Tag Archives: flash

The difference between an idea and a good one is execution

Well designed timelines are beautiful

I like having great ideas, but then again who doesn’t? And if I can turn them into something real, that’s just amazing. But if others have similar ideas and do far better than I’d ever could, I don’t get discouraged, quite the opposite. So when I saw this beautiful timeline depicting the biggest scares of the last decade I was  in awe, it was just what I wanted to do with my own Paranoia Timeline (I wrote about it a few months ago). My admiration goes out to David McCandless.

In fact, for my own project I asked David’s permission to use one of his works to illustrate the 2012 it’s-the-end-of-the-world/no-it’s-not argument. But I must make clear that I do not intend to imply that he drew any inspiration out of my lame effort to create  a myth debunking timeline. Good ideas happen everywhere and they’re only good if well executed. I swear this is true.

But the concept is pretty much the same: let’s analyze some events who had lots of media visibility and compare with the real effect they had. McCandless narrows it down to some epidemics, diseases or events, but it is scare vs reality, like I wanted to do, limited to a 10 year span. But since I’m not that good with Flash, I had to resort to a chronological feature, with no possibility for data comparison, although my initial idea was to analyze the recurrence of a search term in Google, see how much noise it created and show the real consequences. It seems Google Insights was the best option.

The Flash interface and the interactivity David’s timeline provides is also great, and makes my own effort appaling by comparison. But it feels good to see that someone had a similar line of thinking and made it work in such a great way. The Paranoia Timeline project never passed the initial stage, but now I feel I could have done so much more, if I had the expertise. He created a mountain, I, a molehill.

Kudos to David, no wonder his blog is one of my favorite Google Reader feeds.

Breadth Portfolio: Part 2 – Flash Package

The second part of my Breadth Portfolio series, in this one i briefly explain how the Moseley Road Baths Flash package was made.

Flash

Moseley Road Baths

I’ve wanted to use Flash to create a multimedia package or to aggregate different types of content in one same product. Recycling the contents I had produced previously for HashBrum, I made a serious attempt to build one: “Moseley Road Baths- Pool of Affection[i].

I’ll avoid commenting on the content of the piece, because all the questions are related to the construction process. First of all, Flash is an almost exclusive of Adobe, and its complexity make it hard to use, but in the right hands it can deliver amazing works. This is not the case, and there are many reasons for it.

First of all, Flash evolved into Actionscript 3.0 which is much harder to use than the previous 2.0 version that I was familiarized with. This wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have planned to use features that will only work with the 3.0 version, like mapping components. So I had to give up on my initial plan of incorporating a map into the piece, if I was to do it in AS2, although I searched intensively Google for solutions. But choosing which script language is used to build a work with Flash it’s just the beginning. We have to decide what contents are going to be featured, which technical specificities they demand, how are we supposed to navigate through them and which aesthetic options we will take. The most interesting part is that it is truly an interdisciplinary experience: I used video, and had to go through the options to embed it, and pick the best format (FLV) and size to convert it to; I had to create a look for the project, and I used image editors to edit pictures and small graphic elements; besides, flash is based in animation principles, so some notions on the subject will help.

Non-linearity is an important factor to this kind of work, and since I had divided the main video to small, independent bits it wasn’t hard to do. When I first started shooting this story, I had the notion I would use it for something like this, so I wasn’t that worried about creating a narrative chain throughout the filming, but just keeping it visually coherent, which under personal limitations is not that difficult.

Flash projects are also all about functionality (the way buttons are placed) and details (the way buttons move). To improve these two factors you must have a deeper knowledge of Flash (beyond button level), which is hard to acquire on your own. Though the web is filled with video tutorials and great websites on the matter, Flash is mostly about a logical process that it is hard to grasp on your own. But I fear the approach I took using AS2 is rendered obsolete, since AS3 is more powerful, albeit more difficult to use. This raises questions about how specialized a journalist’s skills can be, since it takes time to learn these new procedures, and which alternatives are there to Flash packages.


[i] Online http://tinyurl.com/ydufyp6

Moseley Road Baths: Flash Multimedia Package | Trabalho Flash Multimedia

click image | cliquem na imagem

I had a go with Flash for my assignment for the Multimedia Journalism module of the MA. I recycled some work i had done before for HashBrum, and did what i had planned from the start, though not the way i intended. It is an experiment, and i had to do it in ActionScript 2 instead of 3, because i didn’t have time to learn how to work with Flash all over again.

Anyway here it is, comments and ideas are appreciated.

Fiz um trabalho em Flash para o módulo de Jornalismo Multimédia do mestrado. Reciclei algum trabalho anterior que já tinha sido usado para o HashBrum, e fiz o que tinha planeado fazer desde o início, mas não da maneira que queria. É uma experiência, e tive que fazer tudo em ActionScript 2 em vez de 3, porque não tinha tempo para voltar a aprender a trabalhar com Flash outra vez.

De qualquer forma, aqui está, ideias e comentários são bem-vindos.