Journalism stories transformed into interactive videos with KettleCorn

KC capture

Over the last few weeks we’ve been introducing USIM journalists to KettleCorn. One of the best ways we’ve found to showcase KettleCorn’s power is to remix video from our journalists’ archives  at BBG and enhance them with a layer of interactive content. Here are some of the sample projects we created:

Example A: Capitol Hill Shooting

( Alhurra | Middle East Broadcasting Networks )

Alhurra journalists captured this exclusive raw footage of the Oct. 3 shooting on Capitol Hill.

On Oct. 3, Alhurra’s Khaled Khair and Danny Farkas were reporting from the U.S. capitol when they captured exclusive footage of Miriam Carey fleeing from US Capitol Police and Secret Service agents, driving onto the steps of the Capitol and being fired upon by authorities as she sped away. The raw footage that Alhurra posted on YouTube has been viewed over 430,000 times.

It’s compelling raw footage of breaking news. But it raised a lot of questions and presented several opportunities for remixing in KettleCorn.

Here are some of the KettleCorn enhancements we added:

  • We added a basic lower thirds title at the beginning.
  • Within a few hours we had some background on Miriam Carey.
  • We created a map that shows how the events unfolded from the White House to the Capitol. We explained what Alhurra is.
  • We linked to additional coverage.
  • Because the journalists were broadcasting in Arabic, we provided English subtitles.
  • We were able to quickly translate the project and provide Arabic subtitles of the people being interviewed for Alhurra’s target audience.


Example B: Pussy Riot releases ‘Red Prison’ video

( RFERL | Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty )

Russia's punk protest collective, Pussy Riot, criticizes the state controlled oil industry.

Russia’s Pussy Riot is known for wearing brightly colored balaclavas and staging guerrilla performances in unusual public locations that are edited into music videos. In July, the punk protest collective released a new video criticizing Russia’s state controlled oil companies. RFERL received an advance copy of the video, added English subtitles and posted it inside of an article.

We saw this as another opportunity to provide additional context by bringing video into KettleCorn:

  • We added a basic lower third title at the beginning.
  • We linked to the Wikipedia article to provide some basic background on Pussy Riot.
  • We added images and popups to explain iconography and references in the lyrics.
  • We added the subtitles in KettleCorn. KettleCorn makes it easier to add new translations and republish the project in different languages with new subtitles without having to re-edit and re-render the video in a video editor like Final Cut. The translations can be edited by any journalist, not just the person in charge of video editing.


Example C: Explosions in Nigeria

( VOA | Voice of America )

In April 2013, suicide bombers attacked the This Day newspaper in Nigeria.

In April 2012, Boko Haram launched two coordinated attacks against the This Day newspaper in Nigeria. VOA frequently posts raw (VEL) videos. This raw video shows the devastation of the explosion, as well as reaction from people in the community.

KettleCorn provides a simple way to quickly enhance and add context to these raw videos:

  • We added a basic lower thirds title to the video.
  • We created a map showing the two attacks in Nigeria.
  • We displayed wikipedia articles for This Day (in English) and Boko Haram (Arabic).
  • We spliced in footage from the attack.
  • We linked to additional VOA coverage.
  • We added optional lower thirds titles for the people interviewed in the video.


Example of Non-linear Storytelling: Immigration Debate

( VOA | Voice of America )

KettleCorn can help create non-linear, user defined paths through stories.

Traditional audio- and video-based stories are linear. The video starts at the beginning and the user watches it straight through (or until they become bored and click over to watch some animated cat GIFs).

One of the features we were interested in baking into KettleCorn was an easy way to create non-linear interactive stories — a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure for journalism-based stories. We considered creating a stand alone “Choose your own adventure” plugin, but ultimately decided to add the functionality to the existing text- and image-based plugins.

In this example we’re allowing users to click on different participants in the U.S. immigration debate to hear their opinions.

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Brian Williamson

Brian Williamson

Brian Williamson is the senior UX designer for the Office of Digital & Design Innovation. Follow him on Twitter: @drawinghands.

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