Your photo archives can make great multimedia content


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Here’s a quick way web producers can add multimedia content to their newspaper websites. I recently teamed up with Spokesman-Review writer Jim Kershner and together we have produced a half a dozen historical multimedia videos made up of photos from our in-house photo archive. Themes such as: The Evolution of Transportation in the Inland NorthwestHobo History and  Felts Field: A High Flying History were put together with local archive photos. This is really a no-brainer when it comes to creating visual driven multimedia content for your website.

Most papers have extensive photo archives that could really be put to better use. We have so many great pictures that have not been published since the Great Depression. I have found from feedback that viewers really like these historic video slideshows. It is important to note that this type of content has a long tail. The videos continue to gather hits over time– as long as people can access them on your site.

A recent blog comment on a historic show called “Remembering the Snow,” produced by Brian Immel, our new multimedia producer here at the Spokesman summed it up nicely:

“Great video feature for us Internet readers of the Spokesman Review. It’s features and stories like this, I believe, will define the future of local Internet printed news in the future. Is there any question where the future lies for the Spokesman-Review. Keep up the good work Spokesman.”

Getting comments like these puts a smile on my face; knowing that our viewers are finally starting to notice the changes we are making in the way we deliver multimedia content.

The workflow on these video slideshows is fairly simple. Our newspaper photo archive dates back to the turn of the century. When Kershner has an historical story idea, we research the archive and select the photos he feels he can write to. If we need other photos, we’ll make a trip to a local museum that has a huge archive of regional historic photos. I use my digital camera to photocopy each print thus creating a digital file that I can tone in Photoshop. Kershner then writes a whimsical script and I record him voicing it. Total turn around is about a day or less. I produce it in Final Cut Pro, adding motion to the photos where needed. Sometimes I will add a music soundtrack.

Producing these videos is a great way to learn Final Cut Pro. Arrange your photos on the timeline, add motion to the pictures where needed, then add audio narration and music. Post it prominently on your website and watch the hits roll in.

3 thoughts on “Your photo archives can make great multimedia content

  1. I like it. There’s a revenue source in here, too, I think, albeit probably a small one: Archive photos could probably bring in a bit of cash, but people need to find them and see them and know the stories behind them. This gets them out there. And features like these can last forever.

  2. Pingback:   Slideshows from photo archive by andydickinson.net

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