Test Post From Android

I bought a record, and the label is all puffed up so it doesn’t sit flat on the b side.

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edit: My buddy Nick points out this happens when the plant accidentally attaches two labels to one side of the record. I carefully cut away the label, and sure enough, there’s a second one hiding underneath. Thanks Nick!

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A note of publicity

Thanks to this here blog, I am now a published photographer. In 2004 Char and I took a trip to Mass Moca and I took some photos of the installations we saw. One of these photos seems to have gotten some extra google-juice because twice now I’ve been contacted by authors wishing to use my photograph of Ann Hamilton’s “Corpus” in their publications. Each time I’ve only asked for proper credit and a copy of the publication.

The first publication to use my photo was a small newsletter, but the second was a little more substantial as I found out when I opened the fairly heavy package I got in the mail:

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A weighty tome

“Noplaceness” is a product of Atlanta Art Now and is:

An incisive look at artists whose work reveals the changing perceptions of place and space in the era of globalization. Noplaceness features writing examining the work of over 30 artists in historical and critical contexts, including Scott Belville, Sarah Emerson, Ruth Laxson, Beth Lilly, Ann-Marie Manker, The Paper Twins, Fahamu Pecou, Sheila Pree Bright, Rocío Rodríguez, Angela West, and K. Tauches.

I haven’t read the articles yet, but the production quality is top-notch. The paper is really thick and the (many, many) photographs look excellent. You can even get it on amazon!

And (thanks to the index), there on page 130 (the left):

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Not exactly a large print

OK so it’s not a two-page spread or anything. I guess that’s why they didn’t need a higher resolution version of the original. For those too lazy to click on this handy link right here, here’s the original:

It’s too bad that a work of such huge scale had to get reduced to a 2″ image in a critical art book-thing, but at least anyone on the internet curious about Corpus will keep finding their way to my humble blog.

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Well, that was fucked up

Here were are, stopped in the left turn lane of a stop light at a big intersection (McGrath and Broadway) when a BMW sloowly runs the light opposite us, doesn’t turn, and comes slowly towards us, and towards (I honk), and towards, until I realize they’re not going to stop at all and I try to get the fuck out of the way. They continue on McGrath headed south on the wrong side of the road. We did suffer a glancing blow, but just minor damage and everyone all right. Reported plate number to police. WTF!

Update:
The extent of the damage, although this really overstates the case since many of those scratches were pre-existing.

Small chunk of plastic missing -- all in all, could have been a lot worse

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Dinner

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Ziti Amatriciana, before I drowned the whole thing in cheese. The Bacon was not supposed to be smoked, but it turned out all right.

Note: all food looks better in halogen light.

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Bicycle v. Boston

I recently went to a DJ show at Good Life, and since these shows usually last longer than the T runs and I also hate cabs, I decided to bike both ways (about 5.5 miles each way). It had been flurrying all day, but there wasn’t enough snow or ice on the roads to make me worried about wiping out.

One factor I hadn’t considered, however, was road salt:

My bike, caked with salt and grime
My bike, caked with salt and grime

Closeup of salt and grime
Closeup of salt and grime

I’ve wiped as much of it off as I can, but it’s too cold to wash the bike (it would probably just freeze). My hope is that the chain isn’t ruined and my components aren’t all going to rust. Ah well, the show was fun.

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Building an Online Suite: Almost done

Aside from the desk and some simple things like an end table and filing cabinet, my edit suite is done. I’ve already had one client in to do an HDCAM output, and other than my own ignorance of 720p issues, everything worked as expected. Other than my desk, I just need to take care of various paperwork and my company website.

The room turned out just like I wanted. It’s nice and quiet inside the edit suite, and the light is pleasing. All the equipment is hidden in the next room where I can get at it easily. One sucky thing is that I don’t have a rack, so inputs and outputs are spread across the back of the Mac Pro tower, the Mojo DX, and the loose Kona cables. I can probably solve that problem with some short BNC cables and female / female adapters. Then I’ll have short extension cables that I can bundle together and hook up as necessary without crawling around the back of the machines.

Everything up and running, still on a cheap desk
Everything up and running, still on a cheap desk
closer up image of work area
closer up image of work area
equipment in the next room
equipment in the next room, connected to HDCAM deck off-screen
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Grab bag

It’s grab bag time! First up, I went to LA in early May to get training on a Lustre color grading system. I also hung out with Merry, who I knew in college and who had been drawn to the bright lights of Hollywood to be an assistant director. At the time I visited she was working on CSI:New York, and she let me hang out on the set for a day. Luckily the crew was really cool and had no problem with me being there — in fact I got mistaken for working there at one point :). Merry said there are other shows that are strictly locked down and would never have allowed outsiders to sit in video village with the director and screenwriter.

We also went to see Ironman at the Arclight, which features seat reservations. Yes! Why don’t more theaters do this? I would gladly pay a premium every time I went to the theater if I didn’t have to show up 45 minutes before showtime just to guarantee myself a decent seat.

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“Actual suit worn by Robert Downey, Jr. in Ironman”

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Merry and me at the Geisha House

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On the set of CSI:NY

Here’s some other selections from the past few months. I keep forgetting my camera or not
bringing it with me to places. This must change!

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Char and I went on a bike ride with Dad. You may be able to see him in the reflection of our glasses.

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When we go for a bike ride on the Cape we often stop at this marsh

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Berry picking in Ipswich

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We made sure not to over-pick, unlike last year
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Grading a short film


I had the good fortune of being able to grade (color-correct) a graduate student’s thesis project last weekend. It’s called Mel’s Hole, dir. Kenji Miwa. It was my first narrative project, and my first using Apple’s Color. I usually do documentary work, where the highest priority is to make the footage look “good” and consistent. Also, I’m used to the Avid color corrector, which is not very good for matted secondary color corrections (“brighten his face here”) so it would have been hard to do the sort of aggressive grading that the director wanted.

He’s given me permission to show some before-and-after shots from the film, showing off some of the more fun corrections I got to do. Mouse over the images to see the uncorrected versions. (Shot on a Panasonic HVX200 with a lens adapter for low depth-of-field.)

(Note, these images sometimes appear much too bright on a mac. Set your monitor’s gamma to PC / video standard (2.2) to see the night-time shots correctly.)



The above shot represents the basic look for the film, which is a desaturated “bleach bypass” look. It’s high contrast, with substantial crushing of the blacks and whites. In this shot, we had to knock down the colors of the blanket, which was still too saturated even after we applied the look.



In this scene, the character walks into the woods, which were supposed to be dark and foreboding. By really crushing the blacks we were able to make the woods look deeper and more mysterious. This darkening caused the character to be somewhat lost in the busy-ness of the image, so I put a small tracked oval (the shot pans up) over the character to draw attention to him.



This scene takes place in the middle of the night, and I was instructed to make it very very dark, with a silvery-blue cast. Although the lefthand venetian blind did not have any light behind it, I was able to put one in, which serves to illuminate the character’s face (even though a light back there would really just silhouette him). There are still some bright highlights visible in the blinds, but I wasn’t able to get rid of them.



This shot was actually a last-minute idea. It is paired with another night-time shot, so we decided this shot should also be in night-time. I was able to do a good day-for-night, including drawing in the spill of the light at the bottom of the stairs.

I had a lot of fun doing this grade, and I really liked Apple Color — which makes sense, I doubt they would have bought a company that made a bad color correction program. I do have to say that the keyframing in that program absolutely blows, and the tracker isn’t great either. It also crashed immediately after finishing a render once. But on the whole, it was good at disappearing and letting me work.

The director and DP were great too. We hadn’t really done a lot with aggressive grading before, but once they saw what was possible they were able to direct me better and make requests that were creative but also doable.

World premiere is on May 2nd. The details are on Facebook.

(ps, just shoot me an email if you want me to grade your film — the first job is free!)

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Grand Canyon Vacation

This year I went again to NAB, the annual convention for tv, film, and radio. Since Las Vegas is warm and sunny, Char thought it’d be fun to come along and take some vacation time while I checked out the show floor.

For this trip I did not bring my Thinkpad, opting instead to bring just my olpc. Although Char complained about the spacebar (fixed in b3, Char!) and its slowness (also fixed, Char!), it performed phenomenally. It easily picked up all the access points I needed and connected to them quickly. The web activity also handled any accesspoint payment sites perfectly. On one occasion when our cheap(er) hotel didn’t have free wifi, I was able to connect to the Best Western two buildings over and use theirs instead. It must have been 1000 feet away and still the signal was strong. Bravo olpc!

After I filled my brain with details about Final Cut Pro upgrades, digital asset management software, and other expensive new stuff, Char and I drove out to Arizona to go camping at the Grand Canyon.

Camping was cold, but we were prepared for it. The next morning we woke up and saw some very tame deer strolling through the campground

We had a whole day to spend at the canyon, so we donned our boots (Char bought hers a few days before) and took a hike. Interestingly, by default the Park Service does not provide very accurate maps which discourages morons like us from making up our own routes and getting in over our heads. Instead they offer a few basic trails with regular checkpoints to keep it nice and easy. I’m glad we talked to the park service lady, she recommended a very good hike.

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It is big

The Grand Canyon is incomprehensively big. There’s just no reference to get any sense of scale, and because the opposite wall is 10 miles away you can’t see any other angle of it because you can’t get any paralax. It’s just huge and unmoving.

It was also eerily quiet. Char and I were trying to figure out what we expected to be hearing other than the grandiose symphonies and echoing eagle calls heard in gift shop videos. Although the day before had gusts up to 50mph there was very little wind when we were there, and because there are so few trees (it’s mostly shrubbery!) there was no rustling of leaves. There were also hardly any songbirds twittering away. Most of the birds were gigantic crows that wanted to eat our food.

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Other people help provide scale

The trail we hiked was also used by mule trains which, according to my ear, nose, and throat doctor, carry supplies down to Phantom Ranch in the canyon. The men leading the mules were totally cool and legit. Real cowboys. Or I guess muleboys?

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Mule Train

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Char likes mules

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Note the smoke

As you can see in the above photo, there was some smoke drifting out of the depths of the canyon that didn’t look right. Someone on the trail asked one of the cowboys what he thought it was, and he chalked it up to the park service “doin’ a controlled burn, and they lost control of it.” I am not doing the accent justice here. Try to imagine what Dubya wishes he sounded like when he clears brush.

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Char makes a friend

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Critter surveys the scenery

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Char prepares to crush an enemy

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I ponder bigness

Our descent ended when we could finally see the river for the first time near the omniously-named Skeleton Point.

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Yes that is the river down there

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I got there too

After eating our lunch, we started on the way back. There are not many pictures from the way back, not only because it was the same view, but because hiking back up 1800 feet is hard work! As we neared the top, though, another hiker pointed out a few condors hangin’ out on the rocks

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The one on the right is labelled “99”

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There was another one further away

As we got back, we realized if we camped again that night we would not have a chance to shower again for the whole trip. This would mean we’d have to drive back to Las Vegas smelly, see Bill Maher perform at the Hard Rock the next night smelly, stay up all night and wait for our flight smelly, and then fly home smelly. Also, it was supposed to be 22 degrees that night. It was only 30-35 the previous night, and that was cold enough, so we bailed and got a hotel. It was the right thing to do, especially since we were only out 18$ for the campsite. A shower and a good night’s sleep were greatly appreciated by all.

The next day we visited the Hoover Dam, but those pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

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