Sunday, July 29, 2007


"Good putt," my dad said after I made an 8 footer to finish the tenth hole. I had splashed my tee shot into the water, hit my next shot into a sand trap, flubbed the sand shot and got to hit another one before finally sinking the putt.

"Hit enough shots," I said, "and one of them's bound to be good."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

HD Camera Test

I've had my JVC GY-HD110 camera for several months but not until last night had I attempted to shoot anything HD with it. In this brief test the camera was connected directly to my computer via a firewire cable so it's not quite the same thing but it's enough to see that the computer can see the camera and can take video from it in HDV.

The lighting stinks and I didn't even mic myself up. I just used sound from the "shotgun" mic attached to the camera. That's why it sounds so tinny. You can see the 16:9 aspect ratio shoots a much wider frame (hence the black bars at the top and bottom).

Next task will be to try a green screen test.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big Room Boom

Sit down, start playing along to Big Room Boom, look up and two hours have passed. I tried guitars, keyboards, bass. Some I knew immediately wouldn't fit the song but I happily played along anyway, looping the main track so that I could repeat it over and over. That's why it's called playing music.

I did add a bass track using my synthesizer, which might be hard to hear depending on your sound system. There's also a melody guitar. I might add more to it but I like the background track so much I can listen to it by itself for hours at a time. Don't worry; you don't have to sit through it that long. The song runs only about two-and-a-half minutes.

Big Room Boom (V.5)

In other news, our Jumbo Shrimp oxymoron award of the day goes to our friendly neighborhood IT department at work.

We got a note today at work from IT notifying us (as notes often do) that it was upgrading our e-mail service. Among "the benefits that you will realize are: Improved Performance of Outlook and the Network." Great! Although, come to think of it, I can not remember ever having any problems. Then after the list of instructions we have to follow to activate our updates, the e-mail says, "Once the Outlook service is activated, you may notice small delays in sending and receiving emails. This is normal and expected." (Underline emphasis NOT my addition.)

Our new and improved e-mail service will run more slowly than the old one. Benefits?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

Saturday I had to complete shooting on a story for WEDU (backstory here). We had done the principal interviews earlier and shot nearly three hours of video of guys working on and racing their radio controlled cars. This shoot wouldn't take all day.

Despite the large amount of video we shot and the interviewees all having good things to say, the story was still missing something. The problem is that I had three different voices articulating basically same view. They were all middle-aged guys who had a passion for racing these cars. That's fine for a 90 second typical TV news story. But the story would exhaust itself long before the allotted running time for a five minute feature.

We went back looking for at least one more perspective. We found one in a hobby shop about a half mile from the track. Its owner opened the store at that location primarily because of its proximity to the track. This was important because the racers I had interviewed talked about how the county's support for the track came in part because it would draw people to downtown Englewood. A business that sells supplies for racing at the track opening there would be evidence of that.

We also interviewed a fan. Attendance still didn't meet the expectations we had been led to have but there were enough people to show that there was at least a crowd of some sort. The fan we talked to verified that more people do watch the races when it's cooler out. She was also a woman, which gives us some variety of voices in the story.

I haven't seen the tapes of Saturday's shoot yet but I feel much better about the story now.

Sunday, with a mountain of laundry to tackle, I spent most of the day playing guitar.

Big Room Boom

The tune above is a work in progress. I got the drums from the Sony Acid Music site. The free Acid project includes sound loops. Drums is where many of my recent tunes have started. I get the drums going, start playing along, keep going until a stumble across something I like than try to record it.


Pulse is a simple tune (not like any of mine are terribly intricate) that provides a bed for me to play lead guitar over. I have another version that is much slower and I kept the same smooth lead guitar sound. The faster version might work better with a more distorted lead guitar.

Funky Mood Five

Funky Mood Five is the latest attempt to play the lead guitar part more precisely. This version also has a slightly different mix, with the synthesizer a little louder and the guitar toned down some.

Good Times With Nuge (V.4)

This one is also an attempt to tighten up a song I have posted here before. The differences are subtle but when you play something over and over again, you make little tweaks in how it goes and, I hope, play it a little better.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Lowry Park Zoo

My cat usually makes a poor subject for my photographic endeavors, though I managed to get this shot of her shortly after I bought my new Sony A100 digital SLR camera. Looking for a place to practice, I went to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo July 4. See a sample below.

I was disappointed with the zoo, though some of the letdown was probably my own fault. The middle of a July afternoon in Florida is not when animals wearing fur coats are going to be at their most active. None of the big cats made a public appearance.

The aviary was a highlight. You just go into a big caged room and you can get face to face with the birds, called lorikeets. They're native to Australia, according to the sign inside the aviary. If you bribe them with nectar (sold for $2 for a tiny cupful), they'll happily lap it up while sitting on your hand. Their comfort with humans was how I got so close to them.

The bald eagle shot I took from farther away than it may appear. I cropped a lot of it out to feature his head. The young chimpanzee appeared to be taste testing bird droppings on the rock. The gecko was not a zoo exhibit. The place is crawling with them.