18 December 2015

How To Start A Film Program in your Library or School

If you're looking into creating an in-house video operation for your business, group or organization, keep in mind that the very most important thing in this process isn't so much what you have, but it's more about what you do with it, and that's going to get described in detail as well.

First, to cut to the beginnings, you need equipment. Not necessarily a ton of equipment, but the right tools will help you to produce quality products on your own, without the assistance of a film professional other than the training and guidelines provided.

1.  You need a camera. 

The best thing on the market right now is the t3i or a t4i from Canon. That's what I recommend. You can find them on Ebay from a reliable seller in the range of about $300-$400. The t4i shoots in 1080p HD which is industry standard. It's also primarily a photography camera, but it works even better as a film camera. Even though there are pricier models, with the right lenses people can see something filmed on a T4i or a T3i and think that it's film-quality professional, or produced on much more expensive equipment. Even though they retain the low pricetag, the used market will eventually become inflated so obtaining these now is probably a good idea.

2.  The camera needs lenses. 

Don't go nuts on expensive lenses. Try to actually stick to the stock version of the lens, keeping other lenses (telephotos and macros) for special projects.

Mid-Range Lens
A good mid-range lens is the one that comes with the camera. These can also be cheap and made out of plastic and yet still work really well. Typical numbers for these are "18-55mm Ii F/3.5-5.6" - those are the numbers you can expect from a "mid-range" lens. At the time of this blog post, you can probably obtain one for about $75.

Telephoto LensA telephoto lens numbers are" 85mm - F/1.8" - there are some online which run for less that $100 at the moment. They're good for faraway stuff.

3.  Your footage needs storage. 

The footage that you take will be saved onto a memory chip known as an SD card. These are the size of a guitar pick, roughly, and they can store up to 64GB of footage, or even more. These cards are the go-between for your footage and your editing software. The process of moving that footage is something which is described in detail later.

SD Cards
Go for the 32GB or 64GB cards, as while they are pricy, it's difficult to run out of space with cards of that size. 16GB cards tend to run out quickly and it's easy to fill one of those up in a single day.

Portable External Hard Drives
It's highly recommended to keep your footage on a portable external hard drive, for a few reasons. One, it keeps the hard drive on the actual computer from getting clogged with video files. The files themselves need to be stored externally. Two, it keeps the materials able to be placed in a more secure location when necessary.

A good portable hard drive is the WD 3TB External, which runs for about $100. Those will last a very long time. As a professional video solo company, it takes me 6 months to fill one of those up.

Best practices in moving footage will be discussed in depth later as we move from equipment into skills and techniques.

4.  You need a computer to work on.

If you're an institution trying to produce films in-house, it's probably better to get a desktop because they are immensely less likely to disappear or get broken. A higher functioning iMac is probably the best bet. You can expect to invest $1500 into this machine. Considering that's equivocal to the prices for the earliest macintoshes which have far less performance value nowadays, that's not bad.

Considering that if the computer is well taken care of, there shouldn't be a need to replace it, potentially ever. It'll never run out of space, if you follow the File/Folder Guidelines; it won't be outdated if it's able to perform as a filmmaking tool because the internet is not going to change significantly for a long time, at this point. Communications technology is going to remain relatively unchanged for a number of years now that we have reached parity with our senses, and the devices have balanced themselves out into a select group of items that we now consider commonplace.

5.  That computer needs software.

The good news is that the industry standard tool, Final Cut Pro, costs about $250 at the moment. You'll also need another program called "Compressor" in addition to that, and you have the option to pay into Adobe Creative Suite, which can run you about $30/mo (which includes all their software, and could also extend into additional educational programs).

Camera: $400
Lenses: $100
Computer: $1500
Software: $300, +$30/mo
Storage Devices: $100 every 6mo.

So the operating budget in terms of material cost is approximately $2500.

03 June 2015

Monitor an individual cell in Sheets

1. Go to the spreadsheet.
2. Tools - Script Editor
3. Paste in this:

function checkEdits() {
  var thisSS = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  var sheet1 = thisSS.getSheetByName('Sheet1');
//  Change this cell to whichever one you want to 
//  watch.
  var specialCell = sheet1.getRange("A1");
  if (thisSS.getActiveCell().getA1Notation() == specialCell.getA1Notation()) {
    var htmlEmail = "Cell " + specialCell.getA1Notation() + 
      " edited by " + Session.getActiveUser().getEmail();
    GmailApp.sendEmail("YOUR EMAIL HERE", "Spreadsheet Update " + new Date(), "", {htmlBody:htmlEmail} );

01 December 2014

Apps for Awesomeness

This article is about Mobile Video editing and describes 5 different apps: LoMotif, Over, Hyperlapse, Union, and SloPro. It also shows how to incorporate these apps into your Instagram posts for a look that appears polished and professional.

Instagram allows you to post images at 640px by 640px or video 15 seconds in length at max, with sound, to its platform. 

In this article. I'm going to point out how to create above-average videos and images on photo sharing platforms like Instagram with the best apps available. Many of the ones listed here are free, but a couple of them cost $2 or $3 which is less than a pint of beer, so I think you can afford to invest in something that will help you create something even better than normal on your instagram, which is presently the most autobiographical platform available on the internet, in my opinion. 

These apps have been tested and are proven to work the most efficiently in creating on-the-go image and video creation and modification and are highly recommended. 

For Video

First up is Hyperlapse. This is free and it's produced by Instagram. Sometimes I think that Facebook buying Instagram didn't actually help it grow. I don't know why I think that sometimes. But Hyperlapse is how to turn 1:30 of video into :15 just really really fast. It also contains a stabilization feature which is really excellent. You can create videos which are longer than :15 of course; these can be as long as you want them to be. You can choose levels of compression, for example whether you'd like to speed up your video by 2x or by 12x. The videos it creates has no sound, whatsoever.

So that's where LoMotiv comes in.
Lomotif allows you to add music to your videos from your iTunes library. It's the kind of app that if ASCAP found out about, they'd probably shut it down or something. So maybe get it while you can; The app is free but it comes with a watermark. It's highly advised to get the watermark out by simply paying for the app. It has no effects you can add to the audio. I believe it has some built in visual filters. It doesn't trim videos very well, and it cuts them square. So keep that in mind when you're importing into LoMotiv. In fact, whether importing from Hyperlapse or from SloPro (or even just a regular video), you're going to want to go into the native Photos app on your iPhone and trim the video to the part and the length you want. If you'd like to combine multiple clips, look into downloading iMovie ($10) but that's way more work than we're trying to do here in under 2 minutes. LoMotif will export your video into your library without the sound, but with a new audio track you selected. 


SloPro does exactly the opposite of what Hyperlapse does. It slows things down, and does an amazing job of doing this smoothly.

The app is free but you need to spend I think $3 on getting it to export the videos that it takes into your camera photo library. So, that's how they get ya. It's still worth it because some things (waves, fire, other natural phenomenon) look better in slow motion rather than faster. This app does produce sound, unlike Hyperlapse, but the sound is often muddled and it's better to still export from SloPro into the native Photo app, trim the video, and then add sound to it in LoMotif before uploading it to Instagram.

That's how I've been doing those, for example.

For Still-Frame Images

Over lets you place text "Over" the photos in your libary. This is done very easily. You can adjust the size, color, and transparency of the text. There are a variety of fonts, and more that you can buy. The best part of Over is just how easy it is to use, and how quickly you can create messages. It might take just a little bit longer than including the text in a message but it's also really easy to include words in a photo and text that particular image to a friend. Those are always fun.

Union allows you to superimpose 2 different images any way you want to, with varying opacity. It's the best way to include custom watermarks for particular images if you're trying to brand an image.

20 November 2014

$200 to solve

I'm trying to get a Google Doc form to put locations on a heat map. I've actually gotten pretty far at this using Google Fusion. The only step missing is to get Fusion to automatically update when the spreadsheet is updated by new input from the form.

Is that possible?
Here is what I got so far. 

I concatenate the columns D and E to produce "C" Column

Then I set row "C" to the "Location" field in Google Fusion. 

 The result is a map which looks like this: 

So it actually works, but there are 2 problems. 

1. i can't concatenate the list in the google .xls to continually perform concatenation for every row on each table (i'd like it so that C is always concatenated with B in column A)

2. The form information won't update

Answers Are Here:

Source: Jack Nork I've run into the issue of using formulas with Google forms.  There are a few ways to get around this. One way is to add a second tab to the sheet and use the QUERY function to import the fields that you want to use from your form. (https://support.google.com/docs/answer/3093343?hl=en) . 

Then add your formula at the end of the imported data in the new tab to use for your map (In your case the CONCATENATE function).

I haven't used maps in a really long time so I'm not sure how to get them to update automatically. Maybe this tutorial will help?

If this is something you think you can do, I'll send you access to the parts where this can be done. 

$250 to solve.

1.  Get concetenate function throughout the column
2. Get map to update with new information from the table.

Respond to @203ian on twitter or 203.985.9746 or stereomedia@gmail.com

13 June 2014

Music Video Concept Themes

Kill Me Quick Video Concept Theme Strategy
Original Lyrics in Blue. Visual Concept in Red.

09 December 2013

Tech Concerns

In the Facebook App, users have the option to select images that represent them. This is lesser so in the standard Iphone. There's no "user image" feature (yet).

If Apple ever developed a social media platform, it would probably destroy Facebook, or at least fracture it between Apple and Android users. Then Google would need to contend with Apple.

It's weird. It's like all the tech companies are vying for positioning to be the ultimate social media service; the official telepathy.

I'm not sure if we want our telepathy service to be a monopoly or not.

ian รณ# via mobile

04 September 2013

Pinball Golf - On Display Friday

Here's a look at Pinball Golf.  It's a minigolf hole with a pinball flipper.
The 3d Topography was made with roof insulation material.

This is the underside of the small wooden box that houses the electromechanics.

These were the parts extracted from an old pinball game which were used to make the flipper.

The contours of the playing field were hand cut with this saw.

my pup at 4 months was around for much of this.

Right before adding the fake lawn, this is what it essentially looked like.

A  heavy foot will break that button piece right off.