Ross Carbonite Switcher 12.3 Software and Touchscreen Custom Controls (aka-Macros)

IMG_7552At work we have a 2ME Ross Carbonite Video Switcher. It’s a work horse. Perfect for many church video switching environments; 4 keys per ME, 24 input panel, DVE, 8 Aux, 6 frame syncs built in. For basic IMAG and Stream/TV/Record switching it works really well. Of course, there’s always other options out there, but we have been really happy with our Ross.

We had been running version 10.0 of the software since I’ve been here. The computer based Dashboard software was very handy for setting up and changing switcher configurations, but I didn’t use it for much else. The Ross is capable of recording and recalling macros from the control panel, but I have to admit, I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to do it. A macro is a function that allows you to record multiple button pushes and switcher states and recall them with the push of a button.

So we used the Ross to do the what we needed, but didn’t use any of the advanced featured. Then lightning struck. Or some sort of power surge, we don’t know what it was. The surge was strong enough and fast enough that even though the switcher was on a UPS with surge suppression, the frame lost connection with the control panel. When we reloaded the settings, not everything was exactly the way it was before. Since I was about to tweak some things anyway, I decided now was the time to update the software.

The update process is simple, but a little scary. There’s a big warning on the Ross download page about not being able to downgrade below version 11.0 of the software once you update. Version 12.3 had only been out for a few weeks. I tried the basic update, but I think going from version 10 to 12 was too much for that. It froze during the update process. I ended up having to do a Forced Update which erased everything. In order to do a Forced Update you need a fat32 formatted USB drive of 2GB or larger with only the new software on it. (Make sure you save your settings BEFORE you try to update.) On the frame, power down the switcher, insert the USB. Hold down the “Update” rocker switch and power the frame back on. Keep holding how the rocker switch for a 10 count, then release. A few seconds later the control panel will see the USB and start the update. To go from 10.00 to 12.3 it takes a few minutes. At one point the screen will say Critical Update. That’s normal. Once it’s finished, reload your saved settings. We had to do this twice. For whatever reason, some of our settings didn’t come back the first time.

Now, we were back to basic operation. And could keep using the switcher just like we always had. But I wanted to use the new features in 12.3. In order to do this, we needed a computer on the network near the switcher control panel. I snagged an unused Touchscreen HP we had that used to be a lighting computer. You don’t have to have a touchscreen, but if you have one it is so very sweet.

Ross’s macro functions are call Custom Controls, and the 12.3 software has a very easy to use interface. Their beta editor has worked flawlessly for me. You simply open the editor, select a bank of macros, and select the macro you want to create or edit. On the screen you hit record, and then start punching buttons on the control panel. Once finished, hit stop recording. You can edit the name of the macros if you want. Exit the editor and your new Custom Control is listed in the bank of “shot boxes”. To recall the macro, just select it.

You can also go deeper. I created a macro that tells all 4 keyers on both MEs to turn off. Not just to autotrans all for keyers. That’s something I can program do on the control panel. I was able to go into the editor and tell the switcher to turn the state of the keyers to off. And recall that as a macro.

The media store is also pretty powerful and easier than ever to use. Each file in the media library has a number. In the Custom Control editor you can tell the switcher to select and load a specific numbered file, and then display it. Since our panel is pretty full of inputs, we don’t have all 4 of the media stores quickly available. This little feature allows me to load any media, and fire it at the touch of a button. (One thing to note, in Ross world, if you are keying an image via the media library, the media stores 1 and 3 will be used together. 1 to hold the image, and 3 to hold the alpha information. Same for 2 and 4. This happens automatically.)

In just a few days I’ve programmed 17 Custom Controls. I’m sure I will add more as time goes on. I’ve programmed macros that range from foundational (reset all auxes, keyers and DVEs back to our Sunday morning settings, set up for a weekly Bible study we record in the WC) to functional (fade both MEs to black or the bail loop, clear all keys, transition the background animation and key lyrics on the IMAG ME) to specific (load and key 1 of 7 icons we use that coordinate with our new kid’s worship journals). We used it this past Sunday. Everything worked. I found a few things to tweak, and will do that this week.

Overall, the upgrade to 12.3 and used of the new beta Custom Control editor has been really great.

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Live Directing is a Team Sport

front1mepanelMany weekends I am I the director chair,  calling cameras during the weekend services at my church. Other times I’m in the TD spot, punching buttons as another director calls the shots.

I have to confess, I’m not sure what my direction always looks like. I know what I see in my mind. And I know if the members of the team executed the calls correctly. But I don’t always know what it looks like as it goes down. I hope it looks like what I imagined.

As you call cameras, you have 3 things in mind all the time: the shot you were just on, the shot you’re on now, and the shot you’re going to next. And sometimes you even have a fallback shot in mind. As soon as a camera comes free, you are calling the next direction to that operator, while you are waiting for the timing to go to the next shot after the camera you are currently on. It’s a continuous flow of past, present, and future imagery. If you have a good crew, they can help you out by getting shots you like without much direction. But even the best operators can’t read your mind. Much of directing is communicating complex instructions quickly, clearly, and succinctly.

Then there are the times that you get into the zone, and you know the song, and what your camera folks can do. And you can truly be immersed in the worship moment, as you are calling cameras. That’s when it’s fun! You have to find this place where you’re focused on executing the technical and artistic parts of the service and able to worship. That’s only possible if we are all doing our part.

So, there’s about a million things going on. I’m not always conscious of what the shots actually look like, I’m always conscious of what I want them to look like. You cannot direct and micromanage at the same time. You have to turn loose and trust that the team will execute the orders you give. Sometimes you might see a camera op get into focus trouble, or go shaky, and you have to clear off that shot faster than you plan. So you know when things don’t go as planned. But it’s not until I watch the program back that I know exactly what it looks like.

You must trust the team. It’s a creative process, and everyone involved has a part. if it looks good, it’s just as much the result of talented team members as it is competent direction.

Churches Should Produce Non Traditional Religious Programming

MY showI used to work for a church that has been on the air with a traditional TV program for over 5 decades. In the Orlando metroplex, they reach about 100,000 viewers per week with their Christian program. It consists of a song or two from the service, and the message from the pastor. It is a fairly traditional church television program. When I was on staff a few years ago and had access to the data, I saw that we were reaching a predominately older crowd (75% of viewers were over age 55.) It was, and still is, a good work and it ministers to a lot of people in central Florida.

And because of the nature of non profit educational license religious channels and networks, there will always be a need for preaching/teaching shows in Christian TV. But those shows will continue to reach older, religious audiences. And will continue to not reach younger ones.

What if you took the money used to produce the program and buy airtime, and used it to produce programming that appeals to younger audiences? The churches I’ve worked for with TV programs spent between $30,000 and $250,000 on airtime purchases every year. Plus they had one or more staff people who were primarily focused on producing the content for the program every week. Conservatively estimating salary, taxes, insurance, etc… let’s say $50,000 annually.  That’s quite a bit of money in the indie production world.

What if you invested that money into creating video content that reflected a biblical world view, but wasn’t a traditional worship service/preaching program? What if it was something that told a story and, like a parable, taught truth at the same time?

Who would it be for?

People who don’t watch traditional religious programming. More specifically, find a target demographic in a group pf potential audiences members that don’t already consume traditional religious programming.

According to Pew Research, Older Americans watch more religious TV. Younger Americans are engaging in religious content online.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.07.55 AM 1

Young audiences watch a lot of video content. 18-24 year olds still watch over 16 hours of TV per week, but that number is declining. The TV that they do watch is not traditional Christian TV programming. And they are increasingly watching video online. The older the demographic is, the more broadcast TV they watch.

We don’t need shows that target the 65 year old Christian, we already have those. We need churches to develop programs targeted at younger audiences that do not already watch religious programming.

How much would it cost?

The cost depends on what sort of show you are making. I’m most familiar with narrative programming. But you could do other sorts of shows that are not preaching/teaching/worship based.

If you do narrative, obviously, your church probably won’t be paying scale for actors and crew. Most of the people involved will be doing it as a ministry project. But unless you have no money at all, you should try to pay people something. I’ve done a show for no money before. It can be done, but it’s not sustainable long-term.

What if you could come up with $100 per day for the main cast and crew? That’s not scale, and there would be taxes taken out, etc… but $100. I have generally been able to shoot an episode in 4 days or less. If you have 4 main actors, and a crew with director, camera, audio and PA, you are looking at $800 per day. $3200 per episode. Plus any gear, additional actors, insurance, food, etc… $5000-5500 per episode. That may seem like a lot, but it is nothing compared to what network programming costs per episode.

At $5500, a 6 episode run would cost $33,000. 13 episodes would cost $71,500. This is assuming someone on your church’s staff is writing and producing the program, filling in the show running duties. And someone on staff would be doing the post work as well. One person cannot do it all, so you will need some help. Filmmaking and TV production is a team sport. Bare bones, on a shoe-string, you could make 6-13 episodes of a show for less than the cost of air time and a staff position in many markets. Other kinds of show may cost more or less depending on what all is involved in creating them.

How would people see it?

You just spent your airtime budget on production. How is anyone going to see it?

-Christian TV is begging for narrative content.

Literally begging because they can’t/won’t pay for it, but also begging because they want it badly.

It’s tempting to ignore broadcast television altogether. But even though the number is dropping, according to Accenture Digital Consumer survey, over half of TV shows and movies are still watched on TV. So it’s not a horrible place to be. And given the state of the religious TV market, you could have your show broadcast around the world for free. You might even get a little bit of money back to go toward the production of the program. One network my show was on was able to cover the cost of closed captioning. Traditional Christian programs have to purchase air time, but non traditional ones have a lot of effective, free options for broadcast.

Putting a Christian TV show on a Christian network is not way to reach the masses. The vast majority of viewers are Christians. I know that isn’t surprising, but I want to be clear that a program on Christian TV will be mostly seen by Christians. That’s OK, discipleship is something the church should be doing, and this is an avenue to disciple believers beyond the walls of your building.

You can produce programming that might appeal to non Christians, and broadcast it through non religious outlets, but it will cost more. Be sure to count the cost before you head down this road. There might be ways to mitigate those costs, but there will be costs.

-The internet is free.

It’s also very big. You cannot just throw a video on Youtube and expect it to reach thousands of people. If you have a video that has been seen by over 100 people, then you are in the top 30% of all Youtube videos. 300 hours of content is uploaded every minute! Youtube is massive. It’s the 2nd largest search engine, behind Google. So, most content is not seen by a lot of people. In order to be effective online you must have a marketing strategy. You need to develop an audience.

As a church you have a great foundation in your own congregation. Not only should you be mobilizing them to watch, but mobilize them to be encouraging their sphere of influence to watch as well. Last year my church did a campaign to get people to share their testimony through social media. It was not as successful as we had hoped. Still, I was able to locate over 80 videos that had been uploaded in the project, and I know that was just part of the ones uploaded over all. Those 80 videos had been seen over 200,000 times. Even if only a small portion of your congregation engages, you can still reach a lot of viewers.

Does your church have a ministry to help parents teach their kids about the Bible at home? How about developing a program that targets young mothers, and touches on subjects that they will have to face as they teach their own kids? Do a lot of mission trips? Send a video crew out with your teams, and produce a program that highlights the importance and impact of being in involved in missions.

Find something you are passionate about, that fits into the strategic vision of your church. Develop a program that targets younger audiences who would be interested in programming about that theme. Build a team, and make the show.

 

 

The State of News in America

newsboy paperIt’s to the point where I just don’t believe any headline, and question every article.

Growing up, people used to trust the news to bring you facts; important stuff you needed to know. Generation X got older and we kept on not trusting authority. At some point 24 hour new TV stations were born, and talk radio got popular. And the country got polarized.

I stopped watching national TV news. When I listen to the radio I run everything through my own filter because I know whatever show I’m listening to has to get ratings first. Most of those are opinion shows anyway, but the TV news channels are in the same boat. How to make important stuff entertaining is the biggest concern. Even local news outlets fall into this.

There’s a big national story? Local news had better find a local link to that issue. So they ride the coattails of what national news tells America is important. Even if on a different day, in a different news cycle, the same story wouldn’t be important at all.

In college I took a couple journalism classes. One of the big things I look away was that every story has an angle. Every story has some approach to help make it interesting. Journalistic integrity was making sure that angle didn’t become too slanted. I’m not sure that’s a concern anymore. Do they still teach journalistic integrity and objectivity? If so, who do they use as examples?

Click bait on social media is a huge problem. I have been systematically deleting clickbait links from my Facebook feed. It’s pretty liberating. These posts are designed to make you click through, and then the site shows you advertising, a lot of advertising, while you read the story which is generally more hype than substance. “You won’t believe what…” Nope, I won’t. And I won’t click it. If you want to tell me something, get my attention, write a real headline! But even the real news stores from some of these news sites are suspect. You just can’t take them at face value.

Did that bakery get a gag order or not? That’s the latest one in my Facebook feed. One article says the 1st amendment rights of this couple has been violated. Another says it hasn’t. Solution? Go read the source material for yourself and figure it out. But who takes the time to do this? Most people, I suspect, simply latch onto whatever slant they already like and use that to bolster their current opinion of the politics, issues, etc… You know things are out of hand when joke posts from satirical sites are passed on like they are true. Because we can’t tell the difference anymore! Social media is littered with junk news posts. There might be some fact in them, but you have to dig for it. They’re almost all more slant than angle.

That’s not to say that there aren’t news stories that are well written, balanced pieces. There are. But they are not sensational and they don’t get the views/ratings.

The only solution I’ve found is to keep your filter on. Approach every story knowing that it will probably be full of someone else’s opinion and agenda. But you can probably sort through and find the facts. Then make your own judgement on what the news in that story really is.

Micro Syndication: Is this the Solution for Indie Christian TV?

tv imageI have written about this before, but I wanted to talk about it again. Christian TV is upside down. Content creators buy time on educational licensed stations so they can then ask for money from viewers. I never paid for airtime with my show, Peculiar,  but most of the time we didn’t get money either. Only one network gave us anything, and that was just to help with paying for closed captioning.

In most cases on religious stations/networks the most you can hope for is free air time. Your program costs money to make, and you want to sell it to them. They can’t sell ads to cover the time, so they aren’t buying. There are a few networks that could afford to buy programming, but they don’t. That’s a problem for shows that don’t ask for donations, because it still costs money to make them.

So what can you do with your program?

Micro Syndication. This is an idea I want to try with my next series. It will be a lot of work, but I don’t see why this wouldn’t work.

The goal is to buy time on a for-profit network locally, and sell advertising during your paid programming. I went as far as pricing the air time on this once before. There are stations that will let you do it.

First you need a program. You’re going to have to have at least the pilot, and likely a few more episodes done before you can implement this. The program needs to be 22:30 with 6:00 of breaks. That’s room for twelve :30 spots. Your program must have space for advertisers, or it won’t work. And your program has to be something people want to see, or it won’t work for long.

Second you need a media buying agency. You could do this yourself, but once you get beyond a couple markets, the relationships your agency has will serve you well, and they can find deals you will miss. They know when and where you can find time near shows that are similar to yours. And you want that.

Third you need a sales agent to find sponsors for your program. They will get a percentage of each ad they sell, but they should be local to the station you’re trying to get on.  Their first calls should be to people in the pages of any Christian Business Indexes for the area your trying to broadcast in. They aren’t just selling spots, their selling a vision. You’re delivering viewers during a program with content they want to support.

The Process:

In a target market have your media buyers shop for a good spot for your program. Find out what it will cost per week. See if they can work in some ads to promote your program.

Once you know how much your program will cost per week, figure out how much to sell spots for. There are a couple of ways to go about this. You could just do a flat rate for every spot. Or you could charge more for different locations in the show. For instance, if you have a strong program in front of your show, one :30 spot right up top could cost more since they will be getting viewers who have stayed from the previous program. For the purpose of this post, let’s say they are all priced the same.

Example (Smaller Market):

  • Weekly airtime cost = $400
  • 12 spots at $50 per spot = $600
  • 20% of $600 for sales agent= $120
  • $80 “profit” per week.

That’s not much. And not a lot of wiggle room if a sponsor drops out. But you could get things off the ground with this. The goal isn’t to generate enough revenue from one market, but to get lots of markets bringing in revenue so you can afford to make more programs. Replicate this in 10 markets and you’ve got $800 per week. $41,600 annually. 20 markets is $83,200. There are hundreds of markets in America. Every one will be different, and will be very hard to expand into any of them.

Example (Larger Market):

  • Weekly airtime cost = $750
  • 12 spots at $90 per spot = $1080
  • 20% of $900 for sales agent = $216
  • $114 “profit” per week

Finally, sell the spots and buy the time. Gather the spots, embed in the shows and deliver them to the stations.

Make no mistake, this is a huge amount of work. And you’re not bringing in the kind of revenue that allows a big staff. And while you are managing all this, you need to be creating more content. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

How can you make this work better? Reduce costs.

Can you get the airtime for less per week? In the smaller example, at $300 for airtime you’re bringing in $180. That’s $2340 for a 13 week run. $9360 annually. From one market. But this is a balance. The better the time, the more expensive the time. Your buyer needs to be aggressive.

Can you charge more for ads? Your media buyers should be able to tell you what ads in your time slot would go for. Christian who are business owners may be willing to give a little more to support the kind of programming you are creating. $60 per spot? $75? With a discount for multiple spots in a program? I once paid $3500 for a :30 spot in the bottom half of the hour during a season finale on a major network. If you have the audience, people will buy the spots for more.

Work out a trade with a station. They give you the time, you provide the audience, and you split the ads spots. In the smaller market, you’d be looking at $300 per week in revenue. This becomes tricky with the media buyers, because you still need to pay for their services for that market. They will want, and you should be willing to pay for, their cut for buying the time. You should still clear more revenue per market, per week. But you need to show the station that you have an audience in their market.

This is going to be a lot of work.

Issues to Overcome:

Selling spots. You have to keep the spots sold, or you will sink. That’s it.

Placement. You have to have the program in the best time slot. Cheap enough to allow you to sell spots. Good enough that people will watch your show. 3:00 AM will be cheap, but no one will watch. Without viewers, it’s a waste.

Why not use a network? The key, at least initially, is local advertisers. It’s definitely possible to go to a cable network and buy time regionally and nationally, but it’s a lot of money. (Even Christian networks can charge $5000 for a 30-minute slot.)  You’ve got potential advertisers on the local level. But, they won’t pay to advertise their business where they don’t sell products. Until you can prove your show can draw a good audience, the regional and national sponsors aren’t going to be an option. You might have dreams of going to an Interstate Batteries or Chic Fil A for sponsorship, but they are going to want some ratings and proof of audience before they spend any money. So start local.

Why bother with traditional broadcasting? We know that online viewing and streaming is on the rise. TV viewing is declining. But it’s not dead yet. People still watch 140+ hours of TV per month. How to generate revenue online is a huge topic, and we should be working toward a sustainable model there as well. But in the meantime there is still an audience for your program watching traditional broadcasts.

Creating a Hyperlapse Loop

Hyperlapse:

Hyperlapse (also walklapsespacelapsestop-motion time-lapsemotion timelapsemoving timelapse) is an exposure technique in time-lapse photography, in which the position of the camera is being changed between each exposure in order to create a tracking shot in timelapse sequences. In opposite to a simple motion timelapse – dolly shots, which are realized with short camera sliders; in hyperlapse photography, the camera is being moved through very long distances.

A hyperlapse is a fun project, and a cool way to highlight a building, landmark, or area is to do one around it. All you need is a map, a still camera, photo editing software and a video editing program that can assemble an image sequence.

First, find your location on the map. Then plot out points you can take photos from in a circle around the building. I used Google Maps, threw a screen grab into Photoshop and drew a circle around it. Then I printed that image and drew dots around the circle where I wanted to shoot pictures.

There are some handy tips and videos for how to best do this online. This video mentioned that it works best to take a picture then shift a short distance and take a second picture so the sequence shows the foreground moving. It helps the video feel smoother.

When taking the pictures, chose one portion of the building/object to line up with something in the camera viewfinder. I put the top of the steeple at the top of the guides inside the Canon 7D viewfinder, and in the center of the focus boxes. It’s Ok if it’s not exactly perfect. But it should be close. Make sure that you have plenty of space between your building and the edge of your frame, this will help with cropping the photos down to a 16×9 image later.

Once you have your pictures, load them into your photo editor. I used Adobe Photoshop, but other editors may be able to do similar edits. In Photoshop create a new document and paste in one of the images on a new layer. Straighten, if necessary. Position the building or object exactly in the center. Then draw some guides around the building. These will help you to center up each new image.

Paste more of your shots in new layers and (using the guides) straighten, scale and position them to match the base layer. As always, save early and often. When you are done you have a document with about 40 or so layers, all scaled and positioned with the building in the center. This is the base of your video.

Using the canvas size tool in Photoshop, change the horizontal and vertical dimensions to something that is a multiple of the resolution you want your final video to be. I chose 3840×2160, double 1080 HD resolution.

Go through each image and fix anything that looks out of place, and make sure the image is still centered in the guides. I had some blank spots from some of the image rotation I had done to straighten things out. So I used the Clone tool to draw in more ground or sky. Don’t worry about making it look perfect. These pictures will be zooming by at 1/24th of a second. But keep that building or object centered and straight.

Now, go through each picture and add motion blur to everything except the focal point. The amount you add is up to you. I wanted to make sure viewers could tell what the foreground images were, but didn’t want them sharp at all.

The final image editing step is to export each layer of the image in order with a numerical file name. Then open your video editor. I used Adobe Aftereffects, which recognized I had an image sequence and created the video automatically. Make any adjustments and export your hyperlapse loop.

I’d love to see your hyperlapse.

I Refuse to Buy Air Time on Christian TV

Soap BoxPardon me while I step up on my soapbox and rant a bit about the Christian TV paid-time financial model.

Sure, it works great if you are a church putting your worship services on the air. You just make a line item in the budget and do your thing. Or if you are a non profit talk show, just spend 3-5 minutes selling your merchandise or asking for donations every show. No problem… in the short term. But long term this is a major problem. Audiences for this content are shrinking. Donations are drying up and donors are literally dying off.

Mean while, some of us are trying to create scripted content. Raising money outside the show. Trying to place it on stations and networks. Most see the need for this kind of thing. Almost none can (will?) pay for it. I sat with one of the big ones a few weeks ago. They would be happy to pay a licensing fee for a new show, provided it was good enough quality. But of course, the fee wouldn’t even come close to covering the production costs. Most are just happy to take the show for free.

But once in a while I run into one that likes the show, but wants me to pay them to air it. No. Never. I will give it away because we want people to see it, but I refuse to ever buy air time. It’s wrong headed, it’s upside down, and this practice has a very limited lifespan.

The other day I got an email from a foreign network. They were not asking for me to buy air time, but they wanted me to cover the cost of translating the program. I understand. It costs money to translate from English into another language. I declined. Partly because I didn’t have $3000 sitting around. Partly because my initial conversation with the president of the network had not included any mention of fees I would owe. Partly because in any other market (model?) they would be paying me for the content.

There is an audience for scripted and non traditional religious content. Our industry has to figure out how to get more of that created and on the air. Squeezing the producer for money to broadcast it isn’t the way. We had better figure it out soon. The clock is ticking.

Can Christian Media have Characters Who Swear?

noIn one of the scripts for the show I originally had a character use the word “hell.” That isn’t so strange for Christian film, since we talk about the very real place called hell sometimes. But in this instance, the word “hell” was preceeded by two other words: “What the…” I later changed that line.

Why would I write it? The use of that word in that scene accomplished two things:

It showed the emotional state of the character. He was angry. He was not in control of himself, and even though he normally would not use this phrase, it came out. He was not emotionally mature enough to handle the situation without resorting to use of this word. This guy was hacked off.

It showed the spiritual maturity of the character. He’s a kid. Grew up in the church, but didn’t have the maturity to respond in a more Christ-like manner. This line gave clues to later events in the script.

So, it had a purpose. It wasn’t just for shock value, but it illuminated the character.

A friend who is in the show called me on it. At first I was resistant to changing the line. But I relented. It wasn’t necessary to make the point.

But it brings up a good question: Can Christian media have characters who swear? Is there ever a time when using crass language would be acceptable. I’m not talking about taking the Lord’s name in vain. And I’m not talking about showing profanity in a positive light. There are plenty of passages talking about proper speech, and avoiding obscenity.

But in the course of story telling, is it sometimes more efficient and effective to place a curse word in the mouth of a character rather than try to show that same thing in another manner?

Frankly, I don’t know.

My Dream Job

work

I recently explored a return to church work. Not in the same capacity as before, but generally a “working for a church” job.  Ultimately our family felt that God wasn’t in that move. So we stayed planted. But it was odd to think of working for a church when I wasn’t called to do that particular work. I know that a lot of people do. Right now, I’m working for an AV company and that isn’t my calling.

I work for PSAV. I work on corporate shows, loading in gear, running the events and loading the gear out. It’s a decent gig with good benefits. I wish it paid more. But God has always provided, and every bill has been paid on time. 

Still, that’s not my calling.

What am I called to do? Create TV/Video/Film from a biblical worldview that appeals to younger audiences. By “younger” I mean under age 50.
 
So, my dream job is a way to do that and make a living. What does that look like? Not really sure.
 
Maybe I will just do one project that is financially successfully. Peculiar, for as well as it has been received, has not earned back the money it took to make it. Not yet anyway. I’m still looking for the scripted religious TV financial model.
 
Maybe there is a church that is inspired to do non traditional TV and looking to hire a producer. I would love to have the budget that some of my previous church’s spent on traditional broadcasting to do a show or two. Maybe there is a TV station or distributor looking to do the same.
 
I don’t know. In the mean time, I work to make ends meet and I work to fulfill the calling on my life. Some day those might be the same.

Why I Sold my Canon 60D (New camera strategy)

cams

I love DSLR video. Nowhere else can you get such a narrow DOF for decent HD video for such a low price. No other camera system offers this.

But there are drawbacks. Bad audio for one. Compressed video codec for another. Basically, it’s a still camera that can do video. It can do it pretty well, but there are better video cameras out there. For more money.

I, like most indie filmmakers, can’t just go drop several thousand dollars on a new camera. But I can rent a high quality video camera that provides all the benefits of a DSLR without the drawbacks.

A Canon c100 with the new autofocus chipset can be rented for 3 days at $260. You can extend that to 2 weeks for $650. A c300 runs 2-3 times as much. That’s a big difference between paying $5000 to buy the c100. Or $14,000 to buy the c300. A Red Epic package can be rented for $1700 for 3 days, should you want one.

But what if there isn’t a budget to rent?

Enter the Canon EOS M. Canon released a mirrorless camera last year. After a poor showing and some complaints about autofocus, Canon lowered the price and updated the firmware.

You can now buy an EOS M with 22mm f2 lens for under $330. A Canon adapter can be bought to use all EF and EFS lenses. The sensor is the exact same as the one in the t4i. I just got a slightly used EOS M with 22mm f2 and the Canon EOS to M adapter for $346.

From what I have seen, the video looks great. It still has the same issues that all DSLRs have. And the same benefits. For under $350. You can actually find bodies without lenses for $250. Rumor has it another version is soon forthcoming.

So, the EOS M will replace my 60D for small shoots, and rental becomes an option for larger projects.