Archive for December 12th, 2010

Holiday video tips, FCE tips and much more, by Israel Hyman

| December 12, 2010 | 1 Reply
Holiday video tips, FCE tips and much more, by Israel Hyman

I recently upgraded to an HD camcorder and I’ve started producing video on Final Cut Express using an iMac.  Although it is an excellent program, I found myself struggling with FCE, because it is quite different than than Adobe’s Premier Video, which I had been using.

How do you learn to use FCE proficiently and quickly? I spent a lot of time reading the FCE online manual, but I was looking for more hands-on help. I even considered hiring a tutor for a couple of hours, but then I ran across a comprehensive training series produced by Israel Hyman (www.izzyvideo.com). I was immediately and extremely impressed with Izzy’s teaching abilities.  He displays a working knowledge of the process of shooting, processing and producing high grade videos on Final Cut Express.You would be hard pressed to find anyone who can explain the detailed process more clearly.  His FCE course costs $49 (Izzy’s introductory FCE course is free).  Alternatively, you can surf YouTube, where you’ll find lots of people who are trying to be helpful, many of them pre-teens. But you won’t find many excellent teachers who really display a working knowledge.

Izzy also offers a comprehensive membership regarding video shooting in general. He offers this information in the form of blogs posts and videos. I’m impressed with all of many written materials and videos that I’ve viewed. Warning: Izzy strives for excellent video, which sometimes requires pricey equipment or a lot of extra work, though many of his tips involve no expense (above and beyond having a video camera and a rudimentary editing program).  Izzy makes much of his training available to the general public without charge.   For instance, here’s a highly useful set of suggestions (text and video) for getting good video in low light.

Is this a plug? Absolutely. But I can assure you that I have never met Izzy (though it seems like I know him, based on viewing 30 of his short videos) and I’m not receiving a cent for this plug. I’m posting this information for others who are struggling with the beginning or intermediate stages of FCE, or those who want their videos to look like they were shot and edited by professionals.

For any of you who are looking for some tips for shooting holiday video (regardless of whether you use FCE) consider this introduction to holiday video by Izzy.

[Note: Adobe's Premier Video repeatedly choked and froze on my extremely fast PC, even though it has 8 GB RAM; I got tired to screwing with Premier for HD video (Premier did handle my DV camcorder footage OK, but choked on HD) and a couple other PC version contenders.  I decided to invest in an iMac for my multimedia project (including music production on Logic Express --another excellent Apple program).  The iMac runs and edits HD video effortlessly, which makes me wish I hadn't spent so much time trying to cut HD video on a PC.  Anecdote: Adobe's website offers troubleshooting for Premier that has lists of dozens of things you might need to check if the program is not working-I tried many of these before giving up on Premier].

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We are running out of coal too

| December 12, 2010 | Reply
We are running out of coal too

Conservative politicians insist that the United States is the Middle East of coal, and that we have no energy worries if we could only just get over our global warming worries. They often claim that the United States has enough coal to supply us for 250 years. They also insist, without any basis, that there is a way to burn coal cleanly, economically, and efficiently. There are many reasons to doubt these claims of conservatives, but let’s assume that they are correct about all of them. Those who want to base our energy policy on coal have another huge problem.

The November 18, 2010 issue of Nature available online only to subscribers) warns that recent forecasts suggest that coal reserves are running out much faster than most people believe. Therefore, “energy policies relying on cheap coal have no future.” Authors Richard Heinberg and David Fridley indicate that “world energy policy is gripped by a fallacy–the idea that coal is destined to stay cheap for decades to come.” They give two reasons for their urgent warning:

First, a spate of recent studies suggest that available, useful coal may be less abundant than has been assumed-indeed that the peak of world coal production may be only years away. One pessimistic study published in 2010 concluded that global energy derived from coal could peak as early as 2011. Second, global demand is growing rapidly, largely driven by China.… Since 2000 it has been surging at 3.8% per year… Economic shocks from rising coal prices will be felt by every sector of society.

Yet, most energy policies assume a “bottomless coal pit.” The authors point out that in terms of energy output, “US coal production peaked in the late 1990s (volume continued to increase, but the coal was of lower energy content).” They point out that two key mining regions in the United States “show rapid depletion of high-quality reserves.” They urge the federal government to complete a new national coal survey. It is their conclusion that it is unlikely that world coal supplies can continue to meet projected demand beyond 2020.

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