Matt Brandon, who runs the excellent Digital Trekker blog, put together a cogent look at the multimedia photo essay entitled The Multimedia Photo Essay: Photos and More. In the article he talks about storytelling – but also about things like quantity of imagery, length of presentation, and how not to bore folks. The multimedia presentation is a way to not only further your storytelling, but it’s a way to expand it to the senses. Instead of a single image, you get a progression – or a literal storytelling – with the added benefit of mood-setting music. In addition to teaching you the basic ins-and-outs of the essay – Brandon also shows you a number of powerful stories to get you thinking and seeing how these come together.
Another multimedia approach is doing timelapse. I’ve been watching Philip Bloom’s work over the last few days and find his short timelapse films – like this one, entitled Sky (and additionally some behind-the-scenes stuff), to be totally engaging. Bloom provides a lot of information on his website (he’s predominantly a filmmaker but has a number of DSLR articles) including this decent piece on doing timelapse DSLR films. The smoothness of his work is very telling. I horsed around with a short timelapse video early last year and made a common mistake of letting the camera make too many choices for me – with the end result being a lot of changes frame-to-frame in terms of light. Bloom will get you straightened out on how to fly right.
One word of warning about timelapse. If you get seriously into it you will quite possibly severely shorten the life of your camera’s shutter. The 16-second video I made was composed of nearly 500 exposures – representing about 1/4 of 1% of my shutter’s expected lifespan. That may not seem like much but that number can quickly grow if you make longer videos. Replacing a shutter in a camera is not complicated, but it can easily run you $300 or more so it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.
Also, I’ve previously mentioned Timescapes.org – but if you want a lot of input and help from the Timescapes community, be sure to check out the Forums page – where there is all kind of information for you.