Making Educational Video

Last Semester I took a class called Producing Education Video. We had two projects during the semester. The first was a group project where we had to each pitch a project which the class then voted on to produce a roster of 7 or 8 green lit projects which would be made. I pitched the idea of creating a video that demonstrated something about microphone technique. Here is the result.

Microphone Technique (E-40) from David Ackerman on Vimeo.

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Testing 123

A very quick makeup test

. Zombie 1

Zombie 2

Makeup by Addy Cahill, Zombie victim Kymber Henry

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This past year I reconnected with a couple of friends I haven’t seen since High school. It was interesting to see that we all had worked for the same employer, spent years living within few blocks of each other and never knew it. So weird. In any event, I decided to take a video production class this Summer and convinced Kymber to take it with me. We worked with two other classmates to write and produce this video. Enjoy!

Blue from David Ackerman on Vimeo.

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Fourlight Firefly

Fourlight Firefly has made available their 4 song EP that I recorded and mixed last year. Go get it!

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In the spirit of the day

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Field recordists, your camera’s LP mode is not for you

If you are a field researcher or recordist capturing video and audio for your research, you may still be working with tape based media that offers a Long Play (LP) mode that claims to increase the amount of content you can record on a single tape. Sounds irresistible  I know, the prospect of carrying fewer tapes or getting that many more hours of source for the tapes you do carry. But I urge you to resist the temptation of these lines of reasoning and stick with the SP mode of your camera.

‘Why?’, you demand, and rightly so since it seems like a lot to give up for no discernible benefit. But that is because there is another dimension to your field work not touched upon in this reasoning. Namely durability. What good to you are all those extra hours of recording if when you return to your office you find that the tapes are not playable? What would you think if I told you that there are no professional VTR’s that include an LP mode? This is because no manufacturer thinks for a minute that they could produce a deck that would reliably play an LP tape.

Here is the thing, the way they accomplish extending the running time of the tape is to pack the data  on the tape more densely; by slowing the tape down. This greater data density increases the likelihood of dropouts, both in the audio and video. It also increases tracking errors which is why it is not uncommon for an LP mode recorded tape to only be playable in the camera that the recording was made with.

So the question is, how important is your data? LP mode was made for people screwing around on their vacations who need extra recording time. If they lose that video, it probably isn’t the end of the world. But if you are relying on the material you record to support your research, or to become a primary resource in someone else’s research, or to preserve cultural heritage, then LP mode is a ticking time-bomb waiting to wipe away your good work.

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Moog is making their new iPad app, Animoog available for 99¢ for the next 30 days. I might just have to go buy an iPad finally.

Get it

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The Poet’s Voice

One of the projects I have been working on the past couple of years is the preservation of recordings made by the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University. This collection is beyond cool. It consists of audio recordings of the worlds very best poets reading their own work.

The centerpiece of the Poetry Room is its audio archive. Inaugurated by a 1930s recording of T.S. Eliot by the pioneering audio engineer Frederick C. Packard, the Woodberry’s inimitable audio collection has grown into one of the most comprehensive recording collections of poetry in the country. The collection today includes recordings by John Ashbery, W. H. Auden, Ted Berrigan, Elizabeth Bishop, Yves Bonnefoy, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Creeley, E. E. Cummings, Robert Duncan, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Louise Gluck, Ted Hughes, Robinson Jeffers, Philip Larkin, Denise Levertov, Audre Lorde, Robert Lowell, Czeslaw Milosz, Marianne Moore, Vladimir Nabokov, Sharon Olds, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Siegfried Sassoon, Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens and James Tate. It is, according to Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, “indispensable: it contains not only the voices—from different times of their lives—of the greatest poets, but constitutes a living history of modern poetry.”

The WPR has finally launched its Listening Booth feature where scholars and the general public may gain access to these wonderful recordings.

Check it out.

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