Tag: apple

Empowerment

Several months ago I set out to see if I could compose a short video telling the story of how Sarcraft came to be and what they’re trying to do as a company. They needed to establish themselves with a video that really digs into what they’re about will let people relate to them better, hopefully leading to more business. I blogged about some other production I did for them in cooperation with MTN Media Corp. back in September and shortly after that sent a proposal for my idea—they accepted.

For me, the video was to accomplish two main goals:

1) To assess the time and cost of this type of production for future reference,

2) to give JJ and Alex, the owners of Sarcraft, a jumping off point for their brand on Youtube.

The other goal was a personal one, to see if I could do this project on my own. Not out of selfishness, but I might call it pride. I wanted to see if I could do it.

Shelter Building Shoot 10/21/17

This project took some time to complete. The main reason for this was going in reverse of how someone would typically shoot a mini-doc; in this case shooting the interview that will guide the story next to last. Scheduling the interview with winter weather was a no-go and since Sarcraft’s classes would provide the bulk of the content that would eventually be laid on top of the interview, this meant each possible shoot date would depend on weather, class size, visual appeal in the films context, and whether it would be applicable to an interview that had yet to be shot. This caused the overall length of production to extend to roughly 6 months, wrapping a few days ago on Mar. 11, 2018 with a total of seven shoots, including the interview which was shot on February 3, with the assistance of my friend Bill Manning, a local photographer from Ballground, GA. There were also some small clips I captured while on other trips, like the rain shots of the road in the woods, the drone footage footage of the proving grounds, and the shots from the tree farm.

The Interview Shoot 2/3/18

Editing was done in Final Cut Pro X, which is slowly maturing into an amazing NLE again and I had zero issues on this project or concerns for future use. To assist in editing time later on, I cut in segments as I gathered content. For example, I shot the shelter building class back in October 2017 and had a rough edit of that sequence put together by that evening. That sequence would sit there until it was ready to be assembled in the main story and tweaked from there. As more classes were shot and Alex and JJ’s time would permit, additional segments would be shot and cut. The larger pushes happened post-interview and also after the fire craft and wild edible shoot that took place on Mar. 10, 2018.  After that, finishing assembly, tweaking color, trimming out unnecessary words, um’s, etc., adding SFX like water drips, grass footsteps, and some sound beds as a base. In the process watch every change I made several hundred times.

For music I typically use EpidemicSound.com, which was a great resource on some of the smaller Instagram videos I’ve done for Sarcraft and also the last big Peach State Overland project documenting the Red Clay Rally, but for this one I ended up sourcing music from SoundStripe.com. I won’t get into the details or compare the two, but I was able to find the right music for what I wanted on this project from them. I’m not really loyal to any music repository, finding the right track is daunting, usually taking hours of listening for each track. Once you’ve found it though, that’s when the edit comes together, giving pace and emotion to the footage.

With eight-ish shoots and many hours of editing and tweaking on my part, I do have a better gauge of how to price a project like this, so goal one met. I’ve handed off the final copy of the film to Alex and JJ, and their reactions tell their own story.

From JJ, “I’m so Honey Smack Diggin’ right now… Couple times I almost teared up…. two big thumbs up from us- YOU’RE AWESOME BROTHER.”

From Alex, “That was everything I expected and much more. That was so rich and so beautiful. A visual feast… and the narrative flowed perfectly. Wouldn’t change a thing. Gorgeous work –  THANK YOU!”

Goal 2 met.

Bill Manning – Shooting B-roll Post Interview

As for my personal goal—I guess I had to swallow my pride in certain regards. I did complete the project in a sense—it was one that I felt passionately about in both in production and aligning with Sarcraft’s goals as a company and am thrilled with how it turned out, but there’s no way I could have done it without help from others. The interview never would have happened without help from Bill, much of the story and editing would never have been as fluid without my wife, Ashley, coming up to the office to look things over at my frequent requests, and none of it would have been possible without the willingness of Alex and JJ and their students to work with me and allow themselves to be filmed. Making movies is collaborative, it’s takes everyone’s effort to make it great and the feeling of satisfaction should be shared just the same.

Snow Leopard Upgrade

Well, my family and I have just ordered the family pack of OSX Snow Leopard. I’m very excited about the slight speed bump and extra HD space but will of course be holding off on any production machines at home or at work. Too many pieces of software are still unproven with it and it’s just smart to wait a few weeks for all developers to work out the kinks. Happy upgrading.

Update: All computers at the house have been upgraded to Snow Leopard. All apps passed the compatibility test and I’m good to go. Still need to investigate the changes to Quicktime and how to continue to use QT7pro efficiently.

Update 2: Okay so I’ve found a few bugs. One documented and one not so much.

First, I can’t turn on airport on my iMac. There’s a fix involving deleteing preferences, but that does some weird stuff with the way the computer shows up as a shared volume.

Second inside illustrator, when you high-light text, the high-light box flickers like crazy. Not sure what’s going on here, but that doesn’t affect any functionality. It just looks sketchy.

“Layers” for iPhone

I started off using “Brushes” for iPhone, a very capable app. But coming from a photoshop background, I was still missing a few features that would make painting on an iPhone an easier transition for me. “Layers” brings some of those features to the platform at long last.

The first feature of course, is the use of layers. The is the first step towards non-destructive painting that the app offers to artists. Up to five layers can be utilized, re-arranged, painted on, filled, and deleted. Import pictures to layers and you can do some simple photo compositing too. You can even undo your steps (up to 30) using the counter-clockwise arrow and watch your changes backtrack on their respective layers in layer view. And then redo them as well. Pretty neat to watch.

The next tool is the eraser tool. Erase on any layer, with full access to the different brushes and sizes and a transparency adjustment slider. Finally! Like I said, I come from a photoshop background where I can erase something or even better, mask it out. But with “Brushes”, I was not able to do any erasing only additive corrections meaning if you went outside the lines so-to-speak, you’d have to re-paint what you screwed up with a similar/identical color. Seemingly “adding” paint strokes on top of paint strokes. Since you’re currently limited to five layers, there is still the possibility that you might need to re-paint or paint over something on one of those layers. Regardless the eraser tool is a very welcome addition.

Much of the same tools and utilities from “Brushes” have been used in “Layers” as well. Color sampling by holding your finger down on the color you want. Also an eyedropper tool that can sample all layers or your current one. Pinch to zoom, and also double-tap to zoom to a specific area (at 200%), and 1000% max zoom (over “Brushes” 800%) allowing for pixel specific painting.

Export settings include email as flattened JPEG, PSD (yes, a photoshop document) with layers, send to your photo album on your device, or save as duplicate. So you can take you’re layered painting and edit it right into Photoshop.

While this app won’t make you magically have talent (as I was hoping for), it will give you a greater tool set in which to create your next mobile masterpiece. Add a Pogo Stylus and you’re good to go.

New iPhone 3GS – Why I’ll be switching

Today, I was locked in on the live blog of Apple’s keynote at WWDC. What I was listening for was the realization of rumors that I’ve been following for 3 months now. The specific rumor I’ve been waiting for was a new iPhone handset. And today it was finally announced. The iPhone 3GS!

The are a few reasons that this particular version of the iPhone will be the one that makes me switch.

In no particular order:

  • Capacity – For the first time, the iPhone has reached a capacity that can hold my entire itunes music collection plus several movies and tons and tons of apps.
  • New camera with video – As a photographer and even more so, video editor, the iPhones new 3 mp camera is a welcome feature. Increased still image resolution and also the ability to shoot 30fps VGA video, edit it down to the exact moment you want to show, and upload it to youtube is just plain cool. Or as a buddy of mine would say, “Deluxe!”
  • iPhone OS 3.0 – Copy and paste, search, push…all features my blackberry has had and one of the biggest reasons I couldn’t make the switch before.
  • Battery life – This is just speculated as Apple generally pads their battery life numbers a bit. But it’s supposed to be better. And even currently, my long trusted blackberry curve has to be charged every other day or sometimes every day.
  • It’s an apple product – I’ve used a mac for my home computing for years and it will always be simpler from Apple product to Apple product, to sync my contacts, calendar, aswell as music and movies because of this fact.

Icing on the cake:

  • MMS (eventually)
  • Voice Control
  • Faster 7.2Mbps data connection
  • Awesome apps, that do very specific things that I need done. Like track my hours for freelance video and graphic design or tons of awesome games.
  • Fairly early release date
There is one minor but noteworthy hiccup that might keep me from switching and it’s AT&T’s network. I’ll have to research it more, but I remember when the first iPhone 3G came out and I saw some very unhappy friends of mine with iphones that just plain sucked at picking up a signal.

Formula D Media Coverage – No Cell Phone Cameras

The few times that I’ve attended Formula D events as part of the press, the officials there always stated that they want to see real deal cameras out there. This means no cell phone cameras or point-n-shoots. They have their reasons for saying that I guess. But I’m not clear on what they are and I’ve never tried to challenge them on this. I have always used prosumer/professional equipment at the events regardless. Well times are changing. Print media isn’t necessarily dying, but web media is definitely on the rise. With many of the automobile based magazines shutting down their operations, web media is the consumer’s only alternative to get the information that they crave. E-zines and blogs, like WreckedMagazine.com and Speedhunters.com are fast becoming the go-to outlet for drifting and other motorsports coverage.

So, how does this relate to Formula D’s media rules?

The Internet generation wants their information fast, really fast. To me, this means that technology to get that information published quickly, needs to be utilized to its fullest potential. But this doesn’t mean the coverage can lack quality. Typical equipment for shooting a Formula D event could be a digital video camera (at least something from the prosumer class) and/or DSLR. Turn around time can be quick if done correctly. Usually media, whether it be video or stills, can be posted that night, after the event. But the current trend across the Internet is moving towards real time. People want streams of video, status updates of their friends, and instant news coverage reported live, as it happens. So how do you accomplish that? New technologies/services such as Twitter, allow websites to publish short 140 character headlines and other facts in real time, as they happen. A blog can be set to import this Twitter feed along with anyone else using certain key words, such as #FD or #FormulaD. This not only allows the authors of the website/blog to contribute, but also allows anyone with a cellphone or laptop attending the event to collaborate via text, images, or URL links, current happenings from their point of view as they occur.

The future also holds a number of great things for real-time streaming media. The revolutionary Apple iPhone is set to enter its 3rd generation this summer and it promises to be quite a leap forward. Rumored specifics as to the devices capabilities include shooting video as well as an industry first, basic video editing within the device. Imagine the possibilities that this kind of tech could open up for journalists alone.

Another potential packed technology is the Eye-fi SD card. This card can auto upload photos from a digital camera via Wifi hotspot connections. Combine this with Verizon’s new Mifi 3G portable wifi router and an amazing point-n-shoot like the Canon G10 Powershot, and you can produce fantastic images and have the ability to upload those high quality photos in near real time.

On my last trip to LA for FD Irwindale, I was toting around a Canon GL2, Nikon D90, and my blackberry curve. I shot video of drift runs first, waiting for something to report on, then shot high quality stills, and then a secondary shot with my curve to post to Wrecked Magazines Twitter feed. All very important to the success of the story. A reminder though, technology is useless without the knowledge of how and when to utilize it. It is merely a tool though, you still need to be able to tell a story. That is the root of all journalism. And by no means should this new technology replace tried and true approaches and outlets. The need for a solid flow of well written articles, quality edited video and sharp photographs published or broadcast in a timely manner, will never run dry. But with the additional need to be the first on the scene with current events, it is definitely worth it to invest in another hand or person to report via these new tools.

Formula D is going to have to change the way they look at media coverage as a whole if they plan on getting the most out of it. Cell phones, as well as point-n-shoots are becoming perfectly capable for the production of the futures web-based media.

No Firewire On New Macbooks

This was the latest buzz last week after Apple’s Oct. 14th laptop event. Apple has opted to leave out firewire from it’s consumer level Macbook laptop, allowing it to only be present on the higher-end Macbook Pro variant.

I had to post something regarding this topic, as this doesn’t just hit close to home…this smacks home upside the face with a dumbstick. Apparently apple’s stance is apple creatith, thus apple can taketh away. Though I pray the sole reason behind’s apple’s latest disappointing odd product release feature set is to better differentiate the two computer models. Regardless, I think this is a very bad move on apple’s side. The Macbook has been for the most part, a smaller computer physically yet always very capable. It has been a go to computer for users that require a smaller footprint for either travel or otherwise. I mean, have you ever tried to open up a 15″ let alone a 17″ Apple laptop on a plane in coach, not happenin’.

The lack of firewire directly effects people that utilize many of the current devices in multimedia fields. External hard drives, DV decks/camcorders, HDV decks/camcorders are all useless now when paired with the new Macbook. The only element that I can think of that can save some people is many of Lacie’s hard drives have a triple or even quad interface consisting of USB 2.0, Firewire 400 & 800, and SATA. So what are professionals, whose HDV cameras and decks use only firewire to export their footage digitally supposed to do? Well apple doesn’t have an answer it seems. They’ve reportedly deleted any thread on their support page regarding the subject and their only response is that firewire is gone and most of the new devices all use USB now. How are video editors using a Macbook supposed to daisy chain a USB drive to another without a hub…and then add on a camera to that to capture footage. They can’t, and are left to flutter in the wind. There is even an online petition asking Apple to think again and fix the issue, giving Macbooks back a firewire port.

I think apple’s only option and it would be a very good option, is to re-release a new smaller 12″ or 13″ Macbook Pro. Similar to the 12″ Powerbook of the past, this would help address the price difference between the two model lines and would give users that need a more portable computing solution somewhere to look. We’ll just have to wait and see, and I’m no rumor guru. I have yet to read anything regarding such a speculation…and in fact it seems very unlikely considering the unsuccessful sales of the previous 12″ Powerbook. But whatever, in my opinion it’s Apple’s only way to fix the current situation it’s caused.

P.S. I love apple, and probably always will…but sometimes and more often lately, they’ve really shocked me.

New Compy

My new iMac is on its way. A 24″ 3.06 GHz model with 4 Gb of memory.

This will be MY first new mac since my current powerbook G4 from circa 2004. This is a very good thing as this laptop can’t last forever. Along with the compy, I will be taking delivery of Final Cut Studio 2 as well as all the most recent Adobe apps…Photoshop, Dreamweaver, AfterEffects, etc…

And I’ll finally be able to iChat video with people…any takers. I get lonely 😉 I kid…

Update: The compy is here and kick-ass. The screen is huge and the computer seems to be very quick. It’s making things much easier to multi-task on projects with Leopards Spaces and the best thing is it should pay for itself in 2 or so months. Apple has still got it.

I’ll post a pic once the office is a bit more complete…ya know like furniture and some framage on the walls.