Trying to be pitch perfect with a quick turnaround by Lisa Tossey

Deadline: one week. Due to an embargo that was lifting the following week we had a handful of days to plan, shoot, produce, and get approval on a video package. The package would accompany a cool research story that touches on the neurobiology of those who have perfect pitch, or the ability to accurately identify a musical note without any other reference point.

The story’s writer, Beth, came up with a script for a one minute highlight video, which I tweaked and storyboarded. She also scheduled a photo and video shoot with the lead researcher and a UD student rumored to have perfect pitch. I shot them the next day and handed over the storyboard and footage to our digital creative specialist, Paul. I then collected other assets for him and started working on storyboarding a separate interactive Instagram Story with an art director, Jeff. As he produced that, I snipped out some of the footage I captured to show how someone is tested for perfect pitch and produced two versions - one for use on Twitter and a second to go on YouTube as a breakout video to support the main one.

We came right down to the wire, but got everything up within a few hours of the lifting of the embargo, thanks to incredible teamwork throughout. Are there some things we would have done differently if we had a longer timeline? Sure. But we’re pretty proud of what we were able to accomplish in a few days!

Here is the main video that accompanied the story.

University of Delaware neuroscientist Keith Schneider and collaborators from York University in Toronto, Ontario, have found a fascinating distinction in the brains of those who have perfect pitch.

This is the breakout video to show the test in progress. We were all holding our breath at the start of it because although we were told the student has perfect pitch, this researcher hadn’t tested him. As you can see, we needn’t had worried, however it was a huge relief when that piece fell in place.

Are you curious about how someone is tested for perfect pitch, or the ability to accurately identify a musical note without any other reference point? Watch University of Delaware junior David Krall be tested by neuroscientist Keith Schneider.

We also used this video on Twitter, where it gained a lot of engagement!

We took a different approach with the Instagram Story and made it interactive, using Instagram’s tap to advance feature to allow viewers to “test” their ability to identify notes. I hope that this, combined with the clean graphics and interesting stats will engage viewers enough to swipe up to view the story at the end. We’ll see!

Read more about this research on perfect pitch here on UDaily > 

Getting to the root of a story by Lisa Tossey

Nematodes are usually bad news for gardens. But not always - as I just learned doing this piece on how they are tiny superheroes in one aspect of agriculture. These wriggly microscopic worms can actually be used as a tool in fighting larger corn rootworms, which are currently a major scourge of the Corn Belt here in the U.S.

The challenge for this video is that I shot it - both the interview and the b-roll - before seeing the written story it would accompany, so I did my best to try to imagine all the visuals I might need to illustrate the science. This was backwards from the usual approach, so I was pretty pleased in the way it ended up coming together.

I also worked with senior art director Jeff Chase again to illustrate what happens in this epic battle beneath the soil’s surface. The result is this short explainer video that we added as a card to the main story.

Read more about this research in this UDaily article >>

One year since diving deep... by Lisa Tossey

Hard to believe it's already been a year since I traveled down, down, down to the East Pacific Rise aboard the DSV Alvin! 

One of my favorite images from our research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantis, Photo by Luis Lamar

"Driving" Alvin along the seafloor, 2500 meters deep - unsure if my auto insurance covers this... Photo by PI George Luther

A porthole view on the sea floor.

All I wanted to see down there was an octopus ... wish granted!