Audio Slideshow Review: “Triage at the Airport”

2 Mar

I watched an audio slideshow on the Los Angeles Times website about the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti near Port-au-France that occurred on January 12, 2011. This slideshow, titled “Triage at the Airport,” was about two minutes long and highlighted the University of Miami’s “Global Institute,” which consists of med students who travel to sites of disasters to treat patients in makeshift hospitals and their efforts to treat those who were injured.

There were many things that I really liked about this slideshow…

  1. The background noise told a story of it’s own. Babies were crying, people were screaming and the chaos of the environment really came out.
  2. There were a variety of photos  included in the slideshow. Close range, medium range, bird’s eye, worm’s eye…you name it, they’ve got it. This really helped tell the story and set up the image of the hospital in my head really nicely.
  3. The photos were very graphic. I know this sounds morbid, but you and I both know when a disaster strikes, the majority of us wouldn’t mind if the news showed a few more injuries. This slideshow did a nice job of showing us what the extent of the injuries were without being too detailed. I can appreciate that.
  4. The narrator’s voice was pleasant. This one sounds odd too, but we all know it’s true. It’s torture to sit through a presentation when the narrator’s voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
  5. Narration from actual patients was included. Paired with a photo, and a patient got to tell what actually happened to her as part of the final product. That was a unique feature that I felt really added to the slideshow.

Also notable in this slideshow is the first photo. Right off the bat, the viewer is hit with a very powerful photo of a baby being taken from a woman (presumably it’s mother, but we all know never to assume…) who was badly injured. This helped set the mood of the slideshow and viewers were able to prepare themselves. Also, the noise that went along with that photo was a baby crying followed by a woman screaming. Very appropriate.

Another thing that I felt was worth mentioning twice is the chaos of this situation. I’m talking screams, moans, crying, pleading…absolute insanity. Though the noise was dulled in the background, the viewer can tell that the “hospital” was never quiet.

Finally, on to the content of the narration. It begins with a man’s voice saying that he’d just flown in with the University of Miami’s Global Institute. He then goes on to tell the process of how the hospital was set up, including giving some feedback regarding the state of people there. Then, he shares some personal stories of patients (cue graphic and dramatic photos) and finally ends by identifying himself as Rick Loomis, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. All in all, the story was told pretty well. The man got his point across and his photos definitely helped.

Now for the things I wasn’t such a fan of…

  1. Though the photos were outstanding, the transitions weren’t. The slideshow seemed pretty basic to be featured on such a notable newspaper’s site. Transitions between photos consisted of fading in and out. And in and out. And in. And out. Kind of boring to be paired with a story that had potential to be so interesting.
  2. The final photo was really random. That’s the best way I can explain it. The slideshow itself had some really compelling photos of people being treated, the chaos of the hospital and multiple injuries, but the last photo was a letdown to say the least. It featured a man’s back turned completely to the camera, and a patient on a hospital bed peering around the man’s leg. Not your best work there, Loomis.
  3. The pacing was pretty slow. I understand the story was really dramatic and the photos were meant to have a great impact on viewers, but at times, the photos switched painstakingly slow. I feel that more shots could have been incorporated if some of the simpler photos had a smaller time slot.
  4. There wasn’t a caption in sight. Anywhere. At all. And believe me..I searched. It would have been nice to know who in the world these people were, even if just “Haitian resident” was added. Especially the photo of the patient who told her story could have used a caption. I just feel like if you’re going to bother interviewing her, would it kill you to give a little background?

The final, and probably biggest problem I had with this audio slideshow was the quality of the narration. Some really good stuff was probably said, but I wouldn’t know because the narrator talked like he was in a library. Not only was the narrator overly quiet at times, but the chaos in the background was oftentimes overwhelming. Add a bad echo from the microphone, and you’ve got yourself some audio issues.

I’m not saying I’m an audio slideshow expert, because I’m far from it, but there were definitely some improvements that could have been made to make this slideshow even better. If I were to do the same show, I’d focus on individual patients more. Also, I’d add captions that went in-depth on some of the more compelling photos and I’d make sure to do something about the audio. (Not that there would be a problem hearing me…I’m not exactly soft spoken…)

All in all, I’d recommend watching this audio slideshow. It tells an interesting story about what’s being done to help the people in Port-au-Prince and tugs at the heart strings with powerful photos and personal stories.

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2 Responses to “Audio Slideshow Review: “Triage at the Airport””

  1. ldpatmon March 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Great blog post! You had a lot of good links at the beginning. Also the numbering made it easy for me to follow your points.

  2. danifelice1124 March 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Catey, I watched the slideshow and I agree with you about the audio. I couldn’t focus on one thing because the natural sound and the microphone interference took away from his already low voice. I would have liked it more without the natural sound under his voice. I liked that you linked his website because I got to see Loomis’ other photography as well. All his pictures are raw.

    `Danielle C.

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