Tag Archives: media

Jim Lehrer v Margaret Spellings

I caught a pretty interesting segment on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Peep it here. Aside from the satisfaction I glean from actually watching a news program without all the requisite bells and whistles (i.e., text scrolling in three directions, four simultaneous video panes, and a screaming Bill O’Reilly), Lehrer’s correspondents can always find something uplifting that would otherwise fall between the cracks.

This particularly gossamer piece of reporting depicts two schools in San Diego who recently went Charter to remedy their failed attempts at standardized achievement. It took quite a fight for the schools’ teachers, parents, and administrators to make the break from the San Diego school district. But they did. Their collective efforts have shown a remarkable shift in student discipline and test scores.

After years of churning out disenchanted students and turning over new faculty members every year, the schools seem to have found a niche. And, consequently, the district suffers, because parents and students want to attend these seemingly new schools. What a tangled web we weave.

final cuts

Well, after about a 6 weeks of work, I finally was able to get a rough cut together of my little video, ‘Information: the new Ritalin.’ It took quite a bit of post-production wrangling to get it in to a watchable state. But I am happy with the way things eventually turned out.

I’m still amazed how much more work it took to get live video in HD1080i60 in the same sequence as computer screen capture in HD1080p30. Let’s just say there was a lot of math and garbage matte layering involved, and leave it at that.

However, I got some really positive feedback and I am in a good position to tighten up what I have now into a solid final cut. I would like to be able to post a clip, but I don’t really know how I would do that. The video is in 1920X1080 resolution, and a lot of it is in an even wider aspect ratio (something like 2.5:1), making it pretty unfit for streaming on even the fastest connections and/or viewing on anything less than a nice LCD or HD display.

It was also tough getting the dialogic screen capture text readable from more than about 2 feet from a screen. I plan to keep cracking at it, but I’m not really sure I have the technical chops to “make it go.”

All in all, working in video again was a really satisfying experience and I’m glad the audience who has seen it found it mildly thought-provoking. That’s about all I was aspiring toward.


post-production party

A few days ago I finished production on the video I have been working on. I plunged headlong into the post-production phase on Wednesday. It’s definitely bringing back some memories. I’m really excited about digging in with a digital razor.

Thus far I have encountered the requisite issues inherent in using cracked software to accomplish a task I haven’t attempted in almost 2 years. I was admittedly nervous about working in Final Cut Pro for the first time in a goodly while. But once I was able to open and update the app, the controls quickly started feeling comfortable again.

I have about 3 hours of HD video between the live action stuff shot by my friends at HNP and the screen captures I have done over the past few weeks. The goal is to cut it down to around 3 minutes. The more I look at it, the longer I think it will take to fit everything in coherently. I have developed a plan of attack for the early stages of the editing process. But I’m really nervous about pulling off the split screen narrative thing. The narrative will be driven primarily by the “dialog” portrayed in the screen capture portion, and the video will depict me acting as something of a Greek Chorus, gaping at the strange goings-on.

Let’s call it an experiment in my ability to depict a Human Computer Interaction…quite literally.

Waxing politic

Last night I caught a glimpse of an email from a friend of Tammy’s. The email was primarily a response to a question Tammy posed about Barack Obama’s qualifications and potential as a presidential candidate.

Her insightful compatriot offered a sound diatribe on the dangers of democrats backing a possibly un-electable candidate. Most interestingly, the friend offered these words about the democrats’ collective inability to support a centrist candidate like John Kerry:

“So we ended up with Kerry: tepid water, milk toast, vanilla, Republican-lite.”

Longstoryshort, the statement got me thinking. First, about the poetics of the line, then about the blinding truth it represents.

I can’t come up with any witty snippets of knowledge to expound upon this line of political poetry. All I can come up with are questions:

Is there a possibility for true progressivism in our modern landscape?
Are we chained to our adopted consumptive collective mindset?
Is there a foreseeable alternative?


more mental video churnings

For the past few days I have been helping out my old partners at High Noon Pictures work on a narrative short. Getting to run the boom and work as a production assistant again has really got things rolling in my mental map of the video I plan to put together in the next couple of weeks.

I am devising a skeleton script and planning all the “scenes.” I don’t really know if my ideas can be considered scenes, but that’s neither here nor there. The working title is ‘Information: the new Ritalin.’ I’m happy with the way my ideas are starting to take shape. I was having trouble figuring out how to work dialogic interaction between a person and a computer. Then I realized there is a constant dialogue inherent in Human Computer Interaction, represented by none other than ye ol’ blinking cursor. The computer’s “thoughts” could easily be represented by typing in text fields in any number of applications.

Within hours of my realization I found the following video on YouTube. I have to admit I was a bit disheartened that it’s already been done. But I think I have a slightly different application of this narrative device.