Thursday, December 27, 2007

video etiquette

Often when I go and shoot videos of events, one of the wierdest request I get is when someone pulls me aside and ask me to shoot them with their friends or relatives. They assume I'm carrying a still photo camera.


In that split second in my mind, a few things are running through my mind:

1. Whether I should tell them that I'm holding a video camera, not a still photo camera.


2. I just let them assume it's a still photo camera and 'pretend' to shoot them.


Most of the time, I just go with option 2 because it saves me the hassle of explaining things. I have a feeling sometimes they know its a video camera but they still stand there in front of the video camera posing as if for a still photo camera.


I just shoot visuals for 5 seconds or so and then I move on. Most of the time, I don't use the footages most of the time. It's just wierd footages of people standing still looking at the camera.


Unless it's a press conference and people are holding a product for a launch where all the press photographers are at the front taking their pictures, then it should be okay. If you watch the news, you've probably seen it before.


Some CEO or politician is holding a giant mock check at a presentation; or they're posing as if they're shaking hands. Their hands are locked and they're smiling at the camera. In the background, you can hear the photographers asking them to look at them.


I prefer if people are actually doing something in the video, like hugging each other; or actually shaking each other's hand. It's acting but on camera it looks real.


Just my thoughts.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

spaced out

Man, I feel so spaced out after editing the whole nite. I just finished a pre-wedding interview video for Steven and Melissa's wedding. I'm one of those that procrastinate and edit at the last minute.


I find that if I do a better job at editing when I'm under pressure to meet a dateline. When I have too much time, I tend to deviate and can't decide on what to keep and drop out. Best to edit on the fly.


I lied down on my bed while I was waiting for the video to render and I was already feeling sleepy. I slept at 10PM and woke up at 2AM to start editing. It's that odd feeling of floating right now. When I close my eyes all I see is Steven's and Melissa's face right now so I rather not take a nap. That could cause some really wierd dreams I would rather avoid.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve

All is quiet, my nephew and nieces have finally gone to bed. It's the night before Christmas. Is this supposed to be some magical moment? Don't really feel it I guess. You make your own moods.


Being the scrooge that I am, I don't expect Santa Claus to drop by anytime soon. If I hear noises coming from my living room right now, I'm calling the the police.


I had dinner with Chui Yan's family. Nothing fancy. We ate at the restaurant behind her place at Aman Suria. Came back to her place to watch her niece open her presents. I spend half an hour assembling her 3D Jigsaw puzzle.


When buying presents for kids, I've learned not to buy anything that makes loud noises, especially if it's loud repetitive singing. It drives me nuts. Also, I always follow the age recommendation. Not following it means the adult and it's usually me has assemble or teach them how to use it. For example, 3D Jigsaw puzzles.


In my house, everything has to come in 3's as there are 3 kids. The kids have already torn open their presents. They don't believe in waiting until Christmas morning. They open theirs on Christmas eve. That way, they can break it all my the next day. The one that survives the longest is the hardiest toy. It's toy evolution. I'm putting my money on the Toy lantern Chui Yan got for one of my niece. I think that will last maybe a week or so.


Anyway, I'll leave with this Christmas Carols I saw in Midvalley Megamall the other day.




Monday, December 24, 2007

Sales end today


I was browsing Facebook and I came across this group, it's a group devoted to this artist by the name of Banksy. The guy's a graffiti artist who does social commentary art mostly in UK but also in other countries.


There's one piece I saw in his gallery that I really liked.



Hehe... I think all those ladies will indentify with this one for their Christmas Shopping. I don't think they have Boxing Day sales here so no after Christmas sales here.


Me, I can't wait for One Utama to return to its usual crowd. I could live without all the traffic jam.


I think Father Christmas has turned into Father Commercialism. I saw the dude the other day at One Utama.



There he was dancing on the stage while the parents while pushing their kids up to join him. Father commercialism was up there on stage to teach the new ones the true meaning of commercialism. Buy what you can!


It's quite competitive for all the shopping malls in the Klang Valley now. There's the new Pavilion and The Garden. Every mall has their own unique theme to pull the crowd in. I wonder how much sales is generated in this December period. Most people haven't even gotten their bonuses but they're already spending the money forward. Even the non-Christians are spending in Christmas. I bought presents for my nephew and nieces too.


I personally never liked Christmas after one bad experience although in recent times I did have one very nice memorable Christmas so I'm more mellow in my resentment towards this holiday.


My mother celebrated Christmas differently, she celebrated the Chinese Winter Solstice by making 'Tong Yuen'. Now that was nice to eat.

Adobe CS3

Since I have the whole week of... I think I have too much time on my hands. Anyway, I have a new book to keep me occupied. I've been learning how to use photoshop and premiere pro CS3. Quite a daunting task as it doesn't work very well on Vista. The Bridge CS3 hangs so I can't use that. Photoshop and Premiere Pro takes awhile to load sometimes... I think this could be a problem with it's cache. I could hear the hard disk going through very fast.


I think I should upgrade from this old IDE hard disk to something faster.


Anyway, CS3 has awhile lot of new features that I haven't even learned how to use yet. One of the fun features is Adobe Contribute. It lets you edit your blogs which is what I'm using to write this with right now! Fun!


I've been learning how to edit and touch up faces. Chui Yan isn't happy with the ones I've touched up for her so I edited my own photos instead. I skipped the lusher lips and 'look-thinner' effect. I just when for the smoother skin and Hollywood lighting effect. Small differences but it looks better.


I picked a funny picture I took in Sabah when I was shooting in the Sabah governor's palace. Here, have a look.



I have smoother skin now! Yes, I'm vain but it's funny. Yes, that's me in a songkok. It's palace protocol, they make everyone wear one. I actually got  a pretty good deal when I bought mine in Masjid India area. Now I own my very own songkok. Caused me RM55 too.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

It was a quite day in the office today. I woke up late... I was lying on my bed wondering if I should actually go to work today. I figure there wasn't going to many people in the office today anyway. Most people are going to take today and Monday of. Then SMSes started coming into my phone. It was work related. I read the SMSes and thought to myself "screw it, I'm going to take the whole week of instead". So I got out of bed, drove to the office and used that new online leave application software. Since I have 20 days of leave left, I was already contemplating take the whole of December of early in the month. Might as well take the whole week of. All these leave I carry forward never finishes. Now I don't have to go to the office till 2nd January. However, knowing me... I'll probably still drop by.

I downloaded a book on how to edit on Final Cut Pro 5. It was an ebook in adobe reader format. I brought it the office and started printing it out on the laser printer. Since it was 244 pages, I left it alone while I when to One Utama to buy some plastic wrappers to wrap my new book. I figure it was going to take awhile anyway.

After strolling around One Utama, I came back and all the pages were missing from the printer. I looked around and I spied Pali at the photocopy machine. I asked him if he saw my book and he said "oh, so you the one who was printing this... the boss wasn't happy you printed so many pages". Just then the manager walks by and asked me about it. I said I was printing a copy for everyone. Pali was already making a copy for himself at the photocopy machine.

The the printer didn't have an option where you can print on the front and back of the same page. So the book is twice as thick as it should be. I found an old folder with a ring binder so I came home with it and made holes with my expensive puncher.

Like I told my manager, its for everyone to use. I'm bringing the book the office and it's going to be on my table for everyone's reference. Learning to use FCP would the next big thing after learning AVID.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I walked over to One Utama from my office the other day. Now that they've finished The One World hotel, it's pretty fast to walk across. I just walk across the IBM office, into One World lobby and I'm in One Utama in 5 minutes.

I was going to do my Christmas shopping and also buy a Final Cut Pro editing book. The new documentary I'm starting on is going to base on FCP so I needed to brush up on my FCP knowledge. I walked over to MPH and looked at the books. An Apple Certified Final Cut Pro 5 book was going for RM146. While I was looking at it, something else caught my eye. It was the new edition of "The Adobe Photoshop CS3 book for digital photographers". I have the CS version of this book. It had excellent tips in it.

I flipped the book over and it's price tag was RM146 also! Now here was my dilemma. Get a FCP book that I can only use at work OR get a photoshop editing book that I can use for fun at home (and also for work!). Guess what I bought instead?

tada! my new book. Okay, this is pretty geeky but yeah... I like editing photos more than editing video. Editing videos can be pretty tedious... photos, you can print it out and put it in a frame and enjoy it. Much easier to sample the fruits of your labour compared to videos. Although, I must say people seem to be more satisfied with the videos I have edited. I guess it's the overall 'wow' effect when you present someone with a video of their wedding.

So far I only have a pocket camera. No SLR camera yet. I wish I have a camera that takes RAW format. That would be lovely to play with.

Now I'm looking for someone to adopt my old "The Adobe Photoshop CS book for digital photographers".

A lot of the tips in this book can still be applied to any CS version. It's still a great book to have on your lap while you're trying out the tutorials. Anyone want to borrow this book?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The floods are here again. I think most people who are not affected by the floods (namely those in the Klang Valley) are more pre-occupied with the rallies sprouting up and around Kuala Lumpur.

The government has a website with a live webcam feed of flood prone areas. Occasionally I take a peek to see how high is the water in Kelantan. Below is the live updated feed from the Jeti Kastam in Kota Bahru.

This is the picture of the jetty as of 2:29PM, 17 December 2007. You can see that the jeti is barely visible under the waterline. If you've been to Kelantan, you'll know that this jetty is in the heart of Kota Bharu. This jetty is also known as the royal jetty.

This is the location of the jetty in the satellite map I got from wikimapia

The jetty is right on the Kelantan river. It's quite a large river. I hope the water goes down soon. Hari Raya is coming... it's going to be a wet one for everyone there!

In Wikimapia, there's still an old satellite map of an area near Kota Bharu called Kampung Kok Keli. If you look at the map above, you can see that it's flooded. On the left of the map is the new updated map that is not flooded. Their is a road at the bottom of the map that is totally flooded out. The top of the map are the rice fields. Those are totally flooded out. You can barely see the top of some of the trees in the rice fields. Not sure when was this flood, the map itself is probably 4 years old but it does give you an idea of how extensive the flood is when it happens.

Not much press coverage has been given to the flood relief efforts. Not enough coporations and private individuals are coming forward to help. I think the shock value of this year's flood is not as large as last year. Most people are de-sensitized to it already. They assumed that those who are affected must have been prepared since it already flooded last year. I think what most people don't realize is that the preparations done is not enough.

Losing your belongings to the flood is frustrating. More could be done.

Friday, December 14, 2007

From The Star Online. I guess a lot of people have been anticipating/dreading this.

Five Hindraf leaders detained under ISA (final update)

PETALING JAYA: Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders have been arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The five are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar. They were picked up at various locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.

It is learnt they were detained under Section 8 (1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi signed their detention order.

Their detention is for two years.

Uthayakumar and two others namely Ganabatirau and P. Waythamoorthy were charged under the Sedition Act on Nov 23 in Klang 23 for allegedly making speeches to incite hatred at a gathering in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, on Nov 16. Waythamoorthy is currently overseas.

Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, the police can detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal counsel if he was suspected to have “acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."

After 60 days, the Minister of Home Affairs can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.

The five detained

1) P. Uthayakumar
The 46-year-old lawyer was called to the Malaysian Bar on Jan 23, 1993. He is the legal advisor to the Police Watch and Human Rights Committee and advisor to the Malaysian People's Reform Party (Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia or PRIM). He had been a secretary of the MIC Club in London and has appeared in a number of cases related to police abuse, deaths in police custody, police shootings and police inaction. He had also taken part in the reformasi campaigns in support of sacked Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

2) M. Manoharan
The 46-year-old Manoharan has been a lawyer for 15 years and was a legal assistant to Karpal Singh for 10 years before branching out on his own. He has been in the DAP and had contested in a parliamentary seat in Federal Territory and was also the Selangor DAP chairman for a short term.

3) V. Ganabatirau
Advisor to the DAP's Sri Muda branch in Shah Alam.

4) R. Kenghadharan
He is a lawyer and was one of the counsels for Uthayakumar when the latter was charged in court for publishing a seditious letter in a website.

5) T. Vasanthakumar
The former bank officer resigned about a month ago after his employers asked about his involvement with Hindraf. He is in his 30s and single. He is now a full-time Hindraf activist and its organising secretary.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I just got home from a high school reunion... sort of since only a handful of us turned up. I haven't been in touch with any of them for years. It's surprising to see most of them haven't changed a bit. There were good times and bad times. Nothing like going down memory lane together sharing some good laughs.

BBBSS class of 1994 reunion

Anyway, I'm still a little disturbed over the RM648 I lost in Kota Kinabalu. I was staying in Palace Hotel and I had an envelope with all the company cash in it. I most probably left it behind on the coffee table in the hotel room or someone picked my pocket. My room mate earlier was complaining how while he was listening to the radio with his eyes closed he felt someone sitting on his bed. I laughed it of. Then my other crew member heard other guest talking in the elevator how this hotel used to be 'keras' (had supernatural activities). I laughed it all of... that is until I reached the airport. I was going to take the envelope out of my pocket to pay for the excess luggage and then I realized the envelope with all the cash was missing.

Now I gotta pay back the money to the company. Damn, that like totally sucks big time.

After I got back from Kota Kinabalu, I headed straight to Cameron Highlands for a short break with Chui Yan. It was wet most of the time. I ended up coming down with a running nose. Now I know why veggies grow so well there, it's so damn up there!

I'll try and post those cameron pictures up another time.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I got back last night from Kota Kinabalu. I had a great time up to the last minute when I was at the airport getting ready to pay for the excess luggage. Then I realized I had lost RM648. That totally sucks. I'll write more about what I think happened to the money later.

Right now, I got to pack my bags again. Going of to Cameron Highlands for a break.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Just a short note. Waiting for a DVD to burn. It's been really hectic since I got back from Kota Bharu. The wedding there was a preview of what I could expect next year. I'm already dreading all the alcohol.

The DVD I'm burning now is the wedding video. After all the other wedding videos I've done I say this one is much more nicer. I finally figured out how to do DVD menus plus I bought some nice DVD boxes. RM1.50 per box, RM2.50 per blank lightscribe DVD, RM1.00 per photo paper. Man, not cheap for each set.

Oh yeah, I bought me a lightscribe DVD writer. It's a Lite-On brand. As usual, the actual results differ from what they print on the box. On the box, the pictures that are burned with lightscribe looks clear... however when I burn it, it looks faded. I have to hold it at a certain angle in the light to get a clear view of the pictures. Overall, this lightscribe is still a good technology. Sure beats messy stickers and having to write a marker pen!

I'm of to Kota Kinabalu for a shoot tomorrow for 2 days. I'm going to be travelling all over Malaysia more frequently for this new documentary I'm shooting. So far it's not as hectic yet. I had to buy a tie and a songkok just for the documentary. I can't say what I'm shooting yet. It's still a secret... so says my chairman.

This Friday... the day after I get back from KK, I'm of to Cameron Highlands with Chui Yan. I haven't been there in a long time. I hope my car makes it okay. I had it fixed and check so it should be okay... except for that reverse light that doesn't work. I have to get that fixed soon.

I have to be in the office at 5am tomorrow. That means I have to wake up at 3:45AM! Shit... that's way to early. Last night I slept at 3:45AM! The first thing I'm going to do when I get to the hotel tomorrow is sleep.