It was a bit of synchronicity that I wrote a few days ago about the importance of facial recognition in building relations, because the world of visual communication is coming at us fast. The buzz amongst my Skype buddies–starting with Randy Marcinko and Ed Keating–is video. I’ve ordered a webcam for my notebook and we’ll be testing it out this week. But what a host of new tasks this generates: will I start worrying about my hair, or what I’ve got piled on the shelf behind me? Actually, the positive result will be that I’m more likely to water the plant on my mantelpiece more regularly, and to keep some control over the items that accumulate there (at present, these include photographs, gifts from friends in China, and a pod of cotton I picked in South Carolina en route to the Charleston Conference).
I’ve got new podcasting software installed, too, with a plan to do some recording while I am in Beijing and Hong Kong. A documentary maker friend in England says I should have a video camera, too, but I think that’s a step too far. Maybe next year. I am determined to learn audio editing so I can do on-the-fly journalism, but at the moment I’m feeling daunted by the mass of new dropdown menus to work my way through. That’s not to mention the Acid Music Studio, which will allow me to layer in music from a collection of hundreds or thousands of pieces.
Not enough people realize that Berkshire Publishing has already started amassing a video archive, with interviews filmed by Larry Burke, the film professor at Simon’s Rock College. Here’s a three-minute extract from one of them, in which William H. McNeill explains how he came to be a historian of the whole wide world.