Grindstone Island

Making Multimedia the SFMOMA Way
July 7-14, 2001

Main Lodge






Peter Samis, Associate Curator of Education and Program Manager, Interactive Educational Technologies, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Susie Wise, Senior Producer, Interactive Educational Technologies, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Tim Svenonius, Production Manager, Interactive Educational Technologies, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


This workshop focuses on conceptualizing, storyboarding, and producing rich media content in an educational (and we hope, entertaining) way for use in museum and university settings. Participants will actually build Flash presentations (without any knowledge of Flash required) using Pachyderm™, an authoring tool currently being developed by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each class member is asked to come with a specific topic of expertise that they want to develop into an educational web/kiosk/CD essay, or work as part of a team with someone else who has subject matter expertise.

On the first two days, emphasis will be placed on creative ways to visualize information and make it meaningful to users/students. Days three and four are devoted to storyboarding and production. On Day 5, we publish! The goal is to produce as many as three short interactive presentations, each with its own subject area and target audience, by week's end.

Participants are encouraged to bring rich media files–digital images, videos, sound files or animations -- as well as existing text related to the museum or university subject area they hope to treat. (Acceptable file formats will be specified.) We will produce supplementary media as necessary -- and as time permits -- on the spot. The AMICO mediabase is also available for our use.

The workshop will be the first public opportunity to try out this new authoring tool.

Target Audience

  • Art museums, zoos, science museums, history museums–any educator, curator, or new media specialist who presents visuals and/or rich media along with text data and is seeking innovative approaches to publishing on the Web, kiosk and/or CD-ROM.
  • Any subject-area university educator or new media specialist who presents visuals and/or rich media along with text data in the classroom and is seeking innovative interfaces to publish in the classroom or to the Web.
  • AMICO members seeking a tool to visualize the richness and breadth of their own data on the Web or CD-ROM or to make meaningful connections with the AMICO mediabase for in-museum kiosks.

Learning Objectives

Workshop participants will learn to:

  • Conceive of subject matter content as interactive templates
  • Develop criteria for selecting rich media files
  • Balance the variables of text, rich media, and interface design
  • Storyboard and write for interactive media
  • Understand the dynamics and workflow of a new media production team
  • Have a great time!


Participants will receive a reading list in advance and be asked for suggestion of kinds of media files they might want to bring: QuickTime video, digital files of revealing ephemera related to their subject area, etc.

Course Outline

DAY 1 — Introductions, Teams, Projects

  • Introductions all around
  • Overview of course: goals and structure
  • Workshop members' interests, skills & goals
  • Inventory of assets brought or available online


  • Divide into teams by complementary skill-sets
  • Each teams chooses its project's focus topic
  • Allocate roles within each team (e.g., content expert, project manager, media producer, writer)

DAY 2 — Overview of Screen Types

  • Distribute schematics of Pachyderm templates and discuss their use
  • Demo examples from Making Sense of Modern Art and Art as Experiment, Art as Experience
  • Discuss applicability to other areas: history, geography, sciences…


  • Teams outline major points they want to cover
  • Identify existing media
  • Identify additional media needed

DAY 3 — Storyboarding and Production

  • Teams storyboard their three screens using three chosen templates as guides
  • Secure existing media
  • Naming conventions and file management
  • Produce additional media

DAY 4 — Image Processing, Post-Production, and Writing

  • Batch processing of media
  • Rough cuts of video
  • Video compression
  • Text review
  • Review of templates in the authoring tool

DAY 5 — Authoring and Publication

  • Input texts and media into templates
  • Proofing and debugging
  • Publish alpha as standalone Flash Player presentation
  • (Burn CDs to take home?)


About Pachyderm

Pachyderm is a new Flash-based authoring tool developed by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for delivering rich media presentations to the Web, kiosks, and CD-ROM. It enables anyone with subject matter expertise and appropriate media files -- JPEGs, QuickTime movies, Flash animations–to storyboard educational content into a number of interactive templates: the pan + zoom, variety of media, formal analysis, onion skin, comparison screen, collaboration web, etc. Once the content has been spec'd and the text has been pasted in, a Flash presentation is generated that can be delivered to users (e.g., real or virtual museum visitors, students) via the Web, kiosk, fixed disc–or potentially, PDA.

Technical Equipment to be Used

Seminar participants are likely gain some experience with: DV camera; Video-editing software; Media Cleaner Pro (or Windows equivalent?); Flatbed (and transparency) scanner; Digital camera; Photoshop; DeBabelizer; Flash; CD burner.
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last updated: June 19, 2014