In the case of the Digital Storytelling, the next step is to find images or videos to support the story. To do so, storytellers have to first describe the images that come to their mind when recalling the story, understand the messages and emotional contents embedded in every image, find or create such images or videos, and combine them with the written or audio content in the best way to convey the intended message and emotions.
When combining the visual contents you have to be aware that they are creating additional layers of meaning. It is preferable to use real visuals, but if these are not available, the teller can also create images or videos faithfully reproducing the scenes of the story. At this point, the storyteller has to be aware of all the messages that the visual content is likely to convey, as the communication power of visual content is far superior to that of the written.
At this stage, the emotional tone of the story should have been identified, and therefore the teller should have a clear idea of the adequate audio content to combine with the other content, or at least it should be easy to discern whether a certain type of audio content may or may not be suitable to convey the intended tone and emotions. The way the voice-over is performed, the ambient sound and the music are the three kinds of audio content to play with.
In digital stories, the voice of the teller not only conveys the narrative but also the way he or she lives the story experience and his or her personality. The teller adds a significant layer of meaning and has the power of arousing emotions. To play with this added layer of meaning, it is also useful to consider not only the right choice of words but also other resources such as the use of incomplete or broken sentences that have the power to help the audience understand how the narrator –who is often the main character – is feeling about the scene.
In considering the addition of ambient sound, it is recommendable to start by adding as little as possible and see if this added layer of sound enhances or spoils the story. In the case that it enhances it, you may try to add a bit more and consider again whether to leave it, to add more or to withdraw. To choose the right sound, try to identify those that come to your mind when recalling the story in the critical moments where sound is usually added.
Music requires a similar exercise like that of the ambient sound. Music has the power to set the tone, change the perception of the visuals and even the meaning or the scene. Bear in mind that in adding both visual and audio contents, it is crucial to specifically relate every piece of content to the corresponding part of the narrative.
Would you consider other tips to enhance the integration of audiovisual contents?