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Images, narration, text: the power of the slideshow

This is a powerful example of how you can tell a story that is engaging and evocative through the art of arranging images with narration and a bit of concise text. I won't set it up for you. Just click and watch it.


Above: All the slides from Free and Uneasy: The First Year Out. Click image to see slideshow on the New York Times website.

This is very simple—nothing fancy or high-tech—and yet how powerful. Especially near the end of the slideshow, the images and narration are really well done. You can not help but feel for the guy. The fact that innocent people are jailed for crimes that they did not commit is shocking, but it is probably not news to you. We have all seen the news reports about such cases similar to this one. But when we "just hear about" such cases it is easy to forget. Statistics on wrongful convictions (or cases of HIV in Africa, etc.) are just abstractions. But when we hear the story amplified by compelling photography—the story of a particular case—the issue becomes concrete. It is emotional and it is memorable. Next time you have to give a presentation about an important but complex topic—especially if it is a social issue—see if you can illuminate the general by focusing on the particular. This is a technique that storytellers, such as documentary film makers, often use. And powerful images, plus thoughtful narration and maybe even a bit of text, can help you tell your story in ways that bullet points never could.

The Innocent Project
Details of the case
Jeff Deskovic's website
Read the official report (35-page pdf)



This is reminiscent of the way Ken Burns can generate an amazing level of impact with nothing more than still images and audio.

It also a abject lesson in the power of paring back. Which (perhaps strangely) reminds me of the chef Jamie Oliver who says; Complex dishes with lots of ingredients are relatively easy to cook because there are so many flavours it will always 'kind of' work.

But to do something really, really simple like bread with oil and balsamic vinegar you have nowhere to hide. So the bread has to be fresh and soft and crusty, the olive oil needs to be so good you can almost drink it alone and the balsamic must be the best because each taste has nowhere to hide (naked! ;-)

'Al'l this slideshow has is the quality of the photography and the audio to carry it. But just think about WHAT they chose to shoot ... I especially recall the shot of him playing pool, while the bar is jumping on the lh side of the shot and the wall between him and the bar is both literal and figurative. Very very well shot and directed.

Likewise compare the audio record of the slideshow to his live talk near the end of the slideshow. In the VO they have him right up close to the mike capturing a very intimate record softly spoken. He's actually a bit of a 'high talker' but they have ensured the VO did not go that way.

All of these comments about the artifice are only on reflection of the production , I got none of that from the first view, I was just blown away.

Nice catch Garr.

- Dean

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