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Richard Bugg

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Everything posted by Richard Bugg

  1. Sometimes the most interesting and useful insights (like this one from Andrew) require traversing some difficult ground to get there. With this sort of reflection the preceding discomfort is almost always worth the effort. To explore Andrew's thoughts here a little further: perhaps in addition to being a rather poor 'facsimile' of life, it seems to me the internet becomes at times a powerful and distorting "amplifier" of people's emotional states, but mostly only of those frequencies that deal with anger, fear, rejection, resentment etc. I don't think anyone is immune from this effect, and I suspect the more invested in a community or issue, the more pronounced the effect. I agree that the internet's amplifying effects can have far reaching ramifications, especially when taking into account that the responses are preserved in writing, and when multiplied across thousands and perhaps millions of people on any given issue. This must at least be part of the reason for the recent exacerbation in polarisation that we see in politics (uh oh - sorry to mention the "P" word). But more to the point, perhaps it can help us to simply understand the sometimes difficult dynamics of communication from a human perspective, and especially of online communication where our brains lack the important cues given by real face-to-face interaction. Perhaps the lesson is that in understanding what is happening, it is easier not to put too much importance on the details of what is said, and to recognise that we are all basically the same in this regard. In acknowledging our nature as fragile humans it is far easier to be forgiving on ourselves and others for apparent transgressions, to allow some breathing space for reflection, and then to get back to the task at hand. So Andrew, in regards to the camera in question, I think that if there are matters about its quality and usefulness you would like resolved, it would not surprise me at all if you do get your hands on it one way or another. And if and when you do, I'll look forwards to your insightful review of it.
  2. Context is everything. Here's an interesting article illuminating how the alt-right (in this case) have selectively use past internet comments to sucker-punch their enemies, including Gunn's employer. It's worth being very familiar with the tactic, so that it's more easy to identify and to see when your own viewpoint is being manipulated. It's a subset of general propaganda, given additional potency by the reach of the internet. The mock outrage is systematically deployed in a way that will co-opt (infect) the target - i.e. the general population, and vulnerable/fearful administrators and managers, to result in additional leverage against opponents. The 2016 US election was rife with it.
  3. Did you try using the H1's internal mics for a stereo setup? Alternatively, you could probably use an external stereo mic, something like the Rode NT4. It's got fixed XY stereo, with 9V battery for phantom, and a 3.5mm input that would plug into your H1. An external mic like the NT4 would provide a considerable upgrade to the H1's internal mics. If you placed it quite close you could reduce the gain a little and thereby cut out ambient noise quite well while maintaining a reasonable spread with the cardioid pickup pattern. A little ambient sound can give a sense of place. Either way you'd need a fluffy for the wind of course, and if the day is relatively calm they can work well. Experimenting with careful placement and gain would be key to getting a good result. A decent microphone and careful placement is likely more important than the recording device.
  4. There is one thing for sure, and that is that contentious people like LvT promote robust discussion. And I would say that is probably a positive outcome. I don't agree with the key premises of Andrew's argument, nor the conclusions that follow, and I think it is reasonable to contest the argument on that basis. Perhaps I have missed something as well and I can learn from the discussion. But I'm not sure that personalising things is particularly useful, more of a distraction. Sometimes, a different conception of the problem leads to different conclusions.
  5. You pose that as a rhetorical question, as though the answer is self-evident. But it is a very relevant question. How do you define violence? Is it aways physical? What is the impact of witnessing extreme violence, real or depicted? Can showing a violent film be a form of violence itself? You have already alluded to how films might provoke a physiological and psychological response (nightmares), and have suggested that films like this should be kept from children and "idiots". Why do you suggest these films be censored for some people and not others? Aside from the fact that you have qualified your own argument about censorship in this way, I presume it's because you recognise that exposure to screen violence might have some deleterious effect on at least some people? A cursory examination of the published literature suggest that this is indeed likely to be the case. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29093050 This film has been made. You have linked the trailer, which itself depicts graphic and extreme violence. You suggest that this is for an "art house" audience, but here it is on the internet. It will be downloaded into people's homes, not confined to carefully chosen audiences that have weeded out the vulnerable. So children, youths, "idiots" and all manner of people will watch this trailer, and will watch this film, because in this day and age it is easily available, and because parents don't always take proper care or don't always understand the effects of such films on their children's and their own development. And who knows what effect these films have on the psyche of the general community over time. We are running that experiment now. People used to think smoking and asbestos were harmless. The real question is this: Is curtailing individual freedoms in some instances justified due to probable harmful effects on the community? I think in most rational and civic minded communities the answer would be yes. People who call themselves "Artists" are no exception. This is not sinister big government at play. This is about building civil and healthy societies. Where that line is drawn is a matter of debate. But to argue against any form of restriction is to neither accept nor care that some forms of expression might be harmful and might have harmful impacts on others. This NYT article on the current controversy provides some interesting insights. Based on the final chilling paragraphs LvT may well be sociopathic. I certainly wouldn't want him as my banner boy for freedom of expression, but then again if you argue against censorship in any form then you are arguing not only for LvT's work, but also for far worse. Good luck with that. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/movies/lars-von-trier-the-house-that-jack-built-cannes-film-festival.html
  6. It was always going to be a big ask to write convincingly that excessive and gratuitous brutality is somehow more of what the world needs right now, if only because it apparently shows a rebel genius giving us all the middle finger, or elucidating some obscure deeper principle through his violence. But the sweeping generalisations and straw-man arguments that litter your piece certainly don't help in that quest. Nor does decrying today's polarisation of opinion, while at the same time polarising this discussion by denigrating those who you target. Perhaps LvT has something interesting to say to some people; perhaps he doesn't. But so far, I'm not convinced.
  7. Rather than a new recorder, what about adding an XLR preamp to your existing setup? If that might work this review by Caleb Pike compares some relatively inexpensive (+ one expensive) preamps. In a couple of other videos here Caleb shows a way to use and modify the Saramonic SmartRig XLR Preamp ($23). I understand the camera's mic input still passes through the camera's internal preamp and you can't actually 'bypass' it - just turn it down and make it less pronounced by using a stronger - and ideally cleaner - input signal. The $23 Saramonic setup does look workable, lightweight, simple, cheap and creative, and presumably the 3.5mm output could be split with one of these or similar, to send an input signal to a recorder (e.g. DR-10L/LS-7 which could otherwise double as a pocket recorder if needed) as well as a signal to the camera for scratch or backup audio. The audio quality seems pretty reasonable, but in the video it sounds like the Saramonic setup loses some of the lower frequency sounds compared to the C100 XLR preamp, which by contrast sounds somewhat 'richer'. I wondered if there was an inbuilt low cut filter involved with the Saramonic. The Beachteck looks like a better quality option, but is a little more bulky and expensive. However, it can be bottom mounted which is a plus. Either way, at $23 and $140 respectively the Saramonic and Beachteck options are considerably cheaper than the Zoom H5 at $270, but with the downside of having to connect your existing recorder, which is more fiddly and prone to disconnecting, but nothing you couldn't work around. When all is said and done, cameras come and go, cheap gear breaks and often disappoints with it's compromises and lack of performance. But a quality audio setup will last a long time. That said, I'd personally consider selling anything I didn't need, throwing in the extra cash and buying a MixPre3 and not have to worry about audio recorders for another decade or more. If you look at it like that the MixPre3 is a bargain.
  8. Recording directly into something like the BM 4K Video Assist would eliminate sync issues while giving you xlr (mini) and 48V phantom. Not sure how they compare to other audio recorders (noise, preamps etc) but they look like an interesting solution as an audio recorder with the benefit of having a decent monitor thrown in for good measure.
  9. Except in this case it's not about the story at all. It's all about Logan. He is not a journalist, so equating him with "news reporters, war corresponcences (sic)" is erroneous. Quite likely the people who are affected by suicide, such as family and friends.
  10. If you decide on the 5d3, don't worry - you are in good company; the most used camera in the 2017 world press photo awards was the 5D3, as this illustrates: https://petapixel.com/2017/02/16/cameras-captured-winning-shots-world-press-photo-2017/ Given your lens set and experience with canon, that seems like a pretty good bet. However, the D750 has an articulating screen. 5D3 doesn't. This is handy both for video and stills. More important to me, the D750 appears to have markedly superior shadow recovery vs 5D3 https://petapixel.com/2014/10/14/nikon-d750-review-nikon-youve-created-monster/ The ability to lift exposure on the D750 is an excellent feature. I'm not sure how AF compares. It will probably be cheaper initially to go with the 5D3 given your lens set, but if you are considering a lens upgrade in the short to medium future, possibly with an eye on the D850 when the price drops, that's not relevant. For me, I'd probably go with the crowd here and opt for the D750, based on shadow recovery and tilt screen and a future Nikon. But if you got a good deal on the 5D3, you get access to ML and you will probably win a world press photo award.
  11. I'm wondering if this may be because many sets, whilst technically indoors, might typically be in large spaces, and therefore less prone to reverberation/reflected sound than, say a small bare room. In that case, the pickup pattern might be the most important aspect, rather than the mic's performance in a reverberant space. Hence, the shotgun mic might be preferred for "dry audio" in that setting. Would that be consistent with your experience?
  12. Here is an interesting comparison of the Rode NTG3 (shotgun) and the AT4053b (hypercardioid) in what seems to be a reflective room.
  13. Don't underestimate the potential value of a powerpoint presentation on 3rd quarter margin calls. You could turn $2k into a retirement villa furnished with your own studio. Then you could make all the tear jerkers you can imagine.
  14. The M3 (cardioid) option might work well enough if you can find a quiet environment. The environment needs to be quiet since a cardioid will pick up a lot more background sound than a shotgun or hypercardioid. The indoor cardioid option can also work ok if you have two people sitting side by side for an interview as you can place the microphone between the two of them and it will pick up both pretty well. This can simplify the setup. I've used cardioid microphones for voiceover and for side-by-side interviews and they can sound good. Again, however, they are very prone to picking up unwanted sounds. Wearing decent closed-back headphones to hear exactly what is being picked up is important here as background noise can be pretty distracting and very difficult or impossible to remove once there. The analogy with lenses pointed out by Kisaha is apt - having a few options is always helpful, sometimes necessary.
  15. The Ira Glass team use some decent but not too pricey gear to make pretty compelling radio documentaries. Here, Ira describes using the Marantz PDM661 recorder and AT8035 (and similar) shotguns for this very long running and wide-ranging show. One could quibble over audio quality at times, but there is the law of diminishing returns at play here: for a reasonably modest price you can achieve good, and often very good audio in a wide range of settings, including indoors. For a lot more money, and with a wider array of microphones you can get some incremental, and occasionally significantly better sound. But since it isn't Hollywood, does the expense-for-limited gains make sense? With a documentary, it's about the story, and some slightly imperfect sound is usually well tolerated as long as the story is good. The H4N would seem good enough for the task. For a microphone, I'd probably stick with a battery-operated shotgun like the Audio Technica AT897 or Rode equivalent. If you are likely to be in a very reverberant indoor setting, simply go somewhere else with curtains, carpets, etc. If you can't do that, spring for something like the AT4053b (hypercardioid). I'd probably go for second-sound into the recorder, rather than straight into the camera, since if the camera switches off you might miss some important audio that could otherwise be included in the final documentary albeit covered by cutaways. Use the camera's audio for sync.
  16. More than any other, this one blog post helped me master professionalism and bokeh, and avoid legal pitfalls. http://www.27bslash6.com/photography.html
  17. Nice CGI and cinematography weren't enough; I found it clichéd, and lacking emotional engagement. The sound was big, but I thought a bit too big - rather than subtly shaping the mood, it seemed to be a bit over the top at times. The film was pretty squarely pitched at a male audience and I doubt many women will like it. The evil chap badly needed to see both an ophthalmologist for his cataracts and a psychologist for his narcissistic sadism. Not to mention a hairdresser. If the batteries in his jellybeans went flat he'd have been bumping into walls. But who knows, his attributes might make him a good candidate for public office. There were some interesting plot manoeuvres and ideas here and there to keep it tenuously interesting, but it was difficult for me to find great appeal in the lead character, who barely changed his facial expressions throughout, wether he was bashing through walls, taking a hit to the guts, or contemplating his navel (that might have been the point given what that character was, but it's a pretty tricky position from which to engage the audience). The story's underlying plot was typical good vs evil, with an identity crisis thrown in for good measure. I'm sure the film will develop a following, and perhaps a more sophisticated audience will get more from it than I did, but I suspect it lacks a sufficiently compelling story, characters, and appeal to make it widely popular.
  18. Am I right in thinking it's the rear lobe of the shotguns that picks up room reflections. Perhaps the NTG3 might be a little better here than some others, with a wider pickup pattern and a smaller rear lobe, hence fewer reflective sounds indoors? Sorry if I've contributed to the drift off the OP topic here.
  19. I'll second the D50 (and now D100) as a very, very good relatively small recorder. Good features, good build quality, great sound. Despite the lack of XLR it can be used with external microphones that have a 3.5mm plug, such as the Rode NT4 (stereo), NTG4, or the Rodelink receiver for example. As you suggest it can be used with a mixer as the recorder. It seemed to be pretty expensive for me when I bought it, but it's one of those things you buy once and it will do the job for decades. It works well on top of my camera for general run-and-gun shooting, either as second sound, or simply as a mic feed with a cable into the camera. It's great for chasing the kids around! I was wondering what the modification for the AKG was that you mentioned and how it stacks up compared with other hypercardioids such as the schoeps CMC641. I've also been considering the Gefell M310 as a more economical alternative to the Schoeps. It gets a pretty good wrap here. I'm not sure I really need a hypercardioid as the NTG3 seems to be pretty good for sit down interviews indoors so I'm equivocating a bit. In the end I'll probably spring for the Gefell.
  20. Here is a pretty good blog post, which is similar in nature but broadens the discussion to include microphones, with a bias towards ambient recording (stereo) for those who are interested.
  21. This bloke shows how he bought a mid-tier 2017 iMac, pulled the screen off then replaced the CPU with an Intel i7, added an SSD and 64GB RAM to apparently achieve faster performance than any other 2017 iMac. Perhaps this is the type of hybrid Hackintosh that makes most sense for the DIY handyman.
  22. Being a Nikon person, I'm afraid I'd be thinking something like, for video: C100ii, good tripod, 24-105 or 24-70, Sigma 18-35. For audio: SD702 (used), Rode NTG3, AT4053b, Blimp and fluffy windshield, boompole, C stand x 1, Rodelink (or sony or sennheiser equivalents) for wireless, Sony MDR7xxx for headphones. For Stills and B roll: 5Diii or iv, Added lenses: Sigma 35 1.4, 70-200, perhaps a wide angle. For lights: Aperture series x 2 or 3 with some diffusers and a few more light stands. I'd pay someone else to do the drone work. That should smash a pretty good hole in $30k and give you a solid base to provide consistent fast paced pro work with a flexible system. It might be a bit boring, but the main aim would be the content, so the tools should just get out of the way and be reliable. Oh, and a nice iMac as well.
  23. There are probably a lot of ways to skin a banana, but talking to and doing things for people face to face seems infinitely more satisfying.
  24. Battery supply can be solved with a camera-appropriate AC adapter plugged into a wall outlet, or an inverter of some kind, in turn attached to a 12V battery. E.g. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=742056&gclid=CJKc5b7m8dMCFVcnvQodQ9oMKw&is=REG&c3api=1876%2C50960586482%2C%2C&IWB=AU&Q=&A=details&pcur=ZAUD Alternatively, just get the Tether Tools Case Relay system and run your camera continuously off USB-type batteries: https://www.tethertools.com/product-category/power-management/case-relay/
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