Happy Birthday To Me

I'm the one on the rightIt's official... I'm at the point where I don't really want to be a year older any more!  My birthday was last week and I celebrated it this past weekend at Grim's with my good friend Erin (don't bother following her she doesn't tweet).  

 I took my flip camera with plans to put together a video of the party, but of course as soon as I got to the party I completely forgot about that plan until it was too late.  Oh well, it's probably for the best... it most likely would have ended up being just a bunch of people yelling into the camera anyways.  



Flying over Downtown

Got a great view of Seattle on my flight home from Las Vegas last week.  We flew over Elliot Bay, then looped around right over downtown.  And it was that perfect time of night when the sun is setting so it's still light enough to see the lakes and hills, but it's dark enough that the city is lit up.
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How to make an interview set with stuff around the office

The Seattle Storm called me in to the office earlier this week, to shoot a video message from Ashley Robinson.  When I get there, it turns out they also want to shoot an in-studio type interview, so I've got about 1/2 hour to build a set, using stuff I could find around the office... and I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. I used a room divider as the backdrop, with two desk lamps behind it to give it some depth.  I had my flip mino hd (with tripod) in my backpack so I used that as a second camera (circled in the pic below)... I've found that the flip works OK as a second camera for these kind of interviews, as long as you can figure out how to get it in close enough to get a tight shot with it.  I guess it might actually make more sense to use the flip for the wide shot, since it doesn't zoom, but I don't have enough faith in the flip for that just yet.  I'd rather know for certain that the wide shot is going to look good, since the tight shot isn't really necessary. I had two more desk lamps to light both the subjects and that was it.  The colors from the flip never quite match up perfectly to my Panasonic DVX footage, no matter how much color correction I do, but it looks pretty good, and the benefit of having the second camera angle makes it well worth it for editing purposes.  It's worth noting that this interview was produced exclusively for the web, I've never tried, and probably wouldn't try using the flip for something meant for TV.

Storm Set 2

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Bandera Mountain & Flip Issues

Hiked up Bandera Mountain last week with some friends, here's some video I took with my Flip HD. I'm getting more and more annoyed with how difficult it is to get the flip footage to work correctly with Final Cut Pro. I'm exporting the videos before editing them, so they're movs instead of the mp4s that flip records, but I still have problems. Depending on which export settings I use I have different problems with the footage (general errors, playback problems in final cut etc.) but there's always something. The whole point of the flip was to be able to record and upload videos quickly, videos like this one really aren't worth the amount of time I spent on this today! I wonder if the Kodak Zi6 plays better with FCP...?
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Doppler @ Sea-Tac & Spike Lee on Capitol Hill

Doppler waiting for Sue Bird at Sea-Tac Doppler waiting for Sue Bird at Sea-Tac Couple of my videos up online this week. The first is a Doppler Skit I shot a couple of weeks ago, where Doppler goes and greets Sue Bird at Sea-tac.   It's not the greatest thing I've ever shot (some seriously bad audio throughout the whole thing), but it got some pretty good laughs when it played in-arena at the Storms pre-season game.  Some of the footage I shot that night also aired on King 5 the next evening. Spike Lee at the Egyptian Spike Lee at the Egyptian The other is a CHS article/video of Spike Lee.  Spike Lee was being honored with the Golden Space Needle Award at SIFF, so I went and shot some video.  The event was pretty dissapointing overall, terrible questions from the moderator and audience lead to a pretty boring couple hours... as you can read about in the comments.
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McGinn Announcement

On Tuesday I covered Michael McGinns announcement of his candidacy for mayor for CHS.  KIRO was the only TV crew that was there, the only other camera there besides me was the McGinn Campaign’s crew.  It was funny seeing how much the KIRO crew stuck out, all the journalists asked questions like normal people, and then Essex Porter in his suit talks all loud in his trained journalist voice... he just seemed out of place since he was the only one.  I'm so glad I don't have to deal with a huge camera like theirs and all that gear, although I was definitely grateful for their light.  It still seems odd to me that the people putting on the press conferences don't set up lights, even at the Sonics we'd rely on the TV crews to light the press conferences. I got some great feedback on my use of ‘tweets’ and blog comments in the video… Scott Schaefer of the B-Town Blog said
"Sweet Tweet Touch on the Vid!  Your use of Tweets in the video is very clever...innovative, appropriate, and definitely made me overlook that McGinn should've shaved.  I'm stealing this idea now."
Eli Sanders called me “ever present” on Slog.  I guess that’s a good thing…? And Monica Guzman of seattlepi.com wrote about me on the Big Blog, the post includes a rambly, semi-coherent quote from me… I definitely should’ve had my morning coffee before I called her back. I also got a comment from Paul Balcerak, of PNWlocalnews.com, who I quoted in the video as saying that he liked McGinns idea of fiberoptic networking.  Here’s what he said
On second thought... I have to reconsider what I said (and was quoted as saying). Yes, at first the idea of Internet infrastructure seemed cool ... but as so many have mentioned, it's not as if Seattle has an Internet problem or anything. The economy sucks right now and it seems like kids are getting shot in the CD and South Seattle on a weekly (if not more frequent) basis. I agree with Uncle Vinny: "I would be much happier if he'd drop the 'fiber optic network' thing and put the social safety net front and center. So anyway, consider "paulbalcerak's" video comment redacted.
This points out that including the tweets and comments in the video is not meant to be analysis, it’s just commentary… immediate reactions.  The value of having these comments is to give some context to what McGinn is saying by showing how others in the community are reacting to his statements. For some it may be useful to see other people’s reactions on screen.  For others, I’m sure it’s distracting and unnecessary.  Personally, I think it can be useful to see other people’s reactions because it can help you see where your own biases and preconceptions are, I think it is also a great way to engage the community by giving them a chance to be part of the conversation instead of just observing.
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Failed Experiment

When it snowed on Sunday night, I decided to test out my new Flip Mino HD.  I stuck it in the cell pouch on my backpack while I walked from my apartment on Capitol HIll down to South Lake Union, to meet my girlfriend.  The plan was to speed up the video and make a time lapse.  Turns out I'm not a very graceful walker, so it's way too jerky to speed up. I've put together the "highlights," if you can call them that, below (in normal speed so as to not induce any seizures).  It's not at all what I was expecting to get, but a couple of times cars' headlights made some cool effects that I'd probably never be able to make on purpose (@ :32 & 1:41). I might try this again when it's not so snowy to see if I walk any smoother on solid ground, but if that doesn't work I'm going all the way...
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