dalton jones benefit bmx jam – oct 11

26 09 2009


Recently Eastern Rider Phil Jones’ little brother Dalton Jones was paralyzed in an accident. He is recovering and Phil and his father are facing enormous bills and costs associated with Dalton’s care. The Charlotte BMX Community is coming together to lend a helping hand in raising some much-needed cash for Phil and his father in their time of need.

1pm till Dark – $10 jam to ride all afternoon and win some rad prizes and help out.
Pads and Helmet are required to ride the park, so be sure to bring yours.

The park is located at the Naomi Drenan Recreation Center – 750 Beal Street, Charlotte NC 28211
Park website is http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/Park+and+Rec/Parks/Skate+Parks/Grayson+Skatepark.htm

Spread the word, show up, and lend a helping hand to a fellow bmx’er.

the cost of film school worth it?

17 09 2009

Today wake forest university announced they are adding a documentary film program to their MA and MFA. i have no clue what thats going to cost, but for an undergrad in communications you’re looking at $30k/year. high point university just opened their new communications building (which is amazing btw!). but that price is about the same, maybe a little more at $35k i think. 

so for a 4 year degree you’re looking at $120k, easily, if not more. thats a lot of damn money! i started out filming bike videos and got my video experience in the real world. i got my education from piedmont community college (AAS in digital effects and animation/film). i spent less than $5k on my education. that includes driving to and from school(its in BFE), books and crap. not including living expenses, cause i’d be paying that anyway. 

currently i’m in my 2nd “real” job. my first was a producer at a TV station and now i’m a video producer for a news paper (going on 2 years). these 2 jobs are what those students would be applying for. i’m not gonna say how much money i make here at the paper, but if i spent $120k on my education i’d be pissed as all get out! granted, yes, those degrees are all fancy and can help, but still, in this biz its about your experience and skills. frankly, its embarrassing to see some of the stuff that comes out of these big 4 year schools. 

in north carolina, i don’t know of any jobs that students coming out of a 4 year undergrad with little experience that would be making more than $40k. i don’t see the value in it. 

sweet new gizmo! sound devices 552 mixer

10 09 2009

sound devices(makers of quality sound gear) just announced their new SD 552. i’m guessing this is just an added model to their line of mixers, the mix pre, 302, 442(n), and now 552. i’ve always liked the idea of a 5 channel mixer. 4 channels is def sweet to have but adding another channel is all the better! especially with the more common type of reality shows popping up.

but what stands out so great about this 5 channel mixer? oooh another channel… so what? well, they did a bit more than just add another channel. they went ahead and tossed in a damn recorder in there to boot! so thats 5 channels of audio.. and a freakin recorder! albeit a 2 channel recorder, its pretty damn sweet. perfect for your backup track or awesome for indy stuff. as of now i’m still not aware of any bag based recorders with 5 dedicated inputs. but i’m sure sound devices is working on something tho!

check it out on the sound devices page for more info. she’ll ring up for around $2900, trew audio has it for $2895

throw in a denecke time code generator and you’re set!

but i’m still rocking my psc m4 mkii 4 channel set up.

the digital journalist?

26 08 2009

i left the teevee biz about 2 years ago and jumped into the news paper biz. the GM at my station threw me the ol “you know news papers are dying every day..” spiel. but there was just something about the biz that attracted me. i was tired of doing the same ‘ol 10, 15, 30 second promo spots. i was more into trying to tell a story.

so here I am, a news paper videographer. yeah, i get lots of questions about that one…

but since i’ve been here i’ve been caught up in an ever changing industry. there’s been the idea that every reporter should know how to shoot video, record audio, take photos, blah blah blah… no, they don’t. it would be nice if they knew how to do all that stuff, but i don’t think its necessary.

what every reporter should know how to do is:

•record audio, with a mic. be it an interview, nat sounds or voice over. audio is a strong building block of creating great multimedia.

•write a script. bring out those awesome moments from the audio, then tie it together with a bangin’ script

•read a voice over of that bangin’ script you just wrote.

•edit audio. its not that hard, especially if you recorded it right. and editing audio makes you realize quicker what you did wrong and how to improve it.

•carry shit.  yes my gear is heavy and i don’t like carrying my camera bag, tripod, light stands and lighting kit all by my self. we are a team.

•be completely silent during recording. let the subject keep going, shake your head in agreement, don’t talk. taking notes is fine, but keep it as silent as possible, that means no page turns while the subject is talking. you should refer to time code. if working with a videographer, have them put their camera to day run time code. then refer to your watch for time code.

•understand all aspects of production. go take an intro to film production course at a community college. it’ll help you a lot more than taking that 5 day multimedia workshop.

if a reporter could do all of that, they would be a force to be reckoned with! one of the reporters i work with quite a bit doesn’t know how to record audio, but they can write a script, read VO and they are becoming very understanding of how production works(location scouting, time management, sound issues, lighting, etc..). basically, they are becoming a producer, which should be half the role of a reporter. and i love working with that reporter because of that.

an awesome toolset for any reporter would be this:

zoom h4n recorder ($350)

rode ntg2 shotgun mic w/fuzzy windsock ($300)

point and shoot digital camera w/hd video such as panasonic lx3($500)

tripod, cables, headphones, bag, memory card, etc.. ($150)

total- $1300

yeah, thats a lot of money. trust me i know. my camera bag is valued around $10k. but its money well spent. if you have a good accountant it can probably be a tax right off too. but you know what. its yours. not the company you work for, yours. and you can do whatever you want with it. and in most cases, if you spend your hard earned money on something, you’re going to put it to use and respect it more.

and while you’re at it. please have a cell phone. preferably a blackberry or iphone.

here’s a multimedia piece a co-worker did all with an iphone. nothing other than his phone. i think this is his 3rd multimedia production with his 3g iphone. if he had the 3gs i’m sure he’d be doing some video along with it. but he recorded audio, took photos, edited his audio and put a collage of photos to go with it.

hide lavs ’09

5 06 2009

so here’s the deal, lavs are ugly. especially the big ones, like the sony lavs, they are freakin huge!

now sometimes, i know how it goes. in a rush, no time, or the person you’re mic’n is kinda gross and you don’t want your lav cable touching their skin. understandable. but otherwise, hide those lavs!

its not that hard. rycote makes these cool undercover sticky things, $12 for a pack of 30 stickies and 3 covers(gray, white and black). they are good for wind blocking as well. they work pretty good with most lavs, but probably not those gigantium coke bottle sony lavs.

but with a countryman b6, cos 11x, tram tr50 or maybe even the cheap sennheiser g2 mics, you should have no visible lav mic.

or just hire a sound man to boom it, which is a better idea.

bluray, my continuing saga…

23 12 2008

so over the past few weeks i’ve been trying to tackle bluray authoring using adobe encore. i’ve been a dvd studio pro user since almost day 1(2001 maybe?). and my brain has been programmed with its workflow. i can slap together a basic dvd in no time flat. and i was hoping my leap to encore would be just as easy. boy was i wrong… now i’m sure authoring an SD dvd is probably a little bit simpler. but that was not my goal. what exactly was my goal? to make a simple bluray with a menu with 2 buttons and with 2 videos tracks for a certain clothing company that recently released a bmx video. 

so i did what any other computer geek would do when challenged to learn new software. i google’d. i came up with numerous tutorials from adobe’s site and even put to use my works lynda.com account. but you know, nothing i watched or read was simple. everything relied on prebuilt menus and stuff like that. no “hey, here’s how you make a menu from scratch” or “here’s how you export your mpeg-2’s for 720p material”. nope, nothing. 

so 9 exports later and i’ve finally come to proper work flow for encoding. yay…. but i’m still trying to make sure i have my menu stuff proper. i’ve posted on a couple of forums and most replies ensure me that the preview is not to be trusted, etc, etc.. 

so whats a d00d left to do? first off i’ve got my exports exporting right now at home and on my laptop. i think i have my menu setup properly. and now when i get home from work today i’m hopefully gonna burn that puppy to a bluray(rewritable of course!) and then test it on multiple devices.

so if all is well and everything works then i will prepare a nice tutorial that gives the entry encore user a real “whats up wif encore and dem 720p filez yo!” tutorial. stay tuned…

i dissed a movie star!

1 12 2008

so i was a dick to chad michael murray.

but i didn’t know who it was, does that make me more of a dick?

so i’m filming this wedding, which i do about 15 times a year(for the cake of course). and i’m filming some ladies sign the guest book at the reception. i’m rockin my hvx, along with shoulder mount. and this dudes like, “oh cool, you made you a little home made shoulder mount, i’ve never seen something like that for those little cameras, i’m used to seeing big cameras on shoulder set ups”. my reply, “nope, actually these are fairly popular and a lot of companies make these.” of course i wasn’t giving him my full attention, nor partial for that matter and didn’t even make eye contact. my thoughts were who’s this douche and why is he trying to act like he knows what a big camera is. then i forgot all about it. as i usually do since i have a terrible memory.

later on, the guy i’m shooting the wedding with says something along the lines of, “my little sister is so pissed i didn’t bring her, she loves chad michael murray.” the name sounded familiar, and yup, sure enough. i dissed chad michael murray over my little camera and shoulder mount.

funny thing is, i filmed him a couple of years ago at a one tree hill basketball game, he even did some promo’s and stuff for my station for me.

so sorry chad, its not like you’ll ever read this. your imdb page definately kicks my imdb pages ass.

chad’s wife is bff with 2009 miss north carolina, and they are both bff with the bride. weird huh?

how low can you go?

20 11 2008

i’m bound and determined to have the longest running blog with the least amount of hits.  the most i’ve had in 1 day is 17 hits. my total hit as of a few minutes ago was 57. hell yeah!

philly with Eastern Bikes

18 11 2008

last thursday, bright in the AM baby moose and myself jumped in the TL-88. destination? Gianna’s Grill. was that the main focus of the trip? to get vegan philly cheesesteaks? you betcha! oh yeah, also to do bikes. and by bikes, i mean the 4th edition of the ever popular bmx web series, “Inside/Out”.

with 3 episodes under our belt is was probably time for a crappy one.  its not that we didn’t have a hoot of a time, but the weather was probably not the best. rain was forcasted for the first 2 days. forcing us to find indoor spots to ride. wiz took care of us on friday with a private indoor ramp setup. tight little 5 foot mini with a side of vert wall/street spine/6’ quarter combo. nifty little setup.

day 2 we were on our own, seeing as wiz had to work. so we ventured to west chester, yes, thats where bam lives. he didn’t return our calls about riding his driveway tranny. but union ramp park did atleast answer the phone. and by answer the phone i mean to tell us that an animal demo/benefit jam was going down at 5 that day. so we rode some street while the clouds parted at west chester U. then we rode the park with the animal crew till pretty late in the AM. i actually stunted some. its weird that i mostly ride my bmx when i’m out of town. 

day 3, the final day left us with sunny skies and howling winds in our high rise ghetto days inn. we hit the streets of fishtown with wiz, pedaling from spot to spot. leaving me mumbling of complaints of, “i wish my TL-88 were with me right now..” under my hooded protection of the “meteorologist” jacket as seamus calls it. but the spots were awesome, and stunts got done. tried to ride a pool but got the boot as we rolled up. seamus, kelly and leigh were already gettin their swerve on. so off to more spots in the philly industrial like burbs. nightfall got closer as we got further from the TL-88, so we headed back to wiz’s pizza spot for some nom nom.

we ended the day doing wrap up interviews in the hotel room, using my ghetto film making techniques. and then watching family guy.  all in all it was a good trip. on the way back baby moose and i crashed at pucks house for a couple of hours. in the AM we hit up sheetz for $1.83/gal gas, not too bad eh? 

for your links hit up

day 1
day 2
day 3 

you call this work?

1 11 2008

friday i did a filming gig for seadoo down at lowe’s motor speedway. the jist was… all the top selling seadoo dealers won a trip to the QC to come to jeff gordon’s racing school. they wanted the whole day documented so they hired a couple of video guys to film it. with the idea of showing the video later in the weekend or something. so off i went, leaving the twin cities at dark, then watching the sunrise over the back stretch at charlotte. so weird being in that place and it being completely empty. i was very very tempted to take the tl88 for a lap or two. but then 2 bus loads of dealers showed up, thus activating the “no fun gun”. 

oh, i got a sweet shoulder brace rig, which saved my ass that day. my back would have been ded, yes D-E-D. thanks indifocus!

so the dealers go to ride around this smaller infield track in a souped up ‘stang. they took us for a ride before hand, tons of fun. the drivers were bmw test track drivers, so they gave me one hell of a ride.

then they got to ride in a nascar. well its a slightly modified car, its got a passenger seat. usually i guess they don’t have actual nascar drivers there for this, but seadoo must have dumped a lot of money. a lot of the big name guys were there. pretty cool. 

so the dealers got trained and stuff on how to drive, then they got to drive a car on the track for about 3 laps. they were def stoked. but i was probably equally as stoked when the producer asked me to grab my fisheye and a helmet, for i too was going for a ride. i chose jimmy johnson cause the guy i bought our house from had one of his keys made with a jimmie johnson key.  

it was def an awesome time. sometimes the no fun gun can bring omega fun.

turn 3 at charlotte, hittin about 3g’s at around 180mph. fuuuu-uuuuun!