Lesson Learnt by The Macanoes

I shot and edited this music video using a Canon 550D, all with a 50mm Prime lens in manual focus. Here’s a handful of issues I ran across. Bearing in mind this wasn’t a pre-planned event. It just kind of happened over a period of a couple of days…

Firstly, time is a major factor in Production. Things always take longer than expected. Factor in kit failures, traffic jams, weather, permissions, stock, etc. So something that felt like it should only take an hour became two and a half.

Secondly, ‘coverage’ became an issue in the Edit. I found that although I took multiple takes of the song and I filmed “every section”, when I went to put it all together I found there were holes. Somehow I had managed to miss some bits. These literally became black holes in the Edit timeline until I could find a way to patch them. The answer came when I heard The Macanoes were playing at The Monto Water Rats In London. I filmed the song at their gig and slotted that footage into the video. Look out for the gig shot!

The third major issue was ‘rolling shutter’. This is a side effect from using a D-SLR camera for filming video in HD. High Definition television is created differently to old-fashioned SD. Basically one still image in SD is captured all in one go. So something moving very fast across the screen looks fine as it’s captured all in one go. A single frame in HD is scanned pixel by pixel, line by line, from top left to bottom right over a period of 1/25th of a second (sort of). This effectively means that something moving fast across the screen may be in the correct place at the top of the image but over the period of time it took to make the image, the object is further over at the bottom. Therefore it can become distorted. Like this:

This problem occurred during the use of strobe lighting. Some frames would have bands of light on them, with some strobe flash being captured half way through the recording of the frame, but the strobe being off by the end of the capture. This looks terrible when played back. The answer was to replace the problem frames with black. You don’t notice it as much on playback.

Overall, the experience of capturing all the footage was the fun part. The Edit was somewhat of a nightmare!

As a personal project taken on purely as an experiment into what’s required from a single person, i think it came out rather good. What do you think?

Playing with the DX

EDIT: When I wrote the below I had pretty much no idea what I was doing. I used a basic 2m antenna connected to a QS1R Software Defined Radio attached to my MacBook Pro to spot signals, and free Windows software emulated via VirtualBox to decode any Morse Code. I say I had no idea…

July 22 2012 11:25 BST

TP2CE sent website address “www.tp2ce.eu”. I signed their log to say I had heard them 415 miles away

July 22 2012 12:35 BST 28.264Mhz LSB

IN8ØWC 599


So, someone in Spain sent morse code using a 5W transmitter, and I heard it in London using a radio picking up 28Mhz (10m radio). Their Readability Signal and Tone was readable, strong and clear.

Their simple 5w radio signal travelled approximately 800 miles.

July 22 2012 13:00 BST 28.175 LSB Beacon


Someone in Italy using a 20W transmitter has a repeating beacon. They are 570 miles away.

July 22 2012 14:00 BST 28.027 LSB


Biggest reception yet. 1773 miles, Tenerife to London!

Strike Three to Chinese Whispers

Please read my usual disclaimer before you go any further. I feel it pertinent in this situation to do such a thing.

I am a freelancer. This means I “work for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company”. I am therefore self-employed. The work is not permanent. Nor is it there all the time. It comes and goes, mostly based on merit, trustworthiness and reliability.

I am not a Producer. My job does not involve decisions based on what does and doesn’t make it into any of the shows I work on.

Nor am I an Editor for any show or have input which affects how the shows operate. I do my own editing for personal projects, but none as a freelancer.

I’m also not a Spokesperson (as my Disclaimer clearly states). Anything I write or blog about should be taken as my opinion, and not fact.

So, onto my main point of this blog.

When I woke up this morning there was a flurry of activity on Twitter involving things I’ve posted. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Nor the second. I’d like to clarify a few things:

When I work on Big Brother, I’m employed as a House Director. This is a technical role where you are responsible for getting the shots of the Housemates for the show. For example, if there was a conversation in the bathroom between three people it was my responsibility to get the best camera coverage of that area by sending camera operators around the House to various mirrored windows to shoot from.

Previously, in response to conversational comments posted to me on Twitter I had suggested that if there was a Live Feed for Big Brother, I would watch it. This line was taken out of context and discussed on Digital Spy. It evolved from the comments being made solely by me, into “what the Directors think”, and then into me being “a Producer for the show” and onto “someone who works there says there should be a Live Feed”. All of that was utter nonsense, based on a single tweet.

Again. There was a peak of activity around face-to-face nominations during the Good, Bad and Ugly Housemates task. It was being suggested that Caroline showed Conor the face of another Housemate from the deck of cards they were using as props to identify their nominations. People began to speculate there was an element of cheating going on, with Caroline either influencing Conors decision, or Caroline looking for guidance on her nomination.

I posted a tweet saying “Looks to me like Caroline was showing Conor her own photo?”. This, yet again, was taken out of context. It became “BREAKING NEWS” by individuals on Twitter and started circulating as something “confirmed” that “producers are trying to cover up”. This too is utter nonsense.

Considering some of my words have been taken as fact by a minority of people, and taken as official comment, I have decided that it’s in my best interest not to interact with fans of the show in any capacity. Quite bluntly, the actions of others are becoming a cause of concern for my employment. It may only be one or two comments out of millions, but it’s affecting me directly.

For those who don’t know, I am also autistic. This means that for those who see a line not to be crossed, that line seems a little bit further away to me. I now understand that my interacting with people, although intently as a positive thing, could be causing a negative impact.

As such, I am no longer going to converse over Social Media with anyone relating to any show I work on. I have guidance as to Social Media, with the basis that anything I write should compliment the shows I work on, and avoid confusion. I understand that my views can easily be mistaken as an official view on a storyline, housemate or the show. It appears that I personally am not causing confusion, but others are, and then pointing at me.

So that’s it. Three strikes. I’m out.

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