Blog Post

Learning Photofilms from Duckrabbit

August 25, 2010

Sometimes we find the answers to what we are looking for in the most unlikely places. For me the answer came from a duckrabbit in Birmingham. I’ve been searching for a way to merge my journalistic experience with my photography skills and I think I found it with photofilms.

These films combine photography, audio and journalism in a multimedia format. In basic terms a photofilm is a glorified slideshow, but when combined effectively with audio interviews, ambient sound and music, it becomes an extremely powerful way to portray a story.

Below is my first photofilm, produced with photographer Shaista Chishty on a workshop given by Duckrabbit’s Benjamin Chesterton earlier this month in Birmingham.

The Diskery from Kelvin Brown on Vimeo.

The growth of web based media and the introduction of video in DSLR cameras has led some to predict the demise of photography. But I believe photofilms are a more simple and cost effective way to display your work and meet the demand for web based media without having to abandon photography or learn a whole new set of skills.

I first came across these type of films when a friend of mine introduced me to the work of US based multimedia production company Mediastorm. They’ve been been in the game for more than ten years and have won numerous awards for their work.

In the UK, Duckrabbit are the only production company working exclusively in this area. It was set up by photojournalist David White and BBC Radio 4 documentaries producer Benjamin Chesterton. They have produced some cracking work. Check out Conditional Critical which they produced for Medecins Sans Frontieres to raise awareness about the conflict in Eastern Congo. Duckrabbit also have a great blog, which they use to highlight multimedia features around the world.

Benjamin has been running a series of workshops over the summer to teach people the skills needed to produce photofilms to a high standard. I attended one earlier this month with three very talented photographers, Shaista Chishty, Sophie Gerrard and  Karoki Lewis.

The workshop was very practical and covered all areas of producing a photofilm including conducting an interview, recording audio, shooting for photofilms, working out the structure of your film and editing the piece together.

Benjamin also has a wealth of knowledge on this subject which he is more than willing to share and does so in a very fun, enjoyable  and information manner.  If this is an area you are interested in exploring, I would highly recommend going on one of these workshops.

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