Friday, January 26, 2018

Anatomy of what goes into our digital presentations - example Caminos Norte & Primitivo for REI

People sometimes ask me what software we use, why not Powerpoint, etc. so I'm going to log my thoughts and progress in building our presentation for REI.

First of all, the software. Back in the late 90s when I was dealing with Powerpoint in a business setting, it was really kludgy, a typical Microsoft product of the time. So, I am biased against Powerpoint, probably unwarranted for the current product. I Googled images on bad Powerpoint presentations - actually a lot of very good info on presentations there, but no ugly image I could insert here.

When we started doing presentations around 2003, I needed some digital software that would do dissolves, play music, integrate video clips, etc. and found WnSoft's PicturesToExe, very inexpensive. It didn't do everything I wanted but the projected image was far better than anything I had seen. I've stuck with that product ever since. Judging from its forum participants, it seems to be mostly used by high end photography clubs.

In addition to our periodic shows, I would usually put a YouTube video out whenever we completed a long distance hike, to give people a quick and entertaining overview. Checkout my youtube channel and click on the videos tab to see them. Googling for ralph alcorn youtube videos works.

For the current show on Caminos Norte and Primitivo, I made a framework show with about 10 images, using map images from Healing Miles, and slightly tweaked first image and ending image slides.

 After building the skeleton, I paused for about a week, finishing up the Kindle edition of Healing Miles. When I got back to this project, I couldn't find the file I had just made. However, in searching through my files by name, I got a hit on almost the identical name, and realized I had made a YouTube show immediately after finishing the Norte in 2015. Camino Norte 2015.  It was a good show, but stopped at Vilalba, as that was as far as we got in 2015. It also had music, and a fast pace. Other than that, a good basis for the current show, so I made a copy, added the maps and titles in the proper locations and started from there, leaving the music in, though normally our in person presentations don't have music and progress based on Susan's clicking the remote mouse button.

Jan 26, 2018 At this point I've added images for the rest of the Norte and Primitivo, as well as the appropriate maps. The total is 312 images, which is way to much for a manual presentation. When I run it through with the existing music (about 9 minutes), it does work, and works even better if I add more music so total is about 15 minutes. For YouTube it would be a good video, but best there to stick with one trail per video. For a manual presentation on both, I'm going to delete about half the images so total will be about 150. We may try with music and Susan hitting pause when she has something to add.

Feb 7, With Susan's help the show is down to about 205 images, music is gone, and it looks good to go, with a little more tweaking.  The first presentation will be after the first Saturday of the month pilgrim walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. See Ongoing events in . After that, the local REI stores. See our calendar in

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