We always want more - don't we? As the saying goes 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. This is the value-add professionals provide in their photographs, their snaps tell stories - some short , others a bit longer. All of them convey different extent of emotions though. In addition to the specific instant, it gives an 'idea' of what might have happened before , what could possibly happen after that instant. 'idea' because we can not be certain, and can still let our imagination run wild. That's what makes art so interesting.
Now a simple thought, what if we want to convey bit more than 'thousand words'? "Simple" you say: just add multiple snaps....
and we get : 'video', and since we have prolonged the interaction with the viewer we now have an opportunity to add audio as well - lot more than what we asked for, didn't we? "more than Perfect" u say!
No doubt it is worth much more than a thousand words now, but what we actually did is take away that 'imagination' bit from the viewer. In the video clip we now have a complete view of what's going on. So to make the 'story' more interesting we now need lots of additional parameters - screenplay, drama, suitable background music etc.
Let's take a step back now - what if we just added audio to a particular picture. An audio which can add much more to the story ( adding aural along with the visual perception) , still leaving room for 'imagination'.
Let's have a look at the below clip.
Movie1updated.m4v from Rajesh on Vimeo.
- The cricket shot for example, imagine just the picture without the cheering from a teammate (before) and the deafening roar from the crowd (after)
- the early morning shots of the lake/river along with the chirping birds
- sound from the firecrackers
Do you agree?
The audio is not hindering the imagination but just guiding the viewer, giving few hints:
- presence of other subjects outside the frame e.g. the spectators in the cricket field, birds near the lake etc.
If you are still reading this, the next question, how to record this? To my knowledge there is no simple way to do this in a dslr/point n shoot cameras as of now. I have seen this within the camera app on mobile phones though and so expect to see these coming into the real cameras in the near future. The filesystem, editing programs, image viewer etc. should support this.
I simply took video clips after taking the pics, stripped the audio and added it to the picture in a basic video editing app. There must be a better way that preserves the image quality though.
Few considerations in my view:
- 6-10 seconds audio should be optimal, big enough to make some meaning out of it and small enough not to distract from the primary object which is the picture itself
- this could work more for specific areas of photography like Action, Environmental portraits, Landscape, travel etc
- real audio from the scene (at the time of taking the picture) is more likely to appeal rather than an out of scene audio pasted in. Taking into consideration the typical shutter speed range of 1/2000 sec to few minutes, we can rarely capture the 'real-time' audio as such, so there is some choice to be made, similar to composition, camera setting etc.
- audio would need to be of high quality, otherwise it will reduce the photograph's impact rather than enhancing it.
- with the use of directional audio technology it can easily be integrated into an art gallery environment