“How soon can we get something for the web?”
It’s a question posed often in newsrooms around the world as we all look for the fastest and best ways to gather words and images and get them posted on the web. In our case, posted to www.yakimaherald.com.We can transmit photos back with our laptop and Verizon MiFi mobile hot spot. Not a bad way but a relatively slow way. We have to download the images from a compact flash card and then edit the photos in Photoshop before sending the images. And don’t forget, the photographer has to find a place to set up the laptop and flashcard reader. I’ve used the trunk lid of a car plenty of times as a desk. Inclement weather has also forced me to sit inside with the laptop on, you guessed it, my lap.
It’s a little faster using an iPad with a camera connection cord. But it still means setting up the iPad someplace to work, sometimes an inconvenient task.
Enter the Eye-Fi card, iPhone4s and a couple of iPhone apps. I’ve found this to be a fast, no-hassle way to get a photo back to the newspaper.
I set a personal-best speed record this morning: 3 minutes from the time I took the last image until I sent it to the newspaper. All done while standing on the sidewalk. On my way in to work this morning an accident call went out over the scanner. The result:
It took me another minute to dictate cutline information into a text message (thanks Siri! You rock!). Total time: less than five minutes. Which left me plenty of time to stop at Starbuck’s for a coffee and still get to work at a good time. How can you not like something which allows you to work less and drink coffee more?
I’m using the Eye-Fi card in my Canon 1D Mark IV because it has two flash card slots (compactflash and SDHC). There is an adapter available to use SDHC cards in single-slot cameras, an adapter I will have to purchase if I want to use the Eye-Fi cards in my Canon 5D camera.
To edit the photos I’m using the Photogene2 image-editing app and for transmission, the FTPOnTheGo app.
It’s a simple process. The photos shot to the Eye-Fi card are automatically transferred from the card to the iPhone in my pocket. I select the appropriate photo from the camera roll in the phone and tone it in Photogene2. I save the toned photo back to my phone’s photo library. I then launch the FTPOnTheGo app, select the toned photo and upload it to a server back in the office. Using Siri, I dictate the cutline information into a text message which gets sent to the newsroom. That information will be attached to the photo when it is placed on the website. No muss, no fuss.
This isn’t a new system but it’s new to the Herald-Republic and so far, it’s proven to be a speedy answer to the “how soon” question.
I couldn’t have figured this all out without the help of others (I’m no tech wizard). Many thanks to Herald-Republic staffers Scott Francis, Mark Morey and TJ Mullinax. Also thanks to Cliff DesPeaux who fielded some email questions as I worked through some tech issues.
Time for another cup of coffee!