Planning Ahead

I know, I know … we are more than a month away from starting, how dare I fire up the class blog already? Well, there’s some stuff you will need for the class and many of you will have opportunities to butter up parents and relatives for gifts over the next few weeks, so I am here to help.

The following are recommendations for things that will make your life a lot easier and/or make you a smarter person.


The Visual QuickPro Guide for Final Cut Pro 7: We don’t fool around with video, we are going full speed ahead into one of the leading non-linear editing programs. You could just come in and read the FCP manual, I guess, but it’s more than 1,500 pages long …. spread out over five books and is, well, dense. This book acts as both a tutorial and a reference manual, highly recommended.

Journalism Next: Mark Briggs, who wrote Journalism 2.0 (which is a free PDF and you will read) published this and it is a great guide for multimedia journalists. I am close to making it required, that’s how much I believe in it.

Multimedia Journal: Richard Koci Hernandez is brilliant. He just is. This isn’t a technical book, it isn’t a textbook. It isn’t even a “photo” book, per se. It is a spiritual and creative guide. It will help get you thinking about storytelling and all of the tools that are at your disposal. It describes the process he used to move from being a photojournalist to a multimedia journalist. It is full of project ideas you can play with on your own to limber up, so to speak.

The Creative Habit: This has absolutely nothing to do with journalism at any level, but it has everything to do with the creative process. Twyla Tharp is a choreographer-yes, a dancer-and this goes through her processes. Paired with the Hernandez book, this will help you better understand and execute the creative process we need to be able to go through. We are journalists, but we are creatives on a secondary level.

The Great Picture Hunt 2: David LaBelle is a genius. When we get to the weekend workshop, you are going to be injected into a community to tell stories. How are you going to learn about that community? How will you learn about any community? This is not just a book about photojournalism, it is, in my opinion, the greatest community journalism book ever written. And Dave is an amazing guy.

Not Books

You are going to create a lot of stuff and, as many have learned, the lab is not a really secure place. I strongly recommend that you get a portable, bus-powered hard drive. For video, it must be a 7200 RPM FireWire 800 drive no smaller than 250 GB. I have used Other World Computing with success, but LaCie or G-Raid drives will work, too. It must be FireWire-USB will not serve video files fast enough. If you have a FireWire 400 drive, that will work but you will need to get a FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 cable as the new iMacs in the lab only have a FireWire 800 port.

You will need two kinds of memory cards, which you may already have. I recommend at least 4 GB of Compact Flash memory and another 4GB of SDHC memory. The Canon kits use CF cards and we are going to start you on the Kodak Zi8 video cameras which take the SDHC cards. (When we move to the Sony cameras, we will provide you with video tapes.)

Those are the big items. I will post some recommended readings in the next week or so, but don’t worry about them until after you’ve cleared this semester.

As always, hit me with questions or concerns.


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