Week 2: Day 1 – Audio Slideshow Assignment

All students must produce a 2- to 3-minute audio slideshow that profiles a single individual. The final project must include:

  • A headline, dek and lede
  • 15+ photos edited in Lightroom
  • 2-3 minutes of audio edited in Audition or Premiere
  • Final .mov edited in Premiere with transitions between each image

To submit your project, post your story to the Five Blocks website before class on 5/30.

Week 2: Day 1 – Audio Slideshow Inspiration

Before Brandon Stanton started Humans of New York, the NY Times did an audio slideshow project called One in 8 Million, which profiled one New Yorker each week for a full year. While watching some of these stories, ask yourself:

  • What kind of story do the reporter and photographer tell? Consider the 20 Master Plots.
  • What kinds of questions did the reporter ask?
  • What kinds of photographs did the photographer include?

Week 2: Day 1 – Interviewing for Audio Slideshows

Take a few minutes to choose a person you might want to focus on for your Audio Slideshow project. Then, take five or so minutes to make a list of as many questions as you can to ask your subject. At this stage, there is no such thing as a stupid question, so write all of your question ideas down. Once the time is up, add the following information to the top of your list:

  • Your subject’s name, i.e. Michael Bay
  • Some context, i.e. Director
  • The type of story this might lend itself to, i.e. transformation, discovery, etc.

Now, pass your list of questions to your right. With your classmate’s list in front of you, take three minutes to write down as many questions as you can for that person’s subject. Repeat this process until you’ve added questions from five individuals in class.

Week 2: Day 1 – Shooting Audio Slideshows

Next, focus on the kinds of photographs you plan to take while you are capturing your subject. Take the next five minutes to develop a list of photos you plan to take, i.e. “Wide establishing shot of building,” or “Detail shot of subject’s hands,” or “Medium shot of subject interacting with student,” etc. Again, there is no such thing at this stage as a bad idea for a photograph. Consider:

  • Content (what’s happening in the photo)
  • Shot type (wide, medium, tight, etc.)

Once the five minutes is up, pass your list to the right and spend three minutes adding shots to your classmate’s list until you have feedback from five classmates.

Week 2: Day 1 – Editing Audio in Audition

Adobe Audition is a professional audio editing application used by broadcast stations like NPR and WHYY to edit and mix their audio stories. For a quick overview of how Audition works, click here to download the practice file and follow these steps:

To edit a single waveform…

  1. Absolutely, 100% make a copy of your audio file on your hard drive so your editing does not affect the original audio file
  2. Open Adobe Audition
  3. Go to the Main MenuFile > ImportFile
  4. Import the copy of the audio file you’d like to work with
  5. In the Editor window, adjust the track height by pressing Option – to make the track height shorter and Option + to make the track height taller
  6. Adjust the track width by pressing + to make the track width wider and to make the track height narrower
  7. To cut your audio, use these shortcuts:
         -Spacebar: Play/Pause
         -J: Move backward
         -K: Pause
         -L: Move forward
         -J+K: Move backward in slow motion
         -K+L: Move forward in slow motion
         -L (twice): Move forward at double the speed
         -J (twice): Move backward at double the speed
         -I: Insert in point
         -O: Insert out point
         -Option+K: Play from in point to outpoint
  8. Adjust the dial on the Adjust Amplitude panel floating on top of your Editor window
  9. To fade the audio in at the beginning of your story, click the Fade In button (square icon at the top left corner of your Editor window) and drag it down and to the right (in the Waveform view, this permanently changes your audio and cannot be adjusted)
  10. To fade the audio out, go to the end of your track, click the Fade Out button, and drag it down and to the left to fade the track out
  11. Once you are finished, export your file by going to the Main Menu > File > Export File
  12. Choose a Name and Location for your file
  13. Choose a Format for your file (.WAV/.AIFF)
  14. Click OK

To edit multiple tracks…

  1. In the upper-left corner of the Audition interface, click the Multitrack button
  2. Name the session you are working on, choose a location for the project folder, then click OK
  3. Click on the Editor window
  4. Control + click inside Track 1 and select Insert > Your Audio File
  5. Repeat these steps to place each of your audio clips on separate tracks
  6. Click and slide each of your tracks to the left or right to place them in the right spot
  7. To work on one track specifically, click the S (solo) in the Track window to mute your other tracks
  8. To fade your tracks in and out, go to the beginning of your track and click the Fade In/Out icon the upper left or upper right of your window, dragging it down and over to create the fade
  9. To adjust your fade, click on the Fade In/Out icon and adjust the placement
  10. To adjust the audio levels manually with keyframes,  go to the Volume overlay (yellow line under your track) and click on the Volume overlay to add keyframes
  11. Control + click to select Spline Curves (hard vs. soft levels adjustment)
  12. Adjust your levels throughout the track
  13. Repeat with each of your tracks until you are happy with your audio mix
  14. To export your mix, go to the Main Menu > File > Export > Multitrack Mixdown > Entire Session
  15. Choose a Name, Location and Format for your file
  16. Click OK

If you’re looking for more tutorials on Audition, check out the Audition CC Essential Training on Lynda.com.

Week 2: Day 1 – Producing Audio Slideshows

Today we’ll walk through creating an audio slideshow in Adobe Premiere. If you don’t have material to work with in today’s class, download this folder.

Before opening Premiere…

  1. Save your images at 1920x1080px
  2. Put all of your audio and images into a project folder

To create a project…

  1. Open Premiere
  2. Go to the Main Menu > File > New > Project
  3. Name your project
  4. Choose a location for your project (i.e. your external)
  5. Under the General tab, go to Video Rendering and Playback
  6. If an option, choose a playback that has OpenCLU (this improves quality of playback); otherwise select the default option
  7. Leave the other settings under the General tab at their default
  8. Click on the Scratch Disks tab
  9. Set your scratch to your Project Folder
  10. Click OK

To create a sequence…

  1. Control + click inside the Project Pane (panel on lower left) and select New Item > Sequence
  2. Go to the Digital SLR folder and select DSLR 1080p30
  3. Name your sequence
  4. Click OK

To import and organize media…

  1. Control + click inside the Project Pane and select Import
  2. Find your content (audio and photos in this case) and click Import
  3. To organize your content into Bins, click the New Bin button (folder on lower right of Project Pane)
  4. Name your bin and drag all content for that bin inside

To preview media through the Source Monitor…

  1. In the Project Pane, double-click on the audio, video or image you’d like to preview in the Source Monitor
  2. To move around using your keyboard in the Source Monitor use the following shortcuts:
  • Shift + 1: Project Panel
  • Shift + 2: Source Monitor
  • Shift + 3: Timeline
  • Shift + 4: Program Monitor
  • . (period): Overwrite Edit
  • , (comma): Insert Edit
  • (up arrow): Previous in-point
  • (down arrow): Next in-point
  • J: Move backward
  • K: Play/Pause
  • L: Move forward
  • Spacebar: Play/Pause
  • J+K: Move backward in slow motion
  • K+L: Move forward in slow motion
  • L (twice): Doubles the speed forward
  • J (twice): Doubles the speed backward
  • Option+K: Play from in point to outpoint

To add media to the Timeline…

  1. In the Project Pane, highlight the audio clip you’d like to add to your timeline and hit . (period) to insert your audio on A1 (which is where your a-roll always, always goes)
  2. Once your audio is in place, lock your audio channel by clicking the Lock icon
  3. In the Project Pane, highlight your first photo and hit . (period) to insert your first photo on V1 (which is where your a-roll always, always goes)
  4. To adjust the size/position of your photo, go to the Program Monitor, double-click on the frame, and adjust the wireframe
  5. Adjust the duration of the clip by dragging the end of the clip left or right on your Timeline
  6. Repeat this process (using either . (period) or , (comma) to lay your media on the Timeline

To add/adjust/delete transitions…

  1. Go to your Timeline and highlight all of your photos (hold Shift + click/select all photos)
  2. Hit Command + D (automatically adds default transitions to all photos)
  3. To change the duration of the transition, double-click on the transition and adjust the duration
  4. To delete a transition, Control + click on the transition and hit the Delete key

*For other transitions go to the Project Pane > Effects > Video Transitions and drag the video transition you want to add to your clip

To add text…

  1. Go to the Main Menu > Title > New Title > Default Still
  2. Choose the default settings to match your sequence and hit OK
  3. Use the Type tool to create a text box for your title
  4. Add the text for your title
  5. Adjust your font family, font size and text alignment
  6. Go to your Project Pane and drag your title onto the Timeline
  7. Highlight your title and hit Command + D to add the transitions to your title
  8. If you’d like to add lower thirds, repeat this process to add a new title, but add your title to V2 on top of the frame where you’d like your lower thirds to appear

To compress + export…

  1. Go to File > Export
  2. In the Format box, choose H.264
  3. In the Preset box, choose Match Source – High bitrate
  4. Make sure Export Video and Export Audio are selected
  5. Under the Video tab, click Match Source under Basic Video Settings
  6. Under the Audio tab, select AAC for the Audio Format
  7. Select AAC for the Audio Codec
  8. Select 48000Hz for the Sample Rate
  9. Choose Stereo for Channels
  10. Choose High for Audio Quality
  11. Select 320 for the Bitrate
  12. Click Export

If you experience issues with the quality, try exporting it as a QT file, like this: 

  1. Go to File > Export
  2. In the Format box, choose Quicktime
  3. Leave the Preset box alone
  4. Make sure Export Video and Export Audio are selected
  5. Under the Video tab, click Match Source under Basic Video Settings
  6. Under the Audio tab, choose AAC, 48000Hz, Stereo + 320kbps
  7. Click Export

*If you need more details, follow these compression guidelines  for Vimeo’s instructions or follow these compression guidelines  for YouTube. 

Week 1: Day 1 – Photo Series Assignment

All students must photograph 7-10 subjects and ask them, “What is the biggest issue your community is facing today?” The final project must include:

  • A headline, dek and lede
  • 7-10 photos edited in Lightroom featuring 7-10 individuals
  • Captions with each individual’s first name, last name, age, photo location and quote

To submit your project, post your story to the Five Blocks website before class on 5/23.

Week 1: Day 1 – Intro to Photography

Every photographer (i.e. Gordon Parks, pictured above) has their own style and approach to photographing people. Here are just a few very basic tips to get you started:

Be up-front with your subjects
If you decide to shoot a set of portraits as opposed to a set of candids, approach your subjects first, identify who you are, and tell them what you are doing and where your photos are going.

Engage your subjects
Make conversation before, during and after your shoot. Take photos of them not just when they are looking into the camera, but when they are looking away between shots or making their natural facial expressions.

Spend time with your subjects
The more time you spend with your subjects, the more comfortable they become. When you spend time, you build a relationship. When you build a relationship, that relationship shows in the photographs.

Collect a variety of shot types

  • Wide: Includes the subject’s full body and their surroundings
  • Medium: Includes the subject above the knees or waist
  • Tight: Includes the subject, shoulders + up


Country Store on Dirt Road by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Country Store on Dirt Road by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Ex-slave with a long memory is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Ex-slave with a long memory by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Migratory Cotton Picker by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Migratory Cotton Picker by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Consider your angles

  • High: Takes power away from people
  • Low: Gives people power
  • Eye-level: Neither takes power away nor gives power to people


Sick Migrant Child by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Sick Migrant Child by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Grandfather and Grandson at Manzanar Relocation Center by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Mind your backgrounds
Avoid poles, branches, any background elements, etc. that stick out of your subjects’ heads. Reposition yourself so these elements are either to the side of your subjects or out of the frame entirely.

For Fashion’s Sake by http://writingrainbows.blogspot.com/.

Avoid amputating your subjects
Don’t crop your subjects at their joints. Here’s a good cheat sheet for cropping people when frame your photos:

Cropping Guide by https://learn.digitalcameraworld.com/.

Zoom with your feet
When you use your phone (pinch + zoom) or camera lens to zoom in on a photo, the photo loses quality. Always, always, always zoom with your feet when it’s possible.

Week 1: Day 1 – Photo Practice

For the next 30 minutes walk around campus and:

  • Photograph 3 people you know (i.e. your classmates)
  • Photograph 3 people you don’t know
  • Collect their full names (clarify spelling!), age, and where their photograph was taken
  • Employ some of the rules/techniques we discussed during today’s class

Week 1: Day 1 – Photo Editing

Lightroom is an image editing software that brings all of the same photo editing functionality offered through the panels and menus of Adobe Bridge and Photoshop and centers them into a single screen to expedite your editing process. If you would rather not work with your own photos, feel free to download and practice editing with this folder.

Here are the steps to editing photos in Lightroom:

Step One: Import Images
First, you’ll need to bring your images into Lightroom. When you import photos, Lightroom builds image previews of the adjustments you make to those photos while you edit them.

  1. Open Adobe Lightroom
  2. Go to the Main Menu and select “File” –> “New Catalog”
  3. Create a folder for your new catalog and save it to the Desktop or your flash drive
  4. Click “Create”
  5. Click “Skip this time”
  6. Go to the Main Menu and select “File” –> “Import Photos and Video”
  7. Click on either the device or the folder where your photos are stored
  8. Click “Import”

Step Two: Filter Images
Next, you’ll want to filter the images from your import. Filtering images allows you to select specific images to edit from the import.

  1. Double-click on your first image to expand it in your screen
  2. If you like the image, hit “P” on your keyboard to flag it
  3. Repeat until you’ve flagged all the images you’d like to edit
  4. In the lower- right-hand corner, select “Flagged” from the “Filter” dropdown box

Step Two: Crop/Rotate
Now, you’ll need to crop and rotate your images. Cropping an image removes the outer parts of a photograph. Rotating an image straightens crooked horizon lines.

  1. Click on the “Develop” tab in the upper- right-hand corner of the Lightroom interface
  2. Click on the “Crop Overlay” tool
  3. Click on the “Lock” icon to lock the original aspect ratio (the ratio of the width to the height of an image)
  4. Drag the corner of the crop box inward to select the area you’d like to retain
  5. Move your mouse outside of the corner of the crop box and tilt the box to rotate the photo
  6. Double-click inside of the crop box to crop the photo

Step Three: Adjust White Balance and Tone
Next, you’ll want to adjust the white balance and the tone of the photograph. Adjusting the white balance removes unrealistic color casts. Adjusting the tone changes the exposure and contrast.

  1. In the “WB” section, slide the “Temp” and the “Tint” sliders left and/or right to adjust the photo’s white balance (to reduce yellow, add blue, to reduce blue, add yellow, to reduce red, add green, to reduce green, add red)
  2. Use the “Exposure” slider to darken or brighten your photo’s exposure
  3. Use the “Contrast” slider to increase or decrease the contrast between the shadows and highlights in your photo
  4. Use the “Highlights,” “Shadows,” “Whites,” and “Blacks” sliders to target those areas of your photo more specifically

Step Four: Sharpen
Next, you might want to sharpen your photos. Sharpening a photo detects the edges of details in the photograph and increases the contrast of their neighboring pixels.

  1. In the “Sharpening” section, use the “Amount” slider to increase or decrease the amount of sharpening applied to the photo
  2. Adjust the “Radius” slider to increase or decrease the area to which the sharpening is applied
  3. Adjust the “Detail” slider to control the amount of sharpening on the details of the image
  4. Adjust the “Masking” slider to mask out areas that should not be sharpened

Step Five: Paste Settings
If you’ve taken a set of photos in the same setting, you can paste the edits you made to one photo to a batch of photos to save you time on editing.

  1. Select the photo you edited.
  2. Hit “Command” + “C” on your keyboard
  3. Click “Copy”
  4. Select the photos you’d like to paste those settings to
  5. Hit “Command” + “V”
  6. Hit “Control” on your keyboard while clicking on one of the images you selected
  7. Select “Develop Settings” –> “Paste Settings”

Step Six: Export
Last, you’ll need to export your photos from Lightroom to your Desktop or flash drive. When you’re editing in Lightroom, you’re only editing previews. In order to use the images you’ve edited in print or online, you need to export them as JPEGs.

  1. Click on one of your images in the film strip at the bottom of the Lightroom interface
  2. Hit “Command” + “A” on your keyboard to select all
  3. Go to the Main Menu and select “File” — “Export”
  4. From the “Export To” dropdown, select “Specific Folder”
  5. Choose the folder where you’d like to save the images
  6. From the “Rename To” dropdown, select “Custom Name – Sequence”
  7. Give your file a custom name in the “Custom Text” box
  8. Give it a number in the “Start Number” box (i.e. “1”)
  9. From the “Image Format” box select “JPEG”
  10. From the “Quality” box, select “100”
  11. From the “Resize to Fit” dropdown, select “Long Edge”
  12. For print images, select 3000px, or for online images, select 1600px
  13. From the “Resolution” box, select “300” for print, or “72” for online
  14. Click “Export”

If you’d like a more in-depth look at Lightroom after you leave today’s class, check out Lynda’s Lightroom CC Essential Training.