Sips from the Firehose
A blog that seeks to filter the internet into a refreshing, easily-gulped beverage


Jul 06

Tbilisi Journalist Training: Graduation Day

Posted: under Digital Migration, journalism, Mobile Uploads, new media, Online Video, Travel.
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Tbilisi Journalist Graduation, originally uploaded by Wordyeti.

These are the journalists from the smaller cities & towns outside of Tbilisi, Georgia. They’re all grinning happily, because they’ve managed to survive my intense one-week course, where I set them all up with their own blogs, and then sent them into the field to shoot, edit and post online news videos.

A crucial part of every learning process is making mistakes. They learned not to try to take on too ambitious a project when using makeshift multimedia tools. I learned not to use Adobe’s Premiere Elements 8. That has got to be the buggiest video editing system ever inflicted on an unsuspecting public. I use Premiere Pro all the time and love the rest of Adobe’s various iterations of the Creative Suites … but Elements is Satan on a CD. My students were throwing their headsets across the room in frustration as it crashed … lost work … necessitated a hard reboot of the system … crashed again … corrupted the footage … (rinse, repeat).

I finally installed Sony’s Vegas Video on their systems; not as user-friendly for beginners as the “Grandma-ware” that Elements is known as … but it at least would make a J-cut or an L-cut without locking up the system. Unfortunately, Vegas Video wouldn’t import the footage from the Flip cameras with the audio attached. So we had to export the audio tracks from Premiere, and then import them into Vegas and sync the audio with the visuals.

I was told that this was actually a quite valuable experience, because real-world conditions for indie journalists in Georgia are pretty much like this. Working on cobbled-together secondhand equipment in sweltering offices, where the electrical power is subject to sporadic outages. And when the wind shifts to blow in over the nearby market … well, you want to close the windows, no matter how hot & humid it is.

I just noticed – my arms look inordinately long in this photo.

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Jun 16

Tbilisi at Sunset: Panorama

Posted: under Travel.
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This image is meant to be seen large; the storm that rolled in last night was spectacular, and made the sunset look gorgeous.

Panoramic shot of Tbilisi at sunsetThe building on the right with the star on top looks like an imitation of the “Seven Sisters,” giant edifices on the banks of the river winding through Moscow. They are also called “The Wedding Cakes” because they have that multi-layered and slathered in meringue look.

When I first arrived, I thought the big tower on tope of the hill on the left was some kind of a tourist attraction. Turns out it’s just a TV antenna… not sure what the big spoked wheel next to it is all about, though.

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