shotgun mic. The quality from both is superb, but that's only if you use a tripod in a quiet place with minimal background noise. Autofocus is also an issue with the DSLR. The concerns add up rather quickly.
   There's also the added concern of trying not to duplicate the moments. The stills shouldn't be exactly the same as the video. For this reason, I selected and transmitted four still images that were completely different than the video.
   But alas, I was asked this question from my boss: "Where are the shots of the man training the dog?" My answer: "In the videos." His response in a nutshell: "Give us stills of the man training the dog." My reply: "I"ll select frame grabs from the video." Problem solved.
   The photo in the screen grab at top is one of those frame grabs. And here is how I did it:
  1. I drug the folder with all of the video files into Photo Mechanic and watched them one by one. 
  2. When I found the ones I wanted, I took those videos and opened them up in Quicktime. (Do not do a screen grab because the quality is poor.)
  3. Once I found the exact frames I wanted, I exported those frames onto the desktop. This process depends on which version you have, so Google it.
  4. Then I drug those frames into Adobe Elements (or Photoshop), and cropped and saved as a 200 resolution jpg. The difference is hardly noticeable.
   Screen grabs are a good way of solving the 'missing good still moments because you're shooting video' dilemma.' So, if you have to choose one or the other, choose video.
   And wouldn't you know it: None of the still photos were used in the paper. Both stills were out of my frame grabs. Go figure.

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