Final Cut Pro X Test Video: XBMC Media Center

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Lately, I’ve been trying to get over the learning curve of the new Final Cut Pro X. A lot of people have been pissed off by the total 180 that Apple pulled with this new version. It resembles iMovie for than Final Cut (you can import iMovie projects but not earlier FCP projects), and the new ‘magnetic timeline’ is the bane of the non-linear editor’s existences.

For me, it’s been more of a positive thing. True, the learning curves truly sucks. I’ve been using Final Cut Pro since it’s beta testing days. I had been in the hell that was Adobe Premiere, and when I saw that Apple was developing a video editing app, I was already onboard.

This video is just a some screen capture video i made of my media center using Camtasia. The initial footage was around 15 minutes and i did some quick cuts to take it down to 3 minutes. The logos were jpg files with effects from Motion 5 and the title graphics were generated using Final Cut presets.

Nothing special. I’m just excited my Final Cut Pro game is getting better.

Vintage Players by Questions

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Here’s a look at 6 vintage record players in my collection. The first one is an antique 1920’s Victrola Phonograph. I bought it from its original owner who restored it himself. Next is the G.E. Wildcat which was released in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My awesome wife gave this to me for christmas last year. She found this model in immaculate condition at an antique store and its seriously brand new! The next one is the Califone 1010, I picked this up since this was the same model they used back in middle school and it was a bit nostalgic. The first portable is the 1960 Japanese issue Toshiba GP-41E. This red player caught my eye with its modern shape. It’s also smaller than the portable players in its era. The next portable is the Columbia GP-3 which was also a Japanese release. The first version came in a cream and red colorway, and this clear case was made in limited quantity. And finally, the smallest of the pack is the 1970 Naco Portable. One of the features that made this player stand out besides its size -is that it isn’t belt-driven. The Naco runs direct drive by a rubber spindle that grips the record and spins it at 33 or 45 speed. This was actually a great find, it was still in its original box and came complete with manual and documents.

Nothing beats the warm sound of records. Imagining how they did it back in the early days is an experience in itself. Enjoy!

Question’s Vimeo Page
Songs: (in order)

Moonlight Serenade – Glen Miller Orchestra
One Note Samba – Stan Getz ft. Astrud Gilberto
September 13 – Eumir Deodato
Harem Hendoo – Al Hirt
Scrabble – Rene Costy
Funky Nassau – The Beginning Of The End

Watching: My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows Of The Moment

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Everyone who knows me, knows i’m a media geek. I consumer it more than food. Movies, TV Shows, Books, Movies. I’m all about anything that tells me a story. So, one of the most asked questions is ‘what tv shows do you watch?’ So here’s a quick post of the Top 10 shows i’m digging at the moment.

At first, I didn’t want to see Idris Elba in anything. He would always be Stringer Bell from one of my favorite TV Shows of all time, The Wire. But after that opening scene in the pilot where he does ‘the right thing’ to a child killer, I was hooked. The BBC always has a knack for letting creators take the gloves off and go to places on the fringe to get the story across. Idris Elba plays John Luther like a modern day Sherlock Holmes. A little ‘off’ by society standards. Almost a Savant in detective work. Add to it, the psychotic breakout character of Alice Morgan, played deliciously by Ruth Wilson, you have a great crime drama that LIVES in that grey area of good and evil. Excellent TV!

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I’ve been a fan of this Doctor Who spinoff since day one. A more ‘adult’ oriented show, this follows the secret organization as they protect Earth from Alien invasions. It was slated to be cancelled after the second season, but slightly shifted to a mini-series format. Last year’s “Children Of Earth” storyline was so well-received, that The Starz Channel decided to partner with the BBC to produce another season entitled Miracle Day. This time around some American star power has been added to give the show a ratings boost here in America.

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Zombies, zombies, zombies!!! This is the show I’ve been waiting for my whole life! Based on the Robert Kirkman comic of the same name (which is my favorite comic book right now), it’s a combination of “The Road” meets “Dawn Of The Dead”. After the Zombie Apocalypse, Sheriff Rick Grimes leads a group of survivors, trying to find a safe haven. Intelligent writing keeps it from being cheesy and execllent acting make this possibly my #1 show right now.. even though Season 2 won’t drop until October, damnit…

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This is my replacement show for The Wire. It follows the lives of cops and mobsters as they scramble to deal with the fallout of a murdered mob boss, who might’ve become a police informant. A lot of slow plot development might turn you off for the first couple of episodes. But it’s a nice slow burn. If you liked The Wire, it might be up your alley.

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Another American remake of a foreign series. But it’s GOOD. Basically it tells the story of a murdered teenager and how the cops try to solve the murder, and at the same time how the family copes with the girl’s murder. A simple plot that’s been done to death. But the twists and turns make it a nice ride for 13 episodes. There was a lot of controversy over an ‘apparent’ crappy season finale. I liked it.. especially since it’s been greenlit for a season 2.

Trailer


How can I describe this little show? It’s Cagney & Lacey: The Next Generation.. only good. It’s about the lives and loves of two female Detective Constables Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott. While their personal lives are in complete disarray, they’re proven super sleuths. I love UK shows because they know how to created these incredibly flawed characters and still make them heroic.

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This is my ‘oh shit!’ show. I think i’m screaming ‘oh shit!’ at the end of every episode. I wasn’t sold on this one at first. But as soon as i knew most of the characters i was sold. There’s so much going on in all these kingdoms that it can be a little discouraging to follow. My main focus has been on ‘The Wall’ and the Ice Giants that are apparently on their way. It sucks i have to wait until season 2, but whatever.. THEY GOT DRAGONS, YO!!

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This is basically “V”. But more like after the Earth has been conquered. It follows a group of survivors on the run from the Alien Occupation, while trying to find a way to mount a resistence. Pretty simple stuff. But Noah Wily and Moon Bloodgood are two of my favorites. Plus.. Crab aliens with Robot Mechs. Come on, son..

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Matt Smith was a hard pill to swallow.. especially after the excellent job David Tennant did as the Doctor. But his take on the renegade alien Timelord has been retro. He’s managed to make the character his own. After Russell T. Davies left, I figured the  writing would go down hill. But Stephen Moffett has done an excellent job taking over the writing duties.

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I haven’t had a chance to check out the american version of Being Human. The BBC series has been almost flawless. The story of a ghost, a vampire and a werewolve trying to lead a normal life has been filled with anything but that. I love the way the BH universe and slowly been filling out. With the threat of a Vamipre/Werewolf war on the horizon, I can’t wait for the next season to drop.

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Video Of The Moment: Apollo Brown “Tao Te Ching”

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Animated video for the instrumental track “Tao Te Ching” from Apollo Brown’s album “Clouds”. Directed by Emrys Roberts.

Mello Music Group Copyright 2011.
All Rights Reserved.

Coming Soon: Oakland Beats

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It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally officially started my new Instrumental Hip-Hop album. It’s going to be called “Beats From Oakland” and it should drop sometime this fall. Musically, I’ve been doing a lot of collaborating the past few years. My collaborations with The Rhythmteachers and C3, l have been satisfying, but in the back of my mind I feel like I’ve veered a little off the path. With “Beats from Oakland”, I want to find my ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ again. I want to strip out all the other stuff i’ve been experimenting with and bring it down to just beats and samples.

Although I dropped Unfocused last year, I haven’t really tried to drop a full length CD since 2009’s Water.. Under The Bridge. Unfocused, and for that. Music.. For Elevators & Escalators were satisfying. But they were primarily scraps from the cutting room floor that I re-worked and polished up. They still worked, but I had to real focus in creating a real album.

Beats From Oakland will have a real focus, if not a theme.. reminiscent of 2001’s The Todd Album. Lately I’ve felt that ‘spark’ to start putting together beats again. Hopefully I’ll keep it up for the next couple months.

People ask me why don’t I sell my music like everyone else. I don’t consider myself a music artist. This is something I do to keep my sanity. And I do it for the love of the music. I make no music with other people in mind. I make it to satisfy my own soul. And if there are others how feel it’s good enough to grace their iPod, then I’m forever grateful.

— The Big La, Todd Kelley

Music Mondays

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I use to do this a while back. On Mondays, I’d blog the 6-8 albums that i’m listening to at that moment. Doesn’t have to be all new stuff. Actually a lot of people enjoyed the older stuff that they might have missed.

Final Cut Pro X + Motion 5

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it’s been a little over a year since Apple’s Final Cut Pro transitioned from a ‘hobby’ app to one of my most useful professional tools. My goal was to spend the year transitioning out of Adobe video tools (Premier and After Effects) and relying solely on the entire Final Cut Studio Suite. But as time went on, and my job got more intense, I didn’t have the time for the transition. Although I moved away from Premier and relied on Final Cut Pro as my main video editing tool, the transition to from After Effects to Motion grind to a hault. Although robust in its own right, Motion just didn’t seem to be the powerhouse that Adobe After Effects is. Plus, it took me SO LONG to get into that program and now I’m pretty proficient. And add to the fact i’ve invested hundred of dollars in templates. I just didn’t seem that important to switch.

That is, until I peeped Final Cut Pro X. Apparently, built from the ground up, FCP-X is sporting a whole new interface, it looks like a monster. I watched the introductory video and it looks like they’ve cleaned up all the negative aspects that you had to work around in the previous version. I’m loving the dark interface. I’ve always liked how After Effects and Shake looked. It feels nicer when you’re dealing with bright video. They stand out more and work better for color correction (don’t ask me why. I just does.

And then… there’s Motion 5, which also has an interface update. It looks like it’s more integrated with FCP and the UI seems to be much easier to work with than it’s earlier version. I decided to purchase both Final Cut Pro and Motion today. Why? Well, one BIG thing in it’s favor is the price. With the previous FInal Cut Studio, you were pushing out almost $1000 for the entire Suite (Final Cut + Motion + Color). This new version (which seems exclusively for download from the App Store) runs a total of $350 for Final Cut and Motion (there is no more Color app. It has been integrated into Final Cut Pro X)

After playing around with it all, I can say i’m pleasantly surprised. Even thought there’s a slight learning curve for the UI changes, it runs and performs like a dream. I have it running on my iMac at work and my Macbook Pro 17″. Since it’s a 64bit app now, there seem to be no ‘preview renders’ needed for transitions and most effects. I haven’t played with it enough so i can’t say. Motion seems to be a bit ‘buggy’, but i’m sure that’ll be fixed over the short run with updates from the App store.

All in all, I can’t wait to get my feet wet with a project. I’ll do a full review in a week once I get the hang of the entire suite.

Design: HBO.com

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Now that computer processing power and bandwidth has finally reached an acceptable level, the ‘full image’ website has finally come of age. HBO seems to be the front-runner on design with their style marriage of web media center and television guide.

My Desktop Of The Moment

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Like any other geek, I like the change up my desktop to make things fresh. I’m on my laptop 15-18 hours day (that’s EVERYDAY) so changing things up from time to time is essential.

There’s a great Mac OS only tool called GeekTool that allows you to embed light weight yet powerful widgets on your desktop. I know for me, I needed a clock and calendar that i couldn’t miss ALWAYS in my face, so GeekTool allowed me to install it. There’s a lot other things you can do. A lot of people tricked out their desktop, but I don’t need that ‘mission control’ look. Just something nice and clean.

Interesting note: i took that photo when i first got my Canon Rebel T2i.