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June 15th, 2009

Multimedia of the Month: Don’t suffocate your vision

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 David highlight and explain a multimedia piece that breaks a “rule,” uses a new technique, or creatively solves a common problem. This month Ben challenges the idea that online multimedia has to be short to accommodate viewers’ decreasing attention spans.

One of the most annoying comments I get when I post a multimedia story on the duckrabbit blog is, “This is too long.”

My favorite film is Paris, Texas, but I’m pretty sure if you forced 100 people to watch that film, 90 of them would vote to have the film shortened by half. Me, I’d rather cut off a finger. My point? Everything is subjective. What’s too long for you is a blink of an eye to somebody else; what’s meaningless to you is the moment somebody else has been waiting for all their life.

It’s true people will generally spend less time watching things on the web, but should multimedia producers always be trying to appeal to morons with attention deficit disorder? If you’re working to order for cash, then the answer is probably yes. But if you want to create something with depth and soul that will resonate many years from now, by all means keep it tight but don’t suffocate your vision.

This month I’ve chosen a piece of multimedia magic that the majority of you will probably only watch for the first three minutes. Don’t worry, all you’ll be missing is hands-down one of the best online documentaries ever made — but of course, that’s just my subjective opinion.

Living in the Shadows: China’s Internal Migrants, tells the story of three families in Shanghai, and the struggles they face as undocumented internal migrants. The film, photographed and filmed by Sharon Lovell and produced by David Campbell, quietly reveals their struggle to make a life for themselves, even as they are denied access to local social services and discriminated against by both state and private employers.

Actually, I don’t want to say too much about why I admire the way this documentary was made. It will unfairly influence the way you watch it. If you’re interested in discussing this piece, I’ll be happy to respond to your comments. I’m sure David Campbell will be happy to join in as well.

One Comment

  1. July 5th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    CHINA MULTIMEDIA | Photographer in Beijing, China | Sean Gallagher Photography

    […] Once you’re finished, head to sites such as MediaStorm and Multimedia Muse for inspiration and quality work. Also, for more discussion about multimedia, have a look at RESOLVE’s recent post ‘Don’t suffocate your vision’. […]

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