Input, Input, More Input!
(The title is a reference to the 1980’s classic ‘Short Circuit’)
I feel like I’m finally starting to understand the meaning of the phrase “information overload”. It seems like lately, I find some sort of ‘input’ to fill every minute of my life. I wake up in the morning and listen to the morning news, I listen to the day’s podcasts on my drive to, and from work. When I get back to my home office and continue working on other freelance projects, I usually have some sort of news show playing in the background. I watch online videos while eating, and I even fall asleep to Coast to Coast AM or a podcast I didn’t get to listen to on my daily commute… and all of this isn’t including all the research (internet browsing) I usually have to do during work.
Over the next few days, I plan to start cutting-back. Give my brain some quiet time, and hopefully go from taking in an overwhelming amount of input, and pumping out a little more output.
-My Nephew with his Best Friend.
This is a test of mobile posting to this blog. Since BlackBerry doesn’t have a tumblr app, I’m just emailing this from my phone using tumblr’s “post by email” option. Key things I’m looking for is to see if the ‘Subject’ line shows up in the post, and how the image formatted.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Homework Assignment Rethink
About a blog post ago, I had originally assigned myself the homework assignment of writing at least five articles a week on this blog… that’s clearly not going to happen. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ve clearly noticed, I have already fallen very behind.
But, I don’t feel too bad about it. While I wasn’t able to write the five articles I had assigned myself to write for this blog, I was able to write/edit over thirty-five articles for other projects.
I think I figured out what the problem is. I originally set up these self-imposed homework assignments as writing practice, but labeling them “homework” really made them seem like just more work.
I’ve also realized that I don’t only need to practice my writing. I work in multi-media, so I need a place to also practice videography, photography, and audio production, at an experimental level.
That’s what I really need this tumblr blog to be; a virtual sketchbook. A place where I can safely experiment, and develop.
Advanced Warning: My next few blog post will be very abstract, as I will be testing out alternative posting options, and testing out settings on my cameras, and audio equipment.
Keeping them Alive
For reasons I’ve decided to leave for another blog post, it’s become part of my daily routine, over the last few weeks, to feed and clean-after my Dad’s animals.
This has had some very unexpected consequences. Realizing that it is up to me take make sure all of these small to medium sized creatures don’t die, has completely altered my entire perception of daily life. I can’t go an hour without wondering if I fed them enough, if I gave them enough water, if their shelter held up to that last wind gust, etc.
I imagine this is a very limited version of the thoughts, and preoccupations that must run through the mind of a new parent, but there’s something else though, a feeling I can’t fully describe because I haven’t really felt it before. There is something about knowing that a living thing depends on you for it’s survival. I guess right now the only way I can describe it is as a sense of my existence being validated. Obviously, I don’t believe these animals are the only living things that need me, I do believe I’m important to those who care about me, but knowing that it is completely up to me (right now anyway) to make sure my dad’s animals don’t die is a good feeling, it goes far beyond just a sense of accomplishment. I’m starting to see how the proverb of ‘It’s better to give than to receive’, doesn’t just apply to people.
I don’t know if I’m cut-out to be a full-time rancher, but I am glad I’ve been able to experience this.
I think next I’m going to try growing a small corn field.
I’ve been freelancing full-time for almost four years now, primarily in video production, and writing, This last year however, I worked in video production almost exclusively, so much so that I have to admit, I actually stopped actively seeking freelance writing jobs.
That’s something I regret now. It turns out, there is actually a bit of a demand for writers these days. I won’t go as far as to say there’s enough of a demand to where I could devote myself to writing exclusively, and live off it, but there is enough of a demand to keep me interested (and not starve in-between video jobs).
The reason I’m typing this now, is because I was recently hired to do a little freelance work for one of my local newspapers. When I was approached by the publisher, I immediately accepted the work, and was very eager to get started. I never thought I would get a chance to work in print-media again.
I’ve since been presented with other small writing opportunities, which leads me back to why I’m writing this blog post. It’s pretty simple really; I need practice.
So, I’ve decided to dust-off this ol’ tumblr blog, and give myself some homework assignments. There are a lot of aspects of writing I know I need to improve on, and I want to get better.
So starting today, I hope to be able to write at least five blog posts a week (I need at least a couple off). I have no idea what they will be about, which is kind-of the point. For my first few posts, I hope to be able to improve my ability (or inability.. you be the judge) to come up with an interesting article-type story within a span of twenty-four hours, which, I guess, is also practice for writing with a deadline.
If you actually made it to this paragraph, firs of all Thank You for reading this, and second, being that these posts will be homework like assignments for me, any feed back on what I’m doing wrong, or what I’m doing write would be greatly appreciated.
The positive influence, these and other classic PBS shows have had in my life is immeasurable. I hope the coming generations also get to have a Mr. Rogers, a Sesame Street or Reading Rainbow.
SONY NEX-5n .MTS to .MP4 Conversion Test One…
Still in the middle of a full field test of the SONY NEX-5n. So far, there are a lot of things a like, several that I don’t. Still planning on writing a full review on it, but I want to get a lot of ‘real-world’ experience using it to be able to offer a useful review of the product.
In this post, I’m trying to figure out what are going to be the best settings for converting the original AVCHD .MTS video files into the more universal .MP4 format.
IN this case I used the following settings.
VIDEO:: Width: 1920 Hight: 1080 Data Rate: 3993kbps Total Bitrate: 4009kbps Field Order: Progressive Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.0000 (Square) Frame Rate: 29.970
AUDIO:: Stereo 48,000Hz Bit Depth 16
I like the file size ratio, but I’m not too happy with the overall quality of the video. For the next test, I’m going to try a higher bit rate. I shot the original video using the SONY NEX-5n’s AVCHD 17mbps option, so I can go as high as that (17mbps) but I really want to stay below 8mbps if at all possible, so for my next test I’ll try setting a bitrate of 6mbps and see if that makes a significant improvement to the overall quality. (the above video is at a bitrate of 4009kbps which is equal to 4mbps)
NOTE: the SONY NEX-5n does have an option to shoot in the MP4 format, making conversion unnecessary, but I prefer to shoot in AVCHD for several reasons (reasons I’ll save for a future post… stay tuned.)
Directors Commentary: BPS Films Promo
I got a lot of questions about how we put this video together, and how we made the special effects, so I thought I would type up a little “Making-Off” commentary that is hopefully useful.
First off, we shot this video using a Canon T3i, and the actor (my brother by the way) had a lapel mic clipped to his shirt. The Mic is hooked up to our little Tascam Audio recorder, so the audio and the video were recorded separately meaning that we ended up having to line them up (sync) in the editing software.
All the special effects were placed into the video using Adobe After Effects. The Explosion is stock footage we got from the Video Copilot website, and the UFO is actually just an image we got searching “UFO” in Google Images. The Score and sound effects are also from Video Copilot as well as the laser blasts.
Oh, and the Laser Guns are actually just painted Dollar Store water guns.
In order for the special effects work right, we had to motion track the footage (great motion tracking tutorial on the Video Copilot website). The problem with motion tracking is that it’s tough to do. It’s actually very time consuming, and can be a little frustrating unless you take time to really plan out your shots (which we didn’t).
From what I understand, a trick some filmmakers use to get around motion tracking is to shoot with a tripod, drop the special effects into the footage, then add artificial camera movement to give it a handheld look. I’ve never done this before, but I’m tempted to try it on our next shoot.
Also, we shot this in 24 fps (frames per second), but I accidentally rendered it at 30 fps, wish ended up giving the video “motion-ghosts”. Unfortunately I didn’t really notice this until the video had been up on our youtube channel for a few weeks. So I decided to just leave it up to remind me not to make the same mistake ever again.
Well, that’s it for this commentary, if there’s anything I forgot to mention, please feel free to comment on this post
Thanks for reading,