By Dot Paul and Andrew Davis Tucker - The University of Georgia
Last summer my colleague, and partner in Multimedia production, Andrew Davis Tucker and I gave a presentation on Multimedia to a group of Strategic Communications professionals here on campus. Writers in the group represent each school and college on campus. We were trying to inform them as to what we’re looking for in terms of multimedia pieces in order to enlist their help in identifying potential story ideas. Normally, we would find out about an event that we thought would make for a cool multimedia piece after the fact, and of course then it was too late for us to act on it. The first few MM pieces we produced were self-generated story ideas, but we were getting way too busy to hunt through campus websites and do extensive research for story ideas and we needed some help in generating those ideas from the various school and college public information people. UGA has 16 different schools and colleges—there are a lot of stories out there to be told visually.
The presentation went well and we had an excellent response to help us generate story ideas. But we also stressed to the folks that sometimes a planned multimedia piece doesn't always work out (like the piece a staffer was working on about the piano tuner over at the School of Music --three days into working on the project, the piano tuner got arrested for being a weed dealer -- and consequently he was terminated. Ut-oh, so not cool!!) So although our unit is part cost-recovery, part state-funded unit as of now, we do not charge for multimedia productions, mainly because we can’t always guarantee that things will work out.
And here’s Andrew to tell you more…
Following the meeting, we had four PR coordinators pitch story ideas to us. We produced three pieces. We stressed in our summer meeting that these writers would have to trust us as visual storytellers who know what will and won’t work, and they have. There was one idea that we did not pursue. The coordinator understood once we explained to him that it would not work because of the timing and that there was not going to be enough visual elements to support the story. So gaining the trust of your colleagues is vital for this process to work.
The Marsh Madness multimedia piece was pitched to us by the PR coordinator for the Marine Sciences and the Georgia Sea Grant Program. It was about a children’s musician commissioned by the Georgia Sea Grant to write educational children’s songs about the Georgia coast. The musician then traveled to different schools performing concerts. Sea Grant also created study guides for the teachers to use in the classroom along with the concerts. While the program was already in place, we had to do all of the leg work to coordinate covering the concert and getting access to teachers in the schools. The Georgia Sea Grant linked to their Youtube site and their facebook page to market the piece.
The second piece was pitched to us by the PR coordinator from the Terry College of Business. The story is about a donor who brings a select group of students to his plantation in south Georgia for a weekend. The students have a unique opportunity to learn in the great outdoors from current and former CEO’s of major businesses.
This piece was produced to accompany a story and photos in the business college’s alumni magazine that had already been written and shot by freelancers in the spring semester. The best thing about this piece is the way the business school pushed it to its alumni and donors. Their packaging was seamless in their email blast and active links in their ipad app for their magazine that went directly to the multimedia piece.
You can go to Volume 4, Issue 5 | November 2, 2011 where you can see how the Terry College of Business bundled the multimedia with their piece.
And here is the finished piece:
We were also approached about the opening of our new Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. All of the libraries' materials were being moved from the basement locations at the Main Library to a brand new building that houses the special collections libraries. I took on this project and wanted to make it into a story about moving the special collections libraries. I went to the library several times during the months moving process to document the moving. The best thing that I realized, and we are continuing to see, is that these projects can get TOO involved. The more material that you have to go through, the more arduous the task in editing and producing.
In trying to move to where we produce shorter pieces with a quicker turnaround we are finding that we need to gather less material in order to get them done in a timely manner. So I ended up going back through my stills, video, and audio from one day to make a shorter piece that I could produce faster to make the deadline before the library opened. This is a constantly evolving process to try and figure out the best way to produce these pieces to better tell the stories on our campus. Here is the finished piece:
The main uga.edu homepage also features our multimedia pieces. Many of our hits come from when they appear on our homepage. Check out our other multimedia pieces at:
Andrew Davis Tucker is the newest full-time photographer to Photographic Services, joining the staff in October 2007. He worked at the Athens Banner Herald and The Augusta Chronicle for ten years before coming to UGA. Andrew’s documentary style of photography captures university life as it happens, whether on campus or around the country. He enjoys mixing stills, audio and video to create multimedia pieces that tell the stories of university alumni, faculty, staff, and students.
With a degree in English and a background as an award-winning photojournalist, Dot Paul joined Photographic Services in 2003. Her photographic story telling skills have evolved and morphed into the multimedia production field. Although she prefers assignments of the photojournalistic variety, she is happy behind the camera no matter what the task. When she’s not behind the camera or editing video, she can be found on a yoga mat trying to work out the kinks of being human.
Their work can be seen at the Georgia's Photographic Services Website.