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Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac test

21 Jan

I tested the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac, and compared it with the built-in iSight camera. The Logitech web cam has some issues with freezing and not being recognized by Ustream, but you can get around that with CamTwist. Just set up a keyboard shortcut in CamTwist to select the Logitech web cam, and it resets when you reselect it as the video source.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac …“, posted with vodpod

I did a second test, after I removed the Quicktime plugins Flip4Mac and Perian. It improved things, but with Quicktime Broadcaster I still got a frozen video image. Since the drivers are built into the web cam, and presumably can’t be upgraded, this is something you have to live with (the occasional freeze). Luckily, with CamTwist and preprogrammed keys, you can easily reset the web cam.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “USTREAM, My Recorded Videos“, posted with vodpod

So this is not a professional solution, a semi-professional solution at best. Connecting a Firewire mini-DV camcorder seems to be the best solution at this moment, although Firewire enabled mini-DV camcorders with web cam functionality are hard to find nowadays, at least under 500 euros. And let’s not forget that Apple is also slowly phasing out Firewire in its lineup of computers.

I paid 92 Euros, including shipping and VAT for this web cam, which is very reasonable if you compare it with what you’d have to pay for a mini-DV camcorder.

There is one caveat, though. I haven’t tested under Snow Leopard, and I’ve read reports that it also freezes under that OS.

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Animation Crash Course by Eric Goldberg

15 Dec

I’ve just received a book over the mail about animation. It is titled “Animation Crash Course”, and is written by master animator Eric Goldberg. The book really is a crash course, because after a definition of terms, it plunges immediately into two subject matters:

  1. Conception
    In order to create convincing animation, that feels alive, you need to know your character, what motivates her.
  2. Technique
    Over the many years over creating animation, some rules have been discovered, ways of doing things that works best in most cases, for most animators.

The included CD is an essential part of the book. You can study the examples frame by frame and see how each frame relates to the next, to create a believable, breathing animated character.

The book is not the be all and end all of animation books. There are other books that go far more into detail on certain aspects of animation. This book gives more like a set of practical lessons on animation (hence the title “Animation Crash Course”).

The craft of animation can’t be learned from a book, but only from practice. However, this book seems to give enough clues to beginning animators to get them through the first stages of becoming an animator.

That is exactly why I bought this book. I want to create an animated series about TWiT, with Leo Laporte and friends. To make it somewhat fun to watch, I should at least attempt to become as good an animator as I can. I realize, though, that there is no substitute for hands-on knowledge, by doing it yourself, instead of reading about others doing it.

That is all.

Plot and Structure

10 Dec

James Scott Bell has written a book for aspiring novelists, called Plot & Structure. It is about writing plots and how plots influence your story structure. It came highly recommended on Amazon.com. Of course, I haven’t read the book yet, because it has just arrived by mail.

I will put it on my list of books I still have to read. This list is growing and growing, and that is a good thing. It means I still have a lot to learn, jay!

That is all.

Scrivener

1 Dec

Literature and Latte has developed an authoring software for creative writing on the Mac, which is called Scrivener. It lets you create bits and pieces of your text as a draft, and gather other pieces of media (text, photos) to base your work on as a resource. After you’ve finished the draft, you compile it into a final version for external review or publishing. I haven’t gone through the tutorial yet, but it seems very promising.

I already have an idea for a first project, a cross between the A-Team and Star Trek. I should get my inspiration from watching old episodes of those TV shows and mix them together into something completely different. I’m told it is one of the best ways to enter the field of story writing, because most of the work has already been done by others, and you only have to do light work to create a new story.

A good site to publish your fan fiction writing on is FanFiction.net. However, I don’t think one should publish one’s very first story there, but rather write several stories and pick the best one for review on such sites. Even then, be prepared to get some serious feedback from experienced fan fiction authors. That is, I guess, the exact reason why you publish on such peer review sites, to get positive critique, so you can improve.

Of course, Scrivener will not tell you how to write. It is just a tool to enable a particular method of creative writing. People who prefer developing a text in their heads first and then write the whole text in one go should look elsewhere. Scrivener is for the rest of us, who organically develop their story.

At least, that is my first impression of the software and its intended users.

That is all.

I’m going to read Animal Farm and Ulysses

26 Nov

After reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, I’ve lent two new English-language books.

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Ulysses by James Joyce

Animal Farm is a short story, only 127 pages, but Ulysses is a whopping 1069 pages. I should plan the reading, but I only have three weeks before the lending period expires. Three weeks for almost 1200 pages is 57 pages per day.

That is all.

WowWee Tri-bot

14 Nov

I just receive my Tri-bot toy robot by WowWee. It is just a blast to play with.

Tri-bot
Tri-bot

It is localized, which means, in my case, it speaks Flemisch (a Dutch dialect, spoken in Belgium). Flemisch is often considered as being funny by most Dutch. Tri-bot just makes it funnier with its remarks.

That is all.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Through The Looking Glass

5 Nov

I’ve lent a book from my local library. It is a book by Lewis Carroll, with contains the two famous stories “Alice’s Adventure In Wonderland” and “Through The Looking Glass”.

Down the rabbit hole
Image from Wikipedia.org

Aside from wanting to read these stories, I also have a goal. My goal is to join NaNoWriMo 2009, the write-in-bulk project (quantity before quality), meant to get you motivated to write a novel. It doesn’t matter if you suck, because all beginners suck (mostly). However, if you don’t write because you may suck, you will never know if you could be a writer and maybe even publish a fictional book. So, to be able to write a story, I should read a lot of stories, good stories preferably.

That is all.