Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Looking for work

This Prezi movie expresses my reflections on the process of choosing the next place to work.
The embedded app below doesn't work for me - does it for you?

This does: click the play button in the lower-left of the presentation window here at Prezi.



Meta: About the Medium

I love Prezi as a tool for building presentations, because the presentation itself is a mind-map. While a typical slideshow is one-dimensional and unidirectional (forward to the next slide), Prezi offers three dimensions: two surface dimension, plus depth.
That depth, the ability to zoom in and in and in, makes Prezi my favorite medium for seamaps. Seamaps are kinda like roadmaps as they show milestones on the way to a goal, except seamaps recognize that there are many routes toward the goal, and that the straight path is rarely optimal. We will find obstacles, back up, and try other paths. We prefer running software at many increments to implementing everything at once. The zooming format helps me draw the big picture of the project and the detailed picture of the iteration and the day, in the same map.
However, Prezi isn't perfect for seamaps. The editor is infuriating in many cases. It's difficult to impossible to select things sometimes; you have to get the scale just right first. Clicking gets me a text prompt, and that's infrequently what I want. (Omnigraffle nailed this one: push T and then click.) Click-and-drag sometimes moves me back and forth in the map, and other times moves the image in the background out from under everything. There's a fair number of bugs, too.
All of these problems also apply to using Prezi for little movies like these, plus more. I need frames in order to make a path for presenting, but then frames take ownership of the objects inside them, and I can't resize the frame without warping parts of my picture. Those frames make objects under them unclickable in certain circumstances. Using Prezi takes patience and systems. Click off "edit path," select the objects, group them, move them to the front. Edit path, click the animation button, select the objects, escape. Click off "edit path," select the group, send them to the back. Repeat.
As a movie-creation medium, there are limitations, too: each frame will last as long as the audio attached to it, or 4 seconds if there's no audio. Animations ("appear" is the only animation) occur at 4 second intervals, period. On one hand this is limiting, but on the other it leaves fewer decisions for me. The above production took about 3 hours, including recording the audio in Camtasia, editing it, and exporting each frame as a separate audio clip, in between Camtasia crashing, as it does.
Prezi's strengths are unique and crucial to some forms of expression. Its limitations can be freeing, once they're accepted. The editor quirks drive me away for a while sometimes, but I keep coming back. Overall, I do recommend Prezi-with-voiceover as a short movie creation medium. Now if only the "embed" option worked on this blog.

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