Sunday, July 25, 2010

Upgrading Drupal

Working on and the to-do list is long. Overall my goal is to upgrade the site from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6.  The way things were done, however, makes this upgrade difficult.

In the early Drupal 5 days, there were a lot of all-in-one modules that added features. These modules extended the basic node in various ways, either to create a new, particular type of content or to complement your existing content types. The Bio and Event modules were two that I used and are examples of those that created their own content types. Image and Audio were modules that allowed you to augment your existing content types with new features. These kinds of modules were all the rage back then, but now they're passe and a lot of them were dropped in Drupal 6.

So, when you're upgrading from one major version to another in Drupal, your first consideration is "are all my modules available for the new version and is there an upgrade path," the changing models of module use between D5 and D6 present some difficulty. All the modules that are abandoned in D6 need to be migrated to modules that can be upgraded.

I've created an upgrade procedure diagram some people might find useful.

Drupal Upgrade Process

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Principals of Design: Grouping

Day 18/150


Elements in a layout interact with the borders to create meaning and the position of elements in relation to each other has an effect, the relative positions of multiple objects have associations. In as sense, when  a third element is introduced into a design consisting of two elements, the third element is forced to take sides.

Study of Grouping

Seven dots arranged in a space.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Principals of Design: Placement

Day 17/150


The fist graphic design consideration of visual communication is placement. A component's placement in relation to the boundaries of the layout begins to communicate something to the audience. An element placed in the center of a layout communicates something different than an element placed so that the distance between the object and the borders are different on every side. Stability, tranquility, dominance, order: these are ideas associated with an equal spacing. Placing an element off-center has the effect of conveying movement, tension and uncertainty. Unequal placement usually reduces emphasis, while equal placement usually increases emphasis.


It's easy to create a guide over your layout to help you evaluate the placement of elements in a layout. Draw an X from corners of the layout, and a + through the midpoints of the sides. They should intersect at the center of the layout. The areas outside the lines, represented as dark areas in the image below, show the areas within which elements may be placed and have unequal placement.

Spacing is a concept related to placement. All spaces within a layout are important. The spacing between elements with the layout can be compared to the spacing between other elements, and any elements and the boundaries of the layout. It all and affects the communication. Equal spacing usually reduces emphasis, while unequal spacing usually increases emphasis.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Principals of Design: Introduction

Day 16/150

Graphic design is primarily concerned with making decisions about elements within a layout, a predefined visual space within which information is presented. Typically the primary components, the information, has been determined before the graphic designer begins to work. Working within those constraints, the graphic designer utilizes a basic visual grammar to relate, enhance, organize and prioritize a message. A graphic designer's art is the functional equivalent of body language, and is similarly important to successful communication.

The principals of design are an accounting of the basic terms and definitions of the visual grammar of a graphic designer. Placement, grouping, division, color, typography, harmony, balance, contrast: these are some of the essential considerations of a graphic designer. Design by itself means "on purpose", the result of decision. Graphic design is the purposeful consideration and deliberate application of the principals of design to information in a layout.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

First Things First Manifesto

Day 15/150

Times Square Looking Uptown
photo by "Stuck in Customs"

Happily reading my new library book: Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design.

I came across the First Things First Manifesto, and then the First Things First Manifesto 2000 revision. I find Times Square--hence the photo above--exemplifies "a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact." If you've ever been there you'll be overwhelmed by the commerial advertising, but you don't have to go further than your local downtown, or any mall, to have a similar experience. You almost get it walking out of house. Looking around my own house I sometimes get that feeling indoors too!

Look no further than Facebook and see how much all of our lives center on talking about or interacting with brands? Graphic designers and the marketing industry as a whole have done their jobs well and now it's a challenge to go through any conversation with anybody about anything without mentioning a brand. Considering that the original manifesto was written in 1964, it's probably not surprising that with designers continuing to foster hyper consumerism for nearly 50 years of knowing better that it is impossible to look upon any man-made landscape that has gone unbranded or underutilized for it's marketing potential.

Showcase Your Brand in a Fun and Exciting Environment
photo by ATIS547

Aim High!
photo by agross96

We literally can not look in any direction, or converse on any topic of cultural or practical significance, or even so much as contemplate our lives for long without selling, or being sold, something. I haven't been able to get through this blog post (see Facebook mention and book advertisement above.) We do it without thinking, and almost without notice, don't we?

If the First Things First Manifesto 2000 was relevant at the time, then it's just in this past ten years that the vision of the original authors has truly come to fruition, that we citizen-consumers have changed how we think, feel, respond and interact. That change has happened, as it was happening in 2000, and was bound to happen in 1964.

Given that the change has happened, what do we --we graphic designers-- do now? What is our responsibility now? If we do as the signatories before us have done and dedicate ourselves to more worthy pursuits, if we design on behalf of more worthy causes, do we not just further contribute to this cacophony of visual communication and accompanying mental shift? But then should we refuse to design, refuse to fill up all the blank spaces in our world with one message or another, will there ever be the relief of a blank wall, or a simple, unbranded object?

Neither course will give remedy, I'm afraid. In fact, there may be no remedy within our means. I wonder, though, if we may yet bear some responsibility to engage in counter-advertising? I wonder if we might not use our talents to rebel, to use what we know to undo some of the damage. Can we counter the messages we've instilled in the public? Can we say, "you do not need to call now," or "you do not deserve a break today"? Shouldn't we feel obliged to take our knowledge and understanding and deprogram ourselves and the public, even just a little?

How shall we write the new First Things First manifesto? Maybe it will be called the Now That We're Here manifesto instead.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Layout: Graphic Design Referenced

Day 14/150

"Throughout the myriad disciplines in graphic design and it's numerous manifestations, one fundamental remains constant: layout. No matter what the project is--big or small, online or printed, single- or multi-page, flat or three-dimensional, square or round--images and/or text must be placed and organized consciously. Layout can be objectively described as the physical properties (spacing , sizing positioning) and arrangement of the design elements within a determined area and, ultimately, as the finished design. This leads to the subjective assessment of how effectively those properties are arranged within that area--and to heated discussions among designers. While a layout can be executed in infinite ways, a few principles must be taken into consideration so informed decisions can be made on how to exploit it."
Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design, p. 23
The web is a particularly peculiar canvas, and this quote gets to the heart of why it is especially challenging. Working on a layout relies on working "within a determined area", but the area available to a web designer is determined according to different dimensions than other kinds of graphic design. For a print piece I might understand that I'm working on a sheet of paper with a fixed size of, for example 8.5" x 11". A web designer's page varies from viewer to viewer, and even moment to moment as a viewer can resize the browser window at any time. I guess a web designer just needs to focus on how elements are arranged in relation to the other elements, within contexts of classes of potential uses, be it mobile phone, netbook and tablet, or full sized widescreen display.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

Drupal Rules

Day 13/150

Spent productive moments today sifting through the relatively impenetrable documentation for the Drupal Rules module. The stuff is seriously bad. Pure bloodymindedness saw me through to a modicum of understanding, to wit, I understand that to automate a task you first create a {rule set} which takes {arguments} and inside it create a {rule} which has {conditions} (but you don't use conditions here) and {actions} (which you do set up here). From the {triggered rules} section you configure the {condition} (your trigger) and {action}, which invokes the {rule set} you set up first.

I'm left frustrated, however, nagged by questions I asked in the Drupal IRC channel, but which were not answered:
Fighting my way through the Rules module documentation and I can't get my head around it, conceptually. Why do I have rules in rule sets if I can only ever address a rule set (i.e., from triggered rules) rather than a rule? Why can't I have a set of rules that deal with managing content and then build triggered rules that invoke rules within that rule set, depending on the condition?
The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Drupal Automation

Day 12/150

WixsonIT has been migrated from the shared hosting plan to the virtual dedicated server over the last few days, and has been updated from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 to boot. I'm learning quite a lot about Drupal 6 in the process. In particular I'm learning that the workflow_ng module I used in Drupal 5 (played around with, is more like) has been turned into a module called Rules, and actions and triggers have been incorporated into the core of the Drupal program. It used to be that a lot of the automation you could achieve in Drupal was done with program plugins called Actions and Workflow.

So far, from what I understand, Rules is extensible, and allows for all kinds of automation not previously attainable. For instance, it integrates with CCK and Organic Groups, I presume to allow you to move stepwise through processes depending on the values of custom fields or membership in a group. I'm really interested to learn how to do those things.

I'm jumping into the deep end here. Today I watched the video on the Rules project site and did the second tutorial in the documentation, but I have yet to really grok what I'm doing.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Day 11/150

Microsoft really is a pain. It's an impediment to progress. Today I learned about using RBGa in CSS3. The "a" in RGBa stands for "Alpha" and it means the degree to which a thing is opaque or transparent. Having translucent color on the web opens up all kinds of design possibilities which have been available to print designers forever.  I'm really frustrated, though, that Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer, doesn't support the RGBa feature of CSS3 -- not even it's most recent version. Come on! I have to use a special (and long) work-around to achieve in IE something I can do in every other browser?

Another reason not to use Internet Explorer, ever.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

FCE and the Panasonic TM300

Day 10/150

I finally got around to installing Final Cut Express 4 Upgrade on my computer so I can use the files being produced by my lovely Panasonic TM300's. It nearly broke my heart to start working through the user manual information about the "Log and Transfer" window that you use to "ingest" the camera's files only to get a "Error: no data" message on the first attempt. Some furious Googling and I arrived at the answer. By carefully following these directions, after completing the update to Final Cut Express 4.0.1, I got the TM300 files to import neatly into my project. Hurray! There's two hours of fretting I won't get back, though.

Topic : Panasonic TM300 log and transfer crash when trying to import/prev MTS files
First, start by trashing your preferences exactly as detailed in this link:

Then, some things to try before ingesting again:
  • Make sure you have the correct Easy Setup selected (for 1920x1080 media at 29.97fps, use the AVCHD Apple Intermediate Codec 1920x1080i60 preset)
  • In the Log and Transfer window, select preferences (from the "gear" button in the upper right). Make sure the audio is set to Plain Stereo
  • In that same preference window, click the button to Clear the Cache
 The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Day 9/150

Today I'm thinking about Fundamentals of Web Design. People who are not web designers hope I will tell them that they can be web designers or develop content for the web without knowing HTML. Here's what a great HTML tutorial I found has to say about that:
"HTML is used to create web pages. No web designer or web developer can do their job without knowing at least some HTML. At the same time, the language is absolutely essential to people who are creating their first webpage or taking their business online."
Fortunately, there is probably no subject more well documented on the web than that of how to create web pages:
For a preview of an upcoming subject...
The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Nikon 50mm Lens

Day 7/150


Today I was excited to receive my new Nikon AF 50mm 1.8 D lens from Amazon. Hurray for Amazon Prime! So, took the shots of the pets because I always do when I get new gear. They can't say no and they don't run from cameras the way people do. It is hard to get them to smile on cue, though. After that I wanted to see what the DOF was like and make sure it was sharp, so I hit Big Dog and Eeyore with the SB-900 with the diffuser from a few feet away to the left. Later, on a lark, I shot the same composition with my other two lenses for comparison. It's good to know what your equipment.

It's not a perfect test. Shots (A) and (B) are the 50mm at f1.8 and f2.2 respectively, both at 200 ISO. Then I shot (C) with the AF-S 24-120mm kit lens at f4.8, set to 50mm. Last I shot (D), the old AF 70-210mm at f4. Both of the later shots were at 3200 ISO and I think I got some noise reduction artifacts in them.


The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

How Does the Web Work?

Day 7/150

For a class on the Fundamentals of Web Design I'm planning to teach at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, I shall begin with a presentation about how the web works. The way the web works has a big influence on how a designer will compose a web page. I believe such knowledge should be among the few dominate considerations for any conscientious designer. It is step one in learning to design web site; first understand the environment where your creation will be displayed.

A survey of web sites that attempt to answer this question, a complication like this can be formulated:
  1. There is a difference between the Internet and the Web.
  2. The Internet is the catch-all word used to describe the massive world-wide network of computers. The word "internet" literally means interconnected networks, a network of networks.
  3. The World Wide Web, (or simply the Web) refers to the portion of the Internet that is the collection of thousands of web servers and clients using HTTP to communicate and the huge amount of information available using the same protocol.
  4. Nobody "owns" the Internet - although there are companies that help manage different parts of the networks that tie everything together, there is no single governing body that controls what happens on the Internet.
  5. The Web is sometimes referred to as a client-server system. Your computer is the client; the remote computers that store electronic files are the servers. Web software is designed around a distributed client-server architecture.
  6. A Web client (called a Web browser if it is intended for interactive use) is a program which can send requests for documents to any Web server. 
  7. A Web server is a program that, upon receipt of a request, sends the document requested (or an error message if appropriate) back to the requesting client.
  8. It is important to note that every web page on the Internet  has its own unique web address, known as a Universal Resource Locator (or URL).
  9. A DNS server is an index of domain names and their corresponding IP address, the numerical location of the web server on the Internet.
  10. A HTTP client (web browser) send a request, which is routed through the Internet to the address of web host for the domain.
  11. The web server responds to the request with either an error message or the HTML formatted document
  12. HTML is a text-based string, which is interpreted by the web browser, and presented to the user
So, to publish a document on the web you need to acquire several things:
  1. web host: you will rent space on a computer that is configured to respond to requests from web clients (browsers).
  2. domain: the web host comes with an IP address, because all computers connected to the Internet must have an address - you will register a name to be listed with the corresponding IP address
  3. dns server: this service is provided by your web host, your domain registrar, or an independent service and lists your web site's domain name and IP address for Internet routers.
My index of web sites that answer this question:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to Basic Black & White

Day 6/150

I got some more done on completing the Basic Black and White design tutorial with adaptations for my own web site. I didn't like the swoopy thing, so I just made a centered medallion for my logo.

I hadn't noticed the link for the social media icons from the tutorial until I reached that part of the process: Clean, Crisp Social Networking Icons

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Web Design: Twitter Background

Day 5/150

Web site design can be boiled down to basic elements. It's a little too elementary to say that a web design can be reduced to background, masthead, navigation and typography, but it certainly is a good first-order starting point.

As an elemental property of web design, a good focus for study in web design is the subject of backgrounds. For some applications, especially social media web sites, customization is quite limited, but often one of the changes you can make is to the background.

There are quite a few online tutorials about creating web site backgrounds. One roundup I looked at today have 40 different tutorials listed.

I chose the Quickly Build an Abstract Background of Colored Bars article. I wanted to create a new background for my Twitter page. To accommodate tiling, I applied the motion blur effect several times to ensure the streaks went all the way across the image and stopped following the steps after applying an enhancement, which in my case was a hue/saturation layer. My result:

I used a 1024x768 document size, but the one that Rachel Maddow uses on her Twitter page is made at 1348x200 pixels. 

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

Web Design: Seeing

Day 4/150

For the class I am planning to teach at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in March today I looked at artist web sites. The class is "Intro to Web Design" and the objective of the class is help the students display their artwork on the web. To start we will look at the web sites that other artists have created to show their work, and the best start is to review the best of the sites that instructors at the KIA have put up.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Social Media: The New Social

Day 3/150

I gave my presentation today at Portage Senior Center and so today's post is about that. I seem to have gone some good distance in succeeding to deconstruct social media in a way that seniors can get their heads around it, and which does address some of their anxiety.

In particular, I liked this series of the slides:

Social media *is* socially interesting, and it *is* technologically boring, however much news reports and geeks like to talk about it as though it's new, and fancy and complicated.

Social media are all just web sites, like any other. They appear in a web browser and you get around in them by clicking on links.


There's no real technical difference between the Facebook web site and the CNN web site. The difference is that you probably didn't write the stuff that shows up on the CNN web site.

If you've ever done a search on Google or shopped online and entered your address and pressed the "Submit" button then you've already mastered all the skills you need. Every social media web site boils down to filling out a web form on the web.

Flickr has a form. Instead of a message as such you tell the form the location of the photo file on your computer.


YouTube has a form. Like Flickr, you tell the form the location of the file, in this case a video file, and then add some information about that file, which will enhance and enrich the post.

Facebook has a shorter form, but there it is. You add your status message and click the submit button.

Social media grew out of "blogging", (blog is short for "web log") which became popular when services like first made publishing on the web just a matter of filling out a web form. Blogger, and other services like it, made it so you didn't have to have any technical knowledge to publish a web page. The blog pedigree is apparent in social media, and is the first essential ingredient in what me generally regard as a social media web site.

Once you click the submit button, there isn't really anything magical about what happens next. The web site just stores the information and displays it back to you and others who visit the site. Blogs present posts in reverse chronological order. But with a something that's just a blog you don't have the social factor -- all the posts displayed at a blog are by an author, or a set of authors defined by someone else. Your choices are really to either visit the blog web site or not to visit the blog web site.

Social media web sites allow you to select whose posts get displayed together. You're picking a bouquet of authors and their posts will appear in an arrangement especially created for you. This process of selecting authors, usually people you know, is the social element of social media. Social media is the ease of blogging combined with a subscription model, resulting in a reverse chronological display of content.

If you isolate the display area from all the distracting stuff around it, you can see that this is true, especially with Twitter. I've picked some people to follow. Their posts (made using the simple form) appear here on my display of the Twitter web site. Like a blog they are arranged in reverse chronological order. The image that each of the people I follow selected to associate with their profile appears next to their posts. Their user names appear at the start of their posts, and if I want to see all the recent posts by just that author (a la a blog-like display) I can just click on their name.

The presentation was generally well received. The feedback featured the word "informative" heavily, which could indicate that it was a bit long, which it certainly was, but that's why I brought cake. Questions are always a good indication of what was missing from the presentation. The questions I got were "How long does the stuff I post on Facebook stay on the web?" and "Can you delete your Facebook account after you've created it?" I hadn't thought to cover either of those subjects. I did notice they were keenly interested in my contrast and comparison of the social mechanisms in Facebook and Twitter, that with Twitter anyone can follow you without obtaining your permission, but on Facebook you have to explicitly authorize someone to become your friend.

I took a survey of sorts at the start of the presentation. There were 17 participants. The audience was divided evenly between owners of laptop computers and desktop computers. Everyone had a cell phone. None of them knew whether or not they had data plans. Two were sure they had SMS messaging, but didn't speak up until I said "text messaging" rather than SMS. AT&T was the preferred network by 2 to 1. One person used GMail. All but three people had digital cameras or phones that could take pictures. Only two people had a way to capture digital video.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photoshop: Web Design

Day 2/150

To copy is to learn, and so I am in favor of following tutorials. Today I started on a web design tutorial called "Simplistic Black and White Portfolio Layout in Photoshop." Here's where I got.


So far I think there are a few particularly useful tidbits.
  1. Free cool new font for me: Creampuff
  2. Set of icons for web sites, in vector, yea! Downloading free icons and pictograms
  3. The use of gradient overlay layer style for text. I think that's cool.
The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Photoshop: Crumpled Paper Effect

Day 1/150

Followed this tutorial to create a crumpled paper background suitable for use on a web site or slide presentation background.

The key notes I would make to highlight the technique:
  1. Use a black-to-white, diamond gradient with the gradient mode set to difference and draw a bunch of random gradient diamonds on a new layer
  2. Apply the emboss filter
  3. Remember to adjust the levels afterward to get the paper back to white (a step not covered in the tutorial)
I didn't like how the turorial created the edges, so I would try some other method. My result:

This "150 Days" series is to be a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Water Street Cofee Joint Menu

Public service announcement: Here is a picture of the menu at Water Street Coffee Joint on Oakland and Whites.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My First Video from Panasonic HDC-TM300

My First Video from Panasonic HDC-TM300 from Kevin Wixson on Vimeo.
Coco is nervous about his closeup.

Coco looks great, and the light is fantastic. In this section I played around with the exposure, bringing down the gain until the zebra pattern didn't show in the highlights of his face. Without the manual control, those sections would have been blown out. To me the white balance seems to be a bit on the magenta side, and I have a color balanced screen, so I'm thinking that's right. The other video I've shot since this has also been leaning a touch in the magenta direction. The sound, or lack thereof, is entirely my fault. I was so eager to have my kit all together I neglected to unplug the Rode mic, and since I didn't have any 9v batteries on hand, it was not on.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

There Should be a Tree Involved

UPS delivered the bulk of my video equipment today. It's very exciting. Somehow, though, B&H ( sent me a universal swivel shoe instead of a Bracket1 Mini bracket I ordered, so I had to make a call and then a trip to UPS. So far everything else seems to be in order and I'm unpacking and playing with all my new toys now. Reviews to follow.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 11, 2010

Flip MinoHD (1st gen) Review and Word to the Wise

At 4:00 am my (1st gen) Flip MinoHD Camcorder, 60 Minutes (Black) will either work, having been successfully reset and recharged, or I'll have to call support again and send it in for repair to get the battery replaced. I have to say, though, that I'm pleasantly surprised with Pure Digital, the company that makes the device. The factory-only replaceable battery is a drawback of the design, but Pure Digital makes up for it by offering free battery replacement to their customers who have a problem. I wish I'd known they would offer free battery replacement (which they did for me when I called today) when I bought a pair of them last Christmas along with the warranty extension. However, I was able to actually make a call to a person, and talk to an actual person without too much navigation, and the person I talked to knew their stuff and was very nice and helpful. Kudos to Pure Digital's customer service, or is that Cisco's doing, now that they own Flip Video?

I really love my Flip MinoHD. People often say they're surprised with the clarity of the image when I post clips to Facebook, such as the one above. The sound is good as well. The video I uploaded to Facebook is straight out of the camera, unadulterated, and Facebook does a decent job of transcoding the file. This is close to how it actually looks and sounds on my computer. The built-in software has evolved over time to something useful, and being able to push right to Facebook is a great new feature. The software and firmware are updated regularly.

I have used the Flip MinoHD for a couple non-trivial projects, such as web tutorials, and it worked out fine.

Tutorial: Lighting a Forge from Smartshop Metal Arts Center on Vimeo.

Watch out for two things: If you're used to the Flip SD (standard definition) products, the minimum focus distance of the HD version is further away. Also, the tripod mount is not deep enough for some tripod screws.

You should get a 2nd gen one, Flip MinoHD Camcorder 2nd Generation, 120 Minutes (Brushed Metal) NEWEST MODEL, or else get the Flip UltraHD Camcorder, 120 Minutes (Black). Personally I like the bigger form factor on the Ultra, and the suede finish of the black is nice. It's what I would have gotten if they made Ultra HD's when I was in the market. I like my Flip Ultra 1st gen, which I used as my 2nd camera in the Smartshop tutorials.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My New Video Equipment

In a recent Twitter post I mentioned I spent some money on video equipment. I was first inspired to buy the Panasonic TM300 because of Roger Chang's recommendation on Tekzilla. I was convinced after watching this one particular video on YouTube.

Here are the lists, starting with what you can get from Amazon. I have an Amazon Prime trial membership right now and tried to get as much as I could there.
There were still two pieces missing, as far as I was concerned. First, the mic and light would be fine on the camera by themselves, but I was worried that both together would put a strain on the camera. The Bracket1 system seemed the right thing to get. B&H carries them.

    A good camera's image can be ruined by stray light scattering across the lens. For that you need a matte box with french flag. I found a good one, cheap, but was suspicious of the vendor you have to go through to get it until I saw this review of the unit.

    I bought it straight from the The Cine City web site ( SUNSHADE MATTEBOX WITH FRENCH FLAG (For all DVand HDVcameras)