$14 Steadycam The Poor Mans Steadicam

$14 Steadycam The Poor Mans Steadicam

I've been watching a lot of amateur video from the Disney parks recently and most of it is appalling. Nobody knows how to hold the camera still! I admit, with small modern cameras, that it is pretty hard to do. My ancient Super-VHS camera was so big I had to carry it on my shoulder (you remember those things). They were not overly portable but they helped you hold the camera still!

Anywho, the Steadycam is a cheap device that will help you keepy your camera moves clean and smooth.

Unfortunately, Disney might not let you bring it into the park, because of the giant counter-weight.

But here's an idea. Rent a stroller and hook your camera to it. Or buy a mono-pod. They are cheap and super-easy to use and collapse into a very portable size. Even if you just leave the mono-pod attached to your camera while you move your videos will be smoother.

Or ... buy a tripod! You can leave the tripod connected to the camera but collapsed. This will also give you some extra weight that will help you smooth out your camera moves.

Here's the simplest idea. Quick walking with the camera on! You can't do it with this little cameras. What you do instead is stop moving, shoot a few seconds of video, walk further, stop moving and shoot some more, stop shooting, walk to a new place, shoot some more, and so on. Your video will look 1000% better with nice happy edits instead of jerky walking motion.

There is a guy named TJ at the Window To The Magic podcast who does a great job on his "Disneyland Update" video podcasts. Watch those to learn how to do it.

Please, Disney videographers, learn to hold the camera still!

Marcel Waldvogel's Quote Page

Marcel Waldvogel's Quote Page:
Two rules of success in life:
1. Don't tell people everything you know.

I have always attributed the line
The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.

to Christian Morganstern, but a number of web pages attribute the line to Kahlil Gibran. I wonder who said it first.


Does anybody really know what time it is?

Time, what Time?:
2.3. Is UTC the same as GMT?

The observatory in Greenwich derived GMT from astronomical events like the solar day. UTC is based on a quantum resonance of a cesium atom, being quite more accurate.

Unfortunately the earth's rotation is not very much impressed by the definition of the UTC second. Having 86400 UTC seconds per day on an earth that's slowing down would mean that midnight would eventually fall in the middle of the day. As this is probably unacceptable, some extra seconds can be added or removed inside the UTC time-scale to keep synchronization. That patch work is named leap seconds.

To make things worse, leap seconds can be predicted as much as the earth's rotation, which is not at all. Therefore you can't easily make calculations for dates in the future using UTC; at least not with accuracy of a few seconds.

2.4. What happens during a Leap Second?

During a leap second, either one second is removed from the current day, or a second is added. In both cases this happens at the end of the UTC day. If a leap second is inserted, the time in UTC is specified as 23:59:60. In other words, it takes two seconds from 23:59:59 to 0:00:00 instead of one. If a leap second is deleted, time will jump from 23:59:58 to 0:00:00 in one second instead of two.

I've had some posts here about certain fun dates that have come and gone. It finally got to the point where so many were coming by in the early part of this millennium that I lost interest in the subject.

I ran across the information above which I found amusing. Apparently Universal Coordinated Time isn't particularly constant. I'm not sure how your average computer knows that a leap second has occurred without contacting a smart time server - probably the feeling is that it doesn't matter too much, even though UTC is used by Windows to store the time when a file was created or modified.


Guild Wars: GameSpy's MMO Game of the Year 2006

GameSpy's Game of the Year 2006:
This year found the Guild Wars expansion-machine in full swing, with two standalone campaigns released six months apart: Factions and Nightfall. While we were very much into Factions, Nightfall edged it out in our minds. Its North African-inspired setting was extremely cool, and the two new professions introduced -- the vicious Dervish and the stalwart Paragon -- were just too cool for words.

In broader terms, Guild Wars is extremely close to being our favorite MMO ever due to its enlightened approach to the genre. The attention that ArenaNet pays to the game's PvP experience would be embraced by the industry at large in a perfect world, and its ability to offer such a stellar product without charging a monthly subscription is nothing short of revolutionary. If subsequent expansions reflect the level of quality we saw in Factions and Nightfall, then ArenaNet's model will be viable indeed.

Double Woot!


Guild Wars hits Three Million Sold

December 13, 2006 (BELLEVUE, WA) — Fueled by sales of the hit game Guild Wars Nightfall™, the latest release in the award-winning Guild Wars® franchise, sales for one of the world’s leading subscription-free online roleplaying games have surpassed three million units worldwide in a little more than a year and a half. This milestone event was announced today by ArenaNet®, developer of Guild Wars®, Guild Wars Factions™, and Guild Wars Nightfall™, and NCsoft® Corporation, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games.

“Reaching three million units sold in such a short amount of time is absolutely incredible,” says Robert Garriott, CEO, NCsoft North America. “Coupled with the recent news of Guild Wars Factions winning Billboard’s Multiplayer Game of the Year, we couldn’t be prouder of what the team at ArenaNet has accomplished with the Guild Wars games.”



How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media » Ad Terras Per Aspera

How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media » Ad Terras Per Aspera:
If you cannot find any company selling Taiyo Yuden under the own brand, I suggest buying from the SuperMediaStore.com, who offer a wide range of Taiyo Yuden CD media, DVD-R media, and DVD+R media. I tend to buy just from them, as they are the only company that guarantees that their media is actually from Taiyo Yuden and not a fake (see the above linked FAQ on information about fake Taiyo Yuden media).

The entire article describes why user-burnable CDs and DVDs degrade and how to minimize data loss.

I guess I should dig through my piles of CDs for the oldest one I can find and see if I can still read it ...


Advanced Google Search Operators

Advanced Google Search Operators

Have you ever wondered what special commands you can give Google Search (in any Google Search text box)?

For instance, you can get word definitions using "define:", for example, "define:fraud", to get the definition of the word "fraud."

If you want to know which sites link to this blog, you could use "link:drstephencw.blogspot.com".

If you want to find pages that are related to a particular site (or have stolen a copy of your blog entry, thus making it 100% related!), you could use "related:drstephencw.blogspot.com".

Follow the link above to get the latest list of Google operators.


Ancient calculator was 1,000 years ahead of its time | CNET News.com

Ancient calculator was 1,000 years ahead of its time | CNET News.com:
The Antikythera Mechanism is the earliest known device to contain an intricate set of gear wheels. It was retrieved in 1901 from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera but until now what it was used for has been a mystery.

Although the remains are fragmented in 82 brass pieces, scientists from Britain, Greece and the United States have reconstructed a model of it using high-resolution X-ray tomography. They believe their findings could force a rethink of the technological potential of the ancient Greeks.

I remember reading once a hypothesis that Moore's Law (actually a variant of it - that computer power doubles every 18 months - the original Moore's Law is a manufacturing claim about the number of transistors on a die) held true for the past couple of thousand years. I wish I could find that reference. Anyway, this ancient gdget might support that hypothesis.