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May 05 2012

16:45

Game changer…

Every now and then something comes along and the reaction is, “COOL!  Why didn’t I think of that?”  (or…”I thought of that years ago and it’s FINALLY come out.)

Back in the early 2000s JVC had something called the GY-DV300u aka the Streamcorder. That little gem was way ahead of its time. I grabbed one because after some pretty heavy duty research I found it had all the gizmos I wanted and needed to have a life after a multi-decade career as a broadcast news cameraman. But it had that little extra “umph” in the background that intrigued me – the ability to stream live to the web. And for some reason it never really took off. And the camera and it’s revolutionary potential kind of faded away…

Until this year when the 300u’s great granddaughter returned. And with a vengeance.

Meet the ! To me it’s an old friend gussied up and modernized. But it is a game changer and this time the time is ripe for it to reach the heights it missed last time around.

What’s new? Okay, so I admit I’m addicted to glass. A 23x zoom. Something that can reach out and pull you (and your audience) in close to situations you don’t even WANT to get close to. Most prosumer cameras in this price range only have a 10x or 14x zoom, leaving you miles short of the shot you really want.

Dual slot recording…the less expensive version of this camera, the has two slots for continuous recording too, but lacks the ability to record in HD in one slot and SD in the other. That ability allows you to shoot HD for the main event but SD to stream back quickly to the station for on-air. Wow.

I don’t even need to get into real manual controls, XLR inputs, three chips (1/3 CMOS)…the usual suspects in a pro’s array of necessary tools.

What happened in the past ten years that makes this new again?

Well, this time news is READY for a camera like this. In 2002 (when I got my JVC 300u) going live on the web was something entertaining…fun. But nobody in real news considered it seriously. After all, it wasn’t really professional – was it? Tiny little camera, poor quality…and there were live trucks and microwave trucks to handle important stories.

Times change…and now cell phones and Skype can put out decent enough (okay, so even I debate that one) images for news. Plus, reality has set in – financial reality. With the competition out there, lean and fast may make the difference between survival and death to cost conscious news organizations.

And while I absolutely love those good ole days, I’m a realist. What I see is a camera that may mean survival.


April 12 2012

07:19

Do. It. Yourself.

We all have those little tricks up our sleeves…the tricks we use to fix it, shortcut it, or make it easy for ourselves.

Some years back I posted a quick little emergency “fixit” for those days when your last miniscule lav windscreen disappears. At the time I was experimenting with using my computer with a camcorder plugged in to see if I could record “live” into iMovie.

It worked. The way I shot the video I mean. And the trick works pretty well too. All you’re doing is creating a dead zone above the mike head that keeps wind from hitting the head.

Fast forward six years to today…or rather earlier this year. I needed a way to fix my Lectrosonics wireless receiver to my Panasonic HMC150. The body is so compact and nearly every surface has dials or gizmos that I couldn’t figure out where to put it. Out of desperation I would use the hand grip…or pocket it tethered to a long enough XLR cable. Awkward.

Looked around on the Internet, but most of the fixes either didn’t look like they’d work with my camera or were way too expensive. So I did what any sane person with too much time on their hands would do…I diddled and daddled and did some thinking to boot and came up with my own gizmo.

The solution was both effective and affordable. One two by four inch piece of plastic, about 3/5 inch thick. One cold shoe attachment. Industrial strength Velcro.

I’ll make a video later on…but here’s the drill. Countersink a threaded hold into the plastic. Fill said hole with super glue and screw in the cold shoe. Wait for it to dry. Attach Velcro to fit. Put mated piece of Velcro onto your receiver (or whatever else you want to attach to the camera).

Cost: assuming I could have bought just enough for this one holder, probably less than $10. As it was, I bought enough plastic for four holders (around $14), five of the cold shoes at around three and a half bucks each, and the Velcro roll ran nearly $15. The super glue I had lying around the workshop.

What would I do differently? I got the cold shoes cheap on Amazon.comAmazon. If I do it again, I’d probably go for more heavy duty shoes…I can tell the ones I got are not sturdy enough for long term use.

Oh – and once I went to all of this trouble, I found exactly what I needed (same basic design, but metal) over at B&H.

So – two of my tricks are out of the bag…and my partner in crime, Larry Nance, is working on more fixits, make-its, and shortcuts for our book, The Basics Of Videojournalism. The OMB, VJ – the current day Jack (and Jill) of all trades.


July 09 2011

19:11

I stand corrected…

…by buddy Larry Nance. He looked at my last posting and then pointed out that perhaps I could be wrong. There’s a new technology that will forever change how photographers/videographers look at the relationship of the Exposure Triangle – the relationship between camera sensitivity to light, shutter speed, and aperture.

I’d read about it a while back, but Larry graciously provided this link.

Vastly over simplified, the incoming light is recorded as more than just a single image…all points that are in focus are recorded so you can decide AFTER the fact what you want in focus.

Is this good or bad? How does this affect the ethics of visual journalism? Personally I don’t think it means you are altering the image any more than before…it seems to allow the visual journalist a new tool to present images to the audience, letting them focus on the part of the image they feel communicates the idea best.

Of course…there is opportunity for abuse also. I shudder to think.


00:32

Shutter speed, aperture, depth of field

One of the many skills lurking within the brain of a videojournalist. Seeing depth of field. Something a good PJ/VJ knows intuitively. If ya use a high shutter speed and a wide-open (low) aperture, you get great depth of field (meaning shallow). Go the other way and get everything in focus…

Oh…and see what happens when you shoot a water fountain at different shutter speeds. Interesting…but if you want to slo-mo video, use the higher shutter speed.


May 11 2011

12:57

What the ^)$#*@

This won’t be a biggie post, but something for those of you who drive yourselves and your gear long and hard. Just a reminder of something that slips my mind until the reality of not enough room on one of my portable hard drives goes from a minor inconvenience to a wake-up call (gosh, I sure am using a lot of cliches today).

No – you are NOT imagining things. That trusty old hard drive you rely on day in and night out IS shrinking in size.

I run gigabytes through my four portable hard drives the way some folks drink coffee. Dump in a project, edit, erase. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Problem is…those projects don’t totally disappear when erased. The hard drive retains little memories of everything it ever encountered…and those tiny bytes build up. It’s kind of a failsafe in the event you really really really need to retrieve something.

But the reality is, after a few months (more or less) of use, you begin to lose a gigabyte here…and there…until suddenly you’ve lost more than you can afford. My first portable hard drive (circa 2004 I think) was a 40GB LaCie. After about a year of use I couldn’t jam more than 12 gigs onto it.

The solution is to clean everything off…store somewhere else…and do a clean erase to thoroughly cleanse the drive. Erase it back to zero. Then you’re good for another go.

And that is what is happening to my current favorite drive. Last files loading over to a new drive and we begin the memory erase in a moment.

(end of post)


March 25 2011

20:52

It’s coming…

…and it is unbelievable. Just got a FB posting from a comrade at an O&O in SF that he is no longer shooting with a pro camera, but a Panasonic HMX370. Jeez. Under $10k and 1/3 inch chips. I kinda expected this revolution to move in insidiously…in the night, beginning with smaller markets. Well, yeah, it has…but seriously. San Francisco? Babycams?

I was just kinda joshing when I posted back in February about what the future might hold for broadcast camerafolk:

While there will always be room for big bucks, high end, expensive cameras, I am convinced that the news broadcast standard is the 1/3 inch three chip pro-sumer camera…with of course, the requisite bells and whistles. XLR, manual controls, shoulder mount, good glass.

Shudder…kinda glad I’m not in the mix. Forward movement is always accompanied by some degree of jerkiness and readjustment. The leap from 16mm film to 3/4 (ick) tape was nasty. We went from shooting crisp clear film to ugly smeared blotches of color. Cheap little plastic cameras with cheap little plastic lenses.

Hmmmm…that sounds familiar.

Then from there we moved up to decent cameras (TK76) to better cameras and a better format (Betacam). The switch to digital and DVCPro cams was sweet music…better quality, more solid, everything the old cams had plus more!

And now back to the past again…cheap little camera, cheap little lens.

All I can predict now is…the quality WILL get better…the cameras will become more professional.

Until that next best idea for advanced technology leaps out in front of us…


March 15 2011

22:51

Love at first sight…

My “last” camera arrived a week ago and I’ve been doing something I’ve never done before. Sat down, figured out a testing schedule, read the manual (now THAT was a first) and have been methodically going through the controls. Every other camera I’ve bought I just hit the ground running with.

But this little girl (gonna hafta think up a nice nickname for her) is special. My first non-tape camera in decades (of course that last one was 16mm). Panasonic HCM150.

When I pulled her out of her box and unwrapped her, I shivered. Sleek lines, sturdily built. All of the requisite controls on the OUTSIDE, not in some damn menu.

So here’s the agenda for checkout…something you might consider with your next camera. Keep in mind I’ve built up a good supply of accessories and need to check them out to make sure all is compatible.

First day – Pull from box, scan the manual. Shoot and play back some tape, just to see how it looks. Review the manual again re the basics of setup and shooting.

Several days later…sat down with camera and manual and went through everything page by page to get a basic handle on what I need to know to shoot. Dumped a few files into my (five year old) MacBook, iMovie 9 just to see if I could. Imported fine, rough playback. Note to self: next time use a firewire external drive, not the USB drive. But it is nice to know I can get by for a little while longer with my current computer…will get the new one when a paying client appears.

A week later…met up with cohort Larry Nance and we reviewed and did a comparison to cameras we’ve used in the past. This one rocks. Not quite up to broadcast standards (smaller, lighter, different media), but masterfully planned. Made arrangements to meet in a week and do side-by-side shoots with older cameras.

Today…ran audio tests. First, the on-camera mike. Next a wired stick mike (Electovoice 635) and then wired shotgun (Sennheiser ME66) and then each mike run on the wireless (Lectrosonics) system. All worked wonderfully…the shotgun definitely peaks higher than the stick mike and was able to run off phantom power when on the wireless transmitter. That and I walked to the back of my property and the audio was crystal clear at 200 feet on the wireless. Rock on!!!

Next week Larry and I will shoot and post side-by-side comparisons with our older JVC GY-DV300s and my Canon HV20.

Now I want a new carbon fiber tripod!

A word to why the above process is important for teacher/students/newbies: Unless you research thoroughly and even then, problems will develop with equipment. I knew in my heart that all of my older gear would hook up to the new camera. But the worst time to test new systems is when you are under the gun. Plug in everything you’ve got. Take notes. Check out every variation with every item. Be prepared to order adapters or make adaptions. Know your gear.

Oh…and Larry…I finally found the composite outs/RCAs. Hidden over the XLR outs in a well-concealed compartment. (Sneaky, that.)


February 23 2011

20:39

Quandary or quagmire?

Which is it?

I’m torn between two worlds right now, with a deadline approaching.

Which camera to purchase? At first it was a simple problem. The Panasonic AG-HMC150 or the JVC GY-HM700? The deciding factor was the price and my budget. The 150 fit the budget, but the 700 has the little bit of extra “oomph” … a better/longer lens and the ability to change the lens out. All that for about three grand more. Ouch.

Then I decided to include the alien world of DSLRs. First just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything…then, as I dove deeper and deeper into research, I found myself actually seriously putting them on my list. Ouch. For an old die-hard videot like myself, this was sacrilege. I should be burned at the alter of analog…done in by digital demi-gods. Shudder.

So for now I’m looking at the Canon 5D MarkII and possibly the Canon 7D as well.

The latter fits the budget and the former has the goodies. Similar to my problems with the video cameras. One I can afford and one I want…but I also know that no matter what I can afford or want, there will always be another camera just out of my range. Time to get realistic.

Both of the video cameras are familiar territory. I know how they shoot…where the controls are…how far and hard I can push them. The DSLRs are an unknown…but I’ve been wowed by their quality. I do see that they have minimal audio input and controls…a biggie for me. Audio is right up there with video quality – the two are inseparable.

So now I sit on a pretty damn uncomfortable fence…researching, thinking, asking question. With about three weeks to go until I make the final final.

(for those of you who are confused by two seemingly similar “Q” words: a quandary is a state of uncertainty or perplexity and a quagmire is NOT a character on Family Guy, but a situation from which extrication is very difficult. Meaning I may be stuck in a state of indecisiveness for a long long time.)


January 17 2011

04:53

A “little” knowledge is a dangerous thing.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.”
~ Alexander Pope
~ Essay on Criticism/1709

The process of choosing cameras is simple if you don’t know anything. Just grab something bright and shiny in your price range. Oooooo…I’ll take that red camera!

Problems arise when you have a little knowledge. That’s when it can get confusing.

As part of the process of choosing a new camera, I’m checking the technology down to the last component. Right now taking a look at the technical aspects of CMOS v. CCD. And – unfortunately – reading some very raw arguments about which creates a superior image.

First let’s define what I’m talking about. Bot CMOS and CCDs are the light sensitive chips inside today’s video cameras. They are to the camera what your retina is to your eyeball. They translate the patterns of light and dark into digits.

CCDs were initially the more common of the two – invented in the 1969. CCD stands for “charge-coupled device.” Basically it is a chip that reacts to, or is charged by, light.

CMOS is a complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor – preceding the CCD by six years.

For a more information on the two, check out this VideoMaker article. There’s also a more technical article at the Dalsa website. Plus, check out this, written more from a camera user’s view.

My interest is primarily image quality and low light ability in a camera costing in the $2,700-$3,000 range. A non-tape camera shooting to SD cards, must have good manual controls and XLR mike inputs.
Why SD cards? I want a camera whose media is readily available…that can be handed off to the client or ingested into a computer by plugging in a card reader.
I want to control my images…not deal with a camera that flickers with changing lights and scenery or grabs sound when I want quiet. So manual iris, audio, and focus please.
And since I already have the pro XLR mikes, why change and step back to mini-jack?

So, here’s what I’ve learned:
Energy use – CMOS uses less power/CCD uses more power (something to consider is battery life when out on a job)
Low light – seems like a toss-up. Initially CCD was better, but CMOS is catching up.
Image quality – this is the one I’m stuck on. What we really need is a Consumer Reports website that does direct comparisons scientifically on cameras and other gear. Right now it is a jungle out there, with everyone having an opinion, generally supporting THEIR camera. Why? Because it’s the one they paid the big bucks for.

As co-author Larry Nance pointed out, though – all of the Professional (big P) cameras use CCDs because they are better. Well, they’re also, in the case of pro cameras, bigger too.

Thank goodness I can’t afford a camera for a few more months…plenty of time to conclude the research.


January 02 2011

00:02

Thank you Tom…

…for making the complex simple. Video codecs and more explained in simple terms at this site.


November 22 2010

09:13

My dream kit…

…is on a B&H Photo wish list. Not that I’m expecting it for the upcoming holiday season – no way. But it is definitely in the future as part of a retirement gift to myself.

Camera
Panasonic AG-HMC150. I’ve been eyeballing this little girl for a while. She’s compact, sturdy and shoots to memory cards. At the high end of my affordability scale, but with nearly everything I want. The lens isn’t as long as i want (I hear your pain, Lenslinger), but with a tele converter, maybe, just maybe I can ease that pain a bit. Having used the 200A (at about $700 more), I like the heft…and the controls are pretty much in the same positions of the many pro cameras I’ve used. This is where it gets personal. There are other styles of cameras out there – shoulder mounted, bigger, heavier and pretty much in the same price range. So my final defense in getting this one is – I like it.

Accessories
The usual. At least two/preferably three extended life batteries. Two 8GB and one 16GB cards. Not cheap – but they amaze me. I can get up to an hour twenty of hi-def on the 16GB card. Wow. That and the ability to choose which scenes to download? I’m in the choir!

(Rant warming)

Allow me to digress for a moment. I will ALWAYS go with removable media. I was never a fan of the the current crop of hard drive cameras. Why? If the recording media goes down, what cha gonna do? That is reason #1. Reason #2 is convenience. I can shoot on one card and hand off a full card to someone else for editing. I can store different stories on different cards. If a card goes bad, I can replace it.

Card reader. Yeah…ties in with the rant above. If I hand off a card to download, there must be a way to get it into the computer. Plus, less hours on the camera.
LED dimmable light. May as well update the on-camera light while I’m shopping. Longer run time, brighter light than what I’m using now.

Still checking prices, but most likely Kangeroo or other foul weather gear and maybe (further down the line) tele and wide angle adapters. Whoowhee!

Tripod
The old Bogan-Manfrotto is getting heavy as I get older, so in the market for something lighter with a half or full-ball head.

Computer
A Mac of course…what model/processor, etc depends on what’s on the market when I get my stuff together.

The final tally won’t be cheap…which is one of the reasons I’m back in school, doing the long term sub gig. Life’s little pleasures must be earned. And during the next six months, who knows? The next bright shiny object of my desires may change…


October 24 2010

14:25

Interesting thread…

…on b-roll. Changing technology and how it affects day to day field production. Here’s the url. For technies and freelancers primarily.


October 21 2010

19:45

Diminished reality…

This via OHITLT and crunchgear.com: real time manipulation of video.

Huh? What doest THAT mean?

Well…let’s say you’re setting up for a live skype and you notice there chipped paint on the wall behind you. No time to grab a brush and fix it, so you hop into your Diminished Reality software and erase it.
Here’s the link to the crunchvideo article.

Now for the real meat of this. Sometimes technology gives us wings to go where we shouldn’t go. I can see this or filmmaking…for fun. But for news?

Hey! Let’s clean up that background a bit…get rid of the graffiti on the wall…maybe cover up those stupid kids who are screwing up the scenery. Remove the offensive sign in the live shot of the demonstration.

Don’t even wanna go there…


October 20 2010

14:37

Archiving is a headache…

…unless you begin it on Day One of your adventure into the digital world AND you keep it up every day. Ya see, whether pro or aspiring pro, you’re gonna shoot hundreds of photos and hours of video and generate an awful lot of “stuff.” A wise person, of course, reviews and edits down even the raw data/video/photos – but you’ve still got a LOT of stuff. Get behind for a day or a week and the headache begins.

Well cruising b-roll has paid off again!

Pro-User Dennis Hart was caught in a nightmare of a situation, attempting to search thru twenty or thirty hard drives with hundreds of projects on them when he discovered DiskLibrary from ObviousMatter.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

“Indexes whatever’s on the disk automatically and puts it into a search-able data base. All for only $39. Tried it on a nearly full Terabyte drive and it worked flawlessly. Indexed thousands of files in under 15 minutes. Faster than data transfer. Highly recommend.”

I checked out their website and the program (which, from what I could see onsite is Mac only) will organize file formats from document to image to video and more.

Might be the magic pill for that oncoming headache…


October 14 2010

16:52

Kinetic typhography…

Yesterday I posted an example of kinetic typography…using words only to tell a story onscreen.

Well, today Mindy McAdams sent out a link via 10,000 Words via facebook that tells all. What is it and how to do it.

Here’s an example in of using KT for a news story.

I gotta try this!


15:13

Roll on over to b-roll…

b-roll.net that is, if you want to learn what separates the pros from the wanna-bes.

Nino Giannotti posted this in the freelance production forum and it has a lot to say about how to make it as a producer AND how to operate successfully in any field.

Summarized:

“Anticipate what could go wrong, do your very best to prevent it and if it goes wrong have everything ready to fix it quickly. In the long run the beneficial of this will be you.”

So wander on over to b-roll and learn something that is probably not new to you – but something you know in your heart you should be doing.


October 04 2010

22:35

Bringing the past into the present…

The problem with getting old is stuff – waayyyy too much stuff. Bookshelves full of tapes…boxes full of tapes and film (yeah, believe it). A case or two of LPs. Audio tapes.

So now I’m organizing said stuff. But first, have to do the tech bit and build an easy way to convert it all to digital. I’m talking BetaMax, VHS, VHS-C, pro Beta, DVC-Pro, 3/4 inch plus the film (8mm, 16mm) and audio (cassettes) and LP (vinyl records). Fortunately I’ve misplaced the 2″ reel to reel or I’d have a real problem.

Picked up a 19inch rolling rack off ebay from a retired and retiring producer. Got the shelving, a monitor and router…DAC coming in the mail soon. And today the diagram…the master plan for how to hook it all up. See above.

Why all go to all the trouble? For years whenever I wanted to dub something I’d have to drag out the playback system, wire it up, hook it up and do the dub. Then (of course) whatever I wanted to do next was a different format.

Some of you youngsters may be laughing behind your hands…but beware. In YOUR lifetime, things are gonna change. Since 2000 we’ve gone from CD to thumb drives to SD cards and DVDs and mini-dv tape and hard drive cameras…and it hasn’t slowed down yet. Always have a plan…if you want to save your stuff.


September 21 2010

14:56

Living the good life (continued)…

This is a continuation of an earlier posting on P2 camera workflow.

So once you’re done in the field shooting with P2 it’s all good – back to same ole same old routine. Right?

Not quite. This is where my limited math skills do me some good. Let’s take a look at how much hard drive video takes up when you move from camera to computer. I’m using the five minute threshold, but ran some tests once and we’re really talking about 4:35.

VHS & SD digital video – 5 minutes equals one GB
High def from HV20 camcorder – 5 minutes equals three GB
P2 – 5 minutes equals six GB

With my old SD and HV20 HD I use 350 and 500 GB hard drives. Lynn works with terabyte drives. She needs storage big time since she can’t archive on any other media easily.

That was my P2 adventure. Shooting must be carefully planned – each shot must count. Be EXTREMELY careful when deleting files – you could wipe your entire card or day’s work if you push the wrong menu button. Plan ahead – make sure you have sufficient storage space – then double that. And finally, enjoy the amazing quality of your final product.


September 18 2010

21:43

Living the good life…

…in Pismo Beach, California. I’m down here for a few days to check out the workflow of a friend’s P2 camera. Former KOVR reporter Lynn Diehl has a sweet deal working along the Central Coast Wine Region of California. A semi-weekly wine show called Wine Region News, which appears online and the old-fashioned way, on television.

Lynn Diehl

Lynn’s 30+ years as a television reporter and anchor prepared her for hard work, but I was still amazed at the multi-tasking this one woman hurricane did on a minute-by-minute basis as well as throughout the 12 hour day. Like any good reporter, she was on the phone setting up the next appointment and preparing the groundwork for future shows…but she also write a column and has a radio show and website to stay on top of. For my sanity, we’ll just follow the flow of the wine show.

First off, Lynn began with the right gear – she went with Panasonic P2 cameras that shoot both hi-def tape and to P2 cards. She rarely uses tape…that’s more of a backup system. So when I asked her about workflow, she had a few things to say.

First, the workflow is more film that tape based. Huh? As she explained, with tape you can keep rolling, keep rolling – but with P2 cards you get a limited amount of time per card (about 17-18 minutes) and the cards are expensive (just checked on B&H Photo and a 16GB card runs around $400. Re-usable, but they don’t have unlimited lives.

I began in film and recall the unofficial limits we had for shooting. 100′ for a VO, 150-200 for a VOSOT and 400′ for a package. Respectively 2-1/2 minutes, 4-5 minutes, and 11 minutes. It took careful planning – you didn’t just shoot, you had to think it through to make sure you got all of the required shots. We won’t even get into exposure (NOT automatic).

So shooting was different…and the Panasonics are different too -very compact and well-thought out with more goodies than I would have thought possible. XLR input, choice of auto or manual focus, iris, audio. Choices of on-cam mike, inputs can be mike or line. 13X zoom (yeah, we all miss the real glass of newscams). Even the white balance button is in the familiar location just in front of the camera below the lens on the right. And more. Wow.

Kathy Newell

On the first shoot at around 7am I was assigned a camera, tripod and instructions to make beautiful memories in the vineyards as the sun rose while Kathy Newell worked the interviews with Lynn.

It took fifteen, maybe twenty minutes to get used to handling the camera. I scoped the vineyard…on a steep hill with a series of dips down to a pond below. Had to drive through several access gates – the first one to get into the vineyard and the second to access the cattle grazing area with pond.

The drill was drive, set up, shoot, walk, shoot some more, and then pack and drive again. I was constantly adjusting iris and focus – didn’t rely on the auto system at all. The light was too tricky. I wanted dark shadows and glowing highlights…both in the detail shots of the grapes as well as the wide views of the sun rays hitting the slopes.

The camera performed beautifully…kept track of time with a countdown in the viewfinder.

Only worry was the herd of juvenile cattle. They LOVED me…started stalking me and getting as close as they could. Of course while I loved them back, I had to remind them I was the boss and shooed them away whenever they got too close. A couple of hormone-silly boys started butting heads too close to the car (is two feet too close?) so I packed it in and went down the hill, only to be followed by the entire herd at a rapid trot. Oh well…enough shots here. Back to the rest of the crew.

(to be continued…)


July 13 2010

00:52

I ain’t no techno-geek queen…

…but for some reason I keep getting calls. My sister, who works for a Wyoming tutoring center, gave me a call about a couple of programs one of her teachers was trying to figure out. Articulate and Camtasia. Apparently one for recording and the other for creating programs you can post on the web for remote learning. The issue the employee was trying to get around was lousy quality when she recorded video – it was .avi format. The only thing we could come up with, after some discussion, was that she was using the free download demo of the program and it might intentionally be set at low quality until you paid for the real deal.

The next evening I was out cruising the Delta on the Drunken Hippo – well cruising isn’t quite the word. I was stuck on the rocks on the side of a levee due to high winds. Anyhow, a call came in from a former employer for help on a personal project…and eventually it turned into a real interesting discussion. Start with some very old 16mm film…some of it nitrate-based (yeah, I know). It needs to be dubbed to the highest quality video format available…which turns out to be Apple ProRes. Surprise to me…had to do some scrambling to play catch-up. The only editing program I could find quickly that could handle PR was (of course) Final Cut Pro. I’ll get into depth on this format later…it is a wowser.

Third call was my husband’s pastor. He’s just getting on board with a lot of stuff like Facebook and Twitter…and needs help producing some multi-media sermons. Now that’s something I can do – he provides content and I make it sing.

In the meantime I’ve continued to work with hi-def hell, and am just finishing up transferring my client’s four full quality high-definition videos plus web-size copies to DVDs to mail back. It is unbearably slow going from FC Express Quicktime files to standardized QT files and then to web-size files.

Not unwelcome calls…this is the type of stuff that keeps the brain spinning and active. And keeps me out of trouble.


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