Well, I bit the bullet and just spend the whole day (4:30 am—jetlag wakeup—to 7:30pm and did my audio slide show of my recent Amazon trip in one day. Believe it or not, that’s a new record.
I’m getting better at the audio stuff (the picture editing takes, um, about 15 minutes. The audio takes anywhere from one day to three months!).
Here’s a list of what I learned from this, my most recent stumble foray into multimedia.
1. I don’t want to be a wildlife photographer. I will hold my buddy and colleague Ralph Lee Hopkins‘ coat while he shoots wildlife (and I have a glass of wine in the other hand), but geez, how can you work with friggin’ creatures that can’t take direction and stand so far away?
2. Folks who can speak well and tell stories succinctly are rare treasures. A good narrator or interviewee can make you or break you in the audio slideshow racket (and I’ve been broken a lot lately).
I hate to resort to doing the VO narration myself or running long text slides (hey, it’s called multimedia. If they wanted to read something, they’d be buying enough of the magazines in the first place so that all of us old dogs wouldn’t have to learn these new tricks!).
Fortunately, I had two gems on this gig. Jorge Davila could be the first naturalist I’ve met who could just as easily make a living doing stand-up comedy. And Expedition Leader Jorge Salas has a voice so rich, he makes James Earl Jones (“This is CNN”) sound like a castrato.
3. Video Sucks. Okay, that may be a little harsh, but honest to god, I had a lot of clips that represented moments I should have been shooting stills or catching audio (Yes, I know I can extract the audio, but it’s a pain), and what can I do with them? Thankfully, Fotomagico can now handle video along with stills (but alas, not Soundslides Pro yet) so I don’t have to learn Final Cut (not enough lifetime left for that). But I still haven’t figured out how to integrate the two without having it look clunky and home movie-ish.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think video has its place. In fact, I’m shooting a mainly video gig for my capo di capo, Peggy, later this week. I’ll be documenting an event sponsored by the Jonathan Krist Foundation.
But I just have to shoot it, and one of Peggy’s cadre of video-genius volunteers will put it together in a nice MTV-like presentation for the foundation website on a pro bono basis. Now, I’ve tried to cut a deal with these guys, and while they’re smart enough to realize that I, too, function basically as a non-profit, they also know that I’m nowhere near as worthy a cause!