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.

Crazy Old Bag

Need some bags to haul your grip tools and film gadgets around on set but would rather spend your money renting lens or a great camera?  Check out Harbor Freight Tools for their assortment of tool bags.  These bags are perfect for your production needs and at more reasonable prices than what you might find at your production supply place.

This bag is 10 bucks! I picked up 2. They have a lot of pockets on the inside and outside for all your tools and stuff.  Maybe I’ll go to Home Depot today to pick up some Spring Clamps to fill up my other bag.  I get my C47’s at Target… some things you just can’t bend on.

If you don’t have an Harbor Freight Tools near you go here to see their selection of bags, maybe you can find one that will work for you.

Carpet Samples

I recently had new carpet installed and I had a few samples left over. I just happen to leave one on my desk so I sat my camera on it.  So I kept it. 


Seemed like a soft place to put my camera and admire it while I was twittering… SIDE NOTE: That’s not the carpet I went with.

What’s in my camera bag part 1


So I got the new camera and I want to take pictures of people, places, and things. Places and things are easy, just take the picture. People that’s a different story.

I don’t mind asking for permission but I wanted some way to offer them a copy of it without giving them my regular card. Something less business like and kind of fun. I was also looking for a way to share the photo since they were nice enough to let me take their picture.

I ordered these cards from Vista Print for free and paid about 5 bucks for shipping.

If you have ideas share them here.

Caller You’re on the air!

You’re doing a podcast and the only way to get your guest is on the phone? Well here’s how you do it. This post is just for recording off phones, and just about any phone. You can always use Skype but that’s just a little different so that’s like a whole different topic.  If you’re having trouble figuring something like this out drop me a line.  If it can be hooked up I’ve probably tried to hook it up so I might have some suggestions.

1. Cordless and Cell phones are the same because most Cordless phones have an earpiece jack. Both phones are sub-mini.
2. Land Lines or hard wired phone.
3. Use Talkshoe

I personally like the cell or cordless system because they are more portable. When I’m recording from a cell phone I’ve done podcasts in my car and if someone is driving you could do it from the road! I get to use a good mic so I sound like the radio guy an the interviewee sounds like they are on the air.


This is the adapter you want to use for cordless and cell phones. The trouble is you won’t find these at Radio Shack anymore. Worse thing is it works great I wish I could find a secret stash of them.  Radio Shacks Model number is 17-855.


If you can find one BUY IT! Other wise you will have to buy this CELL TAP from B&H Photo for $75.  But if you are going to be doing a lot of phone recording it will be worth the investment it’s simple and fool proof and you’ll get very good audio out it and you’ll be surprised how good it sounds.

Some Extra Parts you might need for this set up:
1. 1/8 to 3/32 sub mini This will get you from a mini plug to a sub mini. A mini is like an ear bud jack, a sub mini looks the same but is about half the size and this is what cell phone ear pieces have for a plug.

2.  You you’ll need the ear/mic piece that came with the phone or buy one if you don’t have one they are like 5 or 10 bucks and they have a sub mini headphone jack. You’ll use that so the person on the other end of the phone can hear you talk back to them.


Plus there is a jack on the device where that plugs in. I usually put the earpiece mic near my mic or I wrap the cord around my mic so I know it’s close to where I’m talking.


You won’t have to use the ear peace if you are recording into a device where you are monitoring on head phones.

You can use either of these products for hardwired phones, or landlines. Mini Recorder Controller or a Smart Phone Recorder Control

These you can get at Radio Shack no problem. One plugs in to the main telephone line. The other plugs into a handset remember that Phone with the cord that goes into a wall?  Yeah that thing!  I prefer the mainline instead of the handset. Just feel like a better connection. Recording this way you’ll leave the handset off the phone and you’ll need to come up with a way to hold the phone because you’ll still need to speak into it so you guest can hear you.

I have used suction cup mic pickup that you can get at Radio Shack but they are better going directly into a micro cassette or a small handset digital recorder. They don’t seem to work well going into any sort of mixer. Well at least I haven’t had much luck with it.

In both cases keep in mind the devices comes out MONO 1/8 inch connectors. So now it’s time to figure out what you are mixing that into so you probably have a better idea than me what you need. If you need to step up to 1/4 inch or XLR you really need to get a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter and make sure it’s MONO. This is KEY the sound will be off with a stereo adapter. Then you can go into a mixer with the 1/4 or 1/4 to XLR.


This is also a great reference if you still have questions about these plugs.


A third way is to use Talk Shoe.  This is a great FREE service I’ve used a little bit but I really want to do a podcast where all the people are driving around and calling in from cell phones hand free of course.  After you set up an account you get a phone number and 4 digit access code people can call in on they punch in their code and follow the 2 or 3 step instructions. Believe me it’s easy! And now you are in a chat room that is being recorded to an MP3 format.

The cool thing is you can set your options which I recommend, to start recording the second the HOST calls in no extra steps boom you are online recording and guest can come in and out of the show goes on seamlessly. Of course you are both on phones so it might sound like two phones depending on the kind of phone you are calling in on.

After you are done it encodes an MP3 for you that you can download and edit it if you want. It’s going out live while you are recording but if you don’t tell anyone no one will know….

I hope that helps.