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July 23rd, 2009

Multimedia of the Month – A lesson from Shakespeare

Posted by Benjamin Chesterton

Former BBC radio producer Benjamin Chesterton and photojournalist David White, as the multimedia production team duckrabbit, build high-quality multimedia pieces, provide insights on their blog, and help photographers through multimedia training sessions. Once a month on RESOLVE, Ben and/or David highlight and explain a multimedia piece that breaks a “rule,” uses a new technique, or creatively solves a common problem.

It might be the greatest moment in the history of the written arts — it’s also a scene duckrabbit uses to teach photographers about great multimedia.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet steps out from the shadows and utters the immortal line:

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”

The students in our latest training course might not have expected us to open the workshop with a reading from Shakespeare, but for me this soliloquy in which Hamlet debates his very existence is a point-by-point lesson in how to create powerful multimedia.

It’s the golden moment when the actor steps forward out of the scenery and bares their soul. A moment of complete intimacy between us and them. The best multimedia producers will create an immaculate visual landscape from which their characters step forward, Hamlet style, to deliver their soliloquy.

Think about it this way. The photos or the moving images in a multimedia piece are the scenery. They both surround and create the stage. They impart a sense of place, of action, but it is the voice, the words, that tell the story and carry much of the emotion.

Now for an example from a master. Maisie Crow may only be in her early twenties but she the most talented producer of multimedia that we have come across at duckrabbit.  Quite simply she sets the standard because her work is so complete.

For Maisie it’s all about the person: She places them and their story center-stage and has them speak directly to our hearts. Because their story is so important to her, she is determined that it will become important to you to.

I’m not going to say anything about this particular piece. Other than that you won’t be sitting there marveling at technique, or the use of some fancy new camera that records video, because you’ll be completely sucked in by the story. That’s how it should be. Some of the most celebrated multimedia producers could learn a lesson or two from Maisie. We certainly did, and so did the trainees in our latest masterclass.


  1. July 27th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Where it’s at, Joseph Rodriguez (part two) | duckrabbit - we produce beautifully crafted multimedia

    […] I wrote a post on RESOLVE about the art of the soliloquy in multimedia. The ‘to be or not to be’ moment, when a […]

  2. August 4th, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Maisie Crow, Ian Parry Award Winner, on duckrabbit (where it's at) | duckrabbit - we produce beautifully crafted multimedia

    […] Regular duckrabbit readers will know that I have already championed Maisie’s multimedia work in my monthly column on RESOLVE. […]

  3. August 8th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    John Suffield

    Benjamin Chesterton says that he started producing radio documentaries at the age of 22. He was at about that age when I first met him but his compassion, integrity and foresight were always light years in advance of his physical age. We both came from entirely different generations and backgrounds and yet we both had a common need. I was desperate to talk to someone and he was anxious to listen to anyone who had a story to tell.

    “Remembering John” was the story of the violent death of my son and the impact his loss had on my life. It was more than a story really; it was a chance to get rid of a lot of “monkeys on my back” and enabled me to get on with the rest of my life. I will always be indebted to Benjamin Chesterton.

    John Suffield

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