This weekend I performed a small digital storytelling experiment. I created one story and published it through two different venues. Which worked better?
The story is a simple one about Vermont’s winter passing unusually quickly, giving way to a surging spring. I took photos, rewatched this video clip I shot, wrote up and recorded a voiceover track, then sketched out an outline combining the images and audio. Then I headed to the pair of platforms.
First, Cowbird. This is a multimedia authoring site which lets users combine images, text, and audio into a linear but non-video format. It’s very, very easy to use. I like the way it displays images, encouraging viewers to dawdle with them.
Normally I make stories in Cowbird with images and text only, but this time I included the audio file. Here’s the story. (Apologies for the lack of embed; Cowbird’s still working with iFrames, which WordPress resists.)
Second, YouTube. I took my raw materials and imported them into iMovie (the newest version, yes, so I’m still wrestling with what’s been done to it). I started with the audio track, then added images in the same order as the Cowbird sequence. After tweaking them for timing, I didn’t like how that turned out, so I rearranged the order, took out a couple of photos, added one I didn’t use in the Cowbird version, then set to work with video-specific features: clip timing and titles. When I felt it was somewhat coherent, I uploaded to YouTube, with appropriate tags and additional text.
I’m not sure which one I prefer, as each has its own affordances. Cowbird lets you take your time through the image sequence. It encourages you to mouse around inside of each image. And it provides easy to read text. YouTube, on the other hand, constrains viewing/listening, being video. Both seem to embody what I was getting at when the story idea first came to mind.
Which one do you prefer?