Monday, April 26, 2010

Podcast with pictures - Europe from its origins

Podcasts that contain visuals present me with a problem. The most of my listening time goes without the possibility to glance at a screen. So, I always try to figure out how much you can do without the visuals a usually I will be glad if I can. This is how I started the series Europe from its origins (feed). The conclusion remains you can follow without the pictures, but personally I cannot resist them.

For this podcast I will sit down and watch. Still, you do not absolutely have to see the pictures (apart from the occasional map), but they are just too good to miss out on. Also, my curiosity is roused all the time. Every couple of seconds the slide changes and I just want to know what depiction has been chosen when a certain figure or concept was discussed. Many of the images are reconstructions, or indicators, but still they liven up the experience. At some point, the images also have begun to serve as mental anchors in the story. The same picture for feudal knights, the same picture for Pope Innocent III and so on.

The maker of this series, Joseph Hogarty, has taken upon himself a huge project, not only because of the multimedia aspect of the podcast (in addition to the numerous images there is video and very fitting music incorporated). The task of telling the history of Europe from its origins (in 3rd century Rome ) until modern times is an enormous task. There have been 16 episodes up until now. Hogarty has improved on all aspects, but with each era he seems to be needing more time and the last episodes run beyond 60 minutes. We have just reached the 13th century and so there is at least 600 years of history ahead of us. An amazing achievement so far and I hope passionately, he will continue likewise.

I have not yet said all that impresses me about this series. As the speaker of five languages, I am especially sensitive to what podcasters do with names, words and sentences that are not in English. Hogarty makes in this respect an outstanding performance, which I find unparalleled in the podcasting world. To my ears he is impeccable in German, French, Spanish and Italian. In addition he is very convincing with Arabic. As to Greek and the Slavic languages, I have a limited power of evaluation, but with his prowess in the other languages, I trust him also beyond - something I never do with any other English speaker.

More Europe from its origins:
A history of Europe.

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