The New York Times’ Snow Fall project, an interactive story requiring the reader to ‘scroll’ through a range of multimedia, had such a profound effect executive editor Jill Abramson claimed it became a verb in newsrooms with “all desks” trying to create something similar. Last week on Medium, Cody Brown laid claim to doing just that using Scroll Kit, a startup designed to streamline this process. Brown bragged that although the Snow Fall project took NYT “months to design”, his only took a “few hours to recreate”. His Snowfall how-to video and template have since been removed from Scroll Kit, but the fact remains that this is a powerful open-source web app.
How it helps you
A multimedia project that gives you complete control and allows you to create content in a few hours is of huge advantage to journalists.
I took an audio feature my wife produced and combined this with photographs I’d taken. I found the editing tool relatively easy to use once I had figured out how the layers worked. It took me longest to work out the best way to embed audio onto the pages and I eventually used a Flash embed from Audioboo.
This app is designed for the new internet experience, allowing content to be seen in all its widescreen glory on all devices. Due to the high res images and content, the project is created in its own microsite. This can then be transferred onto either your own website, or your title’s. It takes up to72 hours to for the DNS transfer and to reflect the new url, it can be viewed in this time but the url will be Scroll Kit.
You can watch my finished project here but I’m going to experiment with the WordPress plugin. I’ve now put the story on this site using the WordPress plugin. Hmmm it looks like it’s stripped out my Audioboos – here it is with audio.
Now that Cody Brown’s Snowfall tutorial has been taken down, there are very few how-to guides available so there is a fair amount of guess work. Although the step backwards function (undo for non-tech minded readers) mostly works, occasionally it freezes. On reflection my early pages were a little conservative, I became more confident at full screen photos as I worked through the project. The Audioboo embed was a bit of a fudge and I would like to see the developers integrate audio into the application itself. Also, it’s a standard multimedia lesson but I regretted not shooting any video which limited me to the full range of editing options available. I may still pop back and film a washing machine and loop it as the front cover. Despite Brown’s brag, this project took me a couple of days not a couple of hours. And although it’s close to the Snow Fall model, there are so many careful and considered touches it can be copied but not really replicated.
A really good multimedia presentation tool, but no Snow Fall.