Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Making slideshows in iPhoto

We've been able to make pretty decent slideshows on a computer for a very long time. It's nothing new. But a few years ago Apple kicked it up a notch with iPhoto. I do not mean to be a commercial for Apple, but this little piece of simple software is amazing to me, if for no other reason than its slideshow feature, a feature that Apple does not even really promote. As easy as it is to use (which allows you to focus on the content and your story rather than mucking around trying to make it work), I do not know why more people, including students, do not make more and better us of the tool. It is not a pro-level tool, yet for slideshows, many pros use it.

iPhoto is not deep with a laundry-list of features, yet it has what you need to tell a digital story with images and do it well. Still, one needs the talent and skill, not in using the tool (that's easy), but in knowing how to present the relevant information best, and how to tell a "digital story." People like Dana Atchley (1941-2000) were pioneers in digital story telling. We need more Dana Atchleys today. The tools are there, what we need now is more design education, more understanding about how to present information, and how to tell compelling, relevant stories that matter. Short, relevant, and good slideshows embedded in the presentation can be used by serious scientists or artsy-fartsy grad students working on their MFA.

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