Ringo Starr is a Gunslinging Mexican Bandit

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Not really, but he did play one on my TV. I’m going on a Spaghetti Western binge. I snagged a boat load of ’em to watch as featured on a Top 20 list of must see Spaghetti’s:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Essential_Top_20_Films

I started watching one called “Blindman” and while the opening credits were rollin’ I noticed Ringo Starr among the cast! A few minutes into the film…there he was. Shaggy haired and burly bearded. Ringo plays a dude named Candy, he’s the younger brother to Domingo, the antagonist of the film. I’m going to write a full review on this flick sometime soon but I just had to tell someone that I saw a movie with Ringo Starr playing a Mexican bandit named Candy. That’s all for now.

-Ernie

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The Open Source Journal: #1 “Introduction”

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I’m embarking on a new endeavor. I’ve decided to explore the possibilities of movie post-production in the open source realm.  My goal to better understand the NLE’s (Non-Linear Editors) that are out there for Linux. Further than that I want to see if there are any out there that can really serve as an alternative to Apple and Final Cut Pro-something viable for the prosumer and professional alike. Not just in technical ability but also in usability. Is the UI of that NLE an obstacle or a help? Are the resources of Linux software too underdeveloped to take on the challenge of professional post-production? Could this be a great alternative for someone that wants to save some $$ and not shell out the $1,000 for Final Cut Studio or another proprietary equivalent (i.e. Adobe Premiere Pro)? I’d certainly like to know the answers to these questions. As I write this entry I still am unsure. I’ve heard certain GNU/Linux NLE’s being referred to as professional but I want to know if that’s merited.

I’m a huge fan of Ubuntu and that being said I’m a huge fan of open source computing and the community effort. The way I see it, software driven by the creative demand wins out over software driven by the economic demand. It’s hard to believe that. It’s mostly because the economic drive produces a result faster. On top of that, the end product from economic drive also has the backing of a marketing campaign to convince you that the end product is everything that you want and need. Linux and open source requires you to think for yourself more often, roll up your sleeves and be a little creative yourself. I like that. It keeps your mind sharp. It’s not enough to master the use of product but you can do so much more when you are part of how the product is created.

To reiterate my goal: I want to try and see if I can find an alternative to Final Cut Pro-to achieve those things in Final Cut Pro that I do for myself and I do for a living.

This was simply an introduction. My next entry will be about how I use Final Cut Pro and its features. After all, there are many uses and many different fields of digital media. I’m going to discuss the products that I create in Final Cut to better focus the concept of finding an alternative in open source.

Froyo Unofficially Comes to Droid Eris

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This sort of has to do with filmmaking since I use so many Android apps for my craft. So yes, Froyo has arrived on the Eris thanks to the folks XDA. This comes to no surprise since Android is open source. As long as there’s a following for a phone there’s probably someone out there donating their time to develop for it. So this news is less about the fact that Froyo is on the Eris and more about the fact that it actually runs very nicely! I have a Froyo ROM called KaosFroyo on my Eris and it’s damn fast and damn stable. I was going to upgrade to the Droid X but I think I’m going to stick around Eris town for a little while.

There are frequent updates to this ROM to increase performance and experience. I’m running Revision 29 right now but 30 just came out. I’ll probably bump it up soon. I haven’t been running this ROM long but I also haven’t encountered any issues yet. In fact, I’ve noticed that it runs faster than before with the official 2.1 ROM by HTC.

The ROM runs the stock Android UI, which I don’t really mind. I kinda feel like I have a Nexus One:-P. Of course there are still significant differences between this phone the Nexus One but I can still dream!

So I don’t have much more to offer besides first impressions and in short all of those impressions are positive. The home screen is zippy, apps open quickly-boot up time was long the first time but now it boots pretty quickly. Now that my phone is rooted I can use it as a wifi hotspot and that’s pretty cool and not to mention damn useful. Also I can’t be sure of this but I think my battery is lasting longer but that might just be in my head. This was really easy to install and this has been the best experience on Android so far. Want in this action?

First You Need to Root Your Eris:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=742228

Then You Need to Install the KaosFroyo ROM:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=685594

Then you should be all set!

Thanks to you guys at XDA for all your hard work!

I’ll be sending donations, all you Eris users that like this root solution and ROM should do so too!

iPad & Filmmaking

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Hey all, I just updated the iPad & Filmmaking page. There’s more to come but there are a hefty amount of details up there now. Have a look!

It’s Been Quite a While

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I’ve been busy working on a project all summer so I haven’t had much time to update. Once August comes to a close you can look for the following:

  1. I owned an iPad for a little while and you’ll get a review from a filmmaking point of view.
  2. I’ve gotten more heavy into Android and I’ll have more to expand on the Filmmaking & Android page. I actually just added a few things, have a look!
  3. I’ve been an Ubuntu believer since about 8.10 Intrepid Ibex but I’ve really been seeing the value of Ubuntu for artistry. I’m learning Blender and Cinelerra. With any luck I’ll do post-production for a short film completely on an open source platform.
  4. The main reason I started this site was to promote myself as a filmmaker and artist. Instead I’ve been jabbering on about hardware and software. I’ll start building that filmography page.
  5. Plus I’ll have some updates on my new project!

I think that’s a good start. I’m going to start doing weekly posts beginning with this one. Sometimes those posts will just be advertising my new site updates. Either way you’ll get more news! See you soon.

P.S. the featured image is a still frame from the project that I’m working on!

Archos 5 Internet Tablet: The Good and Bad

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So I finally got a chance to look at the Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Between late ’09 and early ’10 there were some unfavorable reviews written about this tablet. It’s biggest issue was lag and crashing. There have been many firmware updates since then that, to my understanding, have addressed these issues. It’s still not without its glitches, however. The touch could be more responsive and the video player controls were finicky. Maps loaded well, so did contacts, video, gallery, the browser and a bunch of other apps. There has definitely been some improvements since JKK Mobile’s review. He did a great review but I think that some of the issues that he experienced have been remedied.

If you don’t know already, I’m trying to hunt down a good Android tablet for filmmaking. I firmly believe that tablet/slate computers are extravagant in many cases but that filmmaking is one of those niche markets where it can really prove to be a practical tool. I don’t have the $$ for an iPad so I’m looking to google to save me money that can go directly to my film projects!

Now my issue with the Archos 5 IT is the pricing. $250 is pretty good but at 4.8″ you’re pretty close to the price of an iPod Touch with a screen that’s only a little bigger. Don’t get me wrong 3.5″ on the iTouch to 4.8″ on the Archos 5 is a big change but not enough. You pay an extra $50 for a slightly larger screen and you get less performance. The Archos is zippy but still needs improvements.

However, the improvements we have seen with the Archos 5 give me hope for the upcoming Archos 7 Home Tablet. It’s 7″ so now we’re far past the iTouch and it’s starting at $199! Why such a low price? Well, it’s a little more stripped down. The CPU is a bit slower than the Archos 5, there’s no accelerometer, it’s a resistive touch screen rather than a capacitive one (essentially a capacitive touch brings a more finger friendly experience) and there’s no HDMI out. For me these sacrifices are acceptable. So there really is a value here. As a filmmaker tool I’m really more interested in the communications and productivity offerings. More than likely I’ll be using google docs a lot as well as the media player. We’ll have to wait and see if the Archos 7 delivers on performance given these sacrificed qualities.

Top 5: Android and iPad for Filmmakers

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Let’s put aside discussion of “does anyone really need one.”  Of course not. Save extensive talk for elsewhere. This is a post to discuss how useful tablets or slates can be for filmmakers. I’m going to do two separate top 5 countdowns comparing the iPad to Android. Since Android can appear on many different slates it’s not entirely accurate but still an approximate comparison.

The iPad

5. Long battery life. The iPad has a fantastically long battery life. That means that if you’re reviewing a shot list at a shoot that is happening in the middle of  forest, you don’t need to worry about being tethered to a charger. You’re good to go for the entire duration of that shoot.

4. Synchronization. Nothing syncs quite like an Apple product. I’ve used Windows Mobile to Mac, Windows Mobile to Windows, Android to Mac and Mac to Gmail. They all work but none of them work with the same app and I’m a Mac user for video editing so having an Apple made product just saves extra steps.

3. Media review. One thing I love about iTunes is the intense amount of metadata it allows for. I’m a very anal producer and the idea of taking the dailies and cataloging them for review on the iPad would be great. Why catalog them on the iPad? Well, if I’m working with another person and I want to meet with them at a mutual location or come to their house we can just flip through the clips and discuss the best takes etc. Makes the post process quite nice.

2. Communication. This is not film specific but what producer these days doesn’t live by their email and social networking? With 3G and Wifi N, you can’t go wrong. That speedy data access keeps things in check.

1. Oh the apps! There are over 60 incredible filmmaking apps for the iPhone that work just right for the iPad. Given time, I’m sure that there will be many more that specifically cater to the iPad’s real estate. Honestly though, some of these apps are incredible. Check them out.

Android


5. Video out. A lot of Android tablets are coming equipped with A/V, component and even HDMI out for those presentations or video exhibitions you might share with investors, fans, friends and family.

4. GPS. Going to a remote place to shoot? There are Android tablets coming out with GPS hardware built in. Also, let us not forget that Android is by Google and Google Maps is so great that Apple couldn’t make their own app.

3. Camera. The iPad is the iPad until the next iPad replaces it. It sucks that there’s no camera and there’s no way to get one until this generation of iPad is replaced. Since Android is so dynamic in hardware options there will be tablets hitting the scene with built in cameras. Some that even have a front facing one for video chat and a rear facing one for snapshots. A great way to chat with coworkers, get a few photos from location scouting and it opens the door way for a light meter app.

2. The price tag. Since Android doesn’t cost manufacturers money, they can sell their tablets for low prices. A great plus for filmmakers that are tight on money. Like me!

1. Oh, the apps that will be there. The Android Marketplace is steadily growing and I have a feeling that it will continue. Photoshop has a mobile app and there are already depth of field calculators out there. Let’s see what else they can produce.

Final Thoughts

I think I’m going to go with Android on this one. Syncing will be a pain but the cost is the deal sealer for me. Plus, I truly believe that Android has room to grow and those apps will get there. In the meantime there are some basic productivity options on Android tablets right out of the box. That basic productivity still unlocks things like shot lists, scripts, itineraries etc. I’m posting a page that will keep a tab on the developing world of Android Tablets as a good filmmakers tool. Here is the link. Keep a tab there to see what I find!

Let me just add-the iPad is a great device. It’s great for the right person. I would only use it for admin purposes. I wouldn’t really take advantage of gaming, movies, music or much of what makes the device start at $499. I want something simple at a low price. Android delivers on that front.

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