The Wonder List

I just finished watching episode 1 of “The Wonder List”, Bill Weir’s storytelling series on CNN. The series was filmed by Philip Bloom in a documentary style in places many of us will never have a chance to visit. Still, these places are at a cross road as Weir says as he challenges us to examine our own thinking of whether development and change is good or bad for the places and people and asks us who we are to have a view on what is best for them. A good reminder not to judge without walking in the other person’s shoes — or, in this case, lack of shoes. A thread through episode 1 is the work of photographer Jimmy Nelson and the question of whether he is helping, exploiting or both. The questions in the summary comments seemed to match my own thoughts. I’m not sure I want the answers to be discovered too fast.

Any storyteller videographer can learn from Bloom’s approach and comments about the gear and what it took to shoot this series. Fortunately, Philip has blogged about his gear choices and shared behind the scenes commentary from the first 3 episodes.

Audio Phase Demo

This is a quick demonstration video showing how in-phase signals add and out-of-phase signals cancel each other. I used identical copies of the same source audio for the simplest demonstration.

New Audio for Video Basics course video

I recently taught a course on audio for video for Littleton Community Television, the Littleton, MA community access cable TV station. We covered microphone characteristics, selection, placement and stereo techniques along with other audio sources, general camera settings, audio in Final Cut Pro X, FCP X’s audio tools, a little ear training and some tips and tricks.

I took the slides and sample audio from the course and created a video course. It is available on the Lewis Studios’ YouTube channel. Watch it now.

Work without interruption

Mac OS X loads an agent called imagent that supports iChat, Facetime, Mail and other apps that access your contacts and either interact with IM services or show buddy status from IM services. For audio and video production uses this is more than an annoyance. You really don’t want iChat or Facetime magically coming to life in the middle of a recording take or while you are concentrating on complex edits or effects compositions. In Facetime you can go into preferences and turn Facetime off. If you load iChat, Facetime or Mail (and maybe others), imagent loads and it does not unload when you quit all these Apps. In addition to the interruption issue, imagent also consumes some amount of memory and CPU cycles.

I used Automator to create a very small App that simply runs “killall imagent” as a shell command. I saved this App to my Applications folder and put it on my Dock to make it easy to find (just below iChat and Facetime icons). When I am going into audio or video production mode I quit my other applications then click the icon for this Automator task to make sure imagent is unloaded. No more interruptions.

It would be great if Apple made a system-wide preference or at least a preference in each relevant application that let you “really quit” and unload imagent when exiting the App(s). In the meantime at least I can quickly clean it up with the click of the mouse.