Foxvideo Productions

Media Production

June 2016

A week of many hats

An African Children’s Choir photo for a website news page, a school choir video for The Peace and Hope Trust, a Facebook photo for a local Chapel and a Facebook photo for The Tom Roberts Adventure Centre.

It started with the Choir video, could I record the audio and film a school choir to use in future Peace and Hope videos to intercut between a school in the UK and one in Nicaragua? I used 3 cameras, my main HM700, my latest acquisition - the HD110 (performed well for a £130 eBay buy!) and a SJ4000, 3 microphones for the main audio record, going to both the HM700 and a Zoom H1 with backup audio on the HD110, I’m now on the lookout for something to record up to 8 tracks individually to make anything like this again a little easier. Back in the edit suite it was all put into FCP7 (still using it!) and the 3 angles cut together, the audio mixed and sweetened and then uploaded to Vimeo before the end of the day.

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The following day it was switch camera bags for the stills kit, a quick photo of the African choir before they departed for their next event, luckily the Facebook photo for The Tom Roberts Adventure Centre was at the same location. It was back to The Tom Roberts Adventure Centre later that day for the sunset and prayer photo, again for Facebook.

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Final job for the week was to integrate a spreadsheet from a Google calendar into a web page, after some failures I eventually used a Stacks plugin for Rapidweaver called Grid Iron which works well and looks good.
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Pixelmator - Good or .....

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Pixelmator caused quite a stir when it first came out, a Photoshop ‘like’ App for a fraction of the cost (currently £22.99) but, it was a bit like Marmite you either loved it or hated it (Disclaimer - other savoury spreads are available)

I’ve got to be honest, I never really got on with it, I tried it several times but always reverted back to Photoshop or more recently Affinity. Just a few days ago I had a photo I wanted to ‘cut out’, I have Topaz Re-Mask which is very good but it’s on a different partition and rather than reboot I thought of looking at Pixelmator again - the latest 3.5 version had a ‘Quick Selection’ tool that used a new algorithm and promised outstanding results.

Having not used the new tool, I opened the photo, selected the tool and in under 2 minutes produced the result below which, considering I’d never used that tool before I was very impressed with!

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eBay never ceases....

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to amaze me! There are the hopefuls who put a Panasonic MX50 on for £1500 or an NTSC U-Matic for £950 but the range of pro/semi pro video kit available is always wide and varied both in price and content and yet, still some users don’t actually understand how eBay works.

Some months ago I spotted a JVC HD-110U camcorder with a Sennheiser ME66 / K6 microphone for £800, it didn’t sell. It appeared again several times over the next few months and still didn’t sell. I tend to look on the pro broadcast section once a day to see what kit has been listed in the last 24 hours, the same JVC HD-110 with the ME66 / K6 appeared again 15 days ago, this time it was listed for £99 and for 10 days.

No bids were put in and with 30 minutes to go it was still at £99, at that price it was too good to miss, the ME66 / K6 alone sells for anything between £150 and £350 s/h on eBay. OK, this is an old camcorder, it still uses tape but will accept a bolt on CF card recorder, it shoots 1280x720 HD rather than the more normal 1920x1080 but for me, as a backup or second camera it would be ideal as my Sony FX1 that I occasionally use or loan out is on it’s last legs, I also have a JVC BR-HD50 deck which up-converts the 1280x720 to 1920x1080i giving me more options from the camera.

So, I’m watching this camera on eBay, there’s now 15 minutes to go and my phone rings, could I go and sort out a faulty computer in the village at a charity fund raising event - Now!

I usually have a price in mind for these auctions and put it in 5 to 7 seconds before the end providing the price has not already passed my price, so I put in a bid of £155 thinking it’d go for a lot more and went out.

I got back home 3 minutes after the end of the auction - I’d won it with a price of £125.21, the bid below mine was £123.21 and went in 3 seconds before the end, as my bid topped them out, they had no time to up their bid. I suspect they had no idea how eBay works - they’d tried to bid in small increments not realising they could have put a bid in of say £200 and then won the camera for £160 (£5 above my max bid).

So to cut a long story short, I collected the camera today, it’s in mint condition, everything works and it has 45 tape hours on it, I could sell the ME66 for £200, make a profit and have a free camera that originally cost £4300 as a bonus.

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