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.

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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

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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 ?

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The Cave by Ron Gilbert

Thanks to some very well deserved time off during this holidays I was able to enjoy Gilbert’s The Cave adventure.
In case you’re not familiar with Mr. Gilbert‘s work, he was the leading force at Lucas Arts for many years and the creator of Monkey Island as well as the co-creator of Maniac Mansion (Can’t believe that was that long ago)

The game starts with a very interesting choice of characters: The knight, hillbilly, monk, twins, adventurer, future traveler and scientist. Each of them have its own special and unique ability to interact inside the cave. All broken characters that decide to adventure inside this forsaken cave to find answers to their journeys.
The game play isn’t that unique from other platform games, but what makes The Cave a unique experience is, first of all, the well written and hilarious text and story. I  might add that the graphics and design are beautiful to look at as, well as some funny animation moments.
As Plato, or J Campbell, the game is a true journey and ascension of the hero, sometimes the anti-hero. I guess it becomes complicated to hate your hero character when you’re in charge of its actions – not like in a fable or story.
The one who ventures down into the earth to find clues of its own existence but returns with a hilarious puzzle solving adventure.
Steam still has a sale on game. It’s out on PC, Mac, Linux, Ios and Android (really, smartphones? I do feel that this game is not as enjoyable on mobile devices as it’s on a full blown PC/Mac system)

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Coming back…

Yes, It has been a long time since my last post, dear reader. A lot of water has passed under the bridge – A new baby, citizenship and an atrocious house buying and moving process came into play.

Hoping that soon enough things can get back to a somewhat normal schedule – although nothing seems normal anymore…!

I wanted to drop and share a quick note regarding also a new digital change.  I’ve upgraded my old Samsung Nexus S for a shiny and new Nexus 5 from LG.  It’s hard to compare the both since they feel like decades apart from each other. Both Android phones just small versions away from each other (4.0.4 against 4.2.2)

I remember thinking that the S was miles away from my previous Motorola Droid (aka Milestone everywhere else except for the US)
This is the first time I purchase a phone without a contract, which releases the stress from carrier lock anxiety. Now I know I can travel and take my phone along without asking permission to my home carrier – which was also changed to T-mobile in the last couple of months, but that’s another story.
All I can say is that the nexus 5 is a great phone. I have no idea how LG and Google did that price tag with those tech specs, but It’s just amazing.

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Giving you childish spirit away

I came across this nice Greek video for organization Earth at Vimeo.
Very nice use of interface design applied to a video piece as well as awesome color correction+art direction.
Simple concept, good production values with little more than a toy an great camera angles. An example that you can do much with little!

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RIM – Short for: Real Inconceivable Mismanaged – Mess

Let’s start with one question that I have done to friends in the last year:

Is BlackBerry maker Research In Motion doomed?

My short answer is Yes, they’re.
The writing has been on the wall for over 12 months – I had this conversation early this year with a business associate of mine that works in the marketing department of a third party RIM Enterprise server solution.
I feel that the same thing that happen to Sony, as the giant of electronics, is happening to RIM in the mobile sector.


Such an important and revolutionary word. Blackberry advances have been few and non-radical when you compare them to its biggest competitors: Iphone and Android. Still, the enterprise world relies in its outstanding security platform for emails and communication,. but that’s about it. All their new development feel old and “being there, done that” kind of thing.
When most people defend their blackberries functionality and reliability I can’t help to remember all those business users that were stuck to the Lotus mail application at the beginning of the century. Most of them got stuck to Lotus because it was bundled with their corporation IT solution – Novell, IBM, etc. It was a terrible, or at least mediocre email client with no rich media or html functionality.
I remember developing emails blast campaigns and hating how bad Lotus Notes and Mail rendered even the most simple graphic.


Once you’re product isn’t cool anymore, It’s time to start to think again about your entire communication strategy. Technology products thrive by its coolness and their absolute obsession by all early adopters. Without this, it’s just very hard to get people excited about how a new gadget or device would change their lives for ever. Apple’s communication tries to do it every time. Sometimes better, sometimes simply bad or not as effective as they think.
Blackberries latest media campaign was weak, if not bad in many levels.

I’m really not sure how the client could have given the green light for this campaign, but the media buying was quite impressive last year. Against all client’s advertising rules, not once we see the product or its functionality. How can someone get excited about a product if a character is not really excited about the product – Sometimes having real people is worst than having no people at all!
I’m not alone in my claims. Sadly I have never owned a Blackberry myself, but my commentary is purely an observation and perception of  RIM’s products and lack, or lost, of leadership. There are again some news about a new product line with BlackBerry 7 OS coming out in a few months, although there it seems not to be a major update on the new OS.
To make matters worse, there’s a claim that the half a million PlayBooks units sold by RIM were not at full margins. – Perhaps at a very deep discounts without making real gains or profits for RIM.
Is it too little too late? Time will tell…

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Blender Power

While looking at a training video from I came across this inspiring and original animation short film called: Spaceman. I liked the idea and the music, I have to confess that some of the lighting and composition is not perfect but never the less a good and concise idea well develop in 2 min.
Check it out

Spaceman from James Isbell on Vimeo.

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Fonts, Typefaces and design goodies

“Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.

I have been using the Google Fonts Gallery and application quite often during the last couple of months. It’s great that you not only can include great fonts into your CSS,  but you can also download them into your system and design your content and layout with any of the typefaces you’re going to render your website with.
Today I got the news by RSS of the new Google Fonts application. You might call it 2.0 [By the way, I just hate 2.0 unjustified claims of about anything - 2.0 Icecream, 2.0 Icecubes, 2.0 Marketing hype ]
Anyway, if you’re an interactive designer like me or a graphic designer, visual artist or if you work with any type of graphic visuals or media, check out all their new fonts and new - re designed optimized and improved interface. The address is:

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Dropping Final Cut Pro X

It’s very unfortunate that Apple decided to drop years of development and investment by alienating to all their Pro community with news of Final Cut Pro.
Final Cut Pro and the Apple video family are one of the best things that happen to the video community in the last couple of years. Apple did what they do best, they standardize how a professional video application should work and behave. They did the same for DVD Studio Pro, they evaporated the complexity, and sometimes impossibility, for serious professional development in their platform.
We all should be grateful for their effort and development, they had helped speed up products and development by its competitors and level the playing field for an huge array of video users and video enthusiast.
It’s sad to see that trashed deliveredly by the launch of their new application Final Cut Pro X. Having no legacy support, no matter how advanced and perfect your application is, is absolutely unacceptable. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to enrage your customer base by, not only launching something that goes completely against their wishes, but also shows Apple lack of feedback from their own customers.
It’s no secret that some people are jumping ships before they are forced to abandon ship at all cost. I own Adobe Production suite CS 5 and I’m happy with its performance and legacy support.
I can only see this as a delivered attempt by Apple to scrap the Pro market all together in favor of their mobile and tablet division. After all, that’s the section of the company that increase exponentially company’s earnings and visibility from an obscure PC manufacture before the arrival of Jobs in 1996.
I’m not sure Apple is doing the right move. Alienating to the same developers that create content for their mobile and portable platform. Maybe made with a Mac slogan isn’t cool anymore.

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