Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

It started with a tattered box…the making for FOR MEMORIES’ SAKE

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Today begins the first postings by Ashley Maynor on our film For Memories’ Sake. (She’s the director; I’m the producer.) Take it, Ashley….

It’s Christmas 2005 and I’ve begun the crazy whirlwind of travel that results from being part of a Southern, Catholic family and a child of divorce. My grandmother, Angela Singer, who always gives the most unique (if utterly bizarre) gifts, often salvaged from garage sales or Dollar Store specials, surprises me with a tattered cardboard box. Within the box is a ratty paper bag, and within the bag a treasure trove: 79 3-inch reels of 8mm and Super8 home movies.

I had begged Angela for months to see if she could find her home movie collection, which I knew must have been buried in her house in Cheatham County Tennessee. What once housed nine children and all their things (most memorably for me: potato guns, slingshots, and dirt bike helmets) is now a cluttered mess of papers, mementos, newspaper clippings, and photographs that document time gone by and its slow, continual creep.

Having deciphered Angela’s handwritten labels, organized the reels as best I could, and researched home movie transfer houses, I sent the films off in late 2006 for a low-cost telecine transfer. The films came back to me in digital form and I began to cut up and reconfigure these celluloid relics of time immemorial using a Macintosh Powerbook and Final Cut Pro.

After expressing such a fervent interest in the home movies, Angela keep digging and presented me, piecemeal over the next year, with more and more documents: over 130 VHS-C tapes of home video, dozens of photo albums from the 1990s, her latest photographs on CD-rom, baby books, photo collages, and so on. In sum, what began as a modest attempt to preserve a few precious films turned into an unexpected discovery of the immensity of Angela’s film and photo stockpile and an involved (if unintended) campaign to protect and preserve as much of her archive as possible.

My next post will discuss how I learned (taught myself, really) to preserve Angela’s “archive” and how I began shaping this raw material into something that I could use to create For Memories’ Sake.

New Final Cut Studio released: Yawning and Gnashing of Teeth Ensue

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Apple announced a major (i.e., “you have to pay for it”) Final Cut Studio upgrade yesterday. It doesn’t have a flashy name like “Final Cut Studio 3” or anything like that. They’re just calling it Final Cut Studio. Kinda like The Velvet Underground calling their third album… The Velvet Underground.

As most readers know, I’m a fan of Final Cut, so it’s a big deal to me when a major upgrade of the software is released. (more…)

LED Lighting Units review

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

David Tames of Kino-Eye has just posted a great review of four professional LED lighting units under $1K.

I really trust David’s insights on technology (not just tools, but how to use them), and I’ve been looking into acquiring one of these units myself, so this helps a lot.

How to make a screenings map with Google

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

After my recent post, which mapped out the past and upcoming Quick Feet, Soft Hands television screenings, some folks at ITVS asked if I wouldn’t mind sharing how I made the map so that they could encourage other filmmakers they work with to do the same.

Though I’m far from the first person to do this sort of thing, I was, of course, happy to oblige. It’s a great way to visually communicate with your audience about when and where they can see your work.

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Two Macintosh Productivity Apps

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Here are a couple of useful Macintosh tools to help you stay focused while working at your computer writing, editing, or doing anything else that requires concentration.

Isolator: I’ve been using this application on and off (literally) for a year. As its creator describes it, Isolator

will cover up your desktop and all the icons on it, as well as the windows of all your other applications, so you can concentrate on the task in hand.

Freedom: James M. Johnston recently tipped me off to this cool little Mac application. According to its website, Freedom

is an application that disables networking on an Apple computer for up to eight hours at a time. Freedom will free you from the distractions of the internet, allowing you time to code, write, or create. At the end of your selected offline period, Freedom re-enables your network, restoring everything as normal.