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Ed Driscoll

Ed On Dead Tree

Separated at Birth?

January 6th, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Is Arizona ready for the goatee of justice? The question may be academic, as “Actor Steven Seagal Says He Is Up For Arizona Governor Campaign,” AP reports in an article at CBS-Las Vegas:

The 61-year-old made the comments while talking about his newly released reality series “Steven Seagal – Lawman: Maricopa County.”

Seagal teamed up with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for the show that was shot in Arizona and airs on cable TV’s Reelz Channel.

The martial arts expert is a member of Arpaio’s posse, made up of 3,000 unpaid civilians. He also has been deputized with sheriff’s offices in New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana and says he wants to increase border security.

Power Line’s Steve Hayward is having plenty of fun with Seagal’s possible entrance into state politics:

One of my favorite moments from the Reagan years was the time Reagan was asked during a press conference for his thoughts about Clint Eastwood’s election as mayor of Carmel.  Reagan said he never thought anyone who had acted with a chimp in a movie could ever make it in politics.  Heh.

What about movie action heroes?  I always thought it remarkable that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura were both elected governor; they appeared together in two movies—Running Man and Predator, both of which, come to think of it, could be film titles about political ambition.

* * * * * *

…while the news story doesn’t say what party he might affiliate with, it notes he’s pals with Maricopa County’s controversial law and order man, Joe Arpaio, who is normally regarded as right wing.  Many of Seagal’s self-produced movies have featured stupid left-wing story lines, like Fire Down Below and On Deadly Ground.  But I guess he’s made movie titles that qualify him for public office, such as A Dangerous Man and Born to Raise Hell.  Though if I have to have another Hollywood celebrity in office, can’t it be Katey Sagal instead of Steven Seagal?

Heh. On the other hand, Steven Seagal isn’t just yet another actor who’s debating a political run; he’s perhaps the finest action star turned musician since Lee Majors sang the Fall Guy theme. Trust me, I know, all too well:

Click to enlarge to discover the nuanced blues stylings of Steven Seagal.

As I’ve mentioned before, my backgrounder with Seagal to prep for the article that Guitar World assigned to me as one of several pieces I contributed to their February, 2007 issue was the most surreal telephone interview of my professional career. Picture yourself on the other end of the phone line listening to a man who sounds like a cross between Brando’s Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, Bane in the last Batman movie, and Sterling Hayden as Gen. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove, and you can just begin to grok a sense of Seagal’s tone.

On the other hand, perhaps Seagal’s addition of narrow-framed glasses and distinctive chin topiary bodes well for his entry into politics in the state that pioneering conservative Barry Goldwater once considered home. As soon as I saw the photo of him that CBS-Las Vegas chose to accompany their article, the old Spy magazine recurring “Separated at Birth” feature sprang immediately to mind:


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Steve Sabol, the scion of the founder of NFL Films, passed away yesterday at 69 of a brain tumor, an age that’s far too young to die these days. I grew up about 20 minutes from the NFL Films offices in Mt. Laurel, NJ* and in 2003, took a tour of their ultra high-tech facilities — which make the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise seem laughably antediluvian in comparison — as part of the research that wound-up doing double-duty at the start of the following year for articles in Videomaker magazine and Tech Central Station. The other half of my prep work for those two articles involved interviewing Sabol on the phone. As he told me at the start of our conversation:

Steve Sabol: There’s an old Indian proverb that I’ve always believed in, and that’s ‘tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. Tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever’.

And that’s been one of our mottos, is telling a story. And the story telling is basically done through the editing. It’s the cameraman’s job to come back with as much material—story telling shots, action shots—as he possibly can. Then it’s up to the editor to tame and to shape the raw vision of the cameraman.

I started out as an editor, and then became a cameraman. But that’s really job of the editor. It’s so critical, and it’s one of the most overlooked artforms or disciplines in filmmaking. Most people don’t understand about editing; they understand writing, they understand music, they understand cinematography. But when it comes to editing and the selection and order of the shots, that’s the key to storytelling.

Driscoll: Did being an editor first influence you when you became a cameraman?

Sabol: When I started out as an editor, and tried to tell stories, I realized that there were certain gaps; that you couldn’t tell a story with just action shots. You needed shots that showed the passage of time, the sun shining through the portals of the stadium. You needed close-ups to show the reaction of the players to the game. You needed shots of the audience and the fans. You needed locator shots as well call them, that set the scene. What’s the stadium look like? Is it a full stadium? Is it an empty stadium? And you need shots that can move the story along. It might be a pair of bloody hands. It could be cleat marks in the mud. It could be a crushed water bottle on the sidelines. It could be a flag whipping in the wind. These were all things that were in important.

I was an art major in college, and Paul Cézanne, the famous French impressionistic painter, once said that “all art is selected detail.” And I felt that that was one thing that was missing in sports films were the details. And when I began as a cameraman, that was all I shot, was the details. I filmed the first 15 Super Bowls, and never saw a play. But I could tell you what kind of hat Tom Landry was wearing, how Vince Lombardi was standing in the fourth quarter, if Bob Lilly had a cut on the bridge of his nose. Those were the things that I remember in the Super Bowl. I don’t remember any of the plays. I was just what we call a weasel.

Driscoll: What is a weasel?

Sabol: Well, we have three types of cameramen: we have a tree, a mole, and a weasel. A tree is the top camera. He’s on a tripod rooted into a position on the 50 yard line, and he doesn’t move. A mole is a handheld, mobile, ground cameraman, with a 12 to 240 lens, and he moves all around the field, and he gives you the eyeball-to-eyeball perspective. A weasel is the cameraman who pops up in unexpected places, to get you the telling storytelling shot—the bench, the crowd, all the details.

So those are the three elements. When you blend them together you get the NFL Films visual signature—when you blend together a mole, a tree and a weasel.

You have infinitely more than that of course – NFL Films revolutionized how sports are covered by film and television, and transformed the National Football League in America’s leading sport. And as Sabol told AP when his father was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, “We see the game as art as much as sport. That helped us nurture not only the game’s traditions but to develop its mythology: America’s Team, The Catch, The Frozen Tundra:”

When Ed Sabol founded NFL Films, his son was there working beside him as a cinematographer right from the start in 1964. They introduced a series of innovations taken for granted today, from super slow-motion replays to blooper reels to sticking microphones on coaches and players. And they hired the ”Voice of God,” John Facenda, to read lyrical descriptions in solemn tones.

Until he landed the rights to chronicle the 1962 NFL championship game, Ed Sabol’s only experience filming sports was recording the action at Steve’s high school football games in Philadelphia.

* * * * *

He was the perfect fit for the job: an all-Rocky Mountain Conference running back at Colorado College majoring in art history. It was Sabol who later wrote of the Raiders, ”The autumn wind is a pirate, blustering in from sea,” words immortalized by Facenda.

The Sabols’ advances included everything from reverse angle replays to filming pregame locker room speeches to setting highlights to pop music.

”Today of course those techniques are so common it’s hard to imagine just how radical they once were,” Steve told the AP last year. ”Believe me, it wasn’t always easy getting people to accept them, but I think it was worth the effort.”

Indeed it was. RIP, Steve Sabol.

* But then, all of South Jersey is 20 minutes away from the rest of South Jersey.

RIP, Jim Marshall

April 5th, 2012 - 2:34 pm

Back in 2003, Vintage Guitar magazine assigned me a two-part series on the history of the Marshall Amplifier. With the passing of its namesake inventor, I quote a couple of passages from it at the PJ Lifestyle blog. Click here to read.

Industrial Light & Masking Tape

May 19th, 2010 - 11:27 pm

As everybody knows by now, my Silicon Graffiti videoblog, and most of the videos produced by those upstart reprobates over at PJTV use virtual sets to shoot the talent (or “talent” in the case of your humble narrator) in front of a green screen, and then computer software chromakeys out the green, and substitutes something that’s hopefully fairly interesting looking. You can get a sense of how that works in general by watching this Adobe Ultra demo reel from 2007 or so.

But it’s possible to do green screen effects outside of a controlled studio environment as well.  I’ve been wanting to try a green screened driving shot for some time, before shooting the scene that appears at the start of my new video. In the past, most Hollywood movies and TV shows such as Route 66 and Adam-12 used front or rear projection to allow actors to perform while making it appear as if they’re driving a car. (You really don’t want to have the actor worrying about remembering his dialogue, hitting his marks, making eye-contact with his passenger, etc., while doing multiple takes, and simultaneously worry about actually physically driving a car down a crowded L.A. freeway. Not to mention having a 35mm Panavision camera mounted on the front of the car blocking his view.)

Increasingly though, Hollywood uses green screen effects to simulate driving shots. Mad Men uses this technique extensively, for all of those night shots where it appears Don’s driving Betty home after pounding Old Fashioneds at the Four Seasons. And for the scenes when Don takes the 7:00 AM New York Central commuter train from Ossining into Grand Central.

About two minutes into this how-to video produced by the gang at Videomaker magazine (where — FULL DISCLOSURE! — I contribute as well from time to time), you can see a very easy way to pull a simple car driving effect off. I grabbed a 4X8 piece of green cloth that was included as freebie bundled with a piece of beginner’s video software I had reviewed for the magazine three or four years ago, but any piece of bright green fabric large enough to cover the windshield will do , and with masking tape, simply taped it to the windshield and as much of the side windows as it would cover.  This frame from the Videomaker demo uses a more rigid green screen, but you get the idea nonetheless:

I opened the sunroof of my Dodge Intrepid to allow a little extra light in to illuminate the interior, and then placed the camera, with a wide-angle lens attached, on a small tripod on the car’s backseat, and then ran a cable from the lavaliere mic I had clipped to my leather jacket around the floor of the car near the driver’s door (where it wouldn’t be visible in the shot) and then into the camera.

Then after shooting a few takes, I imported the footage into Premiere Pro CS5, and keyed it with the built-in Ultra keyer, and inserted a scene from one of Digital Juice’s HD VideoTraxx stock footage collections into a track on the timeline under the car footage (the opening shot of the Golden Gate bridge came from another Videotraxx collection). After adjusting the size and placement to the driver’s perspective, I was done. A surprisingly simple special effect shot, and I only had to walk to my driveway to shoot it:

In The Light — Everybody Needs Some Light

November 10th, 2009 - 10:49 pm

And they need to pick up the December issue of Videomaker magazine, which contains an article I wrote titled, “How A Camcorder Sees Light” — or read it online, here.

A Videomaker Trifecta

March 2nd, 2009 - 10:56 pm

In the mail today was the April “dead tree” edition of Videomaker magazine, which contains three of my articles:

If you’re looking for tips to produce better sounding videos or audio-only podcasts, you might very well find some useful tips in the first two articles. Check out the above articles online, but look for the entire issue at your Borders or Barnes & Noble.

In the meantime, here’s an important tip for those, who like myself, work extensively with chromakey and virtual sets. Whether you work with green screen or blue screen–make sure you’re not wearing either of those colors:

The Army Of Davids’ Toolkit Gets Retrofitted

September 24th, 2008 - 11:32 pm

Two new multimedia software updates will be making their way into the toolkits of many in the Army of Davids this fall. This week, Adobe announced their latest CS4 lineup of products, updating Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and other Adobe products. Meanwhile, Cakewalk has announced Sonar 8, their more-or-less annual update to their flagship Sonar digital audio workstation platform for Windows.

Along with Adobe’s Ultra chromakey program and accompanying virtual sets, recent iterations of all of the above products are what powers my Silicon Graffiti video blog. And speaking of video blogging, I have an article in the September issue of Nuts & Volts magazine on that topic. (No, that’s not me on the cover; and unfortunately, the article is only available on dead tree at the moment.)

This video, originally produced in January when I was still getting it all together, gives you a sense of what a product like Ultra 2 can do–this was only the second video I had shot with it; and was still learning my around the program, and yet, I think it does a reasonable job of walking the viewer through what’s possible via DIY video.

What’s next? RAM power! Lots and lots of memory will soon start appearing in your computers; as the 64-bit computing revolution is still in its infancy.

A Century of “Liberal Fascism”

March 17th, 2008 - 8:00 am

Here’s my review of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, from the March issue of the New Individualist magazine. The text of that issue is not yet online, so I’m reprinting this review online with the permission of editor-in-chief Robert Bidinotto, who, separate and apart from his long-form work “on dead tree”, is also a fine blogger.

Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 496 pages, $27.95.

Reviewed by Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.

liberal_fascism.jpgWith America committed to war overseas, an American president (who many consider to be racist) suspends vast swatches of American liberties. Opponents of the war are demonized, their patriotism routinely questioned. Even popular foods bearing the names of now-unpopular, formerly allied nations are spontaneously renamed, in banal demonstrations of mass support for the war effort.

Is this an account in 2004 by a blogger on the leftwing Daily Kos website, railing feverishly against President Bush and the Global War on Terror? No, it’s a description of the state of our nation in 1917, under President Wilson during World War I. As Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online, writes in his new book Liberal Fascism:

The liberty cabbage, the state-sanctioned brutality, the stifling of dissent, the loyalty oaths and the enemies list–all of these things not only happened in America but happened at the hands of liberals. Self-described progressives–as well as the majority of American socialists–were at the forefront of the push for a truly totalitarian state. They applauded every crackdown and questioned the patriotism, the intelligence, and decency of every pacifist and classically liberal dissenter.

Partly inspired by Leonard Peikoff’s The Ominous Parallels, Goldberg has done his homework assembling Liberal Fascism, going back to books and documents of the 1930s, ’40s, and even earlier. And understandably so: He knows that his book will be attacked and possibly dismissed for any mistakes in history, more than for his actual arguments.That so little of this history is remembered, Goldberg argues, is the result of two things. First, since the left has a remarkably firm grip on academia, they tend to write history–and write it in a way that’s favorable to their side of history. Second, the left tends to have a remarkably short collective memory. While most conservatives and libertarians can name those movements’ founders (such as Hayek, Buckley, and Rand), the typical modern leftist tends not to remember his intellectual forefathers nearly as well. Or as liberal journalist and Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote in his 2004 book Stand Up, Fight Back, “Liberals and Democrats tend not to view themselves as the inheritors of a grand tradition. Almost on principle, they are suspicious of such traditions, of too much theorizing, of linking themselves too much to the past.”

The result is that the intertwining of Marxism, Progressivism, and Fascism in the first decades of the twentieth century–the theme of Liberal Fascism–has been virtually forgotten among the modern left. Which is why it is now routine for conservatives (including whichever Republican happens to hold the highest national office at the time, whether it’s Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, or George W. Bush) to be demonized by the left as a Nazi, and for the Nazis–and fascism in general–to be widely described by the left, and much of the culture at large, as rightwing movements.

The Mustache on the Left

Of course, it was the Soviets of the 1920s who first began to describe fascism as being on the right. As a more populist strain of totalitarianism, it was, arguably, to the right of communism, which ultimately killed tens of millions more people during the twentieth century. But the collectivist nature of fascism is far, far to the left of American conservatism and especially American libertarianism. To paraphrase a remark by Charles Krauthammer shortly after the 2006 midterm elections: Americans play politics within the middle of the football field; since 1789, Europeans have confined themselves mostly to the forty yards on the left side of the field. This helps to explain why, when the wall dividing Berlin fell in 1989, the same region embraced a corporatist, nanny-state European Union only a few years later.

Goldberg does yeoman’s work researching and documenting material that the American left had consigned to the memory hole since 1945. By the 1970s, this pre-World War II past was considered hermetically sealed by liberals. As Goldberg writes, Ronald Reagan, a former FDR backer, was attacked in the Washington Post as late as 1981 for correctly pointing out the favorable lip service that he remembered being paid by FDR’s brain trust to Mussolini.

But lots of intellectuals and artists of the era before WWII had good things to say about Il Duce. Herbert Croly, a founder of the New Republic, offered, in Goldberg’s words, “qualified support for Mussolini” in the pages of his magazine. Cole Porter (or possibly P.G. Wodehouse, when he revised Porter’s lyrics for the British stage) name-checked Mussolini in an early version of “You’re the Tops.” In fact, the title of Goldberg’s book comes from a 1932 speech by H.G. Wells at Oxford University to Britain’s Young Liberals organization, in which he said, “I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti, for enlightened Nazis.” Goldberg quotes George Orwell, discussing Wells nine years later: “Much of what Wells has imagined and worked for is physically there in Nazi Germany.” Of Germany’s Italian counterpart, in 1933’s The Shape of Things to Come Wells wrote, “Fascism indeed was not an altogether bad thing; it was a bad good thing; and Mussolini has left his mark on history.”

Populist Totalitarianism

In fact, Mussolini’s fascist Italy features rather prominently in Goldberg’s book, for numerous reasons. It predates Hitler’s vision of a National Socialist Germany. As David Ramsay Steele wrote in a 2003 essay titled “The Mystery of Fascism,” the ideology’s most influential thinkers–including Mussolini himself–evolved their positions in an attempt to create a more populist form of socialist government than Marxism, especially the Soviet revolutionary model. And as Goldberg writes, fascism, by its very nature, will embody the nationalist traditions of whatever nation it infects–which is why fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, and Nazi Germany were each very different regimes. Anti-Semitism, now often viewed as part and parcel of fascism, was a key historical component of Germany in particular. In contrast, Goldberg writes:

For most of his career, Mussolini considered anti-Semitism a silly distraction and, later, a necessary sop to his overbearing German patron. Jews could be good socialists or fascists if they thought and behaved like good socialists or fascists. Because Hitler thought explicitly in terms of what we would today call identity politics, Jews were irredeemably Jews, no matter how well they spoke German. His allegiance, like that of all practitioners of identity politics, was to the iron cage of immutable identity.

The word “fascism” is Italian for bundling together, derived from the Latin word fasces, and Mussolini adopted the original Roman symbol of power–a bundle of birch rods tied together with a red ribbon–for fascist Italy.

As Goldberg mentioned to me in a recent interview, Mussolini similarly invented the word “totalitarianism” as a way to describe a cradle-to-grave socialism that would bind all aspects of his nation together. “Mussolini meant it to be appealing to people,” Goldberg said. “It was a sales pitch for his kind of government. He meant it as we would use words like ‘holistic’ today, as sort of covering every aspect of life; everyone’s going to be included, everyone’s going to be part of the community. No child is going to be left behind. That was the meaning of totalitarianism in its original conception.”

These sorts of reminders are part of Liberal Facism’s strength. Goldberg does not just look back with ninety years of hindsight and editorial bias. He presents the concepts and the words used in the way they were envisioned at the time.

It’s only after WWII that totalitarianism understandably became associated with militaristic, jackbooted thugs. But militarism wasn’t exclusive to European fascists. The collectivists of the first half of the twentieth century–from Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to the Soviets–chose military forms and imagery because they were thought of as the most efficient ways to mobilize their nations. The New Dealers were inspired by Wilson’s handling of World War I–both in the trenches in Europe and almost as aggressively while fighting the administration’s enemies domestically. And much of the New Deal was an attempt to place the Depression–addled U.S. economy under the equivalent of a wartime footing. As Goldberg notes, the imagery promoting the National Recovery Act was virtually indistinguishable from much of the concurrent propaganda of 1930s–era Germany.

Brave New Village

That the wartime pitch of the 1910s, 1930s, and 1940s was global is one of the reasons why Orwell’s 1984 predicted that socialist England could come to resemble a mélange of fascism and Stalinism only a few decades after its 1949 publication date. And ever since, 1984 has been seen as the model of a totalitarian future. But modern, post–1960s collectivism–whether it’s the EU and its “soft” but all-encompassing policies; Hillary Clinton with her “It Takes a Village” imagery; or President Bush with his “compassionate conservatism” catchphrase–has generally moved away from militaristic imagery and instead uses muted, much more seductive language, symbols, and programs to expand government. Which is why Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Goldberg writes, is the more apt model for modern socialism and its cradle-to-grave nanny state.

This also explains the “have a nice day” smiley face with the Hitler mustache on the dust jacket of Liberal Fascism. It’s one of the few signs of humor in this otherwise scholarly book, from a writer known for drafting very funny columns during the early days of National Review Online.

Since I’m writing this over a month before the book’s publication date, I’ll be quite interested to see how liberal elites respond to it. We already know what the rank-and-file left thinks: Months before publication, its Amazon.com page was full of the most vile ad hominems and slander, when it wasn’t being hacked; and since no one attacking the book on Amazon had yet read it, it’s safe to assume that their attacks were based almost solely on the book’s cover art and title. Which illustrates one of Goldberg’s central theses remarkably well: How many of the book’s detractors know that they’re attacking it for language written by H.G. Wells from 1932?

One debatable point I noticed was in the chapter on New Age mysticism, where Goldberg writes:

Tom Wolfe, in his essay, “The Great Relearning,” details how the counterculture, inspired by the German Bauhaus, wanted to start over, to declare a New Year Zero (much as the Jacobins and Nazis did), to go back to the fork in the road where Western civilization allegedly took the wrong path.

I think Goldberg misses Wolfe’s point and inadvertently draws the inaccurate conclusion that the ’60s U.S. counterculture took some inspiration from Bauhaus theories. The history of the left during the twentieth century is one of an endlessly repeating theme, “start from zero”; that theme connects the artists of the Bauhaus with the hippies of the sixties. But otherwise, modernism was anathema to the countercultural denizens of Haight-Ashbury. If they had even heard of the Bauhaus, hippies rather forcefully rejected its modernist aesthetics, which were then at their cultural peak in the form of every major corporation’s skyscraper.Also, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with the concluding paragraphs of Goldberg’s book:

In 1968, in a televised debate on ABC News during the Chicago Democratic National Convention, Gore Vidal continually goaded William F. Buckley, eventually calling him a “crypto-Nazi.” Vidal himself is an open homosexual, a pagan, a statist, and a conspiracy theorist. Buckley, a patriotic, free-market, antitotalitarian gentleman of impeccably good manners, could take it no more and responded: “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.”It is one of the few times in Buckley’s long public life that he abandoned civility, and he instantly regretted it. Nonetheless, having been on the receiving end of many similar insults and diatribes, I have deep sympathy for Buckley’s frustration. For at some point it is necessary to throw down the gauntlet, to draw a line in the sand, to set a boundary, to cry at long last, “Enough is enough.” To stand athwart “progress” and yell, “Stop!” My hope is that this book has served much the same purpose as Buckley’s intemperate outburst while striving for his more typical civility.

tni_march2008cov.jpgThis ending seemed to cheapen, just a hair, what is overall quite a remarkable book. For a moment, I was left thinking that Liberal Fascism is little more than a “Nyah!”–a thumbing of the nose back at liberals for decades of calling conservatives Nazis. But it’s so much more than that. And I’m worried that these two paragraphs will be reported as the whole theme of the book (er, as I just did).But Goldberg’s real point is inescapable: The modern American left totes a lot of historical baggage, much of which it’s unaware. And that baggage continues to inspire it, even as the left mutates into softer, kinder, gentler, squishier forms unthinkable by its ancestors when they “started from zero” ninety-some years ago.

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Atlas Mugged

September 20th, 2007 - 1:28 pm

With the return of Dan Rather, an article I wrote for the September issue of the New Individualist magazine seems especially timely. It’s titled “Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media” , and I certainly hope you’ll stop by and give it a read. It features quotes from interviews conducted especially for the piece with Glenn Reynolds, James Lileks, and also Shannon Love of the Chicago Boyz Website, who provided loads of great material on the birth of mass media.

For better or worse, it was also a chance to shoot some video, obviously inspired by the look and feel of Hot Air’s “Vent” series:

An Army Of David Leans?

August 20th, 2007 - 2:14 am

OK, now that headline is definitely hyperbole to get your attention. But as the New York Sun notes:

Fifteen years ago, the notion that an amateur filmmaker could write, shoot, edit, and project a professional-grade film in only 48 hours would have been a near-impossible thought. But times change quickly, and for the 2007 filmmaker, in the age of Final Cut Pro and YouTube, the idea is a challenge rather than an impracticality.

For our thoughts on adding a professional sheen to your slightly smaller scale video productions, click here.

Update: In City Journal, John Robb explores the flip side of the Glenn Reynolds’ “Army of Davids” meme:

Eventually, one man may even be able to wield the destructive power that only nation-states possess today. It is a perverse twist of history that this new threat arrives at the same moment that wars between states are receding into the past.

Robb’s article is titled, “The Coming Urban Terror”, which also dovetails into Mark Steyn’s latest essay.

Flotsam And/Or Jetsam

June 15th, 2007 - 10:54 pm

Some assorted recent reviews of mine on the ‘Net and dead tree:

  • Videomaker magazine’s Test Bench: Corel Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus Disc Authoring Software.
  • Blogcritics: Book Review: Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty’s Golden Era 1948-1966 Showcases Guitar’s History.
  • Blogcritics: Product Review: Arturia’s Jupiter-8V software reissue of Roland’s classic Jupiter-8 synthesizer.
  • Over at CE Pro, the trade publication for custom home theater installers, I have an article on 64-bit computing. The video above explains the concept in terms of audio, but the same concepts apply to video production as well. Think Hot Air, 18 Doughty Street, or the next multimedia site is going to take advantage of the near unlimited RAM that 64-bit computing promises in the coming years to help shape their content?

    Me too. Which is why this number is only going to shrink–and the resultant hysterical reactions from Old Media will only increase in concurrent response.

    A bunch of longform articles I’ve been working on over the past few months seemed to have reached simultaneous fruitition this week. So all of a sudden, like Visa, we’re everywhere you want to be:

    Home Electronics? The cover story of the May/June issue of The Robb Report’s Home Entertainment magazine is my piece on “Eight Easy Ways To Update Your Home Theater

    Music? I have a piece on electronic harmonizers in the April issue of Computer Music. It’s out now in England, and will be available next month in the US. Here’s the Blogcritics product review from last fall which inspired it, to hold you over.

    High Fashion? In the latest issue of Classic Style, I have a piece on Apparel Arts, the 1930s and ’40s menswear magazine that birthed not only Esquire but GQ, and continues to inspire designers such as Ralph Lauren and (especially) Alan Flusser to this day.

    At the moment, those are all strictly “dead tree” articles. But here are a couple of online items:

    Media Bias? Thanks to the InstaPundit, you’ve probably already seen this.

    Podcasting? I produced the latest Blog Week In Review for Pajamas, in which Austin Bay interviews The Belmont Club’s Richard Fernandez on the state of the hot war in Iraq and the increasingly heating up one against Iran.

    Be on the look out for all of the above at your favorite newsseller and/or Internet. And tell ‘em we sent you!

    The Arsenal of Videocracy

    January 7th, 2007 - 5:37 pm

    Speaking of the Long Tail and pop culture, accompanying the buyer’s guide for DVD production and editing hardware and software in the latest “dead tree” edition of Videomaker magazine is my introduction to the topic.

    And for those feeling really ambitious, don’t miss the ongoing guide to shooting your own production that’s been running at Libertas. Just keep scrolling through their “Put Up Or Shut Up” category.

    (Previous thoughts on the topic here.)

    Ed In Guitar World

    January 5th, 2007 - 1:30 am

    Back when I began learning how to play guitar in the fall of 1982, there were two guitar magazines: Guitar Player, and Guitar World. Guitar Player was more established; it started life in the late 1960s, first covering the psychedelic guitarists in its Bay Area backyard, then the Brit superstars of the 1970s (Clapton! Beck! Page! Frampton! Richards! Townshend! Et al.), but its heart seemed to be in the jazz world. A heroin and Jack Daniels-ravaged pipe cleaner-thin Jimmy Page with his Danelectro slung low bashing out

    The Old Media Path To New Media Success

    November 21st, 2006 - 11:08 pm

    I truly appreciate the kind words of Hugh Hewitt, who wrote on Tuesday:

    New media start-ups looking for new media talent to steal would be well advised to start with Ed Driscoll, who has the best Michael Richards’ round-up here.

    Hugh, the check’s in the mail, but I do want to mention that there’s a boatload of traditional, long-form, dead tree writing in the past, present and future, besides the blog, podcast, and online stuff.

    But those new media start-ups looking for talent to steal–or at least commission–are welcome to email, by clicking here.

    The Clock Radio Of The Gods

    November 16th, 2006 - 5:48 pm

    I have a review of the Polk I-Sonic tabletop entertainment system, in the latest dead tree edition of The Robb Report’s Home Entertainment magazine, conveniently available at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble–the information sources so simple to use, even Larry King can operate them!

    Elsewhere, my Blogcritics article on harmonizer plug-ins for PC recording programs–technology that’s probably a little over Larry’s head–is an Editors’ Pick of the Week–thanks guys.

    Filed under: Ed On Dead Tree

    Ed Makes The Rounds

    October 30th, 2006 - 1:02 pm

    My TCS Daily piece on Hollywood’s implosion was excerpted in the Washington Times’ “Culture Briefs” section today.

    And from the omega to the alpha: the electronic hobbyist magazine Nuts & Volts is running a “Tribute to the Tube” this month, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the vacuum tube. As part of that, they asked me to write a profile of David Sarnoff, the man who launched commercial radio in the 1920s, before starting a television network of the same name a couple of decades later, called NBC. The article isn’t online, but you can find it at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble.

    Brush With Edness

    October 12th, 2006 - 10:23 am

    I have a few articles online and on dead tree this month that you may enjoy.

    Regarding the latter, I have a piece in the Robb Report’s Home Entertainment magazine on IPTV, a technology being leveraged by phone companies to become players in the arena previously reserved for cable and satellite providers. Initially, it’s being sold as a cheaper alternative to digital cable and satellite. But the format’s long-range potential could lead to dramatic shifts in how we watch TV. For one, expect to start seeing downloadable YouTube-style TV, err, on your TV. As well as much more narrowcasting video, and… well, read the article for more.

    For DIY recording enthusiasts, in the October issue of England’s Computer Music magazine, I have an article on step sequencers, arpeggiators, and other electronic instruments that allow you to play one note and get ten. Or 100. Note that in the US, this issue probably streets next month. At least the Borders’ chain seems to have a 30 day delay between the issues’ cover dates and when they appear in stores.

    At the moment, to the best of my knowledge, both of those are strictly “dead tree”, but we’ll let you know if that changes. As for online material, speaking of DIY music, my podcast interview with The Man From Izotope on audio mastering is also online at Blogcritics. Along with a piece that could be titled, “An Orchestra Of Davids“. It’s a review of an impressive self-published book on programming orchestral arrangements from MIDI synthesizers.

    Sad to say, no Vanessa Williams sightings in any of these pieces, though.

    Monitoring The Monitors

    August 15th, 2006 - 11:58 pm

    I have a piece on what to look for in a computer monitor, in this month’s Videomaker magazine. In the “dead tree” version, it accompanies an extensive buyer’s Guide; click here to read the article itself online.

    Filed under: Ed On Dead Tree