Quick Trip to Oslo

I went to Oslo last week for a day of lecturing. The weather was rainy and foggy. Apparently, there was an Olympic ski jump on the hill where we gathered but I didn't see it. oslo

In Praise of Tim McLaughlin

I had the good fortune to attend my friend and colleague Tim McLaughlin’s wedding last weekend. He and his lovely bride Britt Sondreal could not have been more gracious nor their wedding more beautiful.

I give Tim a ton of shit at work because, well, he mostly deserves it, but I’ll refrain in this instance as he has spent the last year not just planning a wedding, but also crafting a really beautiful project: Phil Toledano’s A Shadow Remains.

You can see a preview of it here.

Also, if you’re in Brooklyn on June 11, please consider attending the world premiere. Additional information is available at the MediaStorm blog.

MediaStom Guide to iPad Compression for the Web

I've written a white paper on how to compress web content for viewing on the iPad. This one took some research as there's not a lot of comprehensive information available at the moment.

In learning about the H.264, I discovered that Apple doesn't give the user much access to many of the codec's options. In fact, Apple's flavor of H.264 is not used by anyone else on the market. More common versions, like MainConcept, are used by Sorenson's Squeeze and Adobe's Media Encoder.

MediaStom Guide to iPad Compression for the Web is available for free on the MediaStorm blog.

Driftless Wins Webby for Best Editing

I am thrilled to announce that the 14th Annual Webby Awards named MediaStorm’s Driftless by Danny Wilcox Frazier, which I produced and edited, as the winner in this year's Best Editing for Online Film and Video Category.

From the Webby press release:

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile websites. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 650-person judging academy whose members include Martha Stewart, R/GA’s Chief Bob Greenberg, David Bowie, Arianna Huffington and Twitter’s Biz Stone.

“The Webby Awards honors the very best of the Internet,” said David-Michel Davies, executive director of The Webby Awards. “MediaStorm’s achievement is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.”

The 14th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from over 60 countries and all 50 states.

Watch Driftless: Stories from Iowa here.

Speaking at Ohio University, May 5th at 8:00 p.m.

eric_maierson I will be speaking about multimedia production at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio on Wednesday May 5th at 8:00 p.m.

The event will take place at Mitchell Auditorium, Seigfred Hall on the 5th floor.

The talk is free and open to the public.

If you’re in the neighborhood, come by and say hello.

Driftless Nominated for Two Webby Awards

nominee_white Danny Wilcox Frazier's Driftless, which I produced and edited at MediaStorm, was nominated for two Webby Awards, one of the Internet's highest honors.

The piece was nominated in both the Editing and Documentary: Individual Episode categories.

Additionally, both are eligible for the People's Choice Award in their respective category.

To vote, and I'd of course appreciate it you did, first register for an account here.

Once you're account has been activated and you've logged in, select the 'Online Film and Video' banner at the top of the page.

On the resulting page, click the Editing and Documentary: Individual Episode boxes to vote.


MediaStorm and Council on Foreign Relations Nominated for Emmy

cfr Crisis Guide: The Global Economy, for which I produced the first chapter, was nominated for a Business & Financial Reporting Emmy.

Other nominees in the category are CNBC.com, CBS Sunday Morning and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and the Wall Street Digital Network.

From the MediaStorm blog:

This new CFR.org Crisis Guide is an in-depth, multimedia look at the causes and consequences of the global economic crisis that seeks to unravel the questions surrounding the downturn and shed light on its policy implications, drawing on insights from leading thinkers on economics and international affairs.

You can view the project here.

Final Cut workflows for the Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D300

Since its release, the Canon 5D Mark II has become the de facto video camera for many photojournalists. Despite some technical challenges, the visual quality is simply stunning. Prosumer video gear just can't touch its filmic look or depth-of-field. For examples, check out the gorgeous work of Jeff Hutchens and Nacho Corbella in the MediaStorm workshop project that I produced Hold Out. More recent workshop attendees Deanne Fitzmaurice and Doug Grant also used the 5D to beautiful effect in Family Kocktail.

It's not hard to understand why the Canon 5D Mark II, and now the Nikon D300, have become so popular. But to make these files Final Cut Pro compliant there remain a number of technical hurdles.

To help with this, I documented the MediaStorm workflow with each of these cameras. From the MediaStorm blog:

These documents detail the transcoding process in Compressor, demonstrate how to use Apple's Qmaster to get the most out of your computer's processors, and describe how to properly set up a default Final Cut sequence setting for your respective footage.

Both documents are available as free downloads on the MediaStorm submission page: http://mediastorm.org/submissions/index.htm.

copy-and-paste vs. drag-and-drop

Sometimes when Final Cut crashes, I need to retrieve a sequence from the auto save vault that's more up to date than the crashed version. I've found it quicker to copy-and-paste the backup sequence in to my project than it is to drag-and-drop. The latter method involves a spinning beach ball that is perilously long for comfort.

Using Terminal to Quit Invisible Processess

No matter how much RAM your mac is pushing, it's inevitable that your computer will eventually hang; those times when no matter how many applications you quit, your computer still seems to working in slow motion. By way of review, the simple way to quit hanging applications is to use force quit (command-option-esc) and a window listing all of your running applications will appear.

Unfortunately, this method does not include invisible processes, those background applications that keep your mac running.

To see those, you'll need to launch Terminal from your Applications>Utility folder.

The Terminal uses an interface that looks a lot like the DOS prompt of yore. Terminal is the gateway to your Mac's UNIX underpinnings.

At the Terminal prompt type the word top. No caps and no period. You'll then see a list of all running applications. The first three columns from the left contain the most important information. PID or process ID is the number associated with each process. You'll need to know this number in order to quit its respective process.

Next is the COMMAND column which lists the name of the processes at work. Note that open applications are listed as processes here too - the same ones you'd see if you used the force quit method described.

The third column is %CPU, the amount of CPU power each process is taking. In most cases, a process will take no more than 30% of your computer's power. But if your machine is running slow and you see a process that's at, say, 90%, then that process might be your culprit.

To kill a process, note its associated PID number.

Next, quit out of your top search. To do this simply type the letter q. No period. Terminal will clear the page and offer you a new prompt.

Next, enter the command kill followed by the PID number you'd like to quit. For instance, kill 9178. Do not type a period afterwards. The process will quit. If you'd like to verify, simply enter top once again.

Quit Terminal and you should be back in business.