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 (www.bhphotovideo.com) 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.
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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 (thecinecity.com). SUNSHADE MATTEBOX WITH FRENCH FLAG (For all DVand HDVcameras)