Friday, June 15, 2007

Blog break for graduation

I'm taking a brief break from writing in this blog so I can finish up classes, graduate college, and find a place to live closer to my work in LA. I'll be back as soon as I can, because the world keeps moving by way too fast...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fox butchers On the Lot

Fox has now cut down airings of On the Lot by half due to less than stellar ratings. It now airs one episode per week. Has anyone seen this show? It has a great premise of whittling down filmmakers reality-show style until the "best" one is left with a directing contract with Dreamworks.

On the Lot started off as airing two episodes per week: the first covering the directors during pre-production, production, post production, and exhibition in front of a live studio audience; the second episode showed interviews with the directors, screened the films, and allowed the judges to comment on each one. One of the problems is the show's American Idol format: the majority of the air time is spent on cheesy "suspenseful" elimination rounds, and hardly anything on the actual films.

Now that fewer people have tuned in than expected, the only episode per week is the second phase. The most interesting and entertaining parts of the actual film production have been cut! What is the point of On the Lot now? I thought it was to show what directors do, how they work, and their results. I can tune in to the Independent Film Channel to view similar films, or watch any myriad of reality shows to vote contestants off. What a disappointment...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dreams of interactive television

How can we watch "interactive television," and what does this mean for the viewer? I was reading Steve Kilisky's post on his Dynamic Media Blog and it got me reflecting about the increasingly blurring lines between television the Internet. It's funny how the last few classes I'm taking at UCSC all discuss ways in which electronic media merge, overlap, or displace one another; all this questioning leads to a (mostly) unpredictable future for Television 2.0--similar to a recent grad's?

Henry Jenkins analyzes this newer convergence culture, Lisa Parks talks about "microcasting" to niche audiences, and William Boddy adds to and interprets the results of the growing list of failed WebTV-like ventures. Where are we now? We have:

-user created content piped through a cable television station (Current TV)
-television distributed through the Internet & brought to your computer (Joost)
-content distributed through the Internet & brought to your TV (Apple TV)

We have all these different technologies grasping for similar goals. As Kilisky comments, much of interactive TV's poor adoption has stemmed by a poor user experience. Perhaps progress has been made, but it's difficult to tell. Newer technologies might encourage more "lean forward" viewing practices, but is that what the average television viewer wants? Is it even possible to successfully mix newer, Internet based technologies with the same old original television format?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Two weeks until graduation!

The clock is ticking away until I graduate from college: the morning of June 16th. I will be moving from Santa Cruz to Santa Monica in early July for a full time post production job. Which leaves me with a ridiculous student loan to begin paying back, expensive LA rent to pay (not to mention deposit), and other bills that I'm not used to paying for.

I started this blog to write about something I feel passionate about, and perhaps I will see if I can bring any income in to supplement my meager student/entry-level salary. I've been looking around at ways to monetize blogs, but I don't want the site to become a rat's nest of ads. I'll try out services like Blogvertise to see if I can raise any money to help pay for my education. But of course, providing useful content for readers is my top priority :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Change video frame rate in After Effects

Andrew Kramer of has made a great video tutorial that shows you how to change the frame rate of a video in After Effects, while maintaining full quality.

For my latest project, I needed to convert HD stock footage of various flavors (29.97 fps NTSC to 25 fps PAL, some 1080i) to 720p, 23.976 fps. I edited everything in Premiere Pro and burned to Blu-Ray disc. All the conversions went well and without a hitch. Thanks Andrew!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Buy your fellow blogger a beer

I came back from Memorial Day holiday to find Sire from BlogSire: Blogging the Money Way had written the Drowning Turtle a great review. It's tricky to start a new blog about something you're passionate about, and to have a job alongside classes, midterms, finals, etc., having a review published is a great help to spreading the Drowning Turtle word.

Any online writer should check out BlogSire: Blogging the Money Way to get a little something back to all you talented bloggers that give fantastic advice and entertainment. Everyone can use his great variety and library of money making tips, especially the fun ones such as "Buy me a Beer." Since I'm not running WordPress, just click on the Paypal donation button at right to buy me a beer or donate to help this site grow.