Archive for November, 2007

Religious fanatism

Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammad.” […] The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages against Gibbons… […] “Shame, shame on the U.K.,” protesters chanted.

That’s what you get from unintelligent people who are pushed by their religious leaders to go left or right. I mean, think about it. The “official” punishment for this “crime” is 40 lashes. Regardless if this is a fair punishment or not, these guys stormed out of their mosques and demanded execution instead. This just shows people who don’t know what they are doing and are easily convinced by their leaders. They show no personal character.

And no, I have nothing against Muslims. I have everything against religious fanatics though, regardless of religion.


I am seriously addicted to this, when it’s prepared like this. No kidding. That’s all I want to be having, all the time.

“A Scanner Darkly” Look

I am sure most of you have heard about the “A scanner darkly” cult movie by now: “A Scanner Darkly” is a powerful dystopic film set in the terrifying near future — a world controlled by high-tech surveillance and ruled by a liberty-destroying police state.

What hits the viewer first and foremost is the look of the film. They used 30 artists, working full time for months, painting over the actor’s faces in order to give it a comic-like look. It took over an hour to paint a single frame for the movie! Check the pictures on the URL above, to have a taste on how the movie looked like.



Well, we, DV rebels, don’t have the time to do that. Thankfully, there is a plugin, available for various NLEs, that is able to have a similar effect to your footage. It won’t be as “clean” looking as the movie’s frames that were done by hand, but it’s the best there is for being fully automatic. Pixelan’s “Posterwise” plugin, part of their CreativEase “color effect pack” does this job, and it only costs $39. If you are after the comic look, that’s a very fair price.



I tried doing the job using Vegas’ own plugins, but it’s not possible to achieve the same look. The best you can do is this, which as you can see, it doesn’t even compare in terms of quality. With After Effects it’s a bit more doable, but it’s not as easy to do and it’s very laborious.

Plugin settings for the look achieved above (leave everything else unchanged):

Update: A better version, that has “pre-blur” set to 5.5, crop frame edge of 2 pixels, and smart-blur/anti-alias checked. Depending on the scene, modify the settings a bit.

Web TV series not there yet

I hope the WGA strike ends soon because the Internet webTV shows suck big time. I checked the latest and greatest in online fiction entertainment tonight and none is as good as you would expect them. I have seen short films from 16 years olds that felt better than this crap. Check them out on Revver:
– Ninja Babes from Space (they used expensive cameras, makeup & CG for this joke)
– Bloody Gulch (that’s a western)
– Getting away with murder
– The Scribes
– Malibu U.
– Long Pig
– The Bordello Diaries (yeah, I know…)

The only good internet-only and fully free series was “PINK“. Professionally made from the beginning to end. Its director told me that season 2 will start early next year. So far, it’s the only web TV series to look forward to.

The Future of the Internet – and How to Stop It

Instead of personal computers being able to run any program from any source without approval from a third party–which many of us were used to in the 1980s and 1990s–Zittrain fears we’re entering a world where centralized approval becomes necessary“, says

Well, I am sorry to say, but things are not black and white. Yes, the Internet and the computer experience will become a policed place, but on the other hand, situations required it to become one. Cyber-terrorism is only going to get worse as more and more people are investing their data on internet-based firms. This is the exact same problem Steve Jobs faced when he started working on the iPhone. I am sure that from one side he would have wanted native apps from day 1, but on the other hand, by starting this new product he had the opportunity of make it immaculate and secure too. Of course, security works both ways. In some cases such decisions are made so the consumer is more secure, and in others so the firm is more secure — which can be something that’s against the consumer.

Regardless, that’s where the world is going, both in and out of the internet, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. If you believe that democracy will help you here, think again. Can’t wait until they will RFID all of us just so we can get a job. I said it before and I will have to say it again: I don’t believe in guerrilla fighting. I don’t go write to my congressman or hit the streets to protest to “make the world a better place”, because this won’t do a thing. Instead, I buy two cows, three sheep and two goats, and I am going to live on a mountain, at a country that’s still free. I prefer to re-settle rather than live under a totalitarian rule.

HV20: bless or curse for Canon?

Check the three pages of pictures here. You will see there the kind of rigs people have put together for their HV20. This is the first time in camera history where a consumer camera creates such a following of true fans. The forum has over 4,000 members currently and my 24p pulldown removal tutorial was read over 15,000 times so far too. The HV20 is just a camera of course, but when it came out last March, it was by far the best camera in its class — for the price. Months later, and the HV20 still outsells any other HD camera out there, even if Canon released new cameras, like the HG10.

However, while the HV20 brought a good revenue to Canon, is it a good thing for their business? The truth is, the HV20 has eaten away sales of Canon’s higher-end cameras. Canon and others will have to ultimately bring down the prices of their semi-pro cameras by big notch, just to compete in more realistic terms. And this will mean smaller margins for these manufacturers and the commoditization of pro-video. So for the long run, the HV20 might not be as big a business bless as some think and might even be bad for the consumer, as commoditization of hardware usually also means “more bugs”. I don’t complain though, the HV20 will remain my main camera for the next 2-3 years.

Update: Oh, I forgot to mention that on Vimeo, well over 1/3 of all the HD videos uploaded there are all coming from an HV20 user. How cool is that? Here’s the HV20 channel on Vimeo btw, with some of the best videos listed there.

YouTube has it wrong

An Egyptian human rights activist who posted videos about police abuse says YouTube has shut down his account because of complaints that the videos contain “inappropriate material,” writes CNN.

I think YouTube did the wrong thing here. If the images were “graphic” they could have been placed under a “you must be 18 or older” prohibition. But under no circumstances these kinds of videos should have been taken away. It’s sites like YouTube that such things should be posted and made known to the public. The guy didn’t win an award from international journalism bodies for nothing.

Or is it that YouTube only wants to feed us with Britney videos and flaming farts?

Macro test shots

Handheld I am afraid.

A new rig

Got my toys today. Here’s my HV20 on the cheap shoulder bracket with the DM-50 microphone and the WD-H43 wide angle lens.

And the HV20 with a Canon 50/1.8 lens, mounted using a 52mm reverse ring. This allows for macro shots. Time to go find some spiders.

Remember back in the ’90s and early ’00s how geeks would rig their PCs, overclock them, add dual Voodoos etc? What myself and other enthusiasts are doing these days with the HV20 is very similar in fact. I thought I left the geek culture, but in reality I am still right there, just on another level.

Squaw Village video re-uploaded

This version has different music and the snowboarding scenes have been reworked. I think this version is much better. HD version here.