Platypus Workshops



The Digital Journalist is announcing three new Platypus Workshops for 2011.

February 13-19 at Texas State University, San Marcos SOLD OUT

March 27- April 2 at San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

October 16-22 Maine Media Workshops, Rockport, Me.

Thanks to our partners, Apple, Libec and Sennheiser, the only thing you need to supply is your own DSLR capable of shooting HD Video. We also recommend you get a Zacuto or Leatherman finder for the camera as well as a hard drive. You will also need to bring an external hard drive to save your project and a pair of headphones.

You will learn how to use your DSLR, along with tips and tricks to make it an incredible tool for you in editorial, corporate and filmmaking settings. We will teach you field sound recording, cinematic storytelling, the use of lenses, tripods, multimedia applications, and Apple’s latest Final Cut Pro editing software. All in an action-packed, exciting, entertaining, and informative 9 days.

These workshops are acknowledged as the gold standard of Digital Video training. We teach high-definition digital shooting, editing, and multimedia with an emphasis on storytelling. It is unique in the industry. We have taught over 300 photojournalists since our inception in 1999. Our graduates have gone on to do television documentaries, Web videos, especially for newspapers, and even films. One of our graduates was a nominee for an Oscar in 2006 and the 2010 winner of the Sundance Film Festival Documentary Award for his film Restrepo was out Platypus Graduate Tim Heathington.

There are three ways to attend these workshops: As a Shooter you are the storyteller you may work alone, or with a Producer (see below), to create the class exercises and a final 3–5 minute documentary or news story.

As a Producer you do what the name implies in broadcast. Producers are an integral part of the process and the course. They attend all classes; team up with shooters to “produce” the various segments of the course work. Producers work in collaboration with Shooters as they research stories, make arrangements, conduct interviews, go out on field exercises and co-produce the final project–as a team.

The Producer and the Shooter both return to the edit bay and cut the projects together. This in no way diminishes the role of the Shooter, who is the principal storyteller. The Producer allows the Shooter more time to concentrate on picture, sound and story elements, resulting in a better learning experience for everyone and better told stories.

Park Street, head of Professional, Educational and Commercial Sales for Precision, says “Precision Camera is thrilled to sponsor the best video workshop available today.”

Students will provide their own HD camera and lens. The cost of the workshop is $1795. We also offer participant seats, which do not shoot and edit, but work with the shoot n’edit people as a team for $900. NPPA, PPA, active duty military and ASMP members are eligible for a 10% discount.

To register for San Jose State, contact Michael Cheers at
For the Maine Media Workshop, contact Kerry L. Curren at
For more information about the workshops, you can contact Dirck Halstead at

We recommend applying for the workshop as soon as possible, these spots will go quickly.

To read what former graduates have to say about the workshop go the Platypus page on

Mark E. Johnson

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