Columbus Weekend in Franconia, NH

Just arrived at Fransted Campground for the weekend. The early morning fog lifted after offering some gorgeous sights over Profile and Echo Lakes. It appears we’ve lucked out, despite the summer drought the leaves are full of chromatic bliss. I’m guessing this is near the peak of leaf-peeping, a short window of majestic beauty in the White Mountains.More importantly, the kids are excited to be in the mountains for an end of season family camping trip. 

Let the weekend begin! 

Video Production Trade News – Week of September 4, 2016

Each week I share select trade news articles with students enrolled in my New England Tech video production classes. It’s critical in any field to remain current, follow emerging trends, examine best practices, and learn about various challenges that face the industry.

Below are some articles from the past week that were discussed during class:

1. HLN Editors Blur Trump Shirt

Last week CNN’s sister network, HLN was criticised for blurring Steven Eckel’s 2016 Trump T-Shirt during a televised interview. The 53 retired New Jersey police officer was interviewed by HLN after Mr. Eckel used a sledgehammer to break the glass of a car parked in the summer heat with a young child inside.

During the original live interview, Mr. Eckel’s shirt was unaltered, NO blur, but subsequent replays of the interview masked the Trump 2016 shirt with a blur and b-roll footage was used to apparently, limit Mr. Eckel’s shirt on-the-air.

According to the Washington Post, HLN(formerly Headline News) later released a statement, “We blurred the logo and shouldn’t have; it was done in error…”

Trump 2016 T-Shirt Blurred by HLN


Original Live Interview with Steven Eckel

Blurred Rebroadcast of the Interview

Sources: The Washington Post, Media Confidential, HLN, YouTube

2. ShurePlus Motiv 2.0 Released

ShurePlus Motiv 2.0 App Released
ShurePlus Motiv 2.0 App Released

From Shure Press Release:

Shure announced on August 30th that a new version of its ShurePlus™ MOTIV™ Mobile Recording App—designed for use with the Company’s MOTIV Digital Condenser Microphones—is now available for download. Version 2.0 of this iOS App offers a suite of advanced new features, including an editing tool, improved user interface, and fluid sound metering for a more accurate, jitter-free experience. Additionally, version 2.0 offers access to a playback window, enabling users to review, assess, or simply listen to a recording of their choice.

Continue Reading Shure Press Release

Waterfall White Noise for Relaxation, Sleep and Meditation

Relaxing Waterfall recorded at Fransted Campground in Franconia, New Hampshire, Run time = 10hrs:

(1.15GB) – Download

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Franconia Color Run 5K – July 2016

Family Photo at Franconia 5K Color Run

Our family is returning from vacation in Franconia, New Hampshire. No resorts and spas for this group, although we did visit Santa’s Village.

For the most part, we spent the time hiking with an aim at “bagging” 4,000 footers, cooking on the campfire, and running.

Franconia Recreation Department holds an annual 4th of July 5K (use to be a 10K), and since I started running, it’s become a highlight of the vacation. The run is your typical small town run, no chips and a small field of runners, but I LOVE THE RUN!

Franconia Color Run 5K Course
Franconia Color Run 5K Course

This winter and spring I was dealing with lingering running injuries (Plantar fasciitis and hip pain) and I’ve been desperately looking forward to some decent, injury free running this summer. Over the past month, I’ve been noticing slow and steady improvements although the pain is not entirely gone the runs are much more enjoyable.

While I did not beat my previous course time I felt great and came in sixth place overall, not too shabby! My wife did an excellent as well. Did I mention the benefits of a small field of runners?

Family Photo at Franconia 5K Color Run
Family Photo at Franconia 5K Color Run

Small town run also allowed my two boys to get recruited to help throw “color” at the finish line, the whole family had an awesome time. Enjoying the running journey – July 2016

Enjoying the running journey – July 2016

Race results, posting here for my own future reference.
Race results, posting here for my own future reference.



Video Production Trade News – Week of May 1, 2016

Each week I share select trade news articles with students enrolled in my New England Tech video production classes. It’s critical in any field to remain current, follow emerging trends, examine best practices, and learn about various challenges that face the industry.

Below are some articles from the past week that were discussed during class:

1. In the Blink of an Eye – Walter Murch’s Editing Theory Put to the Test

Paying attention to actors eyes can be a key into finding the perfect edit point in post production. This video from editor Sven Pape

2. Happy 60th Birthday to Professional Videotape Recording

Ampex VR-1000 Advertisement 1956
Ampex VR-1000 Advertisement 1956 – Broadcasting-Telecasting, October 15, 1956

The Ampex VR-1000 was a game-changing technology of its time. The First demonstration was on April 14, 1956 at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention (known today as NAB). Keep in mind before the release of the VR-1000 film was the only viable recording medium available to the TV industry.

For some of the same reasons Hollywood recently shifted to “digital cinema”, TV broadcasters in 1956 saw an opportunity to cut cost and improve their efficiency. Recording east coast broadcasts and having them ready for rebroadcast on the West Coast just hours later was difficult and expensive. This was one of the driving factors to take advantage of Ampex’s new development. Eliminating film processing and development time:

By 1954, the networks used more raw film stock for kinescopes than all of the Hollywood film studios combined, spending up to $4,000 per half hour. – Wikipedia



Low Cost Graphics for Blackmagic ATEM Swtichers

Consider using PowerPoint and Blackmagic ATEM Switchers for a low-cost Character Generator solution

For a while now I’ve been researching low-cost, easy to use Character Generator (CG) system for our Public Access Station’s TV Truck. Today I want to share what I found and outline the solution we’re implementing.

First, just a little background on what we needed out of the CG system. The station is very active, covering more than a hundred community events each year. Many productions require graphics to be updated and modified on the fly. Especially for sports coverage, it’s is a necessity.

We also needed a CG that was compatible with our Blackmagic Design ATEM Switcher.

A quick, but important side note on ATEM switchers. ATEM’s DO NOT have built-in scalers, which means that all incoming video must match exactly what you set in the configuration panel. In our case, we’re using HD 1080i. This is an important note when setting up an external CG.

Users should also know that ATEM switchers CAN store pre-produced, static graphics. If you’re working on a project where all graphics are known ahead of time, you can simply load your graphics into the switcher, DONE. Photoshop is the best graphics software to accomplish this. There’s also a Photoshop plugin that speeds up the process with some automation, but that’s still not ideal for sports production.

Once you decide that you need an external CG there are many solutions to look at, here are just a few:

We first purchased the DataVideo CG350, but found it cumbersome and lacking some basic features we need. Software just felt outdated and difficult to work with, we’ll find a use for the software, but not in our main production truck.

Other alternatives include Compix Character Generators, which is a great solution. Our station has used their product in the past with our SD systems. We’ve avoided this option, mainly for budget reasons, if you have the budget, Compix is likely one of your best options.

For our situation, PowerPoint was actually the best solution. A low-cost and user-friendly experience. A system we can deploy in multiple production facilities and deal with failures quickly. For example, if the CG system dies, a quick trip to Best Buy or and we’re back up and running. PowerPoint is a well supported and modern software used by millions, unlike more specialize CG software that has a smaller developer team and only a few hundred users.

I’m working on a blog post that outlines how to connect PowerPoint to a Blackmagic Design ATEM Switcher. Stay Tuned!