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Archives: September 2007

Time-lapse photography captures a changing world

Time-lapse photography is a very visual way of illustrating change over long periods of time in a matter of minutes. Still photos taken at predetermined intervals create the illusion of something happening more rapidly than it actually is. Time-lapse can be used to show the change in a neighborhood or the evolution of a work of art. The technique, however, is rarely used in journalism because of the time commitment. But if you’ve got a spare camera, the internet is making it easier to learn how to become a time-lapse master.

EzineArticles has a tutorial on how to create a time-lapse video with a digital camera and Kinsman Physics Productions has a complete rundown of how the technology works. If you already have a set of photographs that you’d like to convert into a time-lapse video, try JPGVideo, which can also be used to string together any series of photos.

Here are a few more examples of how time-lapse photography can be applied to journalism:

The following video shows the construction of a single building over the course of a year

This video uses time lapse photography to document the change made to the Virginia Tech massacre Wikipedia article in the first 12 hours after the event.

Elections 2.0: Tracking the Presidential candidates (Part 2)


Many candidates are courting the young vote even more so than 2004′s Vote or Die campaign. Mitt Romney has invited Jumpcut users to create his official campaign TV ad. So far the Romney camp has received more than 100 submissions, some of which are pretty good like this one and this one.

It seems like every candidate has a MySpace or Facebook page but kudos to Barack Obama for his presence on LinkedIn, the more professional social network. You can also find out who in your network supports Obama.

Yahoo! has partnered up with the Huffington Post and Slate to create a make-your-own debate that lets the user choose the candidates that they want to see go head to head on a particular issue. The site also incorporates Yahoo! Answers technology to let users post and answer election-related questions.

And because inspiration is knows no boundaries, check out Google’s Australian election coverage which includes a Google map embedded with photos and other political content as well as the YouTube channels of various Australian political parties and RSS feeds.

Create recommendations for returning readers

I was in Starbucks the other day, grooving while Amy Winehouse’s Rehab played over the speakers. I noticed a small screen in the corner was showing what was playing and, in the corner, what had played before it. There are many websites that keep track of the stories you’ve read and display them somewhere on the page.


But this can be taken a step further. As I was walking out of the coffee shop, latte in hand, I recalled Amazon’s built-in recommendations engine that tracks both the items you’ve bought and perused and recommends other items you may like. This same technology can be applied to news sites. Your site can track what stories the user has read and based on this data recommend stories he or she may also enjoy. This can also be displayed in the form of a custom start page. I, and I’m sure many others, hate registering for a site unless it is absolutely necessary, but a custom news homepage would be worth the extra few minutes.

Inexpensive gadgets for backpack journalists


Field reporters who don’t want to carry a bulky tripod will fall in love with the XShot. The device attaches to the mount on the bottom of your digital camera or video recorder and allows for freedom of movement, unlike a tripod for which you must stay in one place. XShot extends from 9 inches to 3 feet and is a steal at $24.95.


The Riproar Creation Station takes the green screen out of the TV station and puts it wherever you are. The kit comes with a camera, a mic, 2 green screens, a tripod and editing software. At $129.99, the Creation Station is great for creating online newscasts in newsrooms that don’t have the more expensive equipment.

Whether you’re trekking through Baghdad or climbing the Rockies to get a great story, the Trackstick II should be in your pocket. The device tracks your every move at 5 second to 15 minute intervals which can be uploaded into Google Earth using the built-in USB port. Let your readers know exactly where you’ve been by uploading your location into an map or an interactive graphic.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Your source may be a bit bewildered if you pull out the mi VDO FX DV Cam, so it’s best to use it as a cheap alternative to a heavy camcorder for internet-only video. The pocket camera has a 1.5″ monitor, built in mic and speakers, and most importantly enables you to edit video on he fly. The price? About 100 bucks.


Also on 10,000 Words:

Crazy gadgets that are (possibly) crazy useful
7 Gadgets for the eccentric journalist
6 Must-have gadgets for journalists

Comments give readers a voice

Most online news sites let readers leave comments on stories, commentary, etc. This interaction allows site visitors to have an interactive discussion with others who are passionate about the story and makes most commenters feel like their voice is being heard. The problem is their voices aren’t literally being heard.


Phone services that users can call and speak their mind brings a new dynamic to online interaction. The audio files can be used for podcasts, interactive galleries, and more. Think of it as a radio call in show that doesn’t have to be manned. Sites like Ring Central and Access Direct make it easy for anyone to setup an 800 number that can be made public. A phone services is also a great way to get feedback from computer phobes or those who may not have immediate access to the internet. Apple recently used the technology get feedback from iPhone users.

WordPress users also have the option of installing an Evoca widget that lets site visitors use their computer mic rather than a telephone to leave comments. The audio files are stored on Evoca’s servers and can be linked to with a bit of HTML code.

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