Monday, August 29, 2005

I'm back from vacation!

Had a great week on the boat at Block I. I'm back now. Things are busy with work and stuff, but Ant and me are getting ready to crank things up soon. Stay tuned.

Oh, and I dropped my antique (seven years old!) digital camera overboard and it's lost forever; and until I buy a memory card for my new Panny camcorder, I won't have many unique pictures to post here.

Rest in peace, my beloved Casio QV-770...we'll all miss you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"American Splendor" (2003)

Interesting biopic about Harvey Pekar, author and star of the comic with the same name as the movie.

Paul Giamatti's intense portrayal of "everyman" Pekar is both fascinating and disturbing. I'm a huge fan of Giamatti's; he brings a brooding desperation to the role. You can actually feel the frustration and hopelessness of Pekar's life.

Pekar found salvation by writing a comic about his everyday life. The movie is narrated by Pekar himself, with overlays of animation and cutaways to real interviews with Pekar. I felt these interludes were a bit distracting, but overall the effect was helpful in the telling of his story.

Snippets of the comic were acted out, then shown in the drawn form. Classic bits like Pekar catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror and thinking to himself, "Now there's a reliable disappointment" captured the man's outlook perfectly.

What I took from this story is the realization that there is real poetry and humor in even the most mundane human interactions, if you look at it with the right attitude. That's the true wisdom in this portrayal.

"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Wireless mics

Because I can, I'm going to buy a wireless microphone set.

One of the big obstacles we had when shooting "Death Knocks" was making sure the sound quality was good. We used studio mics that had to be hard-wired. Not very convenient or (unfortunately) reliable.

So I decided I need a wireless system. I can't afford a professional setup, but I found a cheap-ish system that looks like it'll do. The Nady Duet Dual Lavalier Wireless System.

Pictured here (with the optional hand-held mic and guitar pickup) it includes a dual frequency receiver and two body-pack lavalier (lapel) mics. The two mic sources are mixed in the receiver and sent to the camera.

Viola! Two mics, mixed together while we shoot, going directly into the camcorder. All for about $160. Now we can record two people having a conversation without struggling with a boom mic or dealing with those awful studio mics.

Of course, there ARE a few operating limitations...the max distance recommended is 250 feet, but you can get 500 feet ideally. I'll probably keep it within 50 or so feet with direct line-of-sight. The frequency response is adequate for our needs, although at some point we'll probably require a higher end system. And I'm a little worried about crosstalk and interference, but I'll deal with that later...I can't afford anything better right now, and I want to start shooting ASAP with usuable sound.

Probably I'll order it after my vacation; I'm gonna be sailing for a week after this coming week, so I won't be able to get rolling on any projects until after we get back.

But I'm still psyched!

Monday, August 08, 2005

My new camera!

A week ago I parked my old van with a "for sale" sign at the end of my driveway, so people driving by can see it. Check the post "Production Van 2000" from 04 May for details. Anyway, yesterday I sold it. Got a decent price for it, and (of course) today I went CAMERA SHOPPING! YAY!!!

So I just ordered a Panasonic GS-150 camera. It's a 3-CCD design, with some nice manual features, along with the normal automatic functions. It also has a 37mm lens, which will accept my .45 wide angle lens.

I'm so freakin' psyched! I can't wait for the thing to get here; probably within a week or so. And I have enough money left over for wireless mics, too! I'll probably order them after my vacation in a couple of weeks; I'm just happy to have a good camera at last!

Yeah, baby.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Summer doldrums

Still working with Lori to get "Grandma's Kitchen" formatted for broadcast. Should be ready in another week or so. Look for an update then.

Other than that, I've been on my boat a lot. And I've been doing some writing. Unlike a lot of writers, I am SO frickin' tanned right now.

Ant's in Puerto Rico for another few days I think.

I can't wait to see "The Aristocrats"; I heard an interview with director and comedian Paul Provenza today. I think the subversive aspect of this film is what appeals to my inner-anarchist; it's going to be the filthiest movie ever made, and all it shows are comedians telling the same joke in various ways. They chose to skip getting an NPAA rating because there's no way in hell that they'd get anything less than an NC-17. One movie chain has already refused to show it!

Bob Saget and lil' Jimmy Norton at "The Aristocrats" NYC premiere

And the only thing this movie shows are a lot of comics TALKING! No violence, no sexual images; just an old joke that's known for being as filthy as possible. Told in a bunch of different ways.

It's simply United States Constitutionally-protected free speech, if you read the fine print on that amazing old document. It's in there somewhere. Really.

Like I said, this movie is going to be subversive.

That's it for now.