Design, Art, Film, Ideas

Big Band BOOM

The band is Big Band Boom! Yeah I’m friends with a sound guy that has a big band. He had been begging me to come down and see his show. So I brought some cameras with me.

The live mix was done by Jeff Powell.

I had 7 cameras there that night with one other camera guy Tony Gasbarro.

You can watch all 5 videos on the channel I made on VIMEO Check it out!

This video was shot with 5 Kodak Zi8s, a Canon HV40 and a Canon 7D. Even though you can see a difference between these cameras (well people on Vimeo will be able too) the average person maybe not but even if you do I think it doesn’t hurt the content of the video. I think they actually mix together very well. One of the things that helps them mix together so well is the audio mix. This is a great example that 50% of the picture is SOUND.

All I had to worry about was the picture that night and as I mentioned above Jeff worried about sound. I didn’t do anything fancy to make sure the cameras were all in sync. Just tried to start them all around the same time. I used this remote from Kodak which is about 12 bucks and should work on any Kodak pocket video camera. The great thing about that is if you have all Kodak cameras you can start the cameras rolling from far away. I had to point to several different spots but at least they all started.

TIP: Use the power supply that comes with the camera that way you can record all night. Also the camera will shut off after about 5 minutes so keep that in mind when stopping the recording. Because if your camera is an awkward location it might be hard to turn it back on. The remote doesn’t not have a wake up or power button, wish it did but that’s an easy thing to work around if you know about it.

During the edit the video files were fairly easy to sync up mainly because the pocket camera handled the audio of the loud band very well. No distortion, which made it easy to find the wave peaks on the time line. Once you find a good spot it’s easy to find the pattern. Depending on what editing software you use you might have to expand the track a little to get a better look at the waveform.

I also set all the cameras to recorded in 720p 60. The only camera that couldn’t do that was the Canon HV40 but it never slipped a note. If I learned anything that night I realized I NEVER want to shoot on tape again. Digital is the way to go. So if anyone wants to buy my HV40 just let me know. Seriously I’m selling contact me here I’ve got some nice extras I’ll include with it.

Before you say anything about my head room or lead room. I should explain most of the cameras were set up before hand and I was making a guess to the shots. The bar was like a sardine can and the 16 piece band took up nearly half the place. So even if I wanted to adjust the camera I would have to stand on someone to do it. Also the the camera were up against the wall. So even if would have taken a snapshot there would be no way to know if I would have put it back in the same place. I wish I could plug the Zi8s into an external monitor just to line up the shot but that functionality just isn’t in that camera. But hey they are $100 cameras shouldn’t expect the world but you can do some cool things with them.

On one of the cameras I was trying out a wide angle lens that Kodak sells for about $20. It worked out pretty nice an I’m buying more for the rest of the cameras. Whenever you see trombones that’s the wide angle at work.

They also have a Fish Eye and a Telephoto too! I’d like to try out the Fish Eye for sure!

As far as shooting goes we had 4 Kodak Zi8 camera locked down on various stands, tripods, mic stands and Joby grips, if you ask me JOBY makes the best of these flexible grips and if you buy anything else you’ll regret it I promise. We used one extra Zi8 as a free camera. The two other free cameras were the Canon HV40 and the Canon 7D. After shooting this I’m convinced now that I could have just shot all this with 10 Zi8’s. My Dream set up would be 8 or 10 pocket cameras and 4 hand held cameras. But even with a minimal crew we managed to pull off a lot.

Because I have an older Adobe Suite I really couldn’t bring in the footage right into my timeline. But I use TMPGEnc Encoder to convert my h.264 footage to MPG2 which works great in my CS3 Premiere Pro. As you can see I had no trouble syncing the video. TMPGEnc Encoder has been a life saver mainly because if you’re like me and haven’t upgraded your Creative Suite to 5.5 you will need something like this to enable editing your h.264 footage. The great thing is you can keep the original footage because the files size are so small. TMPGEnc Encoder gives you many settings to really dial up the quality of the video. Once converted to high bitrate MPG2 file CS3 has no trouble at all scrubbing through an HD timeline.

Matt the band director had the idea to make use an old record as the title video, I thought I better make it move and so I did. I recreated the old record label in Photoshop and brought it into After Effects. After doing this I had the bright idea that I sell it on Pond5. I’m sure there are only about 3 people out there that might need it so I hope they find it… If you’d like to purchase that graphics project you can find it at Pond5.

Let me know what you think when you get a chance to watch the videos.

My First Longtail


As a teen I spent so much at Radio Shack they offered me a job. I learned a lot about customer interaction and building a reputation. One of the most important lessons I learn back in 1986 was my first “Long Tail”.   I wish I would have understood the importance of that day back then.

I think back to what the 80’s brought us, that miracle technology that now fits into our pockets. That’s right the cell phone.  Some of you might not remember back then they were as big as cinder blocks and weighed as much.  It would have been hard at first to have envisioned what they would become.

So what does “The Long Tail” have to do with Radio Shack?  While my Manager spent the entire day working on a big sale. Know this, one cell phone back then that was a big sale. About $1500 worth. Not to mention the cell service, installation and all the add ons! Well, while my Boss was working on that sale he kept taunting me with the idea he was going to break the sales record that day. While I toiled away on the writing sales tickets for capacitors, solder and blank tapes and the occasional free battery, he was full of pride at what this sale was going to bring him.

Here’s where the “The Long Tail” comes in. While we sat there counting the days sales I had a very large number of tickets way more than usual. The whole time the boss was entering the data the taunts became less and less as those tickets started adding up…  Well…

Clicking away he soon realized that I beat him by about 20 dollars. I know that’s not a lot but by the end of the day I had made more connections with people and moved more items. While he spent the entire day with that one costumer. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. You have to nurture those good customers and hold their hands sometimes. That’s what keeps them coming back for the big ticket items.

But while I thought it was cool that I sold more, it didn’t really make an impression on me till about a 2 years ago when I read Chris Anderson’s book “The Long Tail” and I started using iTunes extensively to start consuming media that really focused on my interests.

As an artist and sometimes filmmaker I very much see the importance of this lesson. Back then in 1986 it was much harder for me to try to make an impression. I had to work the entire room to make things happen. That was very time intensive and a lot of hard work. But today it’s not that hard to work the room or the world for that matter. What’s hard is making a good or dare I say great product. But it’s not hard to get it out there at least not anymore. The more you can get out the more you will learn about making a great product.  This can be anything, photography, e-books, cartoons, films, webseries, insert name of your product here _____________.

To get my films out there back then I had to go through the system of gate keepers.  Now the system is wide open for content creators of all kinds any kinds.

One of my missions with this blog will be to convince other people like me, artists, filmmakers and the like to forget about the system. Sure it would be great if they see your talents and some how bring you into the fold. But I say forget it those day are fading away.

I had recently picked up an issue of IndeSlate. Which is a great magazine about the Independent Filmmaker.  I enjoy reading it. What I don’t like reading is story after story of filmmakers holding on to their films for years. I’m not talking 1 or 2 but 5 or 6 waiting for that right studio deal.  I got news for you it might not ever come but it’s well within your power to make it on your own with blogs, re-cutting your film to be a webshow, digital distribution through Amazon, Jaman or Hulu.  Soon it will be TIVO, Boxxy, your wifi enabled BluRay player. It doesn’t mean you will automatically or instantly make an impression with an audience.  But it’s got to be beater than setting in a box somewhere waiting for that right deal and run the risk of no one ever seeing it.

The time you took looking for investors, distributors and the right deal you could be looking for an audience. Today those are your investors.  They are the ones that will keep coming back to buy your product.  Just like the relationships I built when I worked at The Shack. Those people came back.  Back then customer services meant something if you know how to treat people.  It’s the same with audiences.

What are you waiting for now?

If you want some FREE advice and ideas I suggest you go here and download the audio book you’ll find in the right hand margin entitled what else?  FREE

Free Laurels, get your free Laurels here…

I like free stuff. So here’s something free that every filmmaker can use. Your done with your film and you’ve entered it into some film festivals and you got IN congratulation!

I’m sure the last thing you want to do is make more art work to promote your film. I wanted to show off the festivals I was accepted at but I found most Festival didn’t have their own Laurels to hand out. So I made some, now I figure other filmmakers can use them too.

Just click on the image or here to download your customizable PSD file. Yes you will need Photoshop to use this.

In the PSD you’ll find a black version and a white version.  But you can make these any color to match your website.  Here’s how use can use them.

  1. Click on the text layers to change the name of the film festival, it’s subtitle, and year.
  2. Then select all the text layers and recenter the text so they fit in the Laurels nicely.
  3. Set background color.  There is a black and gray in there now but you can set those colors to anything you need.
  4. Transparent background.  Turn off the background colors, then select “Save for Web” in Photoshop and select the PNG file format.  Then you won’t have to worry about color.

I tried to make the psd a nice size so it could be scaled down to any size for web and it should still be okay for print on posters or DVD cases.

Let me know if you find them useful.  If there are questions leave a comment.


I’ve added Print size file formats.  PSD, AI and EPS versions of this file.  Please feel free to download and share these files.

Print size 300 dpi PSD .psd file

Click on these files to download!

PSD Laurals All layers to make a Black or White version

AI Just Laurals No TEXT

AI Laurals Print Ready

EPS File Works with most graphics programs.

PSD, AI, EPS In 1 Zip File

Made in Eureka

This was fun. I thought I would turn it into a writing assignment. I enjoy creating new inventions and I wish I could have entered more than one a day. Sad thing is I found out about it about a week or so into the contest. Find out more about Made in Eureka at the Sci-Fi Channel.

But here’s what I would like to do now. I want to turn it into an open source video project like the old cartoons when I was a kid. “Welcome to the World of Tomorrow”

If you want to play just pick one item and make short out of it. 10 to 30 second video with the product in it. It’s like an ad or maybe a little snippet of what life would be like with these contraptions. Really whatever you want. There is no limits other than 60 words when writing these up. So why should there be making the videos? When they are all made we’ll put them together and make something cool! Claim which one you want and put it in the comments so no one else takes it.

Atom Packer: The size of a small camera, it’s back scatter emitter coils break down the atomic structure of any rooms contents and orders the molecular structure in to a nice digital stream that is stored in the device for easy moving or postal delivery.

PEP Personal Escape POD: Can be installed in any house or high-rise condo and takes up no more room than a coat closet. Once activated the occupant can be eject safely up to a 1/4 mile away from harms way. A low orbit models is also available. Disclaimer: Not to be used to evade Law Enforcement.

Space Saver: No need to worry about your parking space now. This small disk projects a 3D image of your car or transportation of your choice. New solid photo-tonic stabilizers will fool anyone and your space will be saved for when you return.

oneKEY: a polymorph standard key. Now all you need is one. Once oneKEY samples any key you have, car, boat, house, skeleton… It can instantly shift to the new target key enabling the user to only carry one key. Freeing up the users valuable pocket space.

B-BLOKS: These small disks really pack a punch. Once activated stand back! It turns the atomic structure of its surroundings into more useful materials. It comes preloaded with 10 outdoor structures or you can design your own on-line at our website. Warning: KEEP LIVING MATERIAL 10 METERS FROM REORDER ZONE.

SuperPOOPER: Have as many pets as you want! This cute little bot cruises all over your yard picking after them. But it’s also green! It doesn’t use solar or batteries. It’s powered by all the POOP it picks up. Any extra gets sent right to the house. Now you can have a clean yard and a clean conscience.

Memory Bank: WiFi neural data bank that interfaces through an ocular interface with the smartypants glasses or direct skin patch that enhances knowledge base of any know recorded fact or experience and enables expertise in any subject or skill. Great for those handy weekend science projects.

A-iPark: Door to Door service is now the norm. With state of the art GPS and the best AI navigation on Earth your car drops you off and finds it’s own place to nap and never in a TOW ZONE. You car knows when you are ready to leave so it meets you right at the door.

TalkBUD: This new ear-bud nano projector can beam a life size image of your counterpart across from you. To give the illusion to all the people around you are taking to a real person while on your cell phone. Conference mode allows up to 3 image buffers. Customize you look with your Second Life Residual self.

iQchat: It’s the new rage in like minds and crowd sourcing. This small devices enables a sable quantum wormhole to communicate to your other selves in other quantum dimensions. Now can work with hundreds of yourselves to solve the mysteries of the universe. CAUTION: DO NOT USE DURING LIGHTING STORMS RIFTS MIGHT OCCUR.

softSPACE: Hate where that window is? Want to move that door? Now the softSPACE Generator fixes all your home decor problems. This handy device makes matter soft you can move it around to new places in your house. Turn it off solid again… The possibilities are endless!

POWER PAC: This new nano carbon fiber weave comes in all size. Fits like a spandex suit it gives extra support and stability to enable a anyone to lift or manage objects many times their own weight. Available in Tops, Bottoms, Full Body and get the gloves to insure a firm grip!

PHATpower: You’ve heard of burning fat, with this belt you can! Wear this belt at night and your body fast is absorbed into it and stored. Once placed back on it’s docking station that fat is transformed in to new power cells to be transferred to you small electronics. So now your power is really in your hands.

nanoGRmER: These little guys really hang round. Once programmed with the electromagnetic burst illustrating where you want grooming to be maintained. The microscopic bots go to work. Keeping all your hair follicles to your desired length. No need to worry about charging them up either. They’re powered by what they groom.

MindsEye Projector: Having trouble visualizing your ideas on paper? Use this inconspicuous baseball cap looking device. It scans deep into your visual cortex and abstract mind center enabling you to visualize any type of dimensional objects on any video device. Hook up to a 3D printer and you can get a hard copy for everyone to play with.

iPlants: Now the phone gesture people make with their hand is real! This subdural technology means the latest communication tech can be placed just below the skin. No gear to carry around batteries to charge. These droplets contain millions of nanotech mechs that bond together to form communications devices. Now you can permanently install your phone.

FunBuilder: Now your kids can have fun making their own toys and help the environment at the same time. Just toss in your plastic bottles and metal and this simple machine will sort and break down materials so they can be reshaped right inside. Load up toy designs from our social network or design your own with our toy maker app.

eFreeze: This little device once attached to most objects halts molecular vibration by creating a damping field. Once stop the it’s frozen till disengaged. The patented HOLDwav stops everything. Can be used for suspended animation. It’s instant on instant off with hardly any side effects.

POOF: Yeah and it’s gone for real! Based on the eFreeze technology this upgrade pack lets you disable the HOLDwav and all the matter of the frozen object dissipates into its base molecules. Now the Universe can recycle the matter easier and safer. NOT TO BE USED ON HUMANS

GrooveSCAN: Convert you old Audio Records to a digital format instantly with this Topographic laser scanner. In an instant it scans the surface of the record turning all the groves into 3D geometry that is instantly translated into a digital audio file. Gone are the days of of real time digitizing.

Green Machines: These transformable robots take care of everything around house. When not in use they connect together to form a yard art. When activated they keep you grass groomed, trees pruned and gutters clean. With many add on modules just about anything can be taking care of and all yard waste gets stored and used for fuel.

Everlast-H2O: This is the last water bottle you’ll ever need. It’s micro collectors gather water right out of the air. Combining hydrogen and oxygen molecules to make the most pure water that can be found. Now your bottle is never empty and it’s backwash micro-scrubbers makes sure that very sip is as fresh as the first.

Flash Back: This device once placed into an undisturbed crime scene can map air currents and dust particles back to any moment with in the past 2 hours of an event. Once mapped a 3D image of the people can be extrapolated, which can be displayed or printed out. Giving the police a real view of who was there.

Go here NOW!

If you like short films you really need to go here.

A while back they accepted a film I did more than 15 years ago. But in this day and age were everyone wants high end this and HD that you forget about the film making. Every film on this site will inspire and make you want to crack out that old super 8 camera.

All you need is an idea. Come on, you got to have one!

I guess I better order some film… go here is if you need to pick up some.

Hello Lombard!

Well it’s time to start talking about one of my new projects. With a lot of my latest influences like podcasting and filmmaking, which has always been there. I decided I wanted to be more prolific and start making lots of videos. I just feel like I needed to get back to my storytelling roots.

After looking around a bit, I realized the stories were right under my nose. So I decided to start talking about the town I live in, Lombard, IL. I won’t get into it to much here because you can go to Hello Lombard and find out all about it. I’m going to try my hand at doing some documentary videos. Don’t worry; I’m still going to make videos with visual effects in them. The problem is they take so long to produce, their fun but it takes a while.

Hope you like my new channel!