Archive for September, 2008

Wedding photographers

I don’t understand why people spend so much energy and money on weddings and wedding photographers. I really don’t. The “basic” package for some pictures/video of a wedding is $600, and it can go as high as $10,000. And I ask you: why?

Why not hire a professional photographer for less than an hour, either before or during the ceremony, and pay like, $150, and be done with it? Then, you can use friends and family to snap more pictures or shoot video. This is how it was done in my wedding, and how it was pretty much done at my brother in law’s wedding. And it’s the logical thing to do.

I mean, on my wedding, we got some pictures and some video (my father in law shot parts of it). I’ve only watched the video once, and I look at the pictures quickly only when I happen to clean up the shelves (something that doesn’t happen very often). So why spend crazy money on that kind of thing? Vimeo is full of such over the top expensive wedding videos, that I personally don’t see the point of.

I mean, look at this video. If that’s not overkill, I don’t know what is. Mind you, I find the video really well done, and very artistic. But I wouldn’t pay for it. If the director wanted to use me as a model for such a video idea I would volunteer, but I wouldn’t pay to create a short film just because I am getting married.

I guess I really don’t believe in weddings. Marriage itself is not a bad thing (although it’s not necessary, it is useful in many ways), but the weddings in general, and all the culture that surrounds them are useless shit.

And please, don’t give me the excuse of “you shoot nice videos/pics so you can remember your wedding better”.

I don’t have Alzheimer’s, I remember my wedding. And even if I wasn’t, what the big deal is? I don’t love my husband more or less because of it.

The best TV

Ah, it feels good to be right. 🙂

After lots of whining on my blog back in March that “plasmas are overrated”, or “plasmas burn easier and consume too much power”, or that “whatever, I will still get an LCD”, now YET another test shows that Pioneer’s plasma TVs are far superior to any other TV in the market. Even Panasonic’s high end plasma TVs can’t touch the Pioneers. Of course, this landscape is going to change, as Pioneer will start offering LCDs too and start using Panasonic panels instead of creating their own like they do now. I expect Pioneer to lose its steam in the long run because of these decisions, but hey, people want crappy LCDs, and that’s what they are going to get.

As for the $3700 we paid for our Pioneer plasma TV, we got what we paid for. We have zero complaints. Alright, maybe one: their 24p processing (that makes pans smooth) is not fast enough for most 1080/24p footage, as the TV was probably mostly tested with DVDs rather than Blu-Rays. You get a kind of judder when the TV tries to smooth out pans on HD content. I expect newer models to have this resolved.

Graffiti with Sony Vegas

I got the inspiration from CoPilot, who showed how to do it with After Effects. I learned that making a graffiti with Sony Vegas Pro is not an easy task, it took me nearly 3 hours to make it look natural, and it’s still not perfect. It involved manual masking to create the writing effect (After Effects is more automated in this regard, although I didn’t use ProTitler), pan/crop, manipulation in the 3D plane for all video tracks, and a few color plugins.

People don’t know what they want

People most of the times don’t know what they want. We see it in software all the time: we can have clients that ask this and that and some more of that, and all they really need is something else. This little comic here shows the situation 100% correctly.

Same thing is true with politics, and entertainment. I read a lot of crap today about how many people disliked the “Disturbia” music video of Rihanna. They found it “disturbing, and Rihanna was scary”, most people wrote. Well, duh! The song is called “Disturbia”, and you wanted to see SnowWhite petting puppies instead? No. That’s what you thought you wanted to see. If that video indeed disturbed you then the director did an AMAZING job. Hats off to him.

Same thing goes with some films. Some people attack certain actors (not just characters) because of their role as the film’s villain. They just start disliking the actor himself because of the role. Which means one thing and one thing only: that this is a kick ass actor. Examples include but not limited to: James Callis on Battlestar Galactica, and Giovanni Ribisi on “Flight of the Phoenix”.

Random Stuff, Part 25

* My Pegasos/Morphos machine is now donated to the Computer History Museum. I am very happy that this machine found a good home.

* I hate software. I really do. When my new PC came in last week, I put back my old 21″ vertical display for web browsing to my older PC. However, because –as I had blog posted last year– nVidia GeForce’s driver didn’t support full acceleration for rotated displays, I had to download the latest one to see if they added such support. Well, they haven’t. But in any way, I had a new driver, so all was good. Until I loaded my Sony Vegas with “Magic Bullet for Editors 2.0”. When the GPU is enabled in Magic Bullet’s dialog, everything is rendering with a strong fucking red tint. I don’t know if Magic Bullet was relying on a bug that nVidia fixed in the meantime, or that nVidia introduced a new bug, but the point of the matter is, all my video projects were now useless. All my shots were red. Apparently, sometime in the last few months this problem was introduced so I went back to a December 2007 nvidia driver and it’s good again. It seems that most of the 17x versions introduce the problem, but the v169 doesn’t. Just so you know, the problem was only with “Magic Bullet for Editors 2.0”, not with the version of “Magic Bullet Movie Looks HD” that used to be supplied freely with Vegas, or with the new “Magic Bullet Suite” version. Update: The latest v186+ version of the nVidia drivers fix the problem!

Update: Motherfucking video drivers. Now Windows won’t go to sleep. The “stand by” option is now disabled! I never had this before.

* This morning while sleeping, I felt that someone was leaning on the side of my bed (JBQ was already at work btw). I got panicked and tried to move. I couldn’t move, I was paralyzed. Panicked some more. And then I shouted to my self: “MOVE”. And I moved, which woke me up. I looked around and there was no one there. So I fell back asleep. When back asleep, after seeing a normal dream, I felt that I was waking up because I was seeing a shadow on the bed, and it felt so real, but I managed to moved again (and wake up for real). That was the point that I realized that most of these alien abductions (if not all) are just what they seem to be: sleep disorders. You see, there was no chance in hell, that I could “see” a shadow on my bed, because I was sleeping at the time — even if I thought I wasn’t. Yes, it felt like it was real, because I was dreaming of myself sleeping in that bed — which is what I was doing. But when I deterministically ordered myself to move, I actually woke up for reals. Of course, the believers will always say that I wasn’t fully sleeping, and that I was seeing the shadow with “my third eye”. Or some bullshit like that.

* Mac fans disappointed in GTK+ port, says WebMonkey. How could they not be? The Lunix developers tried to “sell” their unpolished crap to Mac users. That shit can never fly in the Mac platform without some strong integration and beautification. So that’s a release that goes straight to /dev/null.

Kids’ fascination with death

As a moderator of many channels at Vimeo, I get to watch a fair bit of HD videos uploaded daily by its users. One thing has stroke me in the last 8 months though, that’s pretty unsettling: most mini-stories written and directed by kids (and their friends), usually younger than 16 years old, are ALL end in death. Usually by a gunshot.

It’s one thing to watch 2-3 videos that are like that and let it be as “kids fooling around”, but when the huge majority of story-fied teenage videos end up with a gunshot, it’s very disturbing. Especially when to come to think of it from the point of view that the kids who actually do sit down and direct a story, are the most creative ones. So if the most creative of our kids are so violent and single-dimensional, what good are the rest ones?

I don’t want to sound like a 60 year old whining about the youth and where it’s heading, but truth is, there is definitely something wrong with the upbringing of these kids. I don’t believe that any kid from my class would have written such grim stories in that age. Also, please note that I am not against grim movies (heh, my own short story ends in death too), but there’s a difference between a deeper story that sadly ends in death, and a story written as a plot device for that death scene only.

Update: Here’s one today.

Are gaming videos art?

A few weeks ago Vimeo decided that uploaded videos that show computer games in action are to be banned. Many got seriously pissed off about this decision, as Vimeo was offering them a good 720p HD quality to upload their gaming videos. Vimeo argued that these videos are not art, plus, many computer games companies are arguing that they own the copyright of the images, and therefore Vimeo can’t allow such videos.

I am personally siding with Vimeo on this subject. These computer games are indeed copyrighted, along with all the images generated from them. As ludicrous this sounds, it’s how it is. Additionally, I don’t find these videos to be any kind of art — apart from the art of the gameplay ability itself. The gamer only offers the gameplay seen on these videos, and nothing else. On real videos, that you shoot with a camera, the shooter needs to take a lot of things into account, it’s a much more complicated affair than just enabling FRAPS to do the recording for you.

And honestly, I don’t see what this whole fascination of showing off yourself killing monsters is. What kind of self-expression is this?

Why “Heroes” sucks

While the NBC broadcast on Monday bombed for “Heroes”, the bittorrent version went well. However, I do expect that the bittorrent fans of “Heroes” to eventually also stop watching too.

The reason is “Heroes” itself. I can’t identify with it. It looks like a show about some people that I care nothing about. It’s spread too thin over some convoluted and repeated “change the future/don’t change the future” crap, and that’s just not serious.

I urge you to find for me two recurring characters apart from Claire’s adopting parents who DO NOT have a super power. Even Mohinder and Ando now have or destined to have super powers. This takes away a lot of the realism of the show, so much that it makes it irrelevant. It’s like the whole Earth is full of these special people, while it’s not the case in the “Heroes” universe.

And some more crap: Niki now has a new power, out of thin air? Peter last year lost his memory and this year is in another body? What an unlucky guy, isn’t he? And Hiro being stupid just for the sake of moving the plot forward? And why no one is staying dead in that series?

In my opinion, Heroes needs a complete reboot.

More music videos shot with the HV20/30

As you know, I put up an “HV20/30 Music Videos” group at Vimeo the other day. Today, I did an additional search on youtube for more such videos, that don’t appear on Vimeo and therefore can’t be added to the collection. So I will list them here instead:

Frequency Fifty Four – Last Call
Laura Aidanblaise – Wrinkles
LadyBoy – Tell Me, Time
Mike O’ Quinn
Johnny Bizarre – Why Is She So Fragile
Erämaa/Riikonen – Autumn Wind
Hot Water – Interiors
Ryan J. Smith – Redondo Bay
2ST feat. Daddy Fresh
Joe Chad – Confession
FADA General – Shake that THIN
Woods of Terror
J-ricz feat. The Beat Bumz – Mother’s Day
NVMD2D – Oh Cecilia
Young Joshua – It’s Cold
City Stereo – Hit and Run
The Dealer – Can’t Take My Blood
Nihil Quest – (Also Sprach) Franky
FRANC3S – Nuestra fe en el veneno
InMe – Single Of The Weak
Fei Comodo – Break the Ice
The Morning After – Sometime After Dark
Fei Comodo – Behind Bars
The Orange Strips – The Fire
Mark Arthur – Gain
Khingz -Cloud City
Easy – Hardest Around
Ash Verjee – The Pioneer
Craft projects for gangstas – Crafty
Matt Ridder – Gravity
CityStereo – Santa’s Back
MagiCJacK – In The Mouth Of Madness
The Vanguard – Rio
The Vanguard – And Then We’ll Dance
MINUS.PLUS – SFG
Axis-So – Serious
Rob Szabo – All the Sleepy Souls
Pato – Lose Control
For Life – Stand My Ground
My Perfect Room – Bonesbreak
Young Ace – Never Change
Joshy “El Sucesor” – Bailame solo un poco
Mark-D feat. Cam Dollaz – Fresh, Cool
Williams Mizrahi – Caminos Diferentes
Andre Taylor – All About You
Rencore – Under Destruction
Kenny Black – Take a look
Voe(Black) – Trained2Go
Daughn Godd featuring Dru Burna – When I Rhyme
The Sixth Letter – Fly or Die
Stellar Dexterz – Cold Chillin
Lucy Day – A Trick of the Light
– Most of the music videos from this guy: K3Films
Arman Bohn – Combat
J-ricz feat. The Beat Bumz – Mother’s Day
Burg Boys – Bout that bread
Fitzy – The wall
Suthern – In Your Arms(Moms Song)
Kmex – I Rep Mistri
– Every video from this artist, Walter Manglona
Urmega Don – “Tu Foto”
Joel Gildersleeve – “It’s Not Hard to See”
Between Horizons – “It Goes On”
DJ Spider – “Tried By 12”
Hannah Wolff Band – “Ghost of You”
Southwind- “Malay Mo” (most of this director’s music videos used an HV20)
Biv De Vera- “Hurting Inside”
Gumshaw – “Gimme Your Love”
Peter Jones – “When The River Runs Dry”
dEUS the architect – “Satisfaction Injection”
A Tainted Image – “The Sea Of Grey”
AndREA – “Disponible”
Pluto One
A Milli – “Dominicanyol Remix”
Criao En La Calle
Jupiters Child – Let It Go
Mike Beck Paper touching Freestyle
Kamal Supreme – “All she really wants is love”
and two-three more, found on Vimeo, but don’t allow inclusion on collections:
The Screening – “Diem”
The Screening – “10 Green Bottles”
for the rest I can’t find their URLs back.

The above list will be updated every few months. Here’s the vimeo list:

“Swingset Chain” by Loquat

A beautiful song from Loquat, a local band. It’s the kind of music that I absolutely love. Download it for free, legally, from here. Their new album comes out this month.