I can answer but my biases proceed me since a) I’m on a Mac and b) we have partners who help us out. If I mention them I’ll acknowledge them below.
How to learn them all?
Start with each publisher’s site and then with general online searches. These will usually lead you back to communities on YouTube that provide tutorials.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for take out a subscription at Lynda.com. Lynda’s a learning community that provides screencast tutorials on both multimedia production and code development.
Better, the monthly subscription is inexpensive and your can cancel as soon as you’ve finished what you want to learn. For example, sign up for a month, learn a piece of software and then cancel until you need to learn something new again.
Anyway, that’s the biggie picture. Hope it helps. — Michael
Investigative Reporters and Editors has a nice rundown of free production tools for journalists. These include old standbys such as Gimp for images and graphics, Audacity for audio editing and Open Movie Editor for video editing.
Multimedia production can get pretty pricey pretty quickly, of course. There’s a lot of gear and software needed so knowing what alternatives are out there is important.
If money’s tight, a great place to start is Open Source Alternatives. For example, if you need Adobe’s Photoshop but don’t have (or want to spend) the $699 to buy the standalone version, OSA lists Gimp and Krita among others as alternatives.
There are Web-based alternatives out there as well. For example, Aviary has a swiss army knife of audio and image editing applications that sit in the browser. In 2010, Google purchased the Web-based image editor Picnik and now you can crop, enhance and perform other basic edits in Picasa/Google+.
Other important browser-based tools are plugins and add-ons. For example, if you’re working with large files you’ll eventually need to get them somewhere which you’ll often do via FTP (although I come across more and more people who are using shared folders in Dropbox). Use Firefox? Try FireFTP. Chrome more your flavor? Try FileZilla. Want a desktop FTP client instead? Try Cyberduck.
Sometimes though, what’s already on your computer can bring you where you need to go. For example — and using a Mac because that’s what I have and know — iMovie, Garage Band and iPhoto all come pre-installed and are perfectly fine for editing video interviews, creating radio pieces and organizing and lightly editing your photos. Are they as robust as Final Cut, Pro Tools and some sort of Adobe Bridge/Photoshop amalgam? No, but they’re tools immediately available to you once you actually have the computer. Besides, the tools we need don’t always have to be the latest and greatest model of something.
There are good reasons to have the software that have become standard across the industry. This is especially true when collaborating with others. But when money’s tight, or you just want to try things out before diving deeper into a particular format, play with what’s low cost or free before making the plunge.
Besides, it’s the end result that matters. Once you publish your amazing audio, video or interactive piece, your appreciative audience isn’t going to care what you used to get there.
Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24/7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country three months after the U.S. release and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.
Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customer’s use or by creating uncertainty.
Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe.
There’s an old yarn about people’s unwillingness to pay for content online, but the latest data from The Pew Internet Survey show how this notion continues to unravel. A sliver under two-thirds of all Internet users (65 percent) are buying something online, with the average survey respondent spending $47 per month on online content.
33% of internet users have paid for digital music online
33% have paid for software
21% have paid for apps for their cell phones or tablet computers
19% have paid for digital games
18% have paid for digital newspaper, magazine, or journal articles or reports
16% have paid for videos, movies, or TV shows
15% have paid for ringtones
12% have paid for digital photos
11% have paid for members-only premium content from a website that has other free material on it
10% have paid for e-books
7% have paid for podcasts
5% have paid for tools or materials to use in video or computer games
5% have paid for “cheats or codes” to help them in video games
5% have paid to access particular websites such as online dating sites or services
2% have paid for adult content
Of the 755 survey respondents, nearly one in five (18 percent) said that they had paid for journalistic or editorial content of some kind, which should be good news for newspaper publishers. However, as we’ve seen with iPad versions of magazines, enthusiasm has been tepid overall.
Perhaps it’s time for legacy media outlets to begin diversifying their online content offerings, seeing themselves as portals or curators of premium content worth buying. Without reprising the role of filters and analysts of the important news of the day, top media brands could engage and broaden their audience through myriad premium content offerings that subsidize the unprofitable, but essential journalism that established their brands in the first place.