Here at Beet.TV, we have been keeping a close eye on innovative online video journalism emanating from newspapers.  We have seen extraordinary work from The Washington Post, The New York Times and others.

One of the most striking and unique videos we have seen is a five minute documentary about the crushing poverty in Mumbai done by Dai Sugano, a multimedia editor at the San Jose Mercury News.

"Left Behind" is not a documentary in the conventional sense.  It more of a stylized slide show. There is no narration, just brief facts about poverty displayed on the screen. 

The video, originally published by the Merc in December, was published in shortened version on msnbc.com last night, prominently displayed on the landing page as part of big package on poverty in India reported by NBC News correspondent Ian Williams.  We assume it drove many views, which this brilliant piece of journalism rightly deserves.

Dai
Sugano (l.), an Emmy-award winning photographer, shot the video during an extended assignment in India with staff writer John Boudreau

Dai told Beet.TV today that he shot the video with a Canon HV30 with a DOF adapter and Letus mini.  The HD Canon costs around $900. Here's his view on use of SLR cameras for video journalism:

"I expect many photojournalists will be using Canon 5D Mark II or if not, a DOF adapter to shoot their footage.  Originally I'm a still photographer (and still am), so just like in still cameras, being able to control the depth of field is what we are used to and appreciate, it gives photojournalists an ability to select what's important in the frames."

We expect he will win more prizes for "Left Behind." 

I've embedded the player on this page.  To see it in HD, check out this link.  The Merc uses Brightcove to publish its videos.

Update 2/1: The Back Story on How "Left Behind' was Picked up by Msnbc.com

Here's the story about how the clip came to used by Msnbc.com.  The follows is an explanation provided to Beet.TV today by Stokes Young, Director of Multimedia for Msnbc.com:

"Mish Whalen, a multimedia producer here at msnbc.com,
spotted Dai Sugano's piece on Multimedia Muse,early
in January and sent it around to our entire team with the subject line
"Great video." I loved the images and editing immediately and felt
that it stood on its own quite well as a document of poverty in Mumbai,
particularly with the text/statistic slates adding some context as to the scale
of the issue.

We probably would not have approached the San Jose
Mercury News about the piece, though, without knowing that we had additional
context and reporting to add. NBC News Correspondent Ian Williams was recently
in Mumbai to produce a series of reports for NBC Nightly News, including this
one
,  on the local reaction to Slumdog
Millionaire.

Ian is always ready to contribute to msnbc.com, often through
posts to NBC News' World Blog, and that seemed like the right place to merge his writing with Dai's pictures.
So we talked to the great folks in San Jose and figured out how to put some of
Dai's report in front of viewers of World Blog, our site's cover, the World
News front, and even our Entertainment front, given the Slumdog Millionaire
peg. It's always great to see newspapers of all sizes breaking ground in
enterprise reporting in any medium, and we're grateful to the San Jose Mercury
News for producing this piece and helping us put it in front of msnbc.com's
audience.

Print reporting–both text and stills–has always had
some degree of editorial convergence with television news. As the technological
convergence of visual capture mechanisms (light passed through high-quality
still camera lenses with great focal control is captured by a CCD and
ultimately recorded as video) and distribution (the Internet) accelerates that
process, it's exciting to see some innovative results. After all, It was just a
few years ago that we published this piece,
on Iraqi Kurdistan by multimedia pioneer Ed Kashi in collaboration with
MediaStorm. Ed called it a "Flip Book" when he first started producing it,
reminding us all that even something seemingly experimental is an evolution of
what folks have done before.

 That can be hard to remember the more you're blown away
by new work by folks like Dai Sugano and Vincent Laforet,
— dedicated and experienced still photojournalists blazing a trail into motion
picture storytelling online."

— Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

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