Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Monday, 29 December 2014

DeerCam1 Revision 2 - optimising iPhone microphone background noise reduction

Field testing DeerCam1 with the Griffin Survivor case revealed an audio anomaly that was attributed to the iPhone's excellent background noise reduction DSP being confused whilst encased in Griffin's excellent dust-resistant military grade protection. Whilst in the case the iPhone would record a 'clicking' or 'ticking' noise in the higher frequencies. Weird! Multiple tests across two devices confirms the Griffin case as the cause.

DeerCam1 / Anker Glaze Case / Shoulderpod S1 / Manfrotto Pixi
With shooting of 'Dark Is A Long Way' due to commence 17th January 2015, a new solution has to be found. The Griffin case had manual cut-outs applied which resolved the issue, but did not satisfy my OCD. If I have to have cut-outs, why not get a case that already has cut-outs?! But also a case with an integrated screen protector which (proven whilst shooting GAIN on 4S) helps continue shooting in bad weather and rain without needing somebody to hold an umbrella over the iPhone (somebody holding an umbrella = additional admin).

Currently field testing DeerCam1 suited up in the Anker Protective Case. This case has a generous cutout around the back camera and microphone and a cut-out for additional mics - this should allow for unfettered DSP whilst recording.

Generous cut-out around back camera and microphone

Port cut-out for side (noise cancellation matrix) microphone

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

DeerCam1 Assembled, Ready For Action

So today I assembled the barebones shooting kit that will be used on "Dark Is A Long Way" which is shooting out in the field in January 2015 - ie, what is likely to be cold wet Great British winter - so make that a boggy frost encrusted Hampshire field.

It won't be the first time shooting in boggy blustery conditions - along with Evil C, we shot GAIN way back, in similar conditions using iPhone 4S (including on-board mic audio).

So I learned a lot on GAIN - like, using the Griffin Survivor military grade case enables you to easily keep shooting through the rain versus naked iPhone. My only real concern with the iPhone 6 Plus is that, along with iPhone 5, there's not enough clearance between the front camera and mic to effectively stick on a Rycote Micro Windjammer
The windjammer really helped in the blustery conditions with the 4S. I'm not a fan of past attempts to suppress wind noise with DSP but it doesn't look like I have much of a choice.

So in order of importance, here is the specific production kit for Dark Is A Long Way - I'm happy to say it all fits in the tiny boot of my Toyota IQ and is really light and easy to carry (of course):

1. iPhone 6 Plus gold/champagne
(could be any smartphone, but I tried a few and iPhone is what I keep going back to).

2. Griffin Survivor All Terrain
military grade case for iPhone 6 Plus. In my view this is essential to give you confidence in the event of dropping the device in a boggy field.

3. ShoulderPod S1
adjustable tripod adapter for smartphones. Even without using a tripod, this gives you a much better and comfortable grip on the device.

4. Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
(joystick head). Sometimes you just need to keep the camera still or do a controlled pan/tilt, or maybe go Dutch.

I also have AirNinja approved Lightning bus microphone and ultraportable 3800 lumens LED lighting -- but they are separate subject posts.

I've also identified the video recording app I will use which suits the way I work, so it's all good. Now on with pre-production! (basically, paperwork)

Friday, 12 December 2014

Deer Studios Embraces AirNinja Movie Method

Another quick update. The slate for the recently established Deer Studios looks something like this:

1. Sexton Lovecraft and the New Sensation (promo in post-production as part of larger campaign to launch the new live-action franchise with the same actor who did the cartoon voice)

2. Scissor Happy (collaboration with Portsmouth based Fat Finger Films in post-production)

3. Dark Is A Long Way (collaboration with Provincials in pre-production will be shooting in Hampshire in 2015)

4. Pompeywood (working title for documentary about UK indies continues shooting throughout 2015)

5. The SUCCESS (working title for Simple Unexpected Credible Concrete Emotional Story Series in discussion phases)

6. Crooked Features HD 10 year commemorative re-release (re-mastered mockumentary shot in 2004 re-releasing for high-definition streaming formats very soon)


Deer Studios is the AirNinja movie method manifest. Compact, capable, keeping it simple, making movies, moving forward.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Busy Busy

It's been a busy month. Until the next post, enjoy this Christmas single from UK's The Provincials (an awesome Big Star cover).



What has this MV got to do with the AirNinja Movie Method? Well, for starters the opening line of dialogue and hymn were recorded by booming my Apogee MiC/96k and recording direct to iPhone 6 Plus using an app called SimpleMic. Let me know how you think that sounds?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Then Again, Who Does?

The domain deerstudios.co.uk has been secured for 10 years.

Origami inspired mascot, Philip K. Deer
So what?

I was looking for free custom domain email hosting because, you know, startups don't have any money. And startup Deer Studios is the first movie studio to embrace the AirNinja Movie Method (exciting!)

It used to be that both Google and Microsoft would allow hosting of your own domain for email, free. No longer. And my domain registrar's basic level of free service, whilst robust and reliable, is not feature packed unless you wanna cough up.

Fortunately, my registrar has an easy to use DNS control panel and DuckDuckGo led me to Zoho for hosting email on the deerstudios.co.uk domain - for free. Awesome! Even more awesome was it all took less than one hour to have up and running.

So what? Zoho, that's what.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

And So Post Begins

Live action Sexton Lovecraft? It's coming. In one form or another but definitely a taste of live action Sexton.




Tuesday, 14 October 2014

10 Things I Learned During Production of "Sexton Lovecraft Investigates" (working title)

Shooting wrapped early Friday morning of 10th October 2014. We shot nights. Some lessons were learned, some other things are just obvious.



In no particular order:


1. Your actor will thank you for flying them British Airways (other premium airlines are available).

2. Shooting 24fps will give your DP an extra stop to play with.

3. It's now painfully obvious to me where the delineation of shooting 1st and 2nd unit should be.

4. The Tiny Monster TM26 is amazingly versatile and agile.

5. It's fun playing the monster.

6. Treacle is great for visual effects. Tate & Lyle recommended.

7. A £4 halloween mask from Asda can be lit into a disturbing visual.

8. Art design raises production values as much as any other discipline.

9. White clown facepaint is great for monster make-up.

10. Smoke pellets can be as visually effective as a smoke machine.


Can't wait to sync up and edit this mofo!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

iPhone 6 Plus multi-purpose iPhoneographer's wallet case, errrr kind of

Okay, so at time of writing Pack & Smooch do not do a wallet case for iPhone 6 Plus. Even if they did, using the current design with the stitched seams it would just be too wide for my pockets and taste.

I have kind of cobbled something just as functional and high-quality from a German made fitBAG case and some anonymous CardNinja type holder found on Amazon.co.uk

I compare my solution with my original iPhone 5 and 5s Pack & Smooch case in the video below.

What I like about these wallet pouches for iPhone is two-fold:

1. I can ditch my wallet and carry my cards with my phone. (NFC not ubiquitous here in the UK, but I'll be ready when it is!)

2. Each time I put the phone in or out of the pouch, not only the screen but the camera lens gets a good clean too!





These are my affiliate links to get the fitBAG and the credit card holder from Amazon.co.uk -

 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Business Planning

As I work on the business plan for the "Candid Keepsakes" service stream of Doco it's clear this stuff is a lot of work! And requires a depth of market research to be more sure of a viable sustainable business.

So, it seems, along with a movie I am producing going into production "soon", this blog may see a few tumbleweeds over the coming weeks. Ongoing shortform thoughts can be found on my Twitter page.

Until the next update,
Pax Copia.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

My First Doco Shot on iPhone 6 Plus

It's less than 15 minutes long and was created entirely on the iPhone. And if that wasn't enough, well, you'll see what happens at the end.



My observations about using the iPhone/iMovie combo:

1. When watching this on my 50" Panasonic TV, it seems to gamma up the low-light stuff which otherwise can look very dark on the iPhone screen or laptop screen. Weird. Very 20th century, all this TV gamma. I keep my other screens intentionally dimmer (including iPhone) so as not to tire out my eyes, so that may be one explanation.

2. iMovie for 64bit iOS on iPhone really would benefit from the advanced edit mode - to enable easy J- and L- cuts.

3. iMovie for 64bit iOS really needs to allow me to do other things whilst uploading the finished movie. Keeping iMovie in the foreground and tying up my phone just reminds me of the patience needed when your desktop computer was tied up rendering with Adobe Premiere 4.2 fifteen years ago or so.

4. iMovie for 64bit iOS would benefit from a better way to scrub through longer form projects. Although the Pinnacle Studio for iOS Storyboard view would be an improvement, that's not perfect either.

5. The iPhone 6 Plus video camera performs very well with all its Focus Pixels and stuff.

6. The audio on the video recorded by iPhone never ceases to impress me. On playback I was able to hear speech that I wasn't able to discern intelligibly in the live environment. Wow. I hope Apple keep on top form in the audio area. It may go unnoticed by the vast majority of users, but not by me.

7. I'm now used to the size of the iPhone 6 Plus. It is tricky to use one-handed when reaching on the homescreen or typing, and in landscape mode I find typing even less accurate and more uncomfortable. Swype is great, when it's working. Fortunately I missed the iOS 8.0.1 update. I tend to cup with one hand, use Swype with one finger on the other hand. Swyping one-handed for me is close, but no cigar. Can't do it consistently.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Update On Adjustable Glif with iPhone 6 Plus

Having used the glif with the Manfrotto pixi, I can't recomment the glif adjustable tripod adapter for field use (although controlled studio use will likely be fine). Why not? Watch the vid below.




I do have an alternate solution winging its way to me from Europe, more on that when it arrives.


Monday, 22 September 2014

How To Keep Swype As Your Default Keyboard in iOS 8.0, errrr maybe

I've loved Swype since my Android days so was really pleased when Nuance brought it to Apple's iOS 8 on iPhone.

However. Since installing it, I've noticed that apps and iOS itself appear to fallback to the baked-in iOS keyboard from time to time, not sure why. (NOTE: it is by-design that the native Apple keyboard appears for input into password fields - brownie point from me!)

I've now re-arranged my keyboard list so that Swype appears at the top (previously, it had been at the bottom) and - so far - so good.

So if you're having some keyboard bother with iOS 8 'forgetting' to present you with your third party keyboard by default, this could be worth trying.



EDIT: This doesn't work. Between and Swype and iOS 8 it appears there are some remaining bugs to be ironed out! In the mean-time, it's simpler for me to remove Swype from the Keyboard selection to save my sanity. Patiently awaiting the next iOS and Swype updates and I'll try try again.

EDIT: There's an update to Swype released!


 

Friday, 19 September 2014

iPhone 6 Plus, Youtube, and Me

Just trying out some new filters in iMovie iOS 8:



And a quick test recording with my iPhone 6 Plus (source is 60fps, not sure it will survive the transcoding to Youtube but it did take an absolute age to upload):

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Manfrotto Pixi - excellent mini-tripod

The Manfrotto Pixi drew me in with its dual use hand-held design, easy-lock head, and brand reputation. Not disappointed. (Oh and I bought it at a reduced price from Amazon.co.uk).




The video above was just a bit of fun, getting to know the cuts in Corel's Pinnacle Studio for iOS (formerly an Avid branded product). I like the Pinnacle iOS software a lot in terms of actual editing vs iOS iMovie. However it appears to have glitched somewhere between final render and Youtube presentation. So I will proceed with it on future projects with caution. Could be a iOS 8 bug since that's newly released. There's no easy-peasy way to add royalty-free music for commercial use either (unlike iMovie - OK not many tunes to choose from but some music can sometimes be preferable to zero music).

I really like the Pixi too - makes it easier to grip the iPhone in a more tactile manner, and put it down somewhere to record/rest. Quick levelling, great. Obviously if you want any pan and tilt you will be the human tripod relying on digital signal processing and optical image stabilisation for effortless professional results (shhhh - don't tell the professionals!)

It's really come down to this - one man and his smartphone at one end, and a minimum 60 man crew and video village support and rider winnebago logistics at the other end. Everything else? The mushy middle.

Stay remarkable. Stay frosty.


fugly? Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite Beta)

Functionally improved, visually a little retarded?



Looks like preparation for resolution independence through scalable vector graphics to me. Though we've been here before a few years ago, it didn't quite unify and mature in the way I expected - probably because of that pesky iPhone showing up in 2007.

One thing's for sure - Apple has a plethora of screen resolutions to deal with and a whole bunch of forking fragmentation creeping up on them. I'd be surprised if Apple are not self-aware and already on it in some manner. Their scaling solution is not as 'clean' as I'd expect from Apple. SvG, is.

And circular application icons? Where did I see those recently? (Okay so circular icon bias is not new).

I'm mulling over subscribing to the 79p 20GB iCloud Drive but mentally I have a hard time becoming dependent on anything that requires I regularly pay money for something I could get by without. Though I suppose, if I can't find 79p every month I must have bigger problems than fretting over cloud storage options. The mindset of the soon-to-be self-employment revenue stream!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Attach a Condenser Microphone to iPhone

I'm still looking for the perfect microphone to accompany my iPhone (hint: perfection does not exist except perhaps using double-system but that is a magnitude of additional admin which is out of scope of this post).

I was also looking for a way to attach a microphone to the iPhone. This is the result.




Sunday, 14 September 2014

White Cube Project Progress

Needs another coat and some lino. Maybe a duvet on the wall. It'll get there. 



 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Will iPhone 6 Plus fit the Studio Neat Glif tripod mount

Since I won't have the real thing in my hands until Friday at the earliest, I printed out a paper template to test if my adjustable glif will better serve me on eBay:



The Glif is available from Amazon online and there's more than a few cheap imitators out there too!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Here's Dell's Smartphone With 5" Screen

Note the date and Android 2.1 (IIRC). My photographic evidence that I am in no way hypocritical for bagging myself iPhone 6 Plus this morning! The phone in these pictures was my phone. Heck, I took the pictures too!





Whatever happened to the Dell Streak?

And will Microsoft leap on the opportunity to be a leader in small smartphones? Doubtful.

Pre-Ordered: Apple iPhone 6 Plus 128GB, Silver

The idea is to run my video biography business on this little big device that I can fit in my pocket.


I placed the pre-order just after 8:30am UK time, looks like I got lucky.

If you are wondering what my phone service costs, I am on ThreeUK aka 3. I use PAYG, they do a useful £15 pcm add-on with all-you-can-eat data. ThreeUK actually encourage you to do VoIP and eat data, unlike just about any other phone company I've tried. In my eyes, ThreeUK are foresighted in that respect. In terms of coverage they give me the best most consistent data coverage out here in the sticks.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Airninja is the method

As things come into focus, and after a sober conversation with a good friend, I was reminded how much I enjoy creating documentary.

Another piece of of personal self-employment puzzle slides into place:

AirNinja is the method.

Miker is the madness.

Now, doco is the manufacture.

The time seems perfect for citizen cinema, new reality beyond 2008's frugalwave.

Sole Runner Ouch

After a couple of days wearing it's clear these cannot be my everyday shoe (note the sore red line on my foot, caused by the Sole Runner Vario).





Back to the Vivobarefoot Gobi it is then!

10 Reasons: iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus or Something Else?

Short Version
Let's say if the rumours of a 5.5" iPhone turned out to be false I was going to move forward with an iPad Mini purchase (having previously evaluated the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom). But Apple have announced UK pre-ordering for the iPhone 6 Plus starting Friday 12th September 2014.

I'm probably going to go for the white/silver colour.



Long Version
Remember I am framing my decision around compact capablities, clutter reduction, media acquisition and production - with an established baseline of a device with every-day communication and messaging capability. Convergence in a world of natural divergence.

Firstly, shooting video and then also recording digitial audio through the lightning connector is going to require power. The bigger the battery, the more shooting before recharging is needed. When recording using the Apogee MiC or other Lightning microphone, the port is not available for simultaneous charging. While workable on an iPhone 5s and prior comparable devices (I have shot an entire frugalwave feature film on iPhone 4S), having a bigger battery that lasts longer reduces admin and increases confidence. An iPad Mini is great in this respect, but just like the larger sized iPad, it does not have the compact capability to slip into a pocket. So the iPhone 6 Plus seems a good choice.

Secondly, when monitoring video I find the iPhone 5s screen is not an ideal size. It's fine for close-ups but more difficult for me to judge long shot compositions for focus points. Again, I find the iPad Mini is a great size for this, but yet again the call of pocketability sees me gravitating toward iPhone every time. So a 5.5" screen on the iPhone 6 Plus seems like the perfect middle ground.

Thirdly, continuing on the established theme of the iPhone 6 Plus, it has optical image stabilisation when taking video. Although the iPhone 5s digitial image stabilisation is pretty good (and apps like Hyperlapse co-ordinate with the device's gyroscope to make it even better), the iPhone 6 Plus will offer a definite, if incremental, improvement.

Fourthly, I am digging Touch ID on the iPhone 5s. There is currently no class of iPad that offers Touch ID (although they are undoubtedly coming).

Fifthly, I have already consolidated my wallet with my iPhone 5s using a Pack&Smooch. Getting an iPad reverses my personal minimalism trend by giving me "one more thing" to carry about.

Sixthly, the iPhone 6 Plus has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 and supports shooting 1080P video at 60fps. The iPhone 5s can shoot 60fps, heck it can even shoot 2K and 4K but it is unsupported by Apple. That means those unsupported modes may not be as robust as I need it out in the field. The Plus fixes that concern.

Seventhly, editing video on the 5.5" screen of the Plus will be a dream compared to editing it on the 5s 4" screen. Secretly I'm also hoping that the 5.5" phablet will also unlock some of the 'iPad only' features of iMovie like L-cuts and J-cuts - then I might even consider editing something longer form on iOS (my aforementioned feature film was shot on iPhone 4S and edited on a MacBook using Final Cut Pro X).

Eighthly, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 'focus pixels' that bring DSLR autofocus speeds to iPhoneography are a welcome addition. Considering this may be the last expensive thing I can buy for a long long long time, it makes sense to have as much useful capability packed into it as possible.

Ninethly, let's face it, that 5.5" screen will totally trump the 4" screen for gaming. When I had an iPad Mini I was totally into racing games like the Asphalt and Need For Speed series, but with my older eyes those games put me at a major disadvantage on a 4" screen.

Tenthly, I continue to be impressed with iPhone audio given the constraints on playback and recording. As far as I know, Tomlinson Holman remains an audio consultant to Apple. I expect the number of useful Lightning audio peripherals to expand over the next decade.


Conclusion
So for me, for the intended purpose, it seems like the iPhone 6 Plus would be a good buy. Since we're talking HD video acquisition and editing, it would be foolish to plump for anything other than the 128GB version in terms of storage.

But what colour?

I have given this some thought, as you might expect. I really like the black faceplates, I really like them, all Monolith-like. So I decided I will get the white and silver version.

Why?

As much as I like the black, the white faceplate makes it much easier to see the edges of the frame you are shooting and thus potentially aid in composition. That's the only practical reason. My other reasoning is purely psychological - white looks 'lighter' which somehow looks 'smaller' and 'airy' - so what other colour would the airninja choose?!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Apple Watch, Apple Turnover. Who wears a watch?

Disclosure: I haven't worn a watch for over ten years.

A statistic I read recently stated that 54% of people today don't wear a watch. Further, there was a claim that you can sell another watch to someone who already has 20 watches but you will have a really hard time selling a watch to someone who is content without one.

So Apple's watch is undoubtedly a device which will polarise people; marketing 101.

Personally, I don't do jewellry nor fashion. The Apple Watch, more than anything, currently looks to me like an iPhone accessory (yes, the $350 device requires you already own a modern iPhone). Don't get me wrong though - Apple have clearly re-invented the watch, the interface looked well designed and like nothing on offer from the competition.

What might get my interest - an Apple Watch which is your personal profile on your wrist with basic data internet comms and you can wirelessly connect to screens and other peripherals. Now, I'd say that's 5 - 10 years out, if it ever arrives before the Apple Tattoo.

From a purely minimalist viewpoint - it's well known that categories diverge over time (look at the iPhone timeline from 2007 as a good example) and that falling into the brand extension trap can muddy the prospect's perspective. In terms of keeping my life simple and uncluttered, and distancing myself from technology and interruptions the Apple Watch isn't for me. I do think it will appeal to teenage girls who love the illusion of attention that constant interruptions bring. And anyone with similiar psychology.

In short, I don't yet see a "must have" reason for the Apple Watch as announced.

As a former 5" Dell Streak user I have far more to be excited about with the release of the iPhone 6 Plus.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sole Runner Vario minimalist boot / shoe

They took a few days to arrive from mainland Europe but my new all-season minimalist boots by Sole Runner came today (via Amazon.co.uk).

Initially the thermal inserts were installed but a few seconds after putting the shoes on it became clear that currently the weather here in the UK is too hot. So I removed the inserts - I'll save them for when it's freezing weather.

Without the inserts the shoes felt much more roomy and less snug on my feet, but in a positive openly free way.

One niggle - on my right foot it felt like a seam was digging in along the top of my foot, felt similar to an insect bite. Annoying but manageable to ignore. Would this be a point of abrasion and tear the top of my foot to pieces? Watch the video to find out.



Overall I'm very happy with the Sole Runner Vario, coming from Vivobarefoot Gobi with no in-soles. The Vario gave me zero blisters so far which is a feat only Vivobarefoot has managed previously. I do think there is a high chance the Vario will become my 'go to' everyday shoe. Personally I like the high-top since I do not wear socks and although the Gobi are extremely comfortable, I can feel 'exposed' because I do not wear socks.

Thanks to minimalist shoes I haven't worn socks for over a year now and I don't anticipate ever wearing socks again under normal conditions.

Yellowtec iXM - power cycle combinations



This is a robust metal bodied solid state microphone recorder. The shank of the mic holds all the electronics necessary for recording (with a compressor and limiter by default, too).

Whenever I use this microphone I can never remember how to switch it on or off. So I made this quick reminder howto video. Using iMovie. On iPhone.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review: Attach iPhone 6 / 6L to Tripod using Glif adapter

New iPhone, new form factor! Here's how to stop worrying about the size of your smartphone and learn to love the atomic bomb. Or, at least, embrace the Glif on all phones going forward and not be distracted by the bombshell of iPhone physical dimension changes.

Check out the video below for an overview.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Digital Lightning iOS Microphone Round-up (plus a couple extra dual system!)

Today I put together a video that compares the following microphones:

1. iPhone 5s onboard mic.

2. IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD.

3. Zoom IQ5.

4. Apogee MiC (96k).

5. iRig Pro pre-amp with Sennheiser K6/ME64.

6. Yellowtec iXM with Beyer Dynamic hypercardioid TOTO head.

7. Nagra SD (green band stereo mic).

Part of this experiment is to determine the value of diminishing returns - should you spend £1000 on a dedicated portable recorder when an iOS and digital Lightning microphone that costs £100 might do the job adequately?

You'll notice I recorded at full gain where possible. This results in a possibly skewed subjective result - however it should serve to help you determine the sensitivity of each microphone solution relative to noise floor etc (although it's just a normal room in a house with the soundman's favourite the fridge-freezer about 20 feet to the right).

After reviewing the results myself it has cemented my opinion on my favourite(s).

The recording below has been through the mangle of iPhone AAC codec compression, FCPX render, and whatever Youtube decides to do with it, but nonetheless it will give you an idea of the character of each microphone.

Quest Continues For My Perfect Footwear

Ordered: Sole Runner Vario all-season minimalist boot.



After realising I am actually a size 7 in Vivobarefoot and consequently looking for a autumn/winter minimalist boot, I started looking for the Vivobarefoot Scott. No avail, not available anywhere I can find in a 7.

I've been through a lot of shoes the last couple of years, but I keep going back to the Vivobarefoot Gobi- but I really want a higher-top so I don't have to worry about feeling weird about not wearing socks. Some weatherproofing could be useful too.

Then the Sole Runner shows up as a suggestion and I look into it. Seems pretty good, ticks a lot of boxes for me. I guess I'll find out. From what I've read, seems like I'll be a size 7, so that's what I'm taking a punt on (and Amazon makes returns relatively painless in my experience).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tip of the Fappening: Don't Use A Password

Use a passphrase.

The psychology of marketing posits that the Fappening will remain a net positive for Apple iCloud in terms of brand awareness.

For legal images there is HollywoodTuna.

EVOL movie gets a soundtrack album release

Among my many talents is picture editing, and EVOL is one such output of my skills in that area (I recall I may have done some EVOL dialogue editing too, but it was a few months ago and my memory is fogged by more current events with live action Sexton Lovecraft preproduction).

You can get the EVOL album and see the official trailer  by clicking here.

Below is an initial trailer that was cut before the movie had been fully assembled. Enjoy!


Want to know more about the invisible art of dialogue editing? This book spills all the beans you'll ever need about it.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

iPhone 6 Apparently Has 1GB RAM And That Could Be a Good Thing

So what if the not-yet-shipping iPhone 6 has 1GB RAM?

With ever faster SSD, RAM starts to look more and more like a high speed cache, no? Also, addressing 1GB of RAM is more power efficient than addressing 1TB RAM, no?

I haven't noticed any issues with my iPhone 5s operating with 1GB RAM, I have no reason to believe that the iPhone 6 with 1GB of RAM would not perform equally or better.

So frankly I don't care if the iPhone 6 has 1GB RAM, it's all about the SSD and cloud services for me.

But carry on. Get into a frenzy and feed the hype machine by having an emotional reaction to the amount of RAM installed in an iPhone that officially nobody outside of Apple knows anything about.

Now Available On The Smartphone In Your Pocket

I find this 1974 video captivating and all the more impressive that 40 years later you can achieve the same smooth results using Instagram's Hyperlapse video at 1x speed on iPhone 5s. Gyroscopes are cool and Apple were right to take them mainstream, right?


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Arrived: Auraglow LED 20W floodlight (e.200W)

Here's a quick test of my new LED floodlight in a dark corner of the house. Whilst it might not chuck out as many lumens as I'm accustomed to with a 500W halogen, today's cameras are much more sensitive to light - even the pocket iPhone outperforms the Ferguson VideoStar VHS which needed a 1kW light indoors.



At time of writing is half price at Amazon UK (reduced from £99).

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Arrived: Apogee MiC 96k

Here's a quick out-of-the-box test with the mic at full gain.

I like to do "distance testing" to gauge sensitivity (subjectively). It let's me know how things will sound when the mic cannot be place optimally.




I bought my Apogee MiC from Amazon UK.

Unlike the lovely Blue microphones, the Apogee MiC will work with iPhone 5s and so far I think it sounds great, and has a lot of potential with the serious iPhoneographer. (is there such a thing as a serious iPhoneographer?!)

A Quick Note on LED Lighting

I've been using my COB 5 Watt LED worklight for a few days now and have been really impressed. This is from someone who is used to working with lights that also generate a lot of heat (an old school halogen 1kW bulb is like working with an electric heater).

Really looking forward to taking delivery of the Auraglow 20W LED worklight and dazzling myself.

Gels and diffusers don't catch fire and  a lack of gaffer's gloves won't see you lose your fingerprints.

Oh - and they run cordless for about 3 hours when needed and are claimed to be weather-proof. (I'm not yet convinced about the weather proofing!)

Really, what's not to like?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

AirNinja - Origins (Part 2)

So the stage is set, I know when my world changes (October 25th 2014). It is highly likely, virtually now written and agreed, that I exit full-time salaried employment on that date. Stand, blinking at the light from the big wide world.

A big wide world that is actually very local.

For any self-employment it's really important to deal with realities rather than the philosophies.

However, I'm a sucker for philosophies and design meaning, and dare I say, branding.

I need to start trading locally under a memorable name, but it has to be a name (a brand) that encapsulates what I am about, so that I am reminded every day what my mode of operation should be. A name can always be changed but it's tough to dick with an established brand down the road. Best get it as close to good as possible right at the beginning.

"Mike Ltd" just isn't going to cut it - although it does somewhat allude to sound recording (microphones) that is technical detail that supports the service, not the service mode.

One really important thing is that in a world of gadgets and gear, I wanted to minimise of the amount of crap I have to carry from job-to-job. Take it to the extreme. Travel light. In my 'barefoot' shoes.

I also have a love of creating Cinema Direct and the filmmakers who work in that genre and its offshoots, like Dogmé. Currently working on #frugalwave filmed entertainment titles is very rewarding both in personal and technical growth.

So. Really light and capable, remaining agile. No intimidating gear to lug about. What sums that all up succinctly?

You have no idea how many hours I mulled this over!

Then it struck me - sound is air molecules vibrating, and I have an emotional attachment to sound and music. Also, in terms of kit, right now I use a lot of Apple stuff - iPhone, MacBook Air ... wait ... there's that word again, 'air'. Part of my self employment is a focus on 'new wave' appliance computing such as Apple delivers with its devices.

Ninja - that's slightly more convoluted and based on my historical and cultural knowledge which is no doubt incorrect and mishmashed. However, I will expose my ignorance here:

If a ninja is invisible - and they are famous for not being seen, right? - then they are like air, too. Really, the ninja was only invisible because he would blend into society and use every day tools as weapons. Much like how proponents of Cinema Direct use every day common tools (consumer gear) to create their work. Not so hung up on an ideal, more concerned with getting a job done skillfully with whatever tools are on hand. This is where Japan and China mush into taoism; I'm out of my depth historically and culturally.

Early on in my life I identified with the I Ching (all thanks to Olly) partly because it was omitted from school's 'Religious Studies' and mostly because it is not a religion, it is a self-divination philosophy.

Circa 1993 is my first video recording (long since lost) where I used hexagram 57 as a 'logo'. I understood the hexagram to broadly mean 'persistent influence' at the time - I only had one I Ching book translation and the world wide web did not exist in the vernacular.

Hexagram 57 carried through right to my first adventures in running a Limited company in the UK. Back then persistence was a mantra for busting into the film industry, and influence was two way recognition - I am influenced and I am capable of influence.

Now seemed like a good time to dig it up and re-examine its meaning. Penetrating, wind. Air. Ninja. All seems to fit except airninja is only a part of the whole (of my mode of operation and business planning). The trigram, Xun, also it kind of looks like a stylised 'A'. It seems to be primarily associated with wind (air). So I will use the trigram as the basis for the 'logo'.

Though I'm least comfortable describing myself as any sort of ninja because I have zero claim on that heritage and am no martial artist, I do identify somewhat with the urban dictionary definition of ninja - or perhaps not. They have become a caricature but that does at least make a ninja slightly more endearing.

In short, I can live with the name airninja without cringing. These things matter to me.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Testing an iOS Lightning Extension Cable for Recording Digital Audio

So, if my airninja dream is to use iOS devices for professional field recording with a mic on a stick, then some decent extension cabling will be needed (at least until it can all be reliably and robustly integrated into your wPAN - wireless Personal Area Network).

The cable description assures me it is good for "audio and video" unlike some cheaper cables that don't have all the pins wired up and are only good for charging.

When it arrives I'll be sure to test it with my current favourite microphone (in terms of ease of use with iOS), the iRig HD vocal mic.

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TEST RESULT: FAIL

Apple Certified Training - Worth It?

Preparing to run my Apple, nay, iOS, centric business I looked into the value of taking official Apple training and certification in just hardware.

My conclusion?

Unless you want to be a slave to Apple, forget it. It reminds me of working with paper MCPs back in the day. A piece of paper guarantees nothing anywhere in the economic stack - an illusion of the highest order.

Additionally, since my business will be servicing and repairing out-of-warranty hardware and devices, the official certification (which concentrates on "keeping up to date") seems even more moot.

I'd rather be certified by iFixit or IEEE or ISO than Apple, frankly.

If you do want to do the Apple training you can purchase the AppleCare Technician Training module and then sign up with Pearson Vue to take the exam.

Good luck!


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Ordered: Apogee MiC 96k



This purchase should get to me beginning September 2014. I intend to assess it against the IK iRig HD microphone which I already own and really like - because it's digital and jacks straight into the Lightning connector of a modern iOS device.

Ultimately I am looking to ditch my field recorders in favour of iOS based solution(s) - learning to love iOS Voice Memos. Having said that, I'm not aware of any binaural recording mic pair that will jack straight into a Lightning port ... #StealThisIdea

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Quick update:

I haven't received the MiC yet, but it looks like it ships with a pretty short lightning cable. Since I've not yet found a brand of Lightning extension cable that works with a digital mic, the best bet with the Apogee MiC is to get the 3 metre cable for location sound recording and interview situations.

AirNinja - Origins (Part 1)

I haven't blogged regularly since, oh, about 2004. Back then I was blogging a daily production diary for my feature length entertainment, Crooked Features.

For the past decade I've been busy in the trenches of Information Technology, being exposed to running a large - very, very large - private corporation.

So the time is coming when there will be a formal abend to my career at said large private corporation.

October 25th, 2014 to be be exact.

As a supporter of globalisation (the good kind, not the bomb-dropping kind) it would be hypocritical of me not to support my job going to India.

That's just it though isn't it? It's just a job.

Where is the passion? You can only bang your head against the silver haired ceiling so many times within a corporation before realising the person with real power to make your life exciting stares at you in the mirror.

All I needed was an opportunity.

Well, it's coming for me. October 2014.

Although it's not quite that simple, that is the best way to describe how the need arose for me to release my inner airninja, to take advantage of this "bad news" in the most taoist way. Good and Bad do not exist except in the Greek Dualist philosophies of Western culture. Philosophies do not necessarily translate to nuanced realities.

Shift happens.

Apple Notes Rant

After trying to restore my Apple Notes after a rage quit, I have realised the rage quit was the Right Thing to do.

Why?

Apple Notes (on Mavericks and iOS etc) should be called Apple Records. It's a database. Nary a .txt or .rtf to be found in the file system.

You can restore ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/ but iCloud will see you did a rage quit already and delete them all again based on date.

Time Machine is not talking to Notes, so good luck. (Potential for a 20th century style system clock workaround maybe? But I can't be arsed to try).

Of course my Notes are just notes, I don't particularly care - I do care about ASCII and Unicode and markdown, I don't care for little text files being holed up in a fricking database. Touch each record, I'm sure they could be restored back to iCloud but right now that doesn't happen.

For now, I'm keeping my notes as text files on Dropbox and using the text editor of my choice to keep notes. Notes that I know could be restored by an air ninja if required.