Profile.jpg (18460 bytes)If you came here by following the URL listed in the first few pages of my book, congratulations!  This page is part of a much larger Web that is all things Gary Olsen.  My life is a continuous tapestry of creative enterprise.  The site is constantly changing and evolving with every new project.  The buttons at the top of the page will take you to other areas of interest. 

For those of you who have read my book, you will see many examples of the practices that I wrote about exemplified in this virtual studio. A lot of my book is about how to manage the vast creative and collaborative process that is multimedia design. The book and this Web are inexorably linked from theory through actual practice.

Perhaps where this is particularly true is in my Multimedia Bootcamp Web.  Check this out. It's a virtual classroom. I teach at Clarke College, and I'm helping them establish the Multimedia Major. Simultaneously, I'm going after my Master's Degree.

My book, Getting Started in Multimedia Design, was the result of nearly 2 years of research and practice in the field of multimedia production including CD-ROM development and Website design. This book focuses on how to manage the assets, talents, costs, production schedule, and the client/customer relationship. The book covers strategic customer negotiations and provides you with advice on how to develop a price estimate and how to charge for your work. The book is the text for several multimedia college courses being taught around the world.

Multimedia production is not exactly a solo performance. There are just too many artistic disciplines and management skills required to attempt to go it alone. This is where this book is most valuable. It describes in detail how to put together your production team and describes the talents you will be calling upon in your production.... everyone from artists to videographers, from audio designers to programmers.

The book also spotlights the best and the brightest talents and companies in multimedia production today. Full color graphics and screen samples will inform and inspire you. In the words of one reviewer, "It's a sumptuous feast for the eyes..."

If you have ambitions to pursue a career in new media, this book is your launch pad.

If you are visiting this site and have not actually seen my book, check, the world's largest bookstore for an exceptional price.

What's New Since I Wrote the Book:

Well, first of all, I'm not with Hardie Interactive anymore.  Hardie Interactive folded and its parent company was sold sometime after I left for a new job with NCS in Iowa City, Iowa. At NCS, which is a large data processing company with many customers in the Federal Government, I've honed my multimedia skills. Then, after three years with NCS, I was offered a job with Dubuque Community Schools, and my dream job... Multimedia and Public Affairs Coordinator for one of the larger school districts in Iowa. You want to catch up on capabilities and accomplishments? Visit my newly deployed Web site I built for the District: let me know what you think.

tools.jpg (21834 bytes)I've got no fewer than six computers at my disposal: one Pentium laptop and one 750 megahertz powerhouse from custom computer builder and system integrator Omnitech, which I use for multimedia and Website development. I have three other desktop computers all Macs. Two Power PC G3s are dedicated to video and audio production. One at my home in Dubuque, Iowa, is used for heavy-duty graphics. Both are 300+ megahertz machines.  Another G-3 at home I use strictly for non-linear fully digital video production. It is not networked. Networking, I've discovered, is bad for a computer that is used to capture and process video.   I also have a Sony DVCAM with FireWire which I use to transport video from the camera to the computer for editing in Adobe Premiere. I use this setup to produce outdoor videos for Cat Tracker Productions, and I'm beginning production on a series of instructional videos for PhotoShop fans.  I have one more computer at home I use for a file server... an older Mac that does the job... enough said. 

Our AT&T Cable Company has delivered Ethernet to the home... a boon to file transfer speeds and productivity. At the District I have T-1 and the schools (18 buildings) are linked by fiber optic. I'm spoiled. I teach at Clarke College (Dubuque) three days a week on state-of-the-art computers and a network that is comparable to the School District's. My life is not as hectic as it sounds. I'm extremely well organized. Thank goodness for the Web.

Hardware and Software:

Many of the software and hardware listed in my book has been eclipsed by faster and better technology.  My operating systems include MacOS, Microsoft Windows 98 and NT. I work seamlessly between the three systems. I usually have both Mac and PC, side-by-side, on my workspace. To me, it's just one big operating system.

I restrict my software applications to the following:

  • Adobe Premiere for video
  • Adobe PhotoShop for graphics
  • Quark Xpress for print graphics
  • Painter for illustrations on both the PC and Mac. This works with a Wacom Tablet (I own two of these, one for the Mac and one for the PC, and they are indispensable).
  • Macromedia FreeHand for object drawing
  • Microsoft FrontPage for Web development
  • Adobe GoLive for Web development
  • Macromedia Fireworks for Web graphic optimization
  • Microsoft Office which includes my fave program, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook (for mail)
  • Apple QuickTime Pro: I prefer the comparatively smooth performance of video clips on the Web in this compression scheme better than anything else I've tried. Since QuickTime is becoming an emerging cross-platform standard for video on the Web, it's a good horse to bet on. Still, however, RealMedia's long-standing entries in this market dominate the Web landscape. Nonetheless, I still pick QuickTime.
  • Macromedia SoundEdit 16 (Mac) my workhorse for audio capture and editing
  • Sound Forge (PC) my other audio edit workhorse which I use mostly on my laptops which are PCs. I almost like it equally well comparing it to SoundEdit 16.

tech.jpg (5079 bytes)For utilities, I must mention I use a great $45 program called MacOpener ( This loads on my PCs allowing me full access to Macintosh formatted disks including Zip and Jazz drives. It comes in handy. I still prefer to create and edit graphics on the Mac. 

I prefer to do my Web administration on PCs. I also need the PCs to check my multimedia productions which most often run on PCs. And there are some aspects of the PC operating system I prefer for large-scale and complex file management.  I can't afford to prefer one platform over another in multimedia production. I've got to make my stuff work cross-platform. It's still difficult to do sometimes, but it's getting better. I wish Apple would truly make a better operating system than it currently does... less crashes and lockups, better installers and better diagnostics. The Mac to me is like an expensive sportscar, fun to drive but in constant need of tuning.  My PCs are like Chevy trucks... not exactly fun to drive, but built tough. I know you cross-platform pros out there know what I'm talking about, and I'm certain you Mac pros will disagree. Mac people are loyal to a fault. But I'm in the trenches with these machines virtually every waking moment. I've been involved with computers in creative enterprise since my first desktop publishing application in 1977.

I will be adding more to this space in the coming weeks as I have time to catch all of you up on my activities. Meanwhile, explore the site and enjoy.

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