Archive for September, 2012

Trying Out The iPhone WordPress App

Trying out the iPhone app to do instant blogging on the fly. I don’t really know if I’ll use this or not going on the future but we will see. Maybe this could be used for when the bus is being really slow and I don’t want to just listen to music.
Maybe I’ll use it for quick updates when I finally do get my documentary up and running. The only thing is is that my camera lens on my phone is scratched pretty badly, so one side seems very blurry. Maybe I’ll upgrade to the iPhone 5 if I win a contest. Time will tell.

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Trying To Get A Documentary Off The Ground

One thing I really like is documentaries.  I have always been fascinated by programs like Nova or The American Experience that rely on a documentary format.  And for me they do a great job at being compelling, the majority of the time I am stuck to the screen.  So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I want to make one.

I already have the main idea.  This happened as I was checking a Facebook group page about Cape Verdians. One of the posts was about the research a woman had done tracing her family roots back to the early 1700’s on the island of Fogo.  So I looked at her website even closer and found a treasure trove of information that can be used to make a great documentary.  I got ahold of her and she thinks it is a great idea, so now to get this thing up off the ground.  It will be a retroactive telling of the history of this woman’s homeland as seen through her own genealogical history.

For starters I have already applied to two charity organizations for grants.  One being the BRITDOC Foundation in the UK and the other being Cinereach.  I should hear back from them in one to two months to see if they are interested in giving me money.  It would be great if they asked me to submit a full proposal, so here I am crossing my fingers.

Other options on the table are to pitch the idea to a couple of organizations, maybe Ancestry.com or try to find people who have connections to the History Channel or NatGeo.  So I do have my eyes open to suggestions if anyone has some leads for me on this front.

Another great resource I found on the topic of fundraising is from the Desktop Documentaries website, the link to them is in the blogroll sidebar.  That site has a guide of 25 ideas that can be used to raise money, you have to subscribe to a newsletter to get it, it is a pdf download.  This guide covers topics such as crowd funding, yard sales, house parties , cooking demos, and selling movie frames to name a couple.  But on the site itself and not in the guide is the suggestion to do video contests through sites like PopTent and Zooppa. Sounds like a no-brainer on that one.  Big payouts if you win and that is great to purchase gear and save up for the airfare required for this documentary project I have my heart set on.  So wish me luck, I’m filming for a couple of these contests fairly quickly.

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Fun Little Music Video

My single’s ward had a tiny “film festival” for the ward members to enter.  It was part of family home evening and they gave us two weeks to put together something.  I actually waited a week before I even did anything, then I talked to a friend in the ward and said that we should do something.  We decided to do a music video to Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time.” On Labor Day, we got together and storyboarded some shots, brainstormed ideas and locations.  We then shot the video over three days when we had breaks in between classes and then I spent around 7 hours editing it.  The lip syncing isn’t the greatest, but hey, it works.

When we showed it at the festival people really liked it.  In fact it was the only one the judges didn’t have to make up a category for it to win a prize.  The other videos there were very excruciating to watch, but I’ll give them credit, they tried.  So the video won best cinematography and judges choice.  Enjoy it below.

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Thoughts On Building My Hackintosh

A Few weeks ago I bit the bullet and purchased around $1500 in computer parts.  I did this for a couple reasons, one to give me an edge in editing and to build a business with it.  The other is because I really like Apple’s operating system better than window’s and I wanted a nice machine that didn’t cost as much from Apple with the same specs.  So I went for it. I researched for a couple months and followed along with the newest hardware that was supposedly compatible with OSX Mountain Lion.  When I found a configuration that people said they weren’t having problems with I finally gave in.

The wait wasn’t long at all, I re-signed up for Amazon Prime since I get it half price for still being a student. I got everything except the motherboard from Amazon.  I got the motherboard from NewEgg, so the motherboard came a few days after everything else.  Once everything was delivered I laid aside most everything and started to put the pieces together. Unboxed the case, looked it over, removed the side panels and laid it on its side.  Unboxing everything was like a kid on Christmas morning, joy and excitement, but not about play toys, about a powerhouse waiting to be unleashed.  I took the motherboard out of its packaging, gently placed it into position and set the screws. Next the processor, then the graphics card, firewire card, and hard drives.  It took a while to do this as it was my first ever build.  Then finding the proper power connections on the motherboard for fans, case power and also the front ports took a while to to find as well.  But hooking up the power supply was a breeze as I have switched out a few on older machines.

Next was powering up and setting the BIOS to work to Mac standards. Not a problem, installing OSX from a USB drive, not a problem. I was impressed with what I was seeing.  Then I installed the drivers to make the ports and sound work. What happened after was great, I could hear music now and life seemed great… that is until I restarted the computer.  On the loading apple screen right after the circular loading indicator appeared my screen filled with text and needed to be shut off, it was a kernel panic. I didn’t know what to do, I thought it was from the drivers that I had loaded so I did what the next reasonable person would have done, I did a clean install.  After clean installing I went and tried different combinations of drivers, but each time I didn’t have success. I did over 20 clean installs.

Then I did more research and learned that all this could be avoided by changing the machine’s boot.plist file.  But you still had to install the drivers first and then change it on start up.  So you go into single user mode and type in code, unix code.  So I learned a little bit of unix, it’s like DOS and once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Went and changed a few values in the list and violá, it worked and booted up just fine.

Testing was fun and now I know that my machine has a little personality, external drives have to be connected to the computer before booting up, otherwise the computer won’t recognize them and will freeze.  Kinda annoying but oh well, youtube and flash based web players will flicker really bad unless it is in fullscreen mode, that’s even more annoying.  Now I don’t care anymore because it wasn’t really made for browsing, it was made for editing.  I have Adobe CS6 Production Premium working most perfectly, have a small issue with photoshop. Adobe is super fast and can handle a lot. I can’t seem to get Avid to work, but I hope I can figure out a solution someday.

So far, I love it, great functionality at a fraction of the price.

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Stock Producer

During the summer I did a few things that were pretty cool.  First was I took an Avid training course and passed with flying colors.  So now I am an Avid Certified Editor.  Really awesome, and that led to another opportunity.  A local media company has recently acquired the domain name for stockfootage.com and was looking for people they could train to produce and polish assets for them.  They held a cooperative agreement with UVU and was able to train in a room at the college.  They only accepted 14 people, of which I was one of them.

It was a really great training and I learned a lot of valuable things, but I’m under an NDA and can’t you about them.  Not to worry though as I have also become a stock producer for them.  Things we learned were workflow, after effects procedures, editing procedures, time remapping, cameras, and whole bunch of other information.

Below is a demo reel I edited for them, it is slow motion, shot on the phantom camera, and I assisted in the creation of 8 clips that you will see in it.

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New Gear This Past Year

One of the great things about living in a time where technology is always advancing is to look at the new ways in which it will affect us.  Especially the video world, that I am interested in, is no different. New cameras seem to be flying by our faces all the time.  So much so that when a new camera is purchased at a store it feels outdated by the time you reach the car.

Here is a list of the gear that is now on my list for Santa:

Canon 6D

First was the 5D mkIII but now the 6D has taken it’s place on my Christmas list. New features include built in GPS for geo-tagging your pictures.  And it has built in wifi, you no longer have to be tethered to a computer to control your camera with a smartphone.  These features are huge with me, I haven’t told you yet but I am now a stock producer, I’ll share more in another post.  The only thing this camera lacks is a microphone jack, which I will not fork over an extra $1500 for. The price will be $2099 when it is released in November for retail.

Black Magic Cinema Camera

$3000 and man what a camera this is. It is awesome, its awesomeness I can’t put in words.  So I guess I’ll just have to show what it is capable of.

 

As you can see it blows the 5D out of the water.  But still this is only a video camera so I would definitely want this and a dslr for photography.  The DSLR is still the camera for run and gun shooting because you can take them places you can’t take a “video” camera, so don’t discount it just yet.

Panasonic GH3

So the GH2 was and still is awesome.  The hacked firmware of the GH2 offered the most latitude in a DSLR and could compete with a 5D and even look better in daylight lighting conditions.  But unfortunately its micro 4/3 sensor hindered its lowlight ability.  This newer version improved a ton of features, added a lot of what the hack on the GH2 unlocked.  We’ll have to see how this one fares in the future.  I’m sure it will be the go to camera for many independent, low budget projects.

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It’s Been Awhile

Wow, does time fly when you’re having fun. I guess…

Well it has definitely been too long and I hope that I won’t burn out this time. Not that I have ever been all that great at keeping a good writing schedule anyway.

Over the past almost a year I have learned quite a few new things, inched ever closer to my degree, and had some awesome experiences along the way. which I will share in more posts. This one post here is more like the prodigal son returning.

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