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Responding to Critique Sessions

Several weeks ago at our Methodology Workshop, we screened a fine cut of a film I’m wrapping up. I thought I was close to done. The group thought otherwise. I have to admit it stung to hear so much criticism so close to the end.

After dusting off my ego, I wrote down some thoughts on how best to consider a critique:

  1. Following a screening, if at all possible, take time to digest feedback before returning to your edit. Lots of comments can feel like a barrage. Having an opportunity to reflect on them before jumping back in can offer clarity.
  2. What is the common denominator of all the feedback? Write it down in a single sentence. As you make revisions, ask yourself, are you addressing that issue?
  3. Pay attention to the comments that make you angry. Often that’s resistance talking. Question what you’re holding on to.
  4. The writer Neil Gaiman once wisely said, “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
  5. And speaking of attribution, the always quotable David Mamet, in his excellent book Bambi vs. Godzilla, said, Never take advice from someone that doesn’t have a vested interest in your success. I’m not sure I completely buy that but the larger point is evident: you don’t have to consider all opinions. Not everyone is going to like what you do.
  6. And most importantly, your value as an editor, as an artist, as a person, should never be based on the failure or success of a rough draft. Or even the final piece, for that matter. Easy words to write but much harder to embrace.


Posted in Editing, Tutorials | Leave a comment

Worth Watching #168: Remember Me

Our good friend Refik Hozdic said that a film’s impact is creating space for conversation where there’s currently denial. I think this film does that. – Samia Khan

Remember Me from Azra Hodzic on YouTube (via ICTJ)

See what else we think is Worth Watching.

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MediaStorm Guide to Screencasting Hardware and Software

A number of readers have inquired about the equipment I use for screencasts.


The best software I’ve found for screencasting is Telestream’s screenflow ($99.99). Screenflow records at higher resolution than your final output so that you can easily increase the size of specific onscreen elements.

Screenflow also has a built in editor which allows for cutting and trimming from within the application. It’s far simpler to use than Premiere Pro so the learning curve is rather straightforward.

Computer Interface

About a year ago I purchased a Zoom H6 ($399) to replace my ailing Marantz PMD 660. The Zoom is lighter, sounds better, and has a USB interface that can connect directly to a computer.

When I record screencasts, I plug my mic in to the Zoom and the Zoom in to my iMac so that the sound passes straight through, recording directly to my hard drive.

The Zoom is also a great field recorder. I used it extensively on my latest short film and I’m very satisfied with the clean results.


Like lots of journalist, I used a Sennheiser K6 shotgun ($249) for many years. But because I now record primarily voice-over in tightly-controlled environments, I opted for a better vocal mic. I now use the Heil PR–40 ($327). It’s a terrific dynamic microphone that really sounds crisp.

I also make sure to use the Heil Sound PRSM-B Shockmount ($105) to avoid mic rattling as well as the BSW RE27POP pop filter ($59.00)

Additional Resources

To learn more about audio recording, check out MediaStorm’s online training, 101: Reporting Track.

Another great resource is Dan Benjamin’s Podcast Method. Dan offers lots of equipment options across a range of price points. He also hosts a series of free videos on mic techniques; definitely worth checking out.

Posted in Tutorials | Leave a comment

You’re Invited: World Press Photo Multimedia Exhibit

The winners of the 2014 World Press Photo Multimedia Contest will be exhibited in New York on December 12th – 19th, 2014 and January 19th – February 6th, 2015. The nine awarded productions will be shown in the brand new exhibition space of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University.

You are cordially invited to the opening on December 11th. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. and the official opening starts at 7:30 p.m. with contest winners and jury members presenting developments in the field of multimedia.

To attend, RSVP here before December 11th.

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‘The War Comes Home’ Receives NAACP Image Award Nomination

We are proud to announce that The War Comes Home, our first collaboration with Soledad O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group, is nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Documentary (Television). Category nominees include “American Experience: Freedom Summer” (PBS), “Bad Boys” (ESPN), “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” (HBO), and “Rand University” (ESPN). Congratulations to all the nominees. View the full list at NAACPImageAwards.net.

The NAACP Image Awards celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors. Winners will be announced during live broadcast on Friday, February 6th, 2014 on TV One.

Posted in MediaStorm Announcements, MediaStorm Awards | Leave a comment
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