Hey That’s pretty cool

Try it out! It’s the Mystery Guitar Man doing the Human Drum Machine.

Using iPad as a Monitor for your DSLR

I’m new to the whole DSLR video thing, but since I got a Canon 550D, I’ve been obsessing over it for a month and a half now.

The photography world is a gadget game. Like golf. You don’t need that ball washer, but boy do you want it. When using a DSLR for video, there are all kinds of toys you usually need to make the experience more manageable. Hovering near the top of that must-have list is an external monitor for previewing what you’ll be shooting. There are several hinderances when using a DSLR camera as a video camera due to the form factor of the camera itself. The LCD is rigid (unless you have a 60D or now, a 600D) and depending on your shooting style, in an awkward spot for monitoring video in real time. An external monitor becomes a necessity to any quasi-serious shooting rig.

Of course, they are pricey. You can use a monitor like the Lilliput 669 for $200, but this is not a proper monitor and pulling focus or judging exposure might be a challenge. For more professional options you can go with the SmallHD DP6 for $900 or the Marshall *insert model # here* for $900. These are monitors made specifically for the task of field monitoring from these DSLR cameras, but they take a bite out of your wallet.

I have none of those. For someone like me, a hobbyist, money for an external monitor is money that I’d rather earmark for another lens. Additionally, these monitors add extra weight, extra battery requirements, and of course, the need to buy extra stuff like hoods and mounting brackets. Lastly, they only feature one-way interaction with your rig. They can’t tell the camera to do anything from the monitor. They’re just video taps. Listening.

So I thought I’d throw my support behind Chris Fenwick in this video. He makes a wonderfully compelling case for app developers to write an app for the iPad that will enable it to act as a client monitor/camera remote. Presumably, you’ll already be bringing your iPad on a shoot to accomplish other tasks. I’m already using one as my slate when shooting dual system sound. Why not take advantage of the iPad’s beautiful screen and giant battery as well as manipulate camera settings like white balance and focus with the touch of a finger? The app can be development cheaply and sold at a reasonable price so us hobbyists can see fit to buy it. Canon, Apple, Bill in his mother’s basement… Please someone write this app.

Chris’ video was posted on YouTube 10 months ago and still nothing. The only thing I’ve seen that comes close to this idea is onOne’s DSLR Camera Remote app. Unfortunately, the app requires your camera to be hooked up to a computer first, instead of attaching to the iPad directly. This means you’ll always have to be tethered to a computer. Not too nimble. The free demo version seems a bit buggy as well, but it generally works. And for $40, at a price point people with a need for this functionally can afford.

Developers, make haste. You’re going to want to cash in on the DSLR video revolution. It’s game changing and it’s doesn’t look to be going anywhere.

Surf The Train??

Two ladies and a ridiculous sign.On my way home from work tonight I saw a sign on the subway that read, “Surf The Train and you could get wiped out… forever”. With it is a picture of a dude hanging on to a train with the doors closed.

Is this a big enough problem where we need signs to remind us to not surf fucking trains? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m quite curious. Are kids and drunks really surfing trains? Our future? What the hell is going on?

I blame the internet. Generations of kids knew not to surf trains. Even when trains were slow, people knew it was at least a bad idea. Now, from the day they are born, they have this monstrous web of all the world’s information at their fingertips, and they decide that surfing the train is a good idea. It’s gotta be connected somehow.

Really? We need a reminder?Surfing the train utterly reinforces my belief that there should be an age limit on the internet. Kids really have no business being on this thing. Have you ever looked at the comments on YouTube? It’s pointless because there are absolutely no good comments. It’s all just stupid kids bickering about bullshit or being as racist and jingoistic as humanly possible. Go ahead. Look at the comments for ANY video on YouTube. There’s billions. I’ll wait…

See what I mean. I blame the kids.

Surfing the train. Who ever heard of such a thing?

What ever happened to peacefully taking bong hits in your parent’s basement? Ride the snake.

Cloud iTunes

The Cloud?The rumor mills are churning it. My friend Bryan has been taking about it for years. It looks like this summer, with the release of the iPhone 5, we could see a completely revamped MobileMe, again.

MobileMe is Apple’s cloud-based suite of services that includes; me.com mail, calendar/address book/bookmark syncing, photo galleries, online storage called iDisk, and a few other neat tricks. First let me say that I do pay for this $99 a year service. Almost exclusively for the syncing features. I have four devices that are all completely synced up. Add a contact on my laptop at home, and it’s on my computer at work when I get in. Bookmark a webpage on my iPhone while waiting in line at Penn Station and it’ll be there waiting for me on my iMac back at the apartment. The syncing is flawless and done in the background and I love it. However, with the exception of “Find my iPhone”, a service that allows you to locate (and wipe if you have to) a lost iPhone, you can do all of the things Apple offers in MobileMe with other, freer options. And in most cases, better. Me.com is ok, but Gmail is light years better. Apple galleries are ok, but Flickr and even Facebook offer more for less. Even syncing between all of your devices can be achieved in a number of ways other ways.

The point is, it’s really hard to justify spending $99 a year on MobileMe. Unless you’re me.

And until now. Maybe.

I really don’t like to write about Apple rumors here because it’s usually pretty fruitless and too techno-lusty for me. But there IS a lot of chatter pointing to an upgraded MobileMe with a seeming focus on a cloud-based iTunes option. It makes a lot of sense. Keep the costs down on the iPhone by offering less local storage and the ability to stream your music (haven’t heard squat about video content) to your phone or other computers away from home. Obviously this is not a perfect solution, yet. My commute to work is completely underground and that’s where I do most of my music listening. But it would represent a major dive into living in the cloud where we’ve only been lounging in the warmer waters of the baby pool. Apple even recently built a massive server farm in North Carolina which many assume is expressly for this purpose. This one is a little more solid than a rumor.

Here’s my question… How do I get… 16,184 songs (76.48GB); 1,275 episodes worth of TV (306.92GB); and 386 movies (347.85GB)… How do I get all of that into the cloud? Do I strap my 1TB external drive to an Estes Rocket and launch it at Apple so they can do it for me? Because I’m sure as hell not uploading all of that to MobileMe. It would tie up my computer a take MONTHS to transfer.

I see two options. Turn iTunes into the server which streams your media library from your computer. But that would mean having to run your computer all the time. And I suppose would present some security risks. Another option would be to upload all of your music to a central pool of sorts. You don’t have to upload “Teenage Dream” because it’s already up there. You’ll simply be given access to it. Sounds tricky, but I’m pretty sure this was where Lala was headed…before Apple bought them. You’ll still have to upload all of those mp3s of your friend’s band and depending on how much of that you have, it could take some time and resources. Dont worry though, I’ll be uploading “Satanic Mass” by Coven so you don’t have to.

NOTHING beats having your entire music collection in your pocket like I’m able to achieve with my 80gb iPod, but I’m not carrying around both an iPod and an iPhone. Not happening. An 80gb iPhone would be nice.

A cloud-based iTunes is a pretty good workaround and in line with what most of the major tech players have decided is our destiny.

Boardwalk Empire visual FX compilation

The first season of Boardwalk Empire treated us to an exciting period drama that featured lots of disturbing imagery from prohibition-era violence to Steve Buschemi’s ass. Boardwalk Empire was also stunningly shot show with gorgeous photography and high production values. What is not immediately apparent is just how much of what we were seeing was computer generated. This goes for pretty much everything we see now a days. Everything.

Below is an intriguing compilation of some of the before and after shots from the show, compiled by the design studio that created them and set to that killer opening theme song. Can’t wait for season 2. Enjoy.


Thirst | 2:01 (2011)

Some things drink water. Other things are water. Most things need water.

The song is Mpls Rock and Roll by Dosh.


This is cool beans. Visual artist Alexander Chen, working at Google Creative Labs created this animation based on 24 hours of the NYC subway system. Each colored line represents, in real time, a departing train. The full size project homepage is over at mta.me. Check it out. And watch your step.