Digital Impact and Equity of Donald Trump: Post Republican Debate #GOPdebate


Up until this point, I have not really paid much attention to both the Republican and Democratic debates for their respective party nominations. But the biggest thing that caught my attention was the decision by the Trump camp they were not going to take part in the live debate hosted by Fox News. He decided to boycott the debate and host his own television show for the Wounded Warriors Project.

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Are we truly a divided America or has the digital chasm has been crossed?

I ask you…are we truly a divided America? Have we thrown up the ideological lines in the sand? Or do we just have better access to media and technologies that provide an outlet for our voice?

The digital chasm has been crossed with more American’s gaining access to connected technologies. Internet access used to be this “elite” luxury where the only access was in metropolitan areas, large businesses, and large educational institutions. Now, more and more areas have become connected from rural America to other socioeconomic demographics; more Americans can go online to read and react.

So has access to knowledge and information created a divided nation? Has access to social websites and mobile platforms provided a place for too many people to voice their opinions.

I say we are the vocal melting pot with a diverse cultural impact. We come from so many different backgrounds, experiences, cultures, knowledge bases that now we can share in places we once had limited access. The smart phone has transformed the way we communicate where we can share our thoughts in real time. A Google search provides real time results to peoples thoughts, pictures, videos, and all the relevant information that provides context to our culture..

The social search is alive and well and it is this technological breakthrough that provides those with an opinion a platform to share. Whether we agree, disagree, or react; we are not a part of a division…we are a sum of all parts. Social media is now the platform that crosses all socioeconomic backgrounds, a platform for our voice to be heard.

We now have a place to share our story.

Happy Birthday to a nation that provides the liberty and the knowledge that allows us to share the one thing that makes us whole…our voice.

***Image from ThomasPMBarnett.com

GoPro makes Wide Angle and Fisheye Cool

***Video is from GoPro’s YouTube account.

For years I have been shooting with wide angle and fisheye lens. Whether it is with my still image cameras or video cameras, I have always purchased wide angle and fisheye adapters. If you have ever worked with me, you will notice me constantly using this look whether for interviews or cool, interesting shots. I have purchased many different wide angle lens adapters for my broadcast cameras, prosumer cameras, and even my Canon EOS digital cameras. I am willing to spend more on the glass than the camera itself…whether it is Century Optics, Canon, or Sigma lenses.

From the earliest days of my career in broadcast television as a photojournalist, I have always used this perspective…to me this makes the picture warm, visually interesting, and intriguing. Most people react to the style with strong opinions…you either like it or you don’t. Trust me…I have many mixed reviews, regardless I love this style and look. These perspectives sometimes bring a sense of curvature to the image.

So I just purchased my first GoPro camera, which is a small compact camera with the ability to capture HD 1080p images using a standard wide angle lens. This perspective gives an 170 degree perspective. These cameras have taken on the extreme sport scene, providing a rich perspective as they are mounted in places like the front of a surf board or the wing of a plane. But…what you will notice are the wide angle perspectives in the videos captured, giving a complete viewpoint of the whole “subjects'” surroundings.

If you watch the video above, you can see all the different ways people are using these cameras…making the wide angle look and interesting, appealing, and widely accepted practice of capturing images.  I love this look and love the warmth it brings to the screen.

I also like what GoPro is doing on the digital/social media front. Their website is rich with lots of product descriptions, images, and YouTube videos showing how customers/professionals are using these cameras. They also have a place for people to submit videos they have shot with their GoPro cameras for use in future promotions. Even better, they have the Daily Giveaway where people sign-up to win their products daily.

If you go to their Facebook Page, it is nothing extravagent…just fans submitting videos and pictures shot with their GoPro cameras. “Simple” must work for them in the social media world…they have over 1.3 million “Likes” on their Facebook Page.

Bottom line…GoPro is making the wide angle and fisheye look cool, innovative, and mainstream. I am a fan of the look and the camera!

Do you notice these types of shots in videos? Do you like the fisheye look? Love to hear your thoughts!

Christmas Gadgets: GoPro, Olloclip, and Kindle Fire

This holiday season was filled with another round of cool gadgets. If most people know me…I love gadgets and love playing with new toys. So this year, the three presents that come to mind are the GoPro Hero2 camera, Olloclip lens adapter for the iPhone4(s), and the Kindle Fire. Sarah gave me the GoPro Hero2 and the Olloclip for my iPhone4s and I gave her the Kindle Fire. So here are some first thoughts after having this gadgets for a short period of time after the Christmas gift exchanges.

GoPro Hero2
This is a great little video camera for those of you video enthusiast. You can purchase this item anywhere from BestBuy, B&H Photo Video online, GoPro.com, or numerous other places online or brick and mortar stores. This will be the one gadget in my “Go Bag” for video shoots this year providing new perspectives as a second camera during interviews and/or when trying to grab interesting shots. GoPro is most famous for being used in extreme sports like surfing, sky diving, snow boarding, and even on planes for interesting shots.

What I Like:

  1. LOVE THE WIDE ANGLE – 170 degree view!
  2. This is a compact camera about the size of a D Battery and can capture video and still images.
  3. Records video at 1080p 30 frames per second and numerous other smaller resolutions.
  4. Captures still images with at 11 megapixels.
  5. I love the waterproof case (up to 197 feet), perfect for recording white water rafting.
  6. The mount with sucution cup…already used it on the front of my car.(CLICK HERE to watch)
  7. Comes with built in microphone.
  8. Has an audio input.
  9. Has a built in HDMI out.
  10. The digital still camera can take pictures in intervals over a period of time for time lapse.
  11. Makes for great second camera in video shoots for wide angle perspective.

Wish list for improvements:

  1. Wish the LED Screen was not an ad-on but a standard part of the camera.
  2. Wish the actual camera had a mountable connection, instead of having to put camera in case to be mounted.
  3. Low light is always going to be an issue with these small image processors. But it still does a decent job.
  4. The waterproof case does not allow you to plug in a a microphone into the audio input.

If you would like to look at the complete description of the camera, CLICK HERE.

Olloclip for iPhone
For you camera/video enthusiasts, the Olloclip is a great addition to your iPhone4 or 4s. This attachment allows you to take the iPhone camera to the next level. It is a wide angle and fisheye adapter that allows you to take images and capture video from a wider perspective. I have been searching for something like this, then I found it in my stocking this year.

What I Like:

  1. Easy slide on and off of the attachment.
  2. Two lens in one attachment. You can flip the attachment around from wide angle to fisheye.
  3. Clear images with this simple slide on attachment as a lens.
  4. Makes the iPhone4(s) a great second camera in video shoots since it acquires the image at 1080p.
  5. The wide angle lens can be removed to make provide a macro lens.

Wish list for improvements:

  1. You have to remove your case of choice to use this attachment. Love to see this company make a case where this attachment integrates as a part of a bigger offering.
  2. Easy to accidentally grab the iPhone in a way where you can get finger prints on the lens.
  3. The adapter slides around sometimes which can distort the image and/or create some artifacts.

You can check out the FAQ’s about the Olloclip by CLICKING HERE.

Kindle Fire
I bought this e-reader for Sarah this Christmas, she loves my iPad but wanted something smaller to read books. Bottom line, this is and e-reader built around reading books from Amazon. If purchase as a tablet like an iPad, you will be annoyed. The tech community might “root” this device and install the complete Android platform, but for the non-tech users…this is not built to be a tablet. I would say this is similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. So here are some of Sarah’s first impressions. By the way, many of her comparisons stem from my “original” iPad3G.

What she likes:

  1. Size – she likes the ability to hold it in one hand.
  2. Convenience of being able to buy/purchase book and read immediately.
  3. The rewards program – Her Amazon Prime membership allows her to “borrow” one book a month which they term as the “The Lending Library”.
  4. It is backlit to read book at night with no bed side lamp.
  5. It comes with install apps like Facebook, Amazon, and Pulse news reader.
  6. When you go to the “store,” it provides recommended books across the top…similar to the Amazon.com experience.

What she dislikes:

  1. Battery life seems to dwindle fast.
  2. The power cord is not that long (4 feet long). Need to be close to an outlet if the battery dwindles down fast.
  3. The power button is on the bottom, so unwanted bumps cause it to shut off.
  4. The power cord plugs in the bottom and can get in the way when holding.
  5. Not as responsive as the iPad when touching hyperlinks.
  6. Web browsing is not as responsive as the original iPad.

So there ya go…love to here your thoughts!

The iPhone4S Conundrum: iCloud and Final Cut Pro Conflicts

Yes…all of us Apple devices addicts, we are excited about the iPhone4S release. I have already pre-ordered my new little device…I am a gadget freak. I think I am going to give Sarah (the wife) my iPhone4. I ordered the white version so we can distinguish the two. But, here is where Apple has me pinned…and what makes Steve Jobs a brilliant business man and entrepreneur.

My iPhone4S probably, maybe will not integrate with my Contacts and Final Cut Pro workflow. You are saying what? Well, if you are a video professional like me, you will read more!

So here are the Apple Products I use:
1) MacBook Pro 15″ purchased this summer (2011) with Snow Leopard (10.6.8)
2) MacPro from 2009 with Snow Leopard (10.6.8)
3) iPhone4
4) iPad 3G (First Generation)
5) Final Cut Pro 6.0.6
6) MobileMe (Sync Contacts & Other Preferences)

So the two things that are messing me up with this new upgrade to the iPhone4S, the fact it will be delivered the same day the iCloud product is released, which will also replace my MobileMe account. In order to use iCloud, the service that will now replace MobileMe account which syncs my contacts between devices…I have to use the new operating system on my Mac Computers, know as Lion (10.7). Yes…I would have to upgrade my operating systems on both computers if I want my contacts to sync between devices using my Address Book app on these devices…Apple’s preferred and default application for contacts.

To most of you…that is a no brainer! Just upgrade and be done with it. Right? NO!

I also use FinalCut Pro 6.0.6 which can only run on the operating system Snow Leopard (10.6.8) and all subsequent operating systems. This is a big deal. Apple has released the new Final Cut X for the new operating system Lion (10.7). BUT, it is 1/4th the original price and is not a professional grade video editing system (NLE).  I cannot up-convert years and years….thousands and thousands of dollars of production to the new Final Cut X. Many think this is Apple’s push to get out of the professional editing business and focus on the pro-sumer and consumer. If you want to read the detailed review of Final Cut Pro X…here is a GREAT REVIEW! CLICK HERE to read why upgrading to Final Cut X is not a solution to professionals like me.

Now I also edit using Avid Media Composer for heavy compositing and 3D editing…but not for basic video workflows. Plus, we are waiting for Avid to release the new Avid Media Composer for Lion (10.7). It takes a while for this high end, hollywood video editing solution to test and release the newest version. They are waiting for the quarks in Lion (10.7) to get worked out.

So…for those video professionals who want a iPhone4S, use FinalCut Pro 6.0.6 (professional standard), and sync contacts in Address Book…here is what I have found as a solution:

1) Apple is apparently going to release a new Snow Leopard update (10.6.9) which will integrate with iCloud, so we can utilize the limited capabilities of syncing between devices.
2) Run a dual-boot system where you partition your Mac’s to run:
– Partition One – Lion (10.7) for basic computer solutions and syncing with iCloud
– Partition Two – Snow Leopard (10.6.x) for video editing solutions with FinalCut Pro or Avid products.

Here is an an article showing how some believe there is a Snow Leopard 10.6.9 update on the way that will integrate with iCloud: CLICK HERE for the article.

So…I am in limbo. Yes…waiting for October 14th. This is the day when my new iPhone4S should arrive, the day iCloud should be released, and hopefully the day when the new Snow Leopard (10.6.9) should be released. We will see. I have some serious decisions to make based on the events of the next week for business workflow and video production workflow.

OK…for all you Droid people out there who are saying the “open” platform…I hear ya. I do run my business off Google Apps including business class email, documents, and calendars. BUT, I do not really like the Droid based products and the platform. Plus…there are many articles this is not really an open platform. To me, the Android user interface is not for me and not what I consider intuitive for my needs. Plus…I have way too much money invested in my current workflow and technology.

So why does this conundrum make Steve Jobs and Apple such a wonderful brand story? Because, their business practices have me in this dedicated conundrum and internal debate. Because…I love the products, willing to pay for the technology, and find enough value in the Apple solutions to research how to make these products work for me. That is why millions of other production professionals like me will continue to invest in these products. We want the newest Apple gadget and willing to pay the financial price and the integration issues to have these gadgets.

Let the waiting game begin…off to the Apple Forums and discussion boards.

K-Mart, Apple, and CUICAR…the cultural shift in influence. Tomorrow’s Innovation.

Sarah and I were sitting around tonight watching a little Friday night television and a K-Mart commercial caught my attention. I am not sure why, maybe it was the music that made me cue into the message. The song sounded familiar, but I was not interested in the song…I was interested in the clothes the kids were wearing.

This was a back to school message, showing off all the new cool kids clothes. Those back-to-school fashions that grab the dollars right out of the pockets’ of moms and dads. I was thinking back to when I was in middle school and even high school. What clothes were in fashion. I remember in 6th grade, all the girls were wearing “Jellies”. Do you remember those “flats” that girls were wearing. How about break dancing pants, the ones with all the zippers. Yes, I am remembering those 80’s influenced by pop culture icons like Michael Jackson.

But where did those fashions originate. How did they end up in our closets. How did they trickle down into little South Carolina, influencing kids interests which influenced moms and dads to make that purchase. Did those fashions come from Europe where fashion is truly influential in international hearts and minds? Was there one designer that create that one design, ultimately creating a cultural fad in all the American schools, making it the cool thing to wear?

Think about Apple and the cultural shift this technology and design animal has created with an iPhone. The idea of making a touch screen cool and desirable. Not only making this concept the technological break through in American culture, but making it the most desirable brand item…creating so much demand people line outside of stores days before the release. What one person came up with this idea which influenced technological pop-culture. We could list company after company, one after another that have influenced the way we purchase items.

I sat in a fascinating forum this morning, listening to some of the most renowned automotive thinkers. The InnoMobility Forum at CUICAR. As I was listening to a presentation over WebX, a gentleman from Munich, Germany was talking about building innovative communities of automotive creation. People from BMW and numerous automotive suppliers were sitting in a room listening through this presenters German accent, fascinated with his thoughts as he flipped through slide after slide.

The next presenter was talking about bearings inside transmissions. Now this does not sound exciting, except when you think about all the new battery powered cars on the road now. They no longer have engines that create exhaust, ultimately noise. If you remove this noise by removing the internal combustion exhaust system…you begin to hear all the little clicks, ticks, and tocks. Those metal parts rubbing against each other that create friction and noise. Now, engineers are having to make metal to metal quieter.

At the end of the presentation, a question was asked that surrounded the cultural shift in way we will one day use transportation. The presenter explained that we will be shifting back to the way we built transportation in those early days of the automotive industry. He began to explain we will not just see just electric cars or just hybrids…we will see a host of solutions based on geography. Electric cars in the city, since it is easier to provide charging stations, hybrids for metro to suburbia, and internal combustion engines for rural areas where gasoline makes the most sense, except in a more fuel efficient manner.

He went on to describe the shift in the cultural circle from those early days. The days when the first automakers were creating gasoline engines, steam engines, and even battery powered vehicles. The presenter noted this cultural circle as a shift in the way the automotive industry is now creating transportation, influenced by industries including the airline industry.

So I get back to that K-Mart commercial…how are we influenced to make purchasing decisions. Where does culture begin that influences the designers, engineers, developers, suppliers, marketers, and ultimately those consumers who choose to shift the way they purchase their next vehicle. Where will it originate? Will it begin in Europe…I think many hope that it might begin from the innovation right inside the doors of CUICAR.

Check out InnoMobility this coming October.

Is video tape media really dead? Is SD media cost effective? [techy blog post]

With the announcement of the new Final Cut Pro X and other Non-Linear Editors (NLE) like Avid Media Composer moving more consumers into the pro-sumer market…the question begs an answer: is tape media dead? Outside of more consumers using non-video tape recording cameras, more and more pro-sumers and professionals are moving from tape media to SD media.

In a recent review by USA Today of the new Sony NX5U along with the emergence of using Digital SLRS to acquire video images…the claim is that video tape is dead. It is in the first line of this article: “Review: Sony NX5U video camera”. Jefferson Graham states, “The big takeaway from this week’s overhaul of Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing software is that tape-based media is dead.”

Well here are my thoughts?

Storage costs money! Yes! Higher Definition images need more space to store these images! It all comes down to work flow…what do I mean, well we will address that in a second.

Traditional image acquisition in the video production world use video tape to record the image captured by the lens and processed by the camera. Once recorded on the tape, it would take equal amount of time to play and “ingest” into a computer’s non-linear editing suite (like Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer & Adrenaline, Adobe Premiere, etc.). Basically, if you recorded an hour’s worth of video, it would take an hour to put it into the computer.

With solid state media, video cameras are able to record the image as a file. The better the image, the better the camera, the larger the files sizes. Instead of just playing the video back for the computer editing suite during “ingest”, you could just transfer the file, the same process typically as copying any other file from a thumb drive to your computer. This cuts down time in the production process, huge amounts of time. BUT!!! Once you transfer the files to the computer, you can erase the media in the camera and reuse for the next production.

When you use video tape, many production shops do not erase the original tape and save just in-case the original video information needs to be accessed. More video tape means more money. Thus, the transition to cameras that do not use video tape, it appears to cut down on cost.

BUT…here is the thing that keeps me still acquiring on video tape and recordable media like SD cards simultaneously. Once you put the video from a camera that records it without video tape into the computer, you have to save the original media somewhere. It requires hard drives to store this original media…because you erased it from the camera and it is not on an original video tape.

So…for the production house and the consumer, you have to find a place to store this original video media. For a production house…this turns into Terabytes and Terabytes of storage of this original footage. Now this storage costs can be passed off to the client…but it takes space. Bigger and bigger storage servers…and if you are storing on servers that use hard drives with moving parts, they can fail. Yes, you can RAID these drives…but I have met more and more and more major universities, production houses, etc. where the RAID’s fail and the original media is GONE!

Yes…I was at a major university that lost a whole season of football footage to a failed RAID system. Those hard drives are moving parts. Yes…there is solid state storage but it so damn expensive, it is hard to justify the costs with the new technology.

Avid’s NLE’s allow you to erase media that is unused in the editing process, but keep the parts of video production used in the final product. BUT…what if you want to re-access that un-used media for  another project?

Here is what I do…my current solution.

1. I use a camera that can record on video tape and solid state storage simultaneously. The video tape is there just in-case the solid state media fails. It has happened before during my ingest. I have lost a whole day of shooting on an SD Card, but had the tape as a back-up. If not, it would have cost me time and money.

2. I ingest into the computer using Final Cut Pro with the solid state media card. Why, because it converts to a Quicktime (.MOV) that is widely excepted by most major NLE’s. I can also ingest 83 minutes of HDV in 7 minutes compared to the 87 minutes it would take for me to play that tape into the computer. Then…if I want to edit in Final Cut Pro or Avid…I have the original raw media digitally. (Avid has to convert the files to their proprietary codec)

3. I save the original HDV video tape as a back-up…properly labeled. So, if I loose the raw media on the hard drive, I can open the project and use the tapes to re-ingest the media.

4. I save the project files from both Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer in two other spots outside of the edit suite: a back-up storage drive and my online back-up space in the cloud. So, if I loose everything digitally, I have the original project files in two places and I can pull the tapes out to re-ingest the media.

5. I back-up my raw media files of the current years’ productions at a un-disclosed storage facility on consistent basis. This allows me to save time if my systems go down…just go get the media and transfer the files.

Why do I do this…because I do not trust moving parts in hard drives. I have had more NLE systems and their hard drives fail with media. I have watched major broadcasting units not be able to put on a show because files got corrupted with lost media. Tape is a physical media that provides a great back-up solution for original media.

Now, this is not always going to be a great solution long-term…but I am researching and working with partners on solutions that will provide me and my clients a great solution.

* Image Credit: Westside Media Group & Ken Rockwell