Impediments to my Video Life…11/07/2018

I’ve always had an interest for shooting video and pictures. In the past, I didn’t always have the resources to complete it. Whether that was a video or film camera, or an editor, I just didn’t have a way to do it well. Then DSLRs began to get better, and there were ways to edit on your computer. So about 4-5 years ago, I began this slow journey of learning.

How to mix sound and get good sound was one of the first things I learned. It came by accident. I learned about mixing live sound for our church, which I continue to do. Then I learned that sound, in video and film, was probably the most important part of the process. If people can’t hear you or the sound is poor, then people won’t want to see your video. So I began to acquire low end, but decent recording devices to supplement the point and shoot that I began shooting with. 

I seemed to be advancing rapidly, until recently. I began to notice that my advancement was slowing down as I tried to shoot things. It wasn’t the physical impediments of resources. I learned you can shoot with anything, as long as you had a story to tell. 

The impediment was me. 

I’ve always had some sort of anxiety. A general angst that would worry me about my relationships with people. I’m not sure when it started. I’m not sure there was an instigating incident that kicked it off. However, somewhere during my early life, I began to not feel safe, unless I was with people that I knew accepted me. Even then, it seemed, that I would still regress in conversation, not sure what I would ask or talk about next. I was afraid of the awkward silence. 

That fear began to expand into my film and video life. I’m always not wanting to seem to intrude on people. Yet, I want to record moment for people that are important. It causes me to hold back. Not that there aren’t times that inappropriate to take pictures or video, but to remain safe, I hold back more than I probably should. Especially, if you need to take lots of video and pictures to get the great moments to create your story. 

What brought this realization? A family celebration of life for my cousin. I was often torn between take video and pictures, and talking. Not wanting people to feel ill at ease. Of course, my anxiety of who to talk to, not to be too obtrusive, began as well. I started to get my mind into a knot. I would sit down somewhere, not in the way, but on the fringes. Eventually, someone would sit, and talk to me, or I would force myself into someplace that was a part of a circle, and begin to talk, or just listen…

(pause to take a shower and begin cleaning my office(about an hour))

Now that I have that out, I think my answer is in the last sentence. Just keep forcing myself to get into it. So besides cleaning the junk out of my office, I need to finish a few projects. 

As Luke Cage says,”Always forward…”

And just like that, one of my favorite YouTubers, and probably the one I’ve learned the most from, puts this video out…

I’ve Started Shooting Raw Photos on my “Big” Camera…04/26/2018

It was a long time coming. When I got my D5500 (Nikon) camera, I had all sorts of format options for shooting. Unsure of what to do, I went with the hi-res JPEG option that you find in a lot of websites.

However, as time went on, I realized that with the raw files(usually very large) you can edit the photos. I don’t mean like Photoshop, where you can add things that are there, but like Lightroom (also an Adobe product) which to me, hearkens back to my black and white film days, when Dad taught me how to shoot and develop my own pictures. Now with the modern advances, I can take the raw files and tweak them to look their best.So first, I shot dual, JPEG and .NEF (Nikon’s raw format) but after figuring out that I was editing my photos and then sending them and posting them, and not using the JPEGs, I decide to shoot only the raw files.

One of the other things that helped this decision was when I got my GNARBOX, it allowed me to edit the photos (and videos) from the camera with my iPad or iPhone. So I can do a bit of quick turn around with my pictures and video. Also, I found that the iOS version of Lightroom is free and allows me to for with them on my iPhone. So, now, I shoot raw.


Where I am with photography/cinematography…04/12/2018

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything. So while I’m sitting looking through YouTube, on a dreary day before my first of a string of night shifts, I thought I would catch everyone up on where I am. Since starting this quest a couple of years ago, I have learned a few things.

First, that the story you tell is more important than the way it looks. It’s easy for a tech person, like me to look at the cameras and think, “Ooo, I want that one so I can make pretty pictures.” Well, that is important, but no one wants to watch a boring story, no matter what the picture looks like.

Second, sound is even more important. Somehow, when I learned of this, I thought, “Well that’s cool. Good thing I learned how to mix live sound at church.” Not that I’m great at that, but I’m competent enough to keep learning new things, and it’s spilled into my filmmaking.

The third is related to the first. I may not have the best gear in the world, and that’s okay. I’m figuring out how to do things right with what I have. Maybe in the future, I’ll get some of the new gear, but right now, with my D5500, iPhone X, the old Canon point & shoot that I started with, and my GoPro Hero (early 2000s not the new one), I’ve been able to put together some okay videos for my experience level.

I realize that my composition for  video is coming along, and that my photos are better composed than my videos. I also note that I need to be more patient and sometime learn to to do everything manually on my “big camera”(D5500) instead of some things manual and other things auto.

I’m also at a point where I need to write things, instead of the edit with what I have. That’s okay for some things, but it isn’t very challenging.

I also want to shout out to all of the YouTube people that have been training me from the beginning…

There is one more that I have learned the most from, just because of the type of videos that he puts out, and that’s D4Darious! His 30 day film school, that someone put into a Google spreadsheet is the bomb! Not to mention his tutorials. That’s not to short change any of the others, but D has broken things down in a way that helped me with my skills.

I’m hoping with the new schedule rotation at work, I can sit down and work more on this. I have a long way to go…

Christmas Goodies, Filmmaking and my Heart…01/01/2018

Santa was good to me with several “toys” that I got. The big won was the GnarBox. Short description, imagine iMovie, and a hard drive, that will down load your memory cards, with a WiFi spot to connect your phone or tablet to do the editing. I wanted it before we went to Disney, but with the bypass surgery, I was surprised I got it now! Another was a new pair of headphones, a base for my monopod, and a new camera bag/backpack.

I’ve converted my SlingBag (which is still great) into my sound and accessory bag. After paying off some bills this winter, I’ll see about buying some of the lighting gear that I’ve wanted.

With that all said, I continue to make progress in filmmaking. I’ve noticed that while my composition is good, I need to work on keeping things in focus(meaning wearing my reading glasses more to see if I am in focus) and working with the white balance on my camera. I noticed that several pictures and video that I took over Christmas were very blue, so I had to color correct them in post production. It’s better to do it in camera, than post, but I see why some people say, “we’ll fix it in post.” It would save time to keep the colors true in camera.

I’m also working on making sure that even when I have things in chronological order that I’m still telling a story. Instead of we did this, then this, then this etc… I want to keep things interesting for people who watch my stuff.

I’m also working on the 30 day Film School video that D4Darious put up a while back. It has helped me immensely to get on track. It may take me more than 30 days, but I’m working through them.

If you want to see any of the things I’ve filmed (most of it is family), check out my YouTube channel.

One last thing is an update on my heart. I’ve been in Cardiac Rehab for the past month. I asked how long I would need to be in it, and was told I’m cleared for 36 sessions, but at my current progression, I could be out after 24. I’m working on that, and what to do keep this work out habit going.

Heart Updates…12/04/2017

I can drive again!

I have hit the 4 week/1month point post-op. I had a meeting with my surgeon and have no issues with me driving. There is little to no pain in my chest at this point. I do have some sort of numbness along my sternum, where they cracked my chest open, but that isn’t bad. I can sleep on my stomach again!

With no pain, it means my reactions for driving are probably back to where they were. Since I can drive, I can now go to work. I was scheduled to go back this Friday, so that’s what I will be doing. The only thing at this point is Cardiac Rehab, where I go to the hospital and do monitored work outs for the next 4 weeks or so. That looks like we can schedule around it. After that, I’ll be free of the post up things and should be back to 100%.

Okay, Here’s the Story About my Heart, Pt. 5…11/24/2017

I was in ICU for the night, and by the next morning I was being wheeled up to the Cardio-Vascular Unit. The next 5 days was spent getting me to walk, begin to eat (I had no hunger the following day or two.), etc. The staff in both ICU and CVU were great!

There’s not much extra to tell. After two days, I got my chest drain tubes taken out. I had to stay on oxygen through all but the last day. Each day was an adventure, as I continued to get stronger, and respond to what had happened, by getting my body back to the way it was.

They warned me in some of the literature that I would be emotional following the surgery, however, it didn’t hit me until I was being wheeled out. I had a hard time containing my tears and emotions that rushed out. However, with a 45 minute drive from Petoskey to Gaylord, I was back to normal.

This should, Lord willing, be good to keep me going for a long time. There are still a lot of things for me to work on, in this life…

Okay, Here’s the Story about my Heart pt.4…11/20/2017

Northern Michigan Hospital Petoskey Michigan

It seemed like a dream. There was some sort of Star Wars theme to it. I remember thinking to myself, I have to remember to tell Mary about this, as my consciousness began to poke up passed the drug induced stupor. I was becoming more aware, and struggled to open my eye lids. I could see a glimpse of the ICU nurses. They were talking to me. I don’t remember what they said, but I realized, that the surgery was done. Something was in my mouth, oh yeah, the breathing tubes that the anesthesiologist told me about before the surgery. I faded out, and just before I woke up again, another Star Wars themed dream. This time, Mary was there.

I reached out to her and she took my hand.  I faded out again, after a few minutes and after another Star Wars themed dream I awoke. Mary and my pastor was there. I held Mary’s hand, and Pastor Steve prayed over me. I faded out again.

I awoke again, and this time there was Mary and Trisha. My eyes were always heavy through this time. However, after Trisha left, I was becoming more able through the afternoon to hold my eyes open. I had a couple of events where I couldn’t quite coordinate swallowing with the breathing tubes in. The last time, the ICU nurse pulled one of them out. Then got the okay to pull the other one. Once they were out, I could talk!


Okay, Here’s the Story About my Heart PT. 3…11/16/2017

Northern Michigan Hospital Petoskey MichiganIt’s been another week since my triple bypass surgery. Things are beginning to progress well since I came home. However, when I last left you, I was two days out from being operated on. Saturday and Sunday passed without incident. I did my pre-op cleansings and at 4:00 am Monday morning, Mary and I headed north to Petoskey. We arrived a little early and had to wait. A little after 5:00 am they called my name.

I changed into a hospital gown, and then proceeded to be have both of my legs shaved, and my chest. It still looks funny today as the hair hasn’t fully grown back in. After that, I had another anti-bacterial bath, and then IV’s in both of my wrists. Mary was allowed back with me eventually and we waited. The PA for the surgeon came in and described the procedure to us and checked to make sure that the things were ready. Everything checked out.

The anesthesiologist came in checked a couple of things, and then began to roll me out. Mary and I were caught off guard by his demeanor and he didn’t say anything like, “this is it.” As I saw a door ahead of me, I realized that we wouldn’t get to kiss before I went in, so I said, “I love you!” and boom! I was through the door and being whisked through the hall to the Operating Room.

They moved me onto the Operating table, and began to connect me up to the IVs, EKGs, etc. The last thing I remember was the discussion on whether the music was appropriate with the anesthesiologist and the nursing staff. Then there was nothing until…

Today, We Pay Homage to One of the Storms That Made Me a Meteorologist…11/10/2017

As the sun is shining over northern Michigan this morning, I pause to remember…

The remembrance is bittersweet, which, for a meteorologist, most are. The storms that gave us awe for the power of nature, also tends to take life. So we balance our excitement of a storm with the recollection that some people die within these storms…

There are about 5 different storms when I was a kid that kept me on track to become a meteorologist:

  1.  The April 3-4, 1974 tornado super outbreak
  2. November 10, 1975
  3. The Winter storm of January 1977
  4. The Winter storm of January 1978
  5. The tornado outbreak of May 31, 1985

The storm was truly remarkable, with a low pressure of 978mb when the storm’s center moved to just southwest of James Bay, which allowed for the hurricane force northwest winds over Lake Superior and rest of the Upper Great Lakes.

The hurricane gusts reached into southwest lower Michigan. Those gusts stirred up the ashes in our fire place, which had a set of glass doors on them, and left what looked like ghostly imprints of dancers.

Of course, later we would learn via Harry Reasoner and ABC News (probably WZZM out of GRR as well) that the S/S Edmund Fitzgerald was missing and was eventually found in 530 ft of water north of Whitefish Point.

Okay, Here’s the Story About my Heart Pt. 2…11/9/2017

As I keep telling people, I’m training myself to be a filmmaker. I was in the process of trying to video this whole procedure, but there are times, when you just can’t, or maybe it’s just my anxiety in asking if I can record the different segments. In this case, I’ve got some clips, so here’s a bit more in my video words… (more…)