Just A Bunch of Different Cool Things

Sometimes I have a theme for the day or I’ve been searching for some specific things, but today a bunch of really different things just seem to come my way.  Here we go!

Here’s a cool article about a new software package that allows you to focus the picture after you have taken it!  This will really make photography classes redundant.  If you can use software to fix the focus, then the camera matters less and less – way less than the software.

The USA Today newspaper has a really cool slideshow about multimedia story telling with awesome examples.

Here are some samples from LIFE’s 100 Photographs that changed the world.  Some are well know, but others have more interesting stories about their importance.

Last is Laura Negri’s teacher website for an Intro to Journalism class.  It is really well crafted with modules, review questions, activities and more.

China Fakes Photo

The Chinese National News Agency faked a photo in photoshop (most likely) of a group of antelope running near an elevated train track.  Of course this has set off a new round of photo ethics debates.  But as a teachable moment, this breakdown of the fake makes a great photo lesson.

Bonus for the day is this interesting bit about taking pictures of people in public without them knowing you did it.

Full Cup of Photo Masters

This is the web site for the 2nd Annual Masters Cup International Photography Contest.  The site has a great section of photojournalism pictures.  They range from the dark to the funny, war to children playing.  The photos are compelling, interesting, well shot and action packed.  It is a great 10-15 just looking through them.

It’s A Girl’s World

I’ve known for a while what those in secondary and higher education are just now waking up to…that girls rule and boys drool. What I mean is that girls seem more interested in seriously learning something in school at a much higher percentage than boys do. I teach several media classes including Video Tech, Web Design and Desktop Publishing. In those classes the percentage of boys to girls nearly always favors the girls and even when the boys sign up at a higher rate than the boys – they often don’t perform as well.

Boys want to play with computers. while girls want to use them to learn, create or communicate. Girls seem to do better in nearly every area except video. In video, the boys do outperform girls. This seems to mirror several articles and comments about this topic that I have read recently here, here and here.

Sure some of this can be attributed to boys having better visual and spacial skills that help them in the video area. And it can be true that girls excel in writing that you would see in Desktop Publishing and Web Design. But I also see a trend where boys see learning as nerdy and that nerdy equals not cool. Boys who do well in school are shunned by their peers. Girls who are nerdy are seen as cool. Just google the many articles on nerdy-chic. Smart girls are cool. So, girls are going to college in greater numbers than boys. But not in math and sciences. This is the real problem we are facing as a nation. Not enough kids in math, science and engineering. What it really means is boys see these careers as nerdy.

I’ve written before about how hard it is to recruit boys into the media field. It seems it is even harder to recruit them into the sciences, which web design and desktop publishing are a part of (in a way). We need to work harder to encourage boys to take their place with the girls in our classes. We also need to encourage them to go to school (college) and study in areas like math, science and engineering along with media and journalism.

I’m glad girls are interested in media. It is a great thing to see girls move into areas that were formerly boys only. But we need to make sure that boys don’t keep slipping into the abyss of anti-intellectualism, because if they do – then we have failed as educators. We have a mandate to educate all of our students, not just some.

Clean Up Your Garage(band)

As a media teacher I get all the weird requests for help. One of my fellow teachers on my hall teaches dance. She also happens to be a former student of mine and so it is hard to say no when she asks a favor. Most of my former students know that I will help just about any one of them when it comes to job references, letters of recommendation, help with a video project, etc.

But this former student (T) is just down the hall. So she came by and asked me to help her “cut” some music. This basically is taking a current song and chopping it up into segments and then remixing them together into a shorter form that is easier to dance to and is usually 1:30 to 2:00 min. long.

I did this for her last year in iMovie. This involved a tedious multi-step operation that started with importing the song from CD, cutting it up, then exporting as a full quality DV file, then opening it up in Quicktime and exporting the song as an AIFF, finally importing the AIFF into iTunes and burning a CD.

Yes, I’m sure this violates most every copyright law and RIAA policy too. Or maybe it doesn’t – it really depends on how you interpret fair use. They bought the CD or paid for a download, they are using it for educational purposes, not for profit. So – anyway.

Yesterday I decided that it should be easier to do this in Garageband. And sure enough – it is! Way fewer steps and garage band has so many tools. Beat counts, measures, audio levels and more. If you haven’t used Garageband to enhance audio for your media classes – you should. If you’ve used iMovie or Final Cut, then Garageband will be easy and familiar.

Plus there are some great sites for tutorials including Expert Village’s Garage Band tutorials and Apple’s iLife tutorial page. I plan on using it to record our audio for the upcoming dance show we help produce too!

PPPL: Post President’s Day Photography Links

Here are some cool links as we sit around watching the death cage match that is presidential politics.

Making the Best of Bad Weather for photo – is a great post on why you should reach for the camera and maybe a plastic bag or two when the weather turns foul.   I think I need to remember this one and send those photographers outside in the rain!

Here’s a great post with cool photos – 30 to be exact that inspired a graphic artist to take up photography.  If you’re a photographer – was there a picture that inspired you to become a shutterbug?

And a more international flavored version of Photos That Changed The World.  Some really cool pictures from around the globe – I really liked the ones from Paris and Mexico.  I don’t think I’d ever seen them before even though I’d studied the events in school.

Bonus:  Bitbox.com has some really cool free stuff like fonts, backgrounds and brushes for software packages.

Love Those Links: A mid-February Roundup

Here’s a round up of recently found cool stuff on the web.

Losing The Sticky Race: is a post about how newspapers seem to blame their readers for leaving and how they are not using the right metrics to gauge their online audience.

Ten Things Journalists Can Do… is a great post about what journalists can and more importantly SHOULD do to reinvent, reinvigorate and recharge journalism for the 21st Century.

Can Newspapers Afford Editors is an interesting post about the cost analysis of too many chiefs and not enough indians at big metro newspapers.  I think a well edited paper is what sets “print” journalists apart from bloggers, TV and web video posts.  But unfortunately having 3-5 levels of editors does not mean that a paper is well edited.  Only really high standards can ensure that.

Four types of Web video watchers is an interesting post about different groups of people use and skim the inernet as well as TV and other older forms of media.

Space The Photo Frontier

National Geographic magazine has a cool slide show of 13 great photo moments from both the US and Russian space programs.  I think some of the lesser known shots from Venus and Titan are really cool.  It is well worth the journey to check out sites few humans will ever see.

TV Jocks Hit By Web, Newspapers Already Feeling The KO

It is interesting watching the unwinding of top down journalism.  The first casualty was one of the players already on the ropes – newspapers.  Newspapers have been around for more than 200 years.  Ever since the printing press, news sheets became a staple of the modern world.  But as they grew into mega businesses, they forgot about their primary mission – to provide truth.  Newspapers forgot what they were supposed to be doing.  Yes radio and TV, and now the net have taken away audience – but many times the audience left because newspapers were too busy selling a version of the truth.  Too bad.

But a few newspapers might make it.  Some are beginning  to move to an online strategy.  They are hiring bloggers and TV people as well as reporters.  They are hiring tech guys to do the tech.  They get it.  The world is online.  Here’s a great hopeful article by a former TV reporter, turned VJ for a newspaper web site.  So, maybe after a decade of denial some newspapers might save themselves before it is too late.

But now TV journalism is headed down the same road of destruction.   They are waking up to the fact that newspapers and others can do video now!  TV is not the only game in town anymore.  Who knew?  Viewfinder BLUES knew and he’s telling it like it is.

And journalism/media teachers need to keep up.  We can’t just teach the inverted pyramid anymore.  That is so old school.  Today, we must teach how to write for different media, different audiences, breaking news, video, long form stories, photo captions for slide shows and more.  We must prepare our students for the real world out there where a journalist will be expected to do more than one thing.  The days of just writing, just shooting video, just being a reporter are over.

We have to get them ready from day one to be a self starter and a life long learner.  The technology just changes too fast.  You have to keep up, sharpen your skills and try new things.

Mixing Up A Video Link Stew

This last week just seemed to be a week of stumbling across a stew of video links.  The meat belonged to the DIY Film School at Filmlinker that has giant chunks of tasty tutorials.  The site is bubbling over with useful tidbits.  The potatoes come from Mediacollege.com which has a great site full of crispy, but useful screen shots of techniques and lots of visual definitions of terms.

The vegetables come from Ammaro.com which has a cool history of the TV set,  Newsvideographer who did a nice blog about how to use zebra stripes, Brickfilms.com who has a site dedicated to stop motion lego animation, and finally Multimediashooter who did a blog post about finding great video help on the web – like the Shirtless Apprentice (NSFS: due to shirtless video guy, and occasional bad language).

This is a tasty stew that will help any new media teacher dive into a steaming bowl of video.  Try a bite or two!