Multimedia + Software

In Resources, Web/Tech by David3 Comments


The pundits are all in accord on this: multimedia is where things are going. Not ALL things, but big, important things. They’re going to Multimedia. No idea what it means. But hey, they said the Pet Rock would never catch on and, man, were they wrong.

But folks, this shouldn’t scare you. If you’ve already embraced that the job of a photographer is to be a visual storyteller, then adding multimedia to your toolbox is time well spent.

In Kona last week Gary S. Chapman led a session on getting started in multimedia presentation. I was amazed how easy it was (important) and how powerful the results were (way more important). Here’s the gist:

1. Lay out your sound first – Gary used a simple mix of audio interviews gathered on an Olympus DS-30 and pulled into Garage Band via iTunes, and royalty-free music from Magnatunes.

2. Pull the resulting audio into Soundslides Plus ($70 for the full licensed version) and add your photographs. Add credits.

3. Congratulations, you’ve just put together a basic multimedia presentation. I’ve oversimplified it, and you can get as complex as you like if you use programs like Final Cut Pro.

Looking for some inspiration on this kind of thing? You need look no further than MediaStorm which has some truly powerful pieces.

Don’t think of this as a change of discipline, but as a chance to present your images in a way that, when done right, can multiply the impact of your story. Still not convinced? Read this article by Michael Clark on the O’Reilly site.

*Be sure to check the comments from Brad – he’s added some solid recommendations and alternatives.

Writing Software

While we’re talking about stories, I was just turned on to a great piece of writing software while in Kona. It’s called Scrivener and it’s freaking amazing! Unlike MS Word where the document is a single written piece, in Scrivener each document is an entire project, with the ability to outline, to gather resources and links, and to keep it all organized. I’ve never been this stoked about writing since that ill-fated experiment with caligraphy back in grade 5. It’s going to make my book WAY easier to write. Scrivener is a whopping $39.95, and there’s a fully functioning 30 day trial.


  1. To my colleagues, I recommend Pro Show Gold (I think it’s $70), and a copy of Audacity (open source is awesome!). I’ve never seen a simpler setup for easy-to-sophisticated authoring, and in Pro Show, you can export to a myriad of formats and media.

    I use an Archos 605 as my walking porfolio, and it can do slideshows or video presentations on it, and you can hook it up to a TV to boot (needs external add-on). Now I’ve got a bunch of work clips in my pocket, as well as all the photography I care to show anyone. I have the 80GB model, 160GB is available! There are a number of ways I could see myself using this thing much more seriously in the future.

    Now I just need to find some good stories… 🙂

    I love MediaStorm and I really like VII Photo too. A lot of those creators are photographers first and their presentations rely on stills more than video. I appreciate that. Out and out video is painstaking work, but knocking some quality stills together with a good soundtrack can be really effective with far less production, heavy lifting, etc.

  2. Oh, insider tip: to add zip to productions, I like Digital Juice. They have everything a video or multimedia creator could need (& want), sell their stuff for a reasonable price, and cover everything from royalty-free tunes to complex animated backgrounds. Their site is amazingly comprehensive, including great little training videos.

  3. Personally I was happy with Keynote. It has transitions and effects that are just fine, not too much flair which I like. Easy to use. But the best part, export to quick time, power point, PDF, Flash, HTML, and iPod. With those options I don’t know who you can’t get your presentation to.

    The flash can get a bit heavy though. I created one with some nice moody music and cool blending transitions and it was a 50 MB file. I don’t know if anyone would want to download that. lol

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