'Cuz I sometimes think differently than others (and I tend to lose stuff). So if there's any other odd socks out there, let's get together ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Great price on a Benq MS510 video projector

I picked up this projector at Staples for only $275!  I used it at a couple of bullriding events this weekend (slow motion replays up on the big screen).  It worked great (2700 lumens was quite bright enough) and is already half paid off from the rental fees.  It's "only" 800x600 (SVGA) resolution, but just fine for what I need.  The bulb is rated for 6000 hours and is available online for about $200.  Next projection project?  Hmm, maybe I'll set up a white sheet in my living room window and put up some scary video on Halloween evening!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great little DVD recorder

I've been helping the local Swan Valley Stampeders hockey team (MJHL) get their video equipment set up and they've bought this cool little DVD recorder, the Sony VRD-MC6.  Just plug in a video source with the red, white & yellow RCA jacks (or insert a memory card from your camcorder), insert a blank DVD and press the red button.  Very handy.  If you want a similar unit that also acts as a DVD player, then move up to the MC10 model.  The MC6 has a small colour display to show that video is actually going into the unit, but there is no headphone jack, so you have to take other measures to ensure the red & white cables are both working and that the audio signal is the right level.  Small enough to fit in a parka pocket - it will see a lot of action at the hockey games this year!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New video camera

As you may know, I am on the local Access TV committee and show a lot of videos on the local cable channel, WCGTV.  They just supplied us with a new camera (Panasonic AG-HMC80P) that I have used for wide angle shots.  It's a great high definition camera, and looks fantastic on Blu-ray. Check out this review from the Videomaker.com site.  It's a bit bulky, but the out-weigh its size.  So whether sitting on a tripod or on the shoulder, it's got just about everything you need (great viewfinder, XLR inputs, etc.).  I wish the low-light performance was better (too grainy, etc.), and I wish you could get more than 99 minutes of HD footage on a 16 GB SD card, but it's a good all-round package in my view.

Did I mention the Blu-ray videos look fantastic?  Too bad more people aren't buying them.  As I've said before, I want to be able to put a disk case in someone's hand after a wedding or dance recital.  Not a tiny SD card ("Here it is ... don't lose it!") or a big file for their computer ("Make sure you have it backed up on at least 2 hard drives, and keep buying new hard drives about every 3 years for as long as you want to watch this video!").

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blu-rays on the way

Okay, so I decided to try and author some Blu-ray disks.  I got this package from the Video Guys website and I'm going to use it to make some HD disks of a couple of skating carnivals I taped a few days ago.  While my 3-year-old iMac renders slow, the HD videos do look awesome.  There is also some very good software on the Roxio Toast disk (Fotomagico, Sonicfire Pro 5, and Soundsoap, among others) which will solve some of my problems, I'm sure.  If all goes well with the skating carnivals, I will be making Blu-rays of the local dance school's recital, coming up next week.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Back-up Plans Are Good ...

I videotaped a skating carnival this evening (okay, there was no tape involved - more of that later). But I forgot the cable that attaches the wireless mic receiver to the camera. Fortunately, I had Plan B to fall back on. I simply put my iPod Touch in the M.C.'s pocket with a bit of the headphone cable with the mic sticking out. Then I hit the record button in the Voice Memo app and it worked quite well. I'll sync it later in the computer.

I borrowed a video camera from a friend to record the show and it's really good: a Panasonic HS700 with 240 GB hard drive. Great wide angle lens, excellent image, good low light capability.  Read my review here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My new website

Finally, after a VERY long time, I once again have a website for my video production business (Swan Valley Video Services).  I was able to purchase RapidWeaver software for only $29 which is what I used to make the website.  Quite easy to use, though I have yet to figure out how to fine tune the way text shows up.  And it only costs $4.95 a month at Canadian Web Hosting

Want a good laugh?  Check out the old website I started ... in 2002?!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cardboard Boom Box

Was going on a roadtrip in the van yesterday, and thought the girls might want to watch a DVD on the laptop.  Usually they use headphones, but I thought why not make a boom box?!  I had taken my great little Philips shelf-top stereo along on a trip once before, but now it's quit working, unfortunately.  I found a couple of really cheap small plastic speakers that came with my PC in 1996 and I hadn't thrown out (the pack rat in me is feeling quite vindicated!) and stuck them into a cardboard box (using duct tape) with a transformer.  They worked quite well, though the box was a bit bulky for my daughter's small lap.  I think we'll use this at home, too ...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dragon Dictation app for iPhone/ iPod Touch

A free app for iPod (compare to $200 for full computer version) that I just downloaded today that converts speech into text. This is how it figured out Daniel 3:3-6 from the Bible. Note: it was word for word except "zither, lyre, harp" and "follow" instead of "fall". It requires wifi, as it is connected to a large word list (eg. It even got Nebuchadnezzar, but it didn't figure out any punctuation)
"So the satraps prefects governors advisers treasurers judges magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up and they stood before it then the Herald loudly proclaimed nations and peoples of every language this is what you are commanded to do as soon as you hear the sound of the horn flute zip their liar heart pipe and all kinds of music you must follow down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace"

GoPro video camera

Just received a GoPro video camera by FedEx the other day (our town's agent is our next-door neighbour), purchased by our local WCG Access TV committee.  Amazingly small camera with a big wide-angle HD image that comes in a shock-proof, water-proof clear plastic case.  I anticipate putting it on boats, dog sleds, chuckwagons, bicycles, snowboards, skateboards ... basically anything that moves.  Or maybe behind one of the basketball backboards - you get the idea.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stuck in a Blizzard

27 years ago yesterday I got stuck in a sudden blizzard in N Dakota for 14 hours. It went down to -35F and winds up to 80mph. 22 died in the storm (other reports claim only 16) but I survived by burning candles inside a sleeping bag tent. I was rescued by a couple of National Guardsmen early the next morning.  They drove their 4-wheel-drive pickup truck up and over the compacted drifts.  We also picked up a shivering cocker spaniel that had been left in a vehicle.  If I had driven only about a mile further, I would have made it to a heated rest stop.  We arrived to find numerous snow-plastered vehicles parked helter-skelter throughout the parking lot, looking like a scene from the 1983 movie "The Day After"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What's up with Blu-ray?

Less than half my customers have a Blu-ray player even though the image is spectacular and prices have really come down.   I think there are a number of reasons for this.  First of all, most people get enough HD content with their satellite dish or digital cable and regular DVDs still look pretty good on their HDTVs.  Not to mention the media boxes that are becoming popular for streaming directly off the web, or your computer.  I think it's possible that all this streaming content will take over before Blu-ray has a chance to take off.  So people are wary of putting down money on another technology that will fade (VHS lasted from about 1976 to 2006; DVDs became popular around the year 2000 but maybe their days are numbered).  But how do I put a video in your HAND that you can take HOME?  I guess eventually I'll be able to sell streaming content on my website, but for now, I'd sure like to make some Blu-ray disks!  
Your thoughts are welcome ...