Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Supporting Undercover Operations with the Adobe Master Collection
More often than not, a video/image analyst will have the agency's best and fastest computer. Hopefully, the analyst will have the full CS3 (CS4) Master Collection. There are so many options available to you, if you have the software.
One of those options is supporting undercover operations. How can you do that, you ask? There are many things an operator will need, and it depends on the type of operation. From IDs to business cards to letterhead to an entire business legend, there are as many options as there are operations. With the Master Collection, you can support them all.
But, you are new to this. You had a hard enough time learning how to use an Avid, now you are being asked to learn an entire suite of programs? Slow down. My old football coach once said that you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Learning how to use the suite's programs can be done in much the same way, one project at a time.
Let's say that you need to create a basic business legend for your operator. Where do you start? You want to create something that looks real, professional; staying away from some overused template. I've got just the help that you are looking for. Check out the Complete Idiot's Guide to Graphic Design. No, I didn't just insult you. The CIG series of books are great for distilling concepts down to their basic elements and giving them to you in bite sized chunks, avoiding jargon, and getting you up to speed in a hurry. So, start with the CIG to familiarise yourself with the rules of design and the tools that you'll need. The authors have done a great job with this very complex subject. Then move on to more product specific books, like the Missing Manual series from O'Reilly.
Dreamweaver CS4's Missing Manual will get you going on creating a web site for your operation. Dreamweaver is part of the Master Collection and is THE tool for creating web sites. Now, most of the cool sites have some Flash elements. So, you'll want to get up to speed on Flash CS4. Try the Flash CS4 Missing Manual. Right now, orders over $29.95 at OReilly.com qualify for free shipping. Best of all, they're having a buy 2 get 1 free promotion ... so throw in Creating a Web Site: Missing Manual as well.
Before you know it, other groups within your agency will see you as the "go-to" person for these types of projects. Nothing keeps our undercover operators safe like a properly created and reinforced legend. Now, you too can create these legends from scratch in the comfort of your own office.
Once you've become comfortable with the process and the tools, you'll begin to see other ways to leverage your investment in yourself and your tools. Many are starting to use Flash for courtroom presentations. You can even build a Flash based web site for sharing contact sheets on your agency's intranet. There are so many uses for this technology. I'm sure that you've already thought of two more ways to use it.