TV & Video

Playtime with Sphero's Star Wars BB-8 Droid

toys 1 min read

There's a new Star Wars movie coming soon. Today, #ForceFriday, Disney released a ridiculous number of new toys. While I'm not as desirous of such things as I once was, I still couldn't resist Sphero's smartphone-controlled BB-8 droid. I like it so much, I made a little video.

This was not an unpleasant way to pass the time. We should all play with toys more often.

Fun with my new DJI Phantom 3

drones 2 min read

This past Christmas, I bought a decent sub-$100 drone for my brother-in-law. We’ve enjoyed the progress small RC vehicles have made over the past decade, and our excitement bubbles over in December. Christmases are filled with battery hunts, impatient charging, and destructive crashes. This drone stepped up our excitement. 3-axis controls, 30 meter range, and a 720p video camera. I won’t bore you with our giggly first flight adventures, but the day ended with a fishing pole and some fishing line tied to a glove, which we cast onto a neighbors roof to gently retrieve an inverted,

The Last Time I Visited Europe Before Covid. Way Back in 2019.

Video travel 5 min read

We began with a short stay in London. We visited the Churchill War Rooms. Strode through several parks. Enjoyed a tour of Westminster Abbey to admire the resting places of Chaucer, Darwin, Newton, and, apparently, Laurence Olivier. Sadly, Big Ben tower was hidden behind walls of scaffolding.

We grabbed fish and chips at Red Lion pub. Visited Haggards, the oldest bookstore in London, because that's what you do. I was intrigued by a handful of American history books written from a distinctly British perspective. Finally, we hit up a couple bars and taverns for beers and to escape the rain,

A Relaxing Trip to Wisconsin (with Cameras!)

Video life 4 min read

Last week, the girlfriend and I took our Quarantine Roadshow to a tiny Wisconsin cabin we found on Airbnb. Our goal was to mix up the routine for a few days, do some hiking, experience some nature, and find a way to enjoy our now-traditional Autumn adventure despite the best efforts of a pandemic.

I won't go into all the details of the trip, but I do want to talk about my attempts to shoot video along the way.

Every shot was taken on one of four devices: a Pixel 4XL phone, my GoPro Fusion MAX camera, a DJI Mavic

Building a Simple Garage Shelf

making 2 min read Building a Simple Garage Shelf

My days at Expedia recently came to end. There will be a forthcoming post (or ten!) about that experience, but I’m passing much of my new free time growing out my quarantine beard and getting my house in order.

First up: the garage.  My old house had an entire basement for storage, but my current house has only a garage. I’m trying to be smart about optimizing the space.

So when I noticed an abundance of vertical emptiness above my table saw paired with the lack of solid storage options for my shop vac, I thought, “Hey! I

Quick Timelapse - Clouds

Video video 1 min read

I thought: why not shoot a timelapse today? And like all days when I think of shooting a timelapse, I check the sky for purdiness. Today it was purdy, with lots blue and fluffy movement. So today’s timelapse is clouds, bushes, rooftops, and a gutter. The gutter is not particularly notable, but its prominent placement makes it deserving of mention. I’m just happy I solved the focus issues. Thanks for watching!

This was taken with a Galaxy Note 4.

Also published on Medium.

My First Studio Test

video 1 min read

I recently rented a space to work, to make videos, to shoot green screen and mocap footage. It's a place where I can set up my filmmaking gear without needing to disassemble every night when I'm done. Plus it frees up some space in my home office.

I have plenty of ideas for how to use the space creatively and how to use it for my various businesses, but, on the most basic level, it's a space to learn and experiment.

The first true output: this sneak peek test video. I'm thrilled by the way it turned out. After a

OneWheelin' with a GoPro Max

onewheel 1 min read

Just a quick video shot on my OneWheel with a GoPro Max. Nothing exciting about February in the Midwest, but I'd been dying to play with the Max AND the OneWheel. Can't pass up the opportunity of a warm winter day.

Used the GoPro app to auto-create the video. The app does a decent job, but the output quality is horrendous. Too much noise and pixilation. The original Max footage looks great. From my online searching, it seems other people have complained about this problem, but I don't know if GoPro plans to improve the output.

That being said, I'm

Remembering My History with the TV Sitcom Wings 25 Years After its Final Flight

Video video 8 min read

On May 21, 1997, the tv sitcom Wings aired its final episode.

As strange as it may sound, discovering that show proved to be the beginning of a lifelong adventure. Together with my interest in computers, the emergence of the internet, and a desire to create, Wings helped jumpstart my career.

I explain it all in the video above, but here's a recap.

In early 1994, I started watching Wings by accident. It aired in syndication immediately before my favorite show, Quantum Leap. I'd occasionally flip on the television early, putzing about my dorm room, and I'd catch bits of

Early Adventures in 3D Printing

3D printing 10 min read Early Adventures in 3D Printing

New technology excites me. Always. In my experience, learning and understanding new technology can only ever have positive results. It is never a hindrance to education or career (unless you make it so by misapplying what you've learned or prematurely forcing new technologies where they're not helpful, so don't do that).

I've been following the 3D Printing phenomenon for years. I continue to marvel at the number of applications people find for it. So why not give it a try, even if I can think of no personal use case for it today?

That was my thinking a month ago.

NaNoWriMo 2015 in Time Lapse

writing 2 min read NaNoWriMo 2015 in Time Lapse

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. People across the globe take part every November. To “win”, you must write 50,000 words in 30 days, but the real goal is to get you to sit your butt in a chair and write.

Like so many others, I struggle with that part. I take pleasure in having written, not in the painful task of actually writing. It’s work. Brain hurt.

One of the more frustrating aspects of writing in today’s social media world is that you have so little to

Judging LightSwitch Video's STEM-focused Filmmaking Grant

news 3 min read Lightswitch Video Film Grant

Toward the end of 2021, a friend and former coworker reached out with an interesting opportunity. His company, Lightswitch Video, had been working to create a grant for aspiring filmmakers in the city of Chicago. He and I had spoken previously about my goals with Streetlamp Media, and he asked if I wanted to be a judge for the grant contest.

The goal of the initiative was as follows:

The Full STEM Ahead Filmmaker’s Initiative is a first-year initiative launched by Lightswitch that is designed to not only encourage STEM education and careers in STEM but to also cultivate

Deadwood is Back. Pour the Whiskey.

television 2 min read Deadwood is Back. Pour the Whiskey.

I drink whiskey because of Deadwood.

In the mid-2000s, I was depressed, divorced, and devoid of basically everything. I had two young children who depended on me, a few half-finished novels, fading dreams of becoming a filmmaker, and little enough cash that my days were spent chasing consulting work in an attempt to derail my increasingly successful pursuit of indebtedness.

One night, late at night, late in the summer or early in the Autumn, lights out, kids asleep, with perhaps a candle burning, I decided to watch the first episode of Deadwood. I don't remember why. I had never been

My Farewell to the Office

television 3 min read My Farewell to the Office

It was late 2006. For the previous twelve months, I’d been dealing with divorce. Not just divorce, but divorce with children. I had been a stay-at-home dad for almost five years when everything went downhill, and I was having trouble finding work, because most of my career contacts were on the west coast while I was in Chicago. I was hemorrhaging money to bills and mortgage payments and late credit card fees and daycare, plunging further into debt every hour. Depression colored my entire view of the world, and it regularly mingled with fear, sadness, heartache and loneliness. I