Recently the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association held their annual all day Digital Multimedia Workshop at San Jose State University. The first half of the day there were a series of talks in an auditorium-like setting and the second half of the day there were four segments of an array of workshops to choose from. That was when I wanted to clone myself. Some highlights I gathered from the day are:

1. The new Final Cut Pro X (video editing software) is much less expensive than earlier versions but older versions won’t work with this version (in other words, it’s not backwards compatible). Apple offers a free 30 day download. Final Cut Express is the less expensive version of older versions of Final Cut Pro but is near the same price as the new Final Cut Pro X.

2. Think TABLET. Peter Young, adjunct professor of multimedia at San Jose State, moderated a panel discussion ks and magazines with Jackson Solway ( and social media consultant, Miki Johnson ( The consensus is tablets are where we are going. Noteworthy points include:
-Self-education is becoming more important and the tablet is an excellent vehicle for it since it is easy to hold and creates intimacy with the viewer.
-Studies have shown that people have the basic tolerance to watch approximately 20 pictures in a slideshow.
-The viewer wants maximum 400-650 words of text associated with any slide.
-People have loyalty to a serial slide show, delivered at the same time, same channel, like every two weeks.

3. You can produce an interactive magazine using Adobe InDesign. This workshop was taught by Pulitzer-Prize winner and San Jose State multimedia instructor Kim Komenich. Now Adobe is offering a slick iPad compatible magazine or interactive publication through for the Adobe Digital Edition Publishing Suite, Single Edition, for $395 for one year. We watched a short video (see above) of students at the University of Oregon making a digital magazine.

4. Produce your digital sound using Audacity, a free cross-platform sound editor. Think about how you cut and paste in a Word document and you can apply that same principle to cutting and pasting bits of sound with this tool.

5. Windscreens are essential to getting decent clear sound. A good resource for windscreens is Rycote.

I couldn’t be at two places at once and missed “Hands-On Video Lighting,” “Multimedia for Newspapers,” and though I was delighted with photogapher Robert Beck’s morning presentation I didn’t see “More with Robert BeckSports Illustrated Special Projects.”

All in all I learned some valuable things I can apply. I haven’t bought my Lavalier microphone yet but it’s going to be my next sound purchase.

If you’re a WordPress fan don’t miss my notes from the San Francisco 2011 WordCamp!

Check out my notes from the Social Change Film Festival that will remind you of simple abundance. Happy New Year!