Blog

Honeymoon!

Ok, so this isn't really new, but for the sake of trying to get back into posting stuff on my website (at least occasionally), I'm posting it. This is just a short video that I edited out of the footage Lauren and I had captured on our honeymoon. It wasn't ever intended to be some kind of cinematic masterpiece, hopefully just an entertaining look at our time there. I had wanted to do something split-screen for awhile so that's what I did.

With that said, I did still learn some thangs:

  • Final Cut isn't really the place to be doing split-screen or motion (at least not FCP 7). I kind of already knew this but decided to do it anyway to avoid the extra step sending it to After Effects, where I would've had a lot more and easier control. If I went back and did it again I would have probably sent it to After Effects via Popcorn Island or Automatic Duck (if I could afford it) and done all the split-screening and motion in there. Or I would possibly try doing it in the new Final Cut if I did it today. I'll do another post on that because I just finished cutting a video for a friend that was also split-screen that I did in FCP X, and it did offer a lot easier control with cropping and placement (although still not perfect).
  • DSLRs are the worst possible camera to use for video in a helicoptor. This kind of goes without saying because of the rolling shutter, but it's what I had, so obviously I was going to use it. It doesn't really bother me too much in the video because like I said, it was just for fun, but definitely not something I'd use on a professional shoot. Or maybe with a gyro stabilizer it'd be ok. I know I saw some Vincent LaForet shoot awhile back where he was using a DSLR in a helicopter and it looked fine.
  • Try to get things close to how you want them in camera. I shot a lot of the stuff with a really flat profile because I had all the best intentions of doing some proper grading on it, but in the end, didn't want to spend too much time on it so I just did a really quick pass. I think a lot of the footage would've looked better if I would have just realized as I was shooting that I wasn't going to want it that flat in the end, and it wasn't really saving information that I cared about anyway.
  • Just do it. That's a good slogan, and I wish I knew how to actually follow it. Sadly I started this project a year and a half ago, and although I did have a lot going on in the past year and a half, I don't think it's really a valid excuse for it taking this long to get around to finishing the video. I really have a problem bogging myself with different possibilities for projects, wanting it to be the best that it can be, and I think I need to learn to be better about just learning to trust my instincts, be happy with the results, learn from it, and move on to the next thing.

Thinking About This Blog

It's been a really long time since I posted anything, but in my defense, I have been quite busy. I quit my job, worked about three other jobs, road tripped across the country, and then of course, started a new job. Now that things have calmed down a little I want to try to post on here a little more regularly... you know, like at least once every two months. Also, I've been considering what I want this blog to be about and have come to the conclusion that I want it to be a place of visual storytelling. That's still pretty broad, but it's about as specific as I can get right now with what I'd like to do with my life (you know, career-wise). So, I want this blog to be a place that reflects that and is a place for me to showcase work, inspiration, and some of my trials along the way. Hopefully it will drive me to get better at what I'm really interested in doing. I love strong visuals, and have long questioned whether I would like to work in arena that is purely visual but have determined that when those visuals go beyond just being beautiful/exciting/interesting and tell a story in some way, it completely takes it to another level for me. I want to create things that move people in some way, whether it's to laughter, action, thinking, or a feeling. I want to be able to tell fascinating stories, whether it's through a video, a photograph, or maybe even a diorama (ok, I won't ACTUALLY make a diorama, but lists of items need at least three). So from now on, I'm going to try to keep my posting on here to stuff that fits within that realm. Sometimes it may be mostly visual, and perhaps other times it will be pure storytelling (although that's probably less likely because I don't do much story writing. Hmmm... I should though. OK, maybe I'll try to do more of that. Wow this blog is working wonders already!), but ultimately I want it all leading me in the direction of being a better visual storyteller.

Here's to a new start!

A Random List of Things I'm Liking

I haven't really decided what I want this blog to be yet. Should it be Professional? Personal? Prosonal? So anyway, while I wait for it to take some kind of a form I'm happy with, here's a random list of things I'm liking lately.

MINT GOALS

I've been a big fan of Mint for awhile. Its clean interface and simple integration with all of my bank, credit card, and investment accounts make it one of my favorite websites. Honestly, it's probably a little TOO favorite. I know I spend more time than is necessary poring over every detail of the budgets I've set and last months transactions trying to find where I could save money, but hey, there are worse ways I could spend my time than trying to find ways to save money. Mint has already helped me save more money in a couple ways, and their new feature for setting goals is great. While this one won't technically help me have more money like some of the others have, I think that it will actually be very useful in helping me meet certain goals. Basically it just asks you what your goal is, and then breaks down how much you should try to be saving for it every month. It's pretty simple stuff, but I certainly wasn't about to bust out a calculator to try to figure out how the monthly savings break down. Now I just know that for Lauren and I to take a trip next spring, given the parameters we set, we need to save approximately X amount of dollars. Nice. Also, if you choose one of the major goals that Mint already has in their system (getting out of debt, buying a home, taking a trip, etc.) it will give you other pointers along the way for what kinds of things you should be doing at that time. It's definitely all worth more than the $0 it costs.

INVISIBLE HAND

I've been kind of a fickle Internet browser user lately. I had been using Safari for quite a while and then switched right over to Chrome when I saw their clever "Chrome Fast" ad campaign. What can I say, I'm a sucker for clever advertising. It did seem to back up the commercials though with blazing performance. Then, probably less than a month later, I switched right back to Safari when the came out with version 5 and most importantly, an infographic showing how it was faster than Chrome. Apparently infographics trump advertising. Plus I've of course always been a fan of the clean, Apple-i-ness of it, and while it was fun having a ridiculous skin on my browser for awhile, I was happy to be back to the shiny metal. One thing that Safari has always lacked though, in comparison to Firefox, Chrome, or others is extensions. But just recently they finally opened up extensions and their own online gallery of them. And the one that is by far the most interesting and useful, in my book, is Invisible Hand. It's a simple, unobtrusive extension that only shows up when you're on a page that is selling an item. If you are on one of these pages, it pops up at the top of your browser and tells you if the item is listed for a lower price anywhere else in its database of websites! It's terrific. You save money without having to try harder or losing anything. (Side note, I hadn't even thought that my first two likes were both money related. I'm really seeming like Frugal McFrugalson right now. Oh well.)

GOOGLE READER STYLES

While we're on the subject of Safari extensions, let's talk about Google Reader Styles. I really like Google Reader for keeping up with some of my favorite blogs. It's simple to organize them into categories and see what's new. But while it's certainly very functional, it's not exactly beautiful. Usually I like the Google minimalism well enough, but for some reason I feel like Reader just has too many dividers going every which way and different colored icons going on. So I decided to clean it up a bit. Google Reader Styles allows you to choose from a variety of styles. My favorite so far though, is Helvetireader. It really cleans the whole interface up and makes it beautiful and easy to focus on the content.

SPRAWL II (MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS)

Arcade Fire's new album just came out, and so far, I like it. Can't say I really LOVE it, but it's good. Overall there just aren't really any songs that have grabbed me the way "Wake Up" or "Rebellion" or "Power Out" did when that amazing first album came out. They seem to have calmed down a lot and I miss the punch that their old style carried. Still there are some good moments, and one of my favorites in my first few listens has been Sprawl II. It's a little bit of a different sound for them, and one that I wouldn't mind hearing them explore more.

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Lauren made some of these recently and they are DELICIOUS. Yes, I've had them before, but this is after all just a list of things I've been liking lately, and I've definitely been liking these lately. So if you have a chance sometime soon, you should make some (or find someone who will).

Well, I think that's it for this random list. Hope you enjoyed it and maybe found something that you can like too.

My Expensive Fake Toy Camera

Well I got the new iPhone this past week, and it really is amazing, but no matter how great new technology is, it always does sort of disappoint me. Every time I get a new phone, camera, computer (ESPECIALLY computers) I have these visions of how it's going to change my lifestyle and how much more awesome stuff I'm going to be able to do. Then after playing with it for hours (half of which is spent trying to seek out what's actually new about it and how I can change to benefit from it) I'm left with the realization that it's more or less the same. Oh well, at least I'm mature enough to now recognize that I feel this way...

...but still not mature enough to not fight it! So after getting the new phone and FaceTiming with everyone I possibly could I decided that some new apps would perhaps give me that feeling of newness that I was craving. I've always loved photography, and my friend and former roommate Matt does some terrific toy camera photography. So I decided to get a couple apps to try and make cheap replications of that style (plastic bullet and camera+, if you were wondering).

It's incredibly addicting. I don't know what it is about taking these shots with bad focus, misbalanced colors, and uncontrolled light leaks that is so fun, but it just is! We've spent so much time developing all these new technologies, and now what are we doing? Creating programs to mimic the bad technology of the past. I don't know what that says -- that we're realizing technology will never satisfy us in the ways we dream it will or we're finding some of the charm in imperfection or we're just idiots or what -- but it certainly is a complex time we're living in.

Anyway, photos!!!:

Drivin' Somewhere
Drivin' Somewhere
TJ's Parking Structure
TJ's Parking Structure
Leaving Work
Leaving Work

My First Weblog

Hey everyone! Isn't this exciting... I now have my very own little place on the web to publicly air my grievances where anybody that really wanted to could find it! I also look forward to sharing some juicy gossip and hopefully some poetry as well... Oooh! Should be really exciting. Parker Wilson, welcome to 2004!