Video Edit

Currently in the process of editing the latest video, which is about all the different materials that can be routed on the Torque CNC, with the Toolstoday Master Collection of router bits.

Currently have 2 hours of video, shot on 6 devices simultaneously.  And about another 1 – 2 hours of recording to go.  By the time I’m finished, I will have had to edit 24 hours of raw footage into the final video.  No wonder it is taking some time!!

And for a completely random bit of information, the Stu’s Shed twitter feed has just passed 1000 followers.  Not a lot in the scheme of things, but still a cool waypoint from my perspective.

2.5 Million

Another small milestone reached – 2,500,000 direct visitors to the site.

This is not counting that about 50% of the site views are now done through social media – email, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, RSS – too hard to quantify, so I’ll stick with the site counter to keep track of a portion at least!

Still skating on the very edge of 400 Facebook followers (397), 417 email followers, 995 on Twitter, 11 Google+, 431 YouTube, 302 Feedburner, and I have no idea how many are now subscribed to the podcast!

 

And I still do it simply because I’m having fun!  For those keeping track, the site will be 8 years old at the end of June.

Classic House

Watching an old episode of “House” and came across the following quote.  Seemed too good not to share!  From the episode “Clueless”, Season 2.

 

[Wilson is flipping through House’s TiVo selections]

Dr. James Wilson: Now, why do you have a season pass to The New Yankee Workshop?

Dr. Gregory House: It’s a complete moron working with power tools, how much more suspenseful can you get?

 

Ah, the good old days, when there was still some woodworking content on the pay-TV channels.  Seems to have taken a bit of hiatus.

Speaking of having taken a hiatus, things have been a bit quiet around here as well. Short story is simply – I needed a bit of a break.  Getting to the end of the year is always a real push, and last year was certainly no exception, and when it all piles on, the website gets squeezed for time and mental space.

After the typical chaos of Christmas, the family headed to Echuca-Moama for a week, which has been a chance to recharge the batteries somewhat.  43C days are not always the most relaxing, but the time out was good.

Been out in the shed this afternoon, blowing out some figurative, and literal cobwebs.  A combination of getting the tools working, and the grey tool between the ears.

I was making some test pieces for the next “The Shed” magazine article that I will be working on over the next 3 days. It involves a particularly long tambour door in a rather different way (as in, it is definitely not a door, nor is it designed to slide!)

And time for a reflection on the past year in the new shed.  Yes, it is 12 months ago today that construction of the current shed was finally completed!

 

Photographic Improvements

Been having some down time over the Christmas break, both of the deliberate, and of the forced varieties. (Got rather sick after finishing work-guess the body decided I could afford to succumb once the stress of work appeared to have eased up. Stupid body!)

Other than a bit of mental space, family time, and time to knock over a couple of Lego builds, I’ve also been familiarising myself with a new camera.

2014 has seen a significant improvement in my setup for audio, video and stills.

I’ve added a Canon HFG30 video camera to the lineup, some Rode mics, a motorised slider for timelapse, and most recently (thanks Santa!) a new camera body and lens.

While photos for the blog don’t require the most sophisticated cameras (screen resolution is still very low for web-based images), I have a regular gig for a couple of magazines as well, and they do need decent res images. Not to mention that I have been resorting to using the iPhone for a number of blog images, and while pretty amazing for a camera based around a phone, it is still a very small lens, and tiny chip!

I had a very long debate about what route to go with the camera. I have been using Minolta for almost 30 years (although that sadly became Konica-Minolta, and the Sony in the last 10 or so), so have a lot of lenses, etc for that mount. It was very tempting to bite the bullet and head down the Canon or Nikon routes, but a combination of nostalgia, still having a lot of Minolta glass (and flash), and some really interesting points of difference between Sony and the other brands finally kept me with the same mount.

My first (semi-serious) camera (not counting an Exacta that I still have, which was the very first brand of 35mm SLR)

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was a Minolta 7000. That was the world’s first body-integrated AF camera.

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A few years later, I added what is still my favourite camera, the Minolta 9000. Titanium body, with both manual and motorised film advance, spot metering, and a bunch of other features, I loved this camera.

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I used to run both the 7000 and 9000, with B&W in the 7000, and Fuji Velvia slide film in the 9000. I’d still be running both these cameras, except (sadly), the digital photographic age dawned. I stayed away for quite a while, but when Minolta (then Konica-Minolta) came out with their digital SLR, the impressive 6MP 7D, I was tempted to the darkside.

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Unlike film cameras, digital cameras have a definite lifespan, and while my 7000 and 9000 are still working fine, the 7D died a few years later. This was replaced with a camera that I really suffered, the Sony A55. (Minolta had departed the photographic scene by that point, and had sold everything over to Sony, including the A mount). It was the end of the Minolta/Sony SLR, as in this case, the mirror is fixed, and there is no optical viewfinder with pentaprism head, so no longer a reflex. Instead the mirror is semi-transparent, and it is known as an SLT, or single-lens translucent. One advantage of this is the high frame rates now possible, with the A55 able to run up to 10fps.

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While functional, the lack of control, and overall quality of the images has been a source of frustration, so with it also reaching end-of-life (prematurely), the latest body has been added to my collection.

The Sony A77 Mk ii.

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I’m loving this camera. There is so much control over it, it is taking a bit of a learning curve, but with 24MP SLT, 12FPS, vertical grip, etc etc, it is proving a fun camera to use.

While the body was not cheap, the real splurge has been the new lens.

A Carl Zeiss 24-70 f2.8

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This is a drool-worthy lens. Over 900g (twice the weight of the lens it is replacing), 77mm front end, a constant f2.8, and Zeiss glass.

First trials indicate this is an impressive combination of camera and lens. We will have it in the workshop soon enough, and although it probably won’t improve the online offerings much, it should make a difference to the printed articles, and allow me to easily get sharp images once again.

First footage using the Axis360

The panning slider has arrived, so have done a very quick test to see how it can work.  Smooth!  Going to be really interesting to incorporate it into the video equipment lineup.

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(Video test only – no sound)

New additions

With the recent spate of videos (and more to come!), I’ve added a couple of new items to the lineup, which in one way gets me back to where I was a few years ago.

Back then, I was recording on 2 cameras simultaneously (sometimes even a third), which gave me a lot of options for editing. They were tape-based cameras, so they were generating a lot of tapes for storage (not that a miniDV tape takes up a lot of room), but the transfer time was horrendous (having to be done in real-time), and so an hour of recorded footage would take 2-3 hours just to get it into the computer to edit.

Those cameras have died along the way (another consequence of physical mechanisms, and modern quality), and so a couple of years or so ago, I went with the Canon HFS20, which is solid state, with both 32GB of onboard memory, as well as a couple of SD slots, which I primarily use with a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card.

That has been a great camera, so most recently I was looking for a second to add, and came across a very recent addition from Canon, the HFG30. Again, it uses 2 SD slots, so would fit straight into my current workflow, and it is a seriously spec’ed camera. So that is what is joining the lineup.

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I seriously did look at a second SLR (or SLT in Sony’s case), but some initial tests were rather disappointing, with the camera overheating consistently during long recordings, making it too unreliable to be a serious solution. I know SLRs are now commonly used in the field for HD video, but they are (it seems) for short takes at best. I prefer to set the cameras up and recording without pauses, so the resulting footage is easy to edit, as it, and the audio tracks, remain in sync and don’t need to be rekeyed up each time a camera is stopped.

The other, minor addition, is a new lavalier mic. Rather than a wireless solution, this one plugs directly into the iPhone, and records to the Røde app. It is as much a backup recording, independent of the cameras (although I will have to remember to put the phone into airplane mode to stop those annoying calls interrupting the recording, let alone interrupting quality shed time!)

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So that is the current news anyway. Been uncomfortably busy recently, thus the lack of posts. I did manage a little bit of shed time on Sunday, starting the build for the next magazine article.

1940s Vocational Film

Not sure if I have posted this before, but in case I haven’t…..

A 1940s vocational film on woodworking.  Back when the world was a simpler place, and you didn’t need a degree to sell McDonalds chips.

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