DV Recording

I've got a really cool toy to play with this weekend. It's a Canon GL2 in what I think is basically the most awesome configuration ever. It's got an MA-300 Microphone adapter, and two dynamic mics (One lav and one hand held), plus the appropriate (long enough) XLR cables.

I am going to use it on Sunday to film a pilot episode of a talk show for UTV62.

Until then, I've got Camera+1 sitting here in my room, so I've decided to do a few things with it.

The first thing I shot with it here in the dorm was actually a screen capture of the old Toshiba laptop (aka TWL) booting IBM OS/2 Warp 3 and loading one of the IBM Works applications. The screen cap worked fairly well and it made me realize exactly how slow that old laptop is.

After screen capping the Toshiba, I decided I'd try a different method just for fun. The GL2 has an S-Video input and when the camera is in VCR mode, it can do analogue input for recording to the DV tape, or for recording straight to computer. So I got out my trusty new S-Video cable and the PowerBook G3, and did a few OS X screen captures in the camera's VCR mode. This was definitely interesting because it was essentially a perfect example of Mac OS X's failings in a low-resolution setting. The default size for everything is basically awful when outputting at 720x480.

Bored with screen capturing, I performed what I think is the most important and interesting of the tests - a direct comparison between the DV and Video8 formats, and of course the Sony HandyCam I've got and the Canon GL2.

For the comparison, I set both cameras up at about the same height on tripods, each in a different enough location so that I could look back and forth to make it seem more like a legitimate multi-cam shoot. I then got the dynamic hand held mic and the Canon Mic Adapter. I decided I wanted a direct comparison of the audio as well as the video quality, so I actually took the headphone output of the GL2 and attached it to the Microphone input of the HandyCam. I pressed record on both cameras, sat down and just talked about the setup for a few moments.

Doing such a shoot is definitely interesting, I am certainly happy to have a comparison done, and I can't wait until Monday when I can start to capture the tapes to hard disc. I'll have to capture at the comm building, and then bring the footage back to my iMac on the iPod or something.

At any rate... I certainly can't wait to do the actual talk show shoot, but I am concerned because I received a phone call today (after the EM checkout desk closed) saying that for the show, three cameras and a minimum of three microphones (two lav if possible) will be needed, so I hope the now-wimpy one camera, one lav and one hand-held will be acceptable.

If we were allowed to shoot S-VHS, I'd run out and buy another S-VHS tape and shoot with two or three of the big 3-chip S-VHS cams, but I don't think NAULive has enough tripods for that, unfortunately.


Hiatus from the 68kMLA

Some of you might know that I've been an active member of the 68kMLA online community... almost forever. I'm working to change that, or at the very least, reduce my own urge to visit that community. I am officially announcing here that I am on hiatus from the 68kMLA.

Suffice it to say that I have been frustrated with the changes in the general attitude of that community, and basically, I've come to the conclusion that it's is pathetic for me to place so much importance in an online community. It's great that I'm committed to something, but that community has proven time and again that I really need to find something better to do with the majority of the time I spend at my computer.

So what am I to do?

I think I may start by blogging more often, a lot of stuff happens in my life that I'm just sure the whole world needs/wants to know about. (Yeah - as if.) It is also a good process of self documentation, and I am sure there is something about my actual writing skills it will help.

I also might actually work more on my experimental film, whatever it is and whenever I actually intend to do something about it. I really want to get some stuff done for that so I can have an actual product, something I can say "I made this and it's not just random recordings, and it's not for NAULive"

I could also work on my classes more, I've got loads of work for a lot of my classes I need to do, and not being at the 68kMLA would definitely be a good inspiration to actually do work.

Well, we'll see how long my hiatus from the 68kMLA lasts. I may force myself to stay gone long enough to actually do the experimental film.

Adobe CS3

Well, after a year or more of anticipating, and 4 months of using Photoshop CS3 Beta, Adobe has finally announced the availability, pricing, and some of the features of the new lineup of CS3 products. About time!

Not only have the usual suspects been updated, (Photoshop, inDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver) but Adobe is also including PremierePro, Encore, and the new SoundBooth app in this madness of new apps.

The additional applications is leading to a restructuring of the family, there are now Standard and Premium packages in "Design" and "Web" variants, as well as a Premium Production package for audio/video, and an all-encompassing "Master Collection."

The restructuring of the family is cool, it ensures that creative professionals are paying just for what they need, not apps they'll never use. Thusly, Dreamweaver and Flash aren't included in the Standard Design bundle, which is intended for print designers.

Unfortunately, the restructuring means that Educational pricing is very confusing now. All of the bundles are available, and the prices to get approximately what was available in the old CS2.3 bundle are a bit outrageous.

To get both Dreamweaver and inDesign, which I want to do, will cost $200 more than it would have under the CS2 structure. I would need to buy the Premium Design package to do that. The bad thing about that is that the Premium Design package is $599 whereas the old CS2.3 was $399. (Educational Pricing)

I'm excited that all of this is coming out, but it makes me a bit sad that it costs so much more to get the same functionality I would have had with the older suite. For a hot moment I was actually tempted just to buy CS 2.3. I wouldn't get Flash, and performance would basically be awful, but I would have a legal version of the apps I want.

I think my solution may end up somewhere in the middle, I will probably try to get my hands on one of the standard packages, and either "acquire" the pieces I think of as missing, or use the old Dreamweaver and Flash MX I've got, either on the PowerBook G3, or I'll just bite the proverbial bullet and use Rosetta.

Of course, we'll see if the parentals approve any kind of AdobeCS related shenanigans at all, especially since I also might have designs upon the next version of Apple's operating system, Leopard.


Train Travel

Amtrak does a good job with the Southwest Chief. It may have been at one point in time, or it may even still be one of their least profitable routes in the entire system, but there are plenty of people who ride it from Chicago to LA and back again on a regular basis, plus the regular helping of people who ride it for shorter distances, such as my ride from Flagstaff to Kingman.

One of the first things I noticed, and something about which I was very pleased, was the fact that the waiting room in Flagstaff was very full - there were an amazing amount of people waiting to get on the westbound Southwest Chief. It makes me happy that there were so many people waiting on the train.

Engines number 5 and 98 pulled my train. One of the Heritage Fleet baggage cars, followed by a typical Superliner consist, of the Crew Dorm, probably three sleeping cars, the Dining Car, the Sightseer Lounge, and the three Coachclass cars.

I heard the comment in the station that it was a lot like Europe, where we were all waiting for the train, but I realized that this is a distinctly American experience. Here I am sitting in about the middle of the top deck of a two-level long distance coach. I have more legroom sitting in this behemoth of a transport option than I do in any of my classes, and while I realize that it isn't going as fast as the cars on the road, or an airplane would be - I'm partaking in a unique and relaxing experience. The gentle swaying of the cars as they roll along the tracks, the Eastbound freighters zooming by us at regular intervals, and the ability to get up and go to the restroom, and then wander over to the Lounge car and buy a snack or some milk. Despite the supposed awesomeness of bullet trains, I don't hear about anybody telling you their latest Shinkansen journey was relaxing, or that they were able to roam the train and buy a snack.

I am definitely glad I was able to take the train, even though the trip was so short. I may make it a point to do a longer and more comprehensive journey by rail at some later point. I would one day like to do the whole Southwest Chief journey, as well as as much of the Coast Starlight as possible - and I would certainly love to see some of the other Northern and Eastern routes.

Maybe one day I will buy one of those 30-day North America passes from Amtrak and VIA and take all of the various trains I've read about and seen pictures of.


Spring Break

Well, Spring Break is finally here, and I couldn't be too much happier. I really do enjoy having a week off.

I get to go home Sunday night too, though I am thinking I might try to come back here a bit early, Thursday or Friday night most likely, that way I can get myself well enough prepared for the final haul of my freshman year.

I also think that before I leave, I should clean my room, but for now I'm fine just sitting here listening to Leahy and reading the Interblags.


Cory W. Fund for the Fiscally Impaired

The Cory W. Fund for the Fiscally Impaired is a fund to which I am the initial donator (with USD2.57 of it coming from me). It was started by Mike's girlfriend Erica who thought it would be a good idea to raise money for one of his hockey teammates.

They recently completed fund raised exactly USD$100.00, which they will present to "The Fiscally Impaired" in the form of one hundred dollar bill. He will supposedly use it to purchase hockey gear for next year.

Now if only there were some kind of fund in someone's honor for me.


Travel Plans

I am going home for spring break - I get to ride the Amtrak Southwest Chief train from Flagstaff to Kingman on March 18th, and I'm going to come home a few days later, on the same train.

I'm going to bring my camera and video camera most likely, who knows - there may be other implements of awesomeness involved. Portable computer, anyone? I may attempt to make a video blog of the trip.


Unfortunate -

I didn't get the RA position. Part of me really wants to know why, another part of me just wants to keep listening to Daft Punk's Discovery over and over again. As always, there's yet-another part of me - more than one actually. Two other parts of me want to be angry, and have an "I don't care" attitude, respectively.

I do care, and I am somewhat miffed because I did work hard on the application and everything, but I am also somewhat relieved because I have heard it is a difficult job, and my time is already almost fully consumed as it is.

I hope to apply again for the RA job next semester, but in the meantime I think I may need to find another on-campus job, or look into working over the summer, or even finding a few more decent scholarships.

I did get a few emails from the Office of Financial Aide over the past few days, regarding scholarships I am eligible for, I got the applications today and am going to do the applications for those before long.

I think it's time for me to fire up the D50 and start running around campus. Even more importantly, I might have to go off-campus to get some photos of other things. I may also work on another videoBlog post, who knows.

The other thing I need to do now is decide what building I want to live in next year.


Summer Rail Trip!

I'm not yet certain, but I think would be quite awesome to have a jolly ol' rail trip this summer! I've discovered an interesting plan that Amtrak has, which basically allows me thirty days of free travel on almost any train in North America operated by Amtrak or VIA Rail Canada. This plan would cost about $640, plus I would want to get a Passport and I would need to sign up for the silly "Student Advantage" card which would allow the savings.

If I did that, I would probably not spend too much more than a day or so in any cities of real importance, but you can be gauranteed I'd have many many photos of wherever I went.

Another option is to just go to Seattle on train and visit people from that region of the world. It is both less, as well as more exciting. I would definitely end up spending a total of 3-4 days total in the Seattle area, probably visit some people I know online or whatever.

Either way, I think it would end up being like a 30 day long photographic wet dream, plus I could get to visit my friends from Washington and other parts of the USA and Canada.