Is the Camera part of the story ? Sundance Filmmakers

A lot has changed in the last decades. Image acquisition and film-making have gone through major light-year leaps. I have to confess a little jealousy for the availability and easy access to the stupendous image quality and versatility that nowadays cameras are capable of achieving. Take it from me. As someone that watched 8 mm movies in the living room and couldn’t make any senseof a 4.5 minute version of Ben-hur and Cat Ballou.
It’s not only the equipment that has changed – while the process is still the same many things are much simpler than before – but the audience has changed as well…
We will leave that idea behind for another post.

Is the Camera part of the story ?

Here’s some interesting equipment choices by the award winner filmmakers of the 2015 Sundance. It might be amusing for some to read the rationale behind why each camera was selected. The tool should serve its purpose, even if that purpose is a very personal one. There’s always a reason behind it. A camera is like a perfume, It servers you as an expression of yourself, but also as an invisible part of the story, a intangible sensorial scent.  Even if it’s a director’s preference, the justification is just a logical step,  an extension of the story telling.

Camera Gear

We have the Black-Magic cameras – although there’s no mention of the URSA or the 2.5 or 4k.

The black magic camera


Some people did shoot on 16mm – God bless them!

The C300 by the undeserving Canon, as well as the Red in all its glory and closed workflow architecture.

Full article link below:

A strange thing happen on my way to BH

Indeed, I recently sold a lot of my video and audio gear at Ebay (Lots of unexpected expenses needed to be paid!) I parted ways with my Azden SGM-2X shotgun microphone. This means that I had no way of recording in camera good and reliable sound.

rode_videomic_pro_compact_shotgun_997376It just happens that I bumped into a review for the Rode VideoMic Pro vs Shure VP83 (Link provided if you’re interested) provided by Mr. Dougdale and I decided to look the models up on BH website:
I like both brands, and for professional video mics I personally might lean toward Rode instead of Shure, but to my surprise I discovered a very interesting thing at the BH store:

The Rode VideoMic Pro “Compact” shotgun is retailing at their site for $220:

Yet, a slightly equal microphone – Rode VideoMic Pro Shotgun – retails at $208 with the addition of a “dead cat” or wind buster kit:

This is definitely a nice deal if you’re interested in an on camera shotgun for your set-up. It’ll be interesting to test both models to see if there are actually any differences between the audio quality of them both.


Happy 2015

A quick note to wish everyone a very happy 2015.
It’s my intention to start to prep concepts and ideas for an upcoming documentary. I’ve been toying with the idea in the past, and at this early stage, the little time available can be used for research and organization. It most definitively will be related to some aspect of culture/social science/interaction and rights. There are many stories that deserve to be told, but might not fit the format well.

On a side note, I’ve been listing a lot of gear on Ebay if anybody is interested since there are many bills that need to get paid.

Right now, I’m listing a Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 lense for half of its retail price in pristine condition. (Yeah, a bidder!)

Best of success for your 2015 projects!

New Google webmaster video series

Last night I saw the new entry: Google webmasters produced a few interesting videos regarding their most asked question: “How do I get my business online ?
It’s interesting that Google, a search company, tries to answer this infamous question.

Since its inception, Google has grown as a force beyond its original denomination as a search player. Their algorithms and technology has consolidate them into a enormous player as we know it today. With the later incorporation of all of their parallel services (Gmail, Drive, G+, etc) there’s has been more to Google than simply search.

Their philosophy is simple, attract more eyeballs to their search, provide more ads and thus better conversion to its advertisers (Think Android OS and mobile app users, Gmail ads, Google Maps ads, etc).
The new Webmaster videos series is very useful; they also shed some light into what Google sees as the future of search and how to capture more business. It’s not strange that there hasn’t been a Page Rank update in over 11 months. Google keeps saying that we, web designers and SEO people, shouldn’t really worry about it.

As designer I understand why is important for Google to want you to include and maintain your online presence on their network. After all you’re saving them a lot of time. Eliminate the guess work out of search and validate content directly from the horse’s mouth… It’s a win win situation, right ? Well, … maybe…

Spiders will be spiders

It sad to say, but crawling text will result in exactly that, a replication of content. As an example, Google places ( As well as My Business) can cross reference information to confirm an address or phone number and that can be completely and utterly wrong.
About three years ago, I had a new phone number installed at work. That phone number used to belong to a Diabetes research facility and even though I tried to correct the mistake on Google places I was unable to do so. Contacting the research facility didn’t help. Re-directioning all the callers and pharmacies to the right place was taking lots of time everyday, as well as some very serious HIPPA violations,  and all this because of old spider data gathered unchecked from Google.

No Silver Bullet

In the first place, adding, maintaining and validating content on multiple social networks is very time consuming (as well as cumbersome for most independent and small business professionals.
Second, and foremost, none of that content can be completely controlled by owner since it’s has been uploaded to a third party service, which in many instances, claims the ownership of all content as an exchange for its service.
Third, customer review validation is important, but a smear campaign by a competitor can definitively sink your business overnight. Many sites such as Yelp! might not abide by a logical rationale  if infringes into their privacy and rules and regulations. Even when a fake reviewer can be behind of a destructive campaign.

I don’t think that a website is simply the most important thing for an online presence; its the combination of social media, maps, local and website representation that can trigger more leads. It’s about having a conversation and not completing a form on the current survey or trend.


What do you think ?


Miami-Dade Metro Rail’s Complicated “EASY” Card

EASY-Card-productsLast week I had no choice but to call the customer department of the “EASY” card system from Miami-Dade’s metro rail. I thought I followed all their cumbersome and complicated system, but still, I was not able to see my account’s REAL balance.
-“Once you add value to your card online,  you should wait between 24 to 48 hs…” -What? did I hear right ? The system doesn’t allow you to use YOUR credit instantly as with the station’s kiosk. You have to wait a casual day or two in order to use.
-“If you don’t use your new credit in the next two weeks it might become voided” Add insult to injury. So, if you’re adding value to your card it should be ready whenever you need it, voiding it for limited usage is a mistake.
-“If you don’t use your credit in 30 days, it might expire” This is awful for occasional users. If you take the metro-rail orange line to the airport and return 45 days later, lets say at 6 PM, you would not be able to use your “EASY” card credit unless you call customer support. The friendly folks at customer support only operate during business hours. So there you have it.

This are just some of the many issues I mentioned on my lengthy email to the “EASY” dept people (No pun intended)
Next August I’m going to be commuting from Medical to Main campus.

I’ve discovered not only that my original “EASY” card had expired without me knowing, but that I had also expired credit inside it that I couldn’t transfer between cards by myself.

Did I also mentioned the lack of online support to solve this and all the other issues ?
Adding this and other simple online functionality can do wonders for the service and make it more accessible to riders.

There are many things that can be improved, a lot of great ideas come to mind; let’s hope the “EASY” card system can utilize them and expand their ridership.

Autodesk 3D studio Max French Patio Door

patio_french_doorWe’re doing some small renovations at home and to illustrate the project I did a quick render of the final doors and wall.
Nowadays I’m extremely busy and, although I consider myself to be a very fast 3d modeler, I tried to get a free model online to simply render it to my needs. I was a little shocked to see how much such a simple object cost on some sites – up to $30 and $50 depending the database.
I decided to waste no more time and do it myself (I still needed some accurate proportions anyway…)
The Result has been uploaded here to the blog for anybody to use as a freeware 3d model of a patio french door. You might be in  a similar situation and have very little time to make it.

This is your chance to become the instant owner of a free virtual french patio door.

It came out alright, no fancy bells and whistles. Let me know if it helps you on your 3d project.

Model is 3ds MAX 2013 and 3ds

3ds_max_file French door Patio Window 3d Model 3ds Studio Max 2013

or as 3ds Flavor:

3ds_max_file French door Patio Window 3d Model 3ds


Why is Retro always in fashion ?


Retro is never out of fashion

Retro is always coolI’ve always been a big fan of retro-futurism or modernism. I’ve been fascinated by the great deal of courage of some thinkers and inventors to make bold statement about the future from their present time. Since we live in such an ethnocentric society as ours, all these predictions and expectations are biased mostly in the technology language and vision of its era. Some predictions have come true after decades of their conception, others have come and gone.
We can now thank pop-culture for planting these concepts and ideas of our personal and community’s future and aspirations into our cerebral cortex. Which takes me to ask this question regarding our need to re-invent the past:
Why is Retro always in fashion ?
Perhaps to not just re-invent it but re-imagine it.
Objects, icons and ideas from the past chase us like our shadows, projecting its spectrum of that concept we were mere instants ago. There’s a fascination with re-exploring and bringing back the good, the bad and the ugly of ideas and design concepts.
Plato and its cavern knew a thing or two about what’s cool.

Documentary equipment survey

It’s not the arrow, It’s the indian.

I hold this statement to be very true. The talent and eloquence of a professional storyteller goes above and beyond past and current technology.
Granted. Today’s technology allows us to capture breathtaking images on the cheap. The digital revolution has allowed everyone and their grandmother to shoot HD video while broadcasting it to YouTube; yet there’s an elusive talent required for the production of great stories that it’s impossible to purchase.
Not that long ago, professional equipment was prohibitive for the average independent filmmaker. Cameras, microphones and post equipment used to run in the several thousand dollars while discouraging to the faint at heart. Only very well funded production were taken seriously by networks and audiences… But one day, things changed for good and nobody has looked back ever since.

I wanted to share here this survey done by PBS regarding the gear selection from professional and upcoming documentary directors, producers and editors regarding their gear and the reasoning behind it.
I found it very interesting to see that most DSLR’s are Canon as a prime choice among docs work.
POV’s 2013 Documentary Filmmaking Equipment Survey

I’m too producing a small documentary here in South Florida. The experience from other people and their gear selections is always fascinating.

A good teacher is priceless

Last week I was able to attend a class by musician extraordinaire Matthew Hill. I know Matthew from a few years back when he was Delou’s African Ensemble music director.

As any good teacher, Matthew is capable of breaking things down, but without making dull in any way. It’s no secret that It’s very hard for us, westerners, to learn and wrap our head around African culture and music. African music is not only a combination of sounds and rhythms, the culture and its tradition speaks by its own on every rhythm and celebration.

Before Matthew final departure from South Florida, I was able to do an interview with him for blog.
Here’s that interview. Enjoy

Android App for the 4G LTE commuter

App recommendation:

Although this topic might have been beaten to death by the thousands of blogs devoted only to app review, I found it interesting to express my thoughts on particular apps that stand out. Even though this has not been envisioned as a series of post, it could well be an interesting idea to follow:

An App that is worth a dime,  and is free!

TuneIn Android App that works for 4g LTE
TuneIn Radio:

For these past 6 months my work’s commute had increased considerably. I saw it as an opportunity to be instructed – Audiobooks?-  and be entertained –food for thought? – in a way or fashion that would not interfere with the traffic rules and regulations of the state of Florida.

The App has many levels – even car mode, which might be practical for road warriors, but isn’t really complete with all the functionality of standard version.

At some point, you can be overwhelmed by the the amount of radio options from all over the world… geee, there are many radio stations out there.

I did find a few that I liked and I’ve saved:

Is like Pandora’s box. You don’t know what you might discover once you tune in. The variety and stream bandwidth are good. It’s like a blast from the classy past.

Because we need rock and this station has it. Sometimes local American radio stations, mostly own by media conglomerates, play the same 100 songs over and over again ( Please, Queen did more than 4 songs – give me a B side please!) This is not the case with K-Rock. I had listen to the classics as well as some new and interesting bands – The only downside is my poor German- I’m still trying to understand the full news broadcast every hour.

There are thousands of other options too, some good, some bad, some have terrible quality and very narrow bandwidth making it impossible to listen.

Truth be told, this was impossible to do with a smart phone only a few years ago. The arrival of metropolitan LTE 4G speeds has enabled us, the driving force in technology – as well as in American roads- to stream our favorite content without sacrificing content and quality anywhere and everywhere.

So, what about you, have you heard any good radio stations lately ?