Filmmaking has been a passion of mine equal-to-or-greater-than climbing. I prefer to shoot Super 8 film over digital for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a “home” connection I feel to the medium. Harkens back to childhood and those things I remember about the film camera my Dad had. The projection screen, the projector, and the shows I used to put on using the film projector and the slide projector. Later I would play around with multiple VCRs chained together, figuring out how to mash-edit generation over generation on tape, the quality of each new dubbed over version a little bit grainier and fuzzy than the one before. Video cassette recorders took hold and consumer video cameras (VHS-C, 8mm, and beta!) became more affordable. Even editing became more-and-more achievable – with a little bit of inventiveness. But the roots of film never vanished for me. And when I rediscovered the JC Penny Sanyo Super 8 camera from my childhood days, and found some un-shot black and white super 8 film, and shot a test roll of some trains in Tulsa sometime in 2001, I was reconnected. I recall the train footage not turning out that great but it didn’t matter.
I say all of this to make a point about coming full-circle back to what you “know” and back to what you have connections to. Regardless of money, and time, and really even regardless of reason, there are those passions inherent to us that we shouldn’t let go of – and in essence – can’t let go of. But these are the things that makes our selves our self.
So I say, keep shooting film. Keep climbing. Keep writing. Keep doing art. Keep pursuing your goals, who you are and whatever it is that you contribute. Go for it.
I’ve purchased a couple of things recently, well, within the past few weeks that I think are really cool. Both of them have to do with audio and/or video – so if you are not into either you can stop reading now. The first thing is the Ion Audio iTTUSB turntable. This thing is awesome – especially for someone like me who has a lot of records and wants to listen to them on the go. The iTTUSB allows you to transfer the analogue audio from a record digitally. The best thing is that it uses the open-source software Audacity which I found very easy to learn and use. Recording the audio is basically a two-step process: place the needle on the record and hit play, press the record button in Audacity. That’s it. When you’re done, the software allows you to easily insert track labels and do a multiple export in the MP3 format. Then I add it to iTunes and I’m ready to roll. I’ve got the hang of transfering records now so it takes me less than 20 minutes of labelling, processing, and exporting once I have the audio captured.
The other thing I made mention of that I purchased is a newly released version of the VDMX software by Vidvox. VDMX5 is touted as a realtime video studio for professional VJs. Well, I am not a professional VJ by any means, though I do like mixing video, synching video to music, and exploring video artistry. I’ve used Vidvox’s Grid Pro software for over a year and got fairly proficient at using it – though there were always a few cryptic elements which eluded me. But VDMX5 is miles ahead of what Grid Pro could do. VDMX5 allows you to import multiple video clips into layers and create as many layers as you want. The program is much faster – much more graphic card intensive – but much cleaner too. My favorite aspect of the program is that you can incorporate Quartz Composer projects into your video mixes. Again, this is way ahead of what other real-time video mixing programs can do. The software is still young, meaning it’s only about half-complete, a number of features are slated to be added in the coming weeks. So why would I buy a software package that’s only half finished? Because the software design crew they have at Vidvox are some of the best around – if they say they’re going to do it, it’s going to get done. Plus, if you are into real-time video mixing, once you see this software you’ll know it’s the best around. That, and I got a deep discount for buying it early.
So there you have it. Now you know I am a complete audio/video geek.