New Media Interchange

In The Field… At The Writer’s Guild of America

Tracy Pattin, Host. Sizzle in the Middle

Tracy Pattin, Host. Sizzle in the Middle

Last week I went to an excellent New Media event at the Writer’s Guild in Los Angeles, put on by New Media Interchange called, “From Camera to YouTube.” NMI’s  experts, Doug Welch and Michael Lawshe walked us through the process of creating a New Media project from initial recording to final placement on YouTube (or other video sharing sites).

Seems writers from Traditional Media are hungry to learn about this new way of distributing content. Of course, the Writer’s Strike of ’08 was all about the complicated issues around this emerging medium and how writers need to get paid what their worth and for their content. Still, it’s clear we all have to jump into this new world and participate, otherwise we could miss some great opportunities.

The evening was kicked off by the WGA’s  Elizabeth Flack, who heads up their New Media department. Then, TV writer turned college professor, Roseanne Welch gave an inspired and impassioned speech about New Media’s opportunities for pro-active writers, referencing Diablo Coty  who went from blogger to Oscar winner.

Doug Welch gave a colorful demonstration on the unique pros and cons of the different types of cameras reassuring the audience that “it’s fiddly, but not all that complicated.” From the HD Cam to the Flip Camera, looks like there are many inexpensive ways to create a web movie, webisode or web video.

The key to the production process comes down to one important component; Sound. The audio must be as clean as possible. Video can get by with less than stellar quality, but if viewers can’t hear it, they’ll tune out (or click off!).

Enter top Warner Bros., Sound Supervisor and three time Emmy award winner, Michael Lawshe. “Audio is more than 1/2 of video” Michael says, making the point that in the production phase of a project, audio needs special attention. You can make do with mediocre video but if the sound is distorted or there’s a lot of background noise, there’s very little you can do. Doug chimed in with an easy rule of (sound) thumb; ” Just don’t record noise in the first place.”

So how do you get better audio? “Know your camera” Michael points out.  He went on to talk about external microphones and camera mics.

Then, they shared the steps and tips to editing and exporting with an important tip; “Think about your shoot before you begin.” Great advice in this new era of  on-the-fly production. The more prepared you are, the less time you’ll have to spend in a dark room, editing your project.

We learned how to upload to YouTube, how to imbed and distribute through one-stop-shop sites like TubeMogul where you can share your content easily and efficiently across cyberspace.

The evening ended with audience questions. I was amazed by the amount of technical questions like which editing software is the best, which is the preferred video streaming software, sharing and tagging and more slightly geeky questions!

Impressive and telling. I think New Media has reached critical mass and the marriage of new and not-so-new media is beginning to really take shape.

The best advice in how to get up to speed with this rapidly growing and changing world of technology comes from Doug Welch; “you just have to get out there and do it.” It’s not about perfection, it’s about action.

Check out New Media Interchange for the latest news, information and events.

I’m heading back in to the field this week for more New Media and Social Media events.

-Tracy Pattin


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