Monday, September 24, 2007


Our trusty IT department at work is migrating our e-mail server. Who knew that e-mail servers had to fly south for the winter? Especially since we're in Florida.

Anyhoo. Our e-mail is working spotty at best. A colleague in another part of the state kept having e-mails to our office bounce back.

To let us know about it, she sent us an e-mail.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Now on YouTube

Here are two attempts to load large Flash video files to YouTube:

The Light Wires:

Magicicada Septendecim:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Family Guy

Volume 5 of the FOX show Family Guy came out this week. They come in volumes rather than seasons because volume 1 has seasons 1 and 2 on it. This week Best Buy has the previous volumes on sale for $17.99. I highly recommend it. It's completely politically incorrect and utterly hilarious.

I'm glad I noticed that I was missing volume 2. I the cat wishes I still was. I scare Annie laughing at the TV. She prefers that I watch movies. If I pop in a movie and lie down on the couch she knows she can sleep on top of me undisturbed for an hour. So don't you call me a couch potato; I'm a couch pillow.

Unrelated, I sent an e-mail to a friend yesterday blabbering on about the same stuff I usually do. She wrote back: "You never fail to deliver a heartfelt message." I confessed in reply that "they're only heartfelt because I lack the inventiveness to tell good lies."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Heat Break

It has rained most of the past two days. The cloud cover has broken the summer-long heatwave. We're only in the mid 80s. And my car's clean.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Video

As you might have noticed, the embedded code to play the flash video from the site is not working. It doesn't work on my Geocities site either.

The video does sparkle on, though. I uploaded a couple of other short films I've done.

Magicicada Septendicim


The Light Wires and other sites that allow you to upload video, such as YouTube and Google Video have a 100MB limit on the size of the video file you can upload. To maximize quality, I made Flash video files come as close to 100MB as I could. The Light Wires video came out to 99.2MB. They'll still get compressed to something more manageable for streaming on the web but the better quality that goes in, I figure, the better it will come out.

It seems to work on I'll try YouTube and Google Video later.

The Combine

A site I frequent called allows people to upload and store videos on its site. The video quality is high so I thought I'd try uploading one of my projects.

I found a program that will encode AVI files into Flash video (FLV) files. Flash video, I keep reading, is becoming the standard for video on the web. Now if I can just get it to work on my site. The story I uploaded looks terrific on Click here to see for yourself. It's one I did several years ago after I got my first camera. Let's see if it will work embedded here on my blog:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I recently congratulated a single friend of mine when she became an aunt for the first time. I know when my younger brother and his wife had their first child it meant I would never feel pressure to produce an heir. Funny enough, my brother initially wanted to name the boy "John" in honor of our father (I'm John Jr.) but decided against it. "I saved it for you," he said.


I suspect that if I ever marry it will be to a woman who had children the first time around and I'll content myself with being a step-dad. And the kids will have to content themselves with the fact that I'm not the cool beer-drinking-buddy step-dad they hoped for. They also better not come to me looking for hyphens because I'm all out now.

Rest assured that in the unlikely event I father children and in the even slimmer chances that there is a John III among them, he will not be nicknamed Trey, Tri, Tripp or any other variation of the theme. I read that the golfer Davis Love III continued the line with his son and calls him "Dru" for quaDRUple. If the trend goes two more generations, does that kid go through life with everyone calling him "Sex"?

(Pause to give you the opportunity to judge whether there was a joke there. And, if so, what it was.)

The best thing about auntie or uncle-hood is that when the baby smells like it needs a diaper change, you hand it back to its parents and let them handle it. Not all parents believe that their spawn ever stinks, though. Once when "Almost John" and his younger brother started acting up I offended my brother when I left the room. I probably didn't have to cite "my allergy to children" as the reason.

I better be careful. I'm running dangerously low on quotation marks now, too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Still Another Video Format

As you might have noticed, I'm having trouble getting a Flash Video movie to play here in the blog. It works fine on on the Internet Archive, which even has code you're supposed to be able to copy and paste into your own web page. When I tried that, nothing showed up. The experimentation continues.

For people who can't see the Windows Media version posted earlier, that leaves, ugh, YouTube. This should work. If not, here is the link.

I also tried Google video. Google owns YouTube so I suspect that the video quality will be similar. Let's see, shall we?

Friday, September 07, 2007


Study: Men go for good looks

This was an actual headline linking to an actual article on MSNBC. It details how men say they desire numerous traits in women unrelated to appearance but when it comes to choosing them in the flesh they go for the hotties. They needed scientists to tell us this?

I can just see some of the other gems these whiz kids uncover*:

Study: Liquid Intake Tied to Urination

Study: Day Brighter Than Night; Sun May be Cause

Study: Plane Crashes Deadlier Than Safe Landings

*These are preliminary studies, of course. Follow-ups will be needed to confirm them.

Different Video Format

Someone mentioned that he could not watch the Sunken Gardens video I posted in Windows Media Format. Flash video (FLV) seems to be the most universally viewable format. Unfortunately, my Adobe Premiere Pro refuses to create FLV files. I found a program that will convert AVI files into FLV files so I've tried that.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dear Abby

My web site draws emails from people wanting to know how to find jobs in TV news. I reply to all of them. Occasionally, I'll get a question that I've addressed thoroughly on my site and I give the direct link. Otherwise I'll take a stab at any query to which I might offer a reasonably educated guess. I traded several e-mails over last weekend with a college senior.

Thanks for visiting my site. I'm glad you found useful information. See my attempts to answer your questions below.

John McQuiston

----Original Message Follows----
From: Gavin
Subject: Q&A
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 09:40:51 -0700 (PDT)

To John McQuiston,

My name is Gavin, and I'm a senior at the State University of (a large northeastern state). I've been checking out your website for a long time. And I must say that it's very good information you give to propspective Broadcast Journalist like myself.

Anyway, as I mentioned, I'm a Broadcast Journalism major and I graduate in May of 2008, and I want to ask you a few questions:

1. How do you dub a resume tape?

This depends on how your create your master tape, the one from which you'll make your dubs, so it is difficult for me to answer. When I sent out tapes I had found a way to attach a VHS videotape player to my computer so I could dub straight from my computer. If I had to do it now, I would probably connect the VHS recorder through a Mini DV camcorder to the computer using a firewire cable.

2. How many should I be sending out to TV stations across the country?

As many as it takes to get your first job. I do not recommend sending them blindly. Send them either in response to job ads or to stations in markets you're specifically targeting -- say ones you would like to visit trying to show your tape to a news director in person.

3. What markets should I be searching for before I send the Resume tapes out?

Get a list of market size rankings. A Google search ought to lead you to something. Look at small markets likely to hire beginners. It's hard to give a specific market size for that since some stations in small markets require previous experience and some in top-100 size markets do not. Do some research to find the websites of the stations. Most list job openings on their sites and they'll indicate how much experience they seek. I would also look for small market stations within easy driving distance and try to arrange meetings with the news directors to show them your tape. That's how I landed my first TWO jobs.

Try in your remaining time in school to get an internship at a local station, if you have not already. Heck, do it even if you have had an internship already, if that's possible. You'll meet people who can help you both learn the craft and navigate the job search process.


He follows up later that day with another round of questions.

Hello again, Gavin. Answers below.

1. The Studio Manager here at (my school) told me that News Directors are looking for Resume Tapes in DVD's now. Is that true?

Some do. But my understanding is that VHS tape is still the standard. Most job ads specify what formats stations will accept for resume "tapes."

2. Is Charleston, South Carolina considered a small market? Not to mention, it ranks #100.

Any station ranked 100 or lower is considered a small market. However, not all small markets hire beginners. Even within a market the experience level required can vary among stations. A good way to check is to visit stations' web sites and look for the bios of the news team. If the people have worked at other stations before this one, it's likely not an entry-level station. If the bios indicate where people came from, that will yield clues to stations you can target.

3. Is it possible that I start out in my hometown which is Albany, New York or just go to a smaller market?

I don't know enough about Albany to answer for sure. Are you unusually talented? Is someone in Albany aware of your skills and interest who has the authority to hire you? If not, you'll probably have to start smaller and work your way up.

Good luck.

John McQuiston

The following day he writes back with more questions.

Gavin: Here you go:

1. Does a news reporter have to know Non-Linear editing?

Probably. I'm not sure how many small market stations have moved to non-linear editing. You will almost certainly need to know linear (or "tape-to-tape") editing.

2. If I decided to start in Radio news, which I'm still considering, but I still want to do TV, how do Radio News Reporters make a transition to TV news? Meaning where do they get their resume tape from if they want to work in TV, but started in radio?

I detail some of the possible ways to create a tape on my web site Here is the specific page.

3. Do you think I have to start out as a one-man band when I do my job search?

Yes. Not all entry-level reporting jobs require you to shoot your own stories but many of them do. It will make you more marketable if you can list on your resume an ability to shoot and edit your own stories.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

High School Football

First thing: I figured out why all the videos were automatically playing once they loaded. Even better, I figured out how to make it stop. It annoyed me too.

Friday night I went to a high school football game a few miles away from me. Armwood vs. Plant. It's the first football game I've shot with my not-so-new-anymore camera. I shot it in standard definition since the high school show for which I do stories is in standard def. I didn't have a story assignment going into this one but one of the schools is a perennial state powerhouse and the other was a defending state champion. The video could prove useful later but a couple of shots will make me regret not shooting in HD to use as future stock footage. You'll see what I mean. Lesson learned.

As always, click the play button (you might have to do it twice) then be patient.