Tuesday, August 28

In Absentia, Excuses From A Digital Daddy

So it's been awfully quiet around these parts lately. And I know what you are all thinking.

"Ooooh, so the novelty of writing a weekly blog post has worn off and reruns off Married With Children are more enticing. We get it."

But no, I have good reason. On top of the usual responsibilities of a deadline based job, the demands of an increasingly stubborn and bossy toddler, and the constant fix-me-ups necessitated by a fifty-year-old-home, there have been a couple of additional distractions recently.

England and we all took a trip up to the Bay Area for a week. I'll write a detailed post about the vacation later, suffice it to say it was a grand time for all. It's been a little while now so I'll need to remember what we did, as family vacations tend to blur into one long feeding binge punctuated by sightseeing.

"Did we do the abattoir on Wednesday?"

"No, the abattoir was was Thursday. We has the mackerel on Wednesday, so that was after we hit the fish market"

"Oh yeah, the fish market....so when did we go the pottery commune then...?"

Before we left, I bought one of these, even though I really wanted one of these, but the former was a fraction of the price of the latter. I didn't want to schlep my pro DV camcorder up on the plane, so this was perfect. It actually turned out to be a really great addition to the stash of consumer electronics one takes on trips these days. I had been wanting a small, handy, portable video recorder ever since I started using my cell phones camcorder to catch The Sprite at his spritish antics. Funny to think of a cell phone having inadequate video/photo capabilities, but that is the expectation these days I guess.

Anyway the FLiP was great, I took it everywhere and it was nothing to whip it out and get recording. I took a LOT of video. The quality isn't great, it's adequete. I see it as an improvement to cell phone video, and a handy alternative to even a consumer camcorder. At the end of the day I'd take it back to the hotel and dump the days footage off onto the iBook and leave a clean drive ready for the next day. I have been going through it and getting it slowly up onto my Blip.tv account. Trying to find a satisfactory workflow so I can begin to automate some of it, but it is a slow process. Naming, tagging, setting rights and ratings, writing witty descriptions, encoding and uploading.

Finally, there is the PixelCorps. This is an online guild of visual effects professionals that set challenges, offer training and host a vast support forum. I had been wanting to join the PXC for a good while but wanted to wait until I could make the necessary commitment. It is the kind of endeavor that you get out of it what you put in, and I want to make the most of the investment. The training library is immense and I have been busy learning all kinds of exciting software, and trying to play along with some of the mentor sponsored challenges. It was a little overwhelming at first, its reach spans the globe so there is activity around the clock. it is tough to keep up with everything, even though I would love to try, so I have been focusing on some of the 3D tools like modo and Cinema4D. Once I actually manage to finish a project I think i will branch out into other areas, like match-moving and rotoscoping.

Look out for vacation stories soon, and stay tuned for a link to Blip.tv for the video blog. and if i ever finish some VFX training I'll be posting some of that too. Life is never dull for a digital daddy.

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