PodCamp Toronto Review

I might call it PodCamp Toronto – light.

Why light?

Well some years I guess there were over 1,000 attendees and the Roger’s Centre at Ryerson University’s three floors of workshops were packed and the hallways were always crowded.P2170027

This year, not so much.

Not that is necessarily a bad thing.

In my workshop Pete’s 101 Tips For Radically Better Photos we had 50 or more participants and I don’t think anybody walked out. The campers were enthusiastic and we whipped through the major of the 101 tips (but I wished I had spent more time on getting images out of the camera and safely in hard drive storage but I’ll do that here in a later post. Stay tuned).

P2170013I want to thank all my friends (In Photo: Donna Papacosta of Trafalgar Communications, Bill Smith, (centre) president of the Oakville Camera Club and surprising and delighting me no end my first managing director at my first real job as a photographer at my first real newspaper Regis Yaworski. (Photo right)

Thank you all for being so supportive. It meant a great deal to me and i was very moved.2ae28fc

The rest of PodCamp Toronto 2015 was very good as well but we could have used more campers. To get more campers I’d offer that the Ryerson students consider advertising PodCamp Toronto a lot more in mainstream media during the 30 days running up to the event. And as much I do know it’s 2015 not all of us have smart phones and it would have been nice if the seminar schedule had been actually posted on paper somewhere.

Where were all the public relations executives? I saw a couple of the regulars but there was a decided lack of guys in expensive suit jackets trying to appear hip and failing abysmally in comparison to some 19-year-old with big hair, blue jeans and something cool they just threw on.

I had to laugh that in the seminar on media relations education, the students were still complaining about how irrelevant and out-of-date was the Canadian Public Relations Society. Kids, we were voicing the exact same complaints back in the mid 1970s! The future of public relations is hidden somewhere else (podcasting?) so get out there and make it happen. Listen to Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The information you need is there!

We also ran out of free coffee after lunch and that’s not much of complaint as there were gallons of Tim Horton’s coffee but it’s a thought. One year a cookie company provided unlimited cookies and I almost went into cookie-induced blood sugar shock! This year we had crunchy bars but they all had milk chocolate and I’m lactose intolerant so I couldn’t get my sugar fix. Likely a very good thing.

Finally, I’d recommend to the organizers that you really want to pick your presenters and notify them of your decision with a lot more notice than three days out. It takes time to put together a professional presentation and no time at all if your presenters just show up and talk off the top of their heads. The problem is most presenters can’t do an impromptu talk that actually entertains and informs.P2170023

One neat thing I saw was one of PodCamp Toronto’s sponsor’s new audio interface. Yamaha (who have always had a good name when it comes to audio, guitars, even motorcycles) were demoing their new AG series high-resolution (24bit/192kHz) standalone mixer/USB audio interface.

I’m not podcasting (yet) but I do quite a bit with audio to accompany my private client’s slideshows and this looks like a super solution to getting good audio from mics and musical instruments into your audio and video productions.

At what I believe is $99 for the AG03 with three analog inputs and $199 for a really lovely six analog unit, Yamaha looks like it has a winning unit for podcasters, musicians and any project where you need to get your audio online.

YAMAHA+AG+06-5If I can get my hands on the AG06 I do a review of the unit. 🙂

Right now I’m using my Zoom recorder with its XLR (These are three pin mic pro-level microphone connectors) inputs and I’m outgrowing it. Time for a mixer interface and the Yamaha one looks ideal.

Back to PodCamp I found most of the other seminars I attended ranged from not-very-good (No relevant content. Why this talk and why this audience not addressed.) to transcendent (Anthony Marco and Bob Goethe — Bob is a fellow Amateur Radio op out of Quebec who stopped me in the hall to say Hi. We met through blog posts!) as Anthony and Bob did the unexpected.

Their session was called “The Session at PodCamp That’s About Podcasting”. The title was ironic and Anthony said they were expecting a handful of friends to show up but instead the room was packed and Anthony and Bob took us to podcasting church with an invocation to future podcasters to forget about being good – let alone perfect – to forget about what mic – to forget everything but the love of podcasting.

I Tweeted one of their quotes which went something close to “podcasting is listening to people you like, talking about shit they love.”

I can’t make PodCamp today (starts at 11am) as I’m working on a workshop on Lightroom I’m giving at the Oakville Camera Club on Monday night but if you’ve in the downtown Toronto neighbourhood there’s still plenty of great sessions on the schedule.

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