Storyboarding and Audio Slideshows

We’re getting to the point where it’s time to come up with a specific, cohesive plan for your audio slideshow. Over the next week or two, we’ll be refining your storytelling structure through storyboarding.

We’ll spend most of today’s class in group critique sessions of five audio slideshows. But first, I wanted to pass along these organizational tips from Jen Friedberg, a multimedia journalist who previously spoke to SMU Digital Journalism classes:

(Jen Friedberg,

1. Decide what the angle of your story is. You should be able to state this in 3 words and one of those words should be a verb.
e.g. Camels carry people

At most, it should take a short sentence to explain your angle.

2. Keeping your topic in mind, do a pre interview and get an idea of what the person is going to say. This might be informal, just a conversation.

3. Pick 3 or 4 questions to record. This keeps the amount of audio you have to wade through down. Re-ask those questions on tape in a quiet place. If there is an event going on, you may have to move your subject elsewhere.

4. With an idea on what your audio will say, start shooting.

5. If there is a live event associated with your piece, collect natural or ambient sound (background noise) at the event – at least a minute or two that you can use later sort of as a soundtrack. Try to get sounds that go along with the pictures you are taking. You can layer this in under your primary interview.

This is not un-ethical. It’s like using a flash.

6. Shoot a lot, especially detail (close-up) photos. Plan to have your photos stay up for 5-7 seconds max. So, if you’re doing a 1:30 piece, that’s 18 photos.

Also, get shots of your subject – people want to see who is speaking.

Plan to ID your main subject with a lower-third – this can save valuable time because the subject doesn’t have to take audio time to introduce himself.

If it is impossible to show a picture of your subject when he/she starts speaking, your lower-third can say “Voice of XXX”

7. Edit your audio together in a way that it tells the story. If you get really stuck, use text slides – especially if you want to present complicated facts or figures.

8. Select your photos and arrange them so they make sense with the audio. Try timing the pictures to the words. Don’t have each one play for the same amount of time.

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