Having to do my VAT return, although I’d rather like to be outside with my wife.
The start of a brand new series.
STOP THE PRESS: we’ve got a brand new series coming to versluis.com!
Discovering more and more functions of my superb little Casio Exilim camera, I’ve been playing around with the YouTube uploader today. It’s the ideal tool to do video blogging.
I had spontaneous lunch with my friend John Williams at the Bento Cafe in Camden. He’s currently writing a book, and I thought video blogging his journey would be a great way to document the progress of his project. The more I thought about the idea, the more I came to realise that we’re all on an interesting journey. No matter what we all do and how we do it, it’ll be fascinating to look back on it in a few years time. We might even learn from it and detect patterns on how we approach similar situations.
I believe it’s just as fascinating how someone can organise themselves to do a monotonous job every day for 40 years, as it is to see how a musician, writer, cab driver or therapist lives. Or in fact, a freelancer in the Broadcast industry.
The more I’m blogging, Twittering, Facebooking and in fact doing this site, the more I’m getting what all the hype is about. You really have to try these things out to experience them, rather than judging them upfront as good or bad. For that to work, you have to overcome the omnipresent question: “… but why would I do this?”
Today in My Life will happen at irregular intervals, like all the other series’ on this site – in other words, whenever I feel like it. I was thinking of imposing some rules, like a time limit per post, or a certain frequency, but I’d rather see what happens with the format as it develops. Fact is, I started talking to the camera decades ago, before it had a name or in fact became commonplace. Why not go back to the roots and give it a theme? Watch out for some video backlog (if I can find it).
In the meantime, I’m trying to get the Smile Detection to work, which appears to have something against me… works well with other people! And what, I never smile?
I’ve discovered this highly embarrassing gem from my dubious German past the other day:
In this sketch from 1994, my colleague Andre Grossman and I put on this production of a highly working class couple. I’m playing the mad mother, he’s my drunk husband.
We used to be fans of Schmidteinander, a cult comedy show on German Television back in the days, and at one point they were looking for submissions. The theme was “Blonde Mothers”, so Andre and I borrowed someone’s baby, filmed it with his Betacam (non-SP) camera in his kitchen and edited it at Studio Hamburg.
Needless to say, they never replied… probably because our production values weren’t low enough.
Also available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYTOLkJVSo4
[flashvideo file="/video/water-glass.flv" /]
For this video, I’ve filled up 15 glasses of water in my kitchen (the same glass actually). Although not really noticable, all footage is shot in slow motion using my Sony HDR-HC9E. I’m still excited about that feature.
It got a bit tricky to put all the shots together, and I had to go back and re-shoot pick-ups a few times throughout the day, not to mention the water effect itself (which doesn’t get recorded with slow motion as you can imagine). It makes me thirsty every time I watch it!
Also available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgztgQmBU7A
Julia and I were out shopping yesterday, and discovered this tiny new Casio Exilim camera that does slow motion video recordings. Looking at this, I remember that my Sony HDR-HC9 has this function, and that I’ve never played with it before.
We got pretty excited, it’s very inspiring, and this is what came out this morning over breakfast:
[flashvideo file="video/breakfast-in-slowmotion.flv" /]
Music by Die Fantastischen Vier: “Tag am Meer”. There’s more where this came from!
It constantly amuses me that all internet marketing gurus are so very very rich, yet they find nothing better to do with their time than to sell us how they did it.
Haven’t you got a yacht to ride, a beach to sip cocktails at or blackjack tables that needs your attention?
Here’s what I’ve picked up from surfing too many websites, all the ever-so-wise tips they give you, condensed in one handy list:
- Visit my website. Then buy all my products/workshops/stuff (so I make money)
- Read my Blog, which links to my website – where you can buy all my products/workshops/stuff (so I make money)
- Be my friend on Twitter/Facebook/Myspace, where I’ll shamelessly plug all my products/workshops/stuff you should buy (so I make money)
- Sign up to my Newsletter, where I’ll shamelessly plug all my products/workshops/stuff you should buy (so I make money)
- Sign up YOUR FRIENDS to my newsletter too. Not only will I spam them senseless, I’ll also sell their email addresses (and make money)
- Buy somebody else’s product I’m promoting, which I’ve got NOTHING to do with or care about (but when you buy it, I get money)
- Click on every annoying and disruptive advert on my site (so I get money)
- Tell people about my site, so YOU can make money (although I’ll make MORE money)
- Use this discount voucher for (insert product here). Note: you have to spend over £200 to use it (in which case, I’ll get money)
- Ah hell JUST GIVE ME MONEY
With the series finale of Missing Live on Good Friday, it’s both sad and a relief that 4 weeks of mayhem have come to an end. I’m relieved because a nasty cold caught me with my pants down last week and I can do with some recovery time; at the same time I’m sad because working with an amazing team on a classy show has come to an end.
In fact, team spirit is the theme everywhere I go these days:
I’ve worked 12 days in a row now, with a packed week of early starts for Missing, followed by a weekend at IMG, then back to Missing. Last Saturday, my MCR colleagues and I had to deal with a rogue carrier in Asia – preventing us from putting 5 Premier League matches live to god knows how many countries. We had to act quickly to find space that could accomodate a 27 Meg Mux Carrier that could be seen in Asia, Africa and the Middle East… which isn’t an easy task at weekends.
If that had been the only unplanned thing, it would have been enough – but it wasn’t! I’m only saying Formula 1 details, fourwire echo, line idents going down, Spanish Football upinks – the works, we had it all in 12 hours.
We all pulled together and made it happen though, well done team – and well done Owen, who hasn’t been with us all that long, you did a fantastic job!
With no rest for the wicked, it went straight on to the final week of Missing Live at MTV – and the shows just kept getting better.
I’m glad I put in some extra hours for the Blooper Reel (after a 12 hour shift on Thursday, suffering from a severe cold) and I’m ever so pleased that we all had so much fun with it. Thanks for all your lovely comments – it was terriffic to see your reactions at the screening.
I need to let you in on a secret though: I’m not really an EVS op, nor have I ever used that thing in a live environment before!
I’ve been around it for the last 9 years in the “strictly football” environment of Premier League Productions, but would have never taken the plunge to learn it – had it not been for Missing. Thanks to Sam at MTV for giving me the opportunity and believing in me; and special thanks to Claire for your incredible feedback about my contributions. It means a lot to me!
I’ll miss the Sainsbury’s croissants at 05:30 in the mornings with all the studio crew, the last minute changes and spontaneous re-voiceovers, live Astons, stills montages and all the silly bits during rehearsals – working with you all was a privilege I’m glad I had.
I remember one defining moment during the last week when I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if we’d have a montage of all the people we’ve mentioned on the show”… The very next day – as if by magic – I find such an item in the script, and I remember thinking to myself, “you’re living this show, man!”
Many of my MTV colleagues are staying on for one extra week of LIFE GIVERS, another Leopard Films Production in the same timeslot, from the same gallery. Good luck to you all, and have a great show!
Make sure you see their brilliant work every weekday until Friday at 09:15 on BBC1.
What’s next for me after Missing Live?
I’ve launched another website which needs more tweaks, so I’ll let you know where to go once I’m happy with it.
Also, Cloud-TV needs a re-install, a re-design and plenty more footage added, so that’ll keep me out of mischief.
I’d also like to take a closer look at the networking capabilities of the EVS. I’m thinking why not edit a package, then access it directly from EVS (or the edit) without dumping it to tape? www.evs.tv has some info on that.
I’ll be back for some Milkshake Links at MTV on Wednesday, and some Premiere League Football on Saturday at IMG – with plenty of recovery time in between.
Happy Easter Everybody!
Let me start by bringing you a classic video from the past: none other than Phil Fearon and Galaxy, “Everybody’s Laughing”.
I remember listening to this a lot 20 years ago, it brings back memories. Enjoy!
I’m currently busier than every, and it’s really enjoyable too (and accounts for the lack of updates recently). Let me tell you all about it:
Leopard are the makers of Antiques Roadshow, Celebrtity Cash in the Attic, and more than I can remember. They’ve got a VERY up-to-date website, well worth checking out.
I’m doing EVS on this production, which means everything that moves comes from me, on queue, and if it doesn’t we’re all in trouble (which hasn’t happened yet… let’s keep it that way). Keep watching every day at 09:15 and see if you know anyone we’re looking for.
Not that I’m completely knackered after those gigs, but I do find time for other things every now and again. Like the occasional weekend at TWI for some serious Premier League action. And of course, several new websites that keep me pretty busy. Let’s introduce them one by one:
I’ve not had time to introduce this terriffic new site to the lineup, although it’s been going for almost four weeks now. In this very short time, we already gathered 133 followers on Twitter and have between 150 and 200 unique visitors per day. That’s without any marketing at all mind you!
As the name suggests, the site syndicates news from all major football outlets (The Sun, Sky, BBC, Premierleague.com) and every Premier League Club that has an RSS feed.
After a tough Saturday in MCR, the esteemed Reverend Andrew Toms esq. and myself teamed up for this joint venture to make the internet better. Why surf 10 websites, when all you want to read could be on a single one?
It was all Andy’s idea really, after seeing how well Broadcast News works, and I can definitely say I wouldn’t have started it without him. We’re sharing responsibilities 50/50, with me taking the lead on all things technical and him doing most of the content admin.
Future plans include getting rich through sponsorship, and adding a Wiki for all things routing to the site on a private section.
Same concept as above, with focus on Celebrities and “V.I.P News”.
Julia and I wanted to build a celebrtity related site, due to the overwhelming popularity of this subject, and the amount of available RSS Feeds. Not that I really want to know about Ally McBeal’s marriage to Indiana Jones, or how many articles on Jade Goody can be written in an hour (god rest her soul).
The name came about while we were looking for suitable free domains for the project. All “Celebrity News” variants were taken, so we tried keyword suggestions – they usually never work, but sometimes come up with the funniest renditions. VIP Scoop sounds very cool, and for those not in the know, “scoop” is the new in-word for “inside news”.
It’s hard to believe that VIP Scoop is even more successful than Premier League News, with close to 300 visitors a day and a whopping 356 Twitter followers. The site went live on the 9th of March, a week after Premier League News, and has only had a working theme since last weekend. I’m still working on a proper branding, but the fans love it already.
Update: @VIP_Scoop now has a funky logo on Twitter!
Check it out at www.vipscoop.com
Still going strong, now with added JOBS section and Google Trends (find out what the world is googling for).
I’ve been in touch with Grapevine Jobs and TVZ to syndicate more broadcast related jobs. Let’s see if I can get some RSS feeds from them. Broadcast Freelancer are re-designing their site and have kindly offered custom feeds for ours, and we’re all looking forward to the new layout and functionality. Big thanks to Wayne at Broadcast Freelancer!
In addition, I’m very happy to announce our new New Zealand correspondent for the site: Justin Loza. He was kind enough to pass on some freelance job offers in the past, and he’s agreed to post every new job he finds directly onto the site. Thanks, Justin! Keep’em coming!
If YOU have any broadcast related news that isn’t already in any of the magazines, drop me a line – or become an editor on the site!
Visit www.broadcast-news.co.uk to see it all in action.
Not so much a “website” as it is a helper layout for the London Creativity Collective.
It’s a Facebook Group by my good friend Jerry Hyde, which accumulated over 500 members in the first 6 weeks of its launch. It’s even spawned a clone on Facebook. Pretty impressive, considering it came out of nowhere. I love that about the internet!
One popular feature is the Thought of the Day, which used to be delivered every day via Facebook Mail. The trouble is that group members can’t easily opt-out of these emails, so I came up with a proper mailing list installation. Powered by phplist and WordPress, users can now sign up or unsubscribe without it affecting their group membership on Facebook. Nice!
This project isn’t officially launched yet, but I’m meeting Jerry on Friday to talk it through. In the meantime, have a look at www.daily-thoughts.co.uk and try it out!
Restless as I am, my mind is already working on some other projects:
- WordPress Guru, a diary of web and php-related discoveries, like a “how-to” notebook on everything that gets in the way of having a good time hacking the web.
- I’m filming a lot of footage for Cloud-TV, which by the way needs a rebuild (the shopping cart isn’t working anymore). The plan is to turn it into a footage library for all things “clouds”. Again, give me time… there are now several terabytes of footage I need to wade through, HD and SD.
- Yeah-Right.org, a community-based “tell us what’s wrong with society” type website
- Autopress Pro, a system for people to install and launch their own automatic website
- Content Rotator, a WordPress Plugin to rotate your posts at regular intervals (great for timeless content, such as photos or quotes)
- Pinkstone Pictures – my broadcast related company site.. typical! The one thing that makes the most cash gets neglected!
- the design on versluis.com – I need something swish and simple, yet personal and elegant at the same time…
- more Burger and Chips reviews right here – massive thanks to Ray Windust for some valuable contributions that I’ve not had time to post yet. They’re coming though!
All in good time – stay tuned!
A perk of freelance work is the occasional free food that comes with a strenuous long shift. When we do Premier League at the weekend, we get a meal from www.deliverance.co.uk, and of course Burger and Chips is a classic among colleagues.
Deliverance send food into West London and cook anything from Chinese, Thai, Indian, European, American and all the rest of it. If something goes wrong, they give you a “store credit” or replace your food. It feels slightly odd to talk to the “cusomter services department” instead of a delivery service though. Either way, your food comes labelled and wrapped up in paper, a bag, and that then comes in a brown box – looks pretty cool I dare say.
Here’s what I think of the Burger and Chips in detail:
THE BURGER: 1cm thick and very nice. 12cm diameter (the size of a DVD), fills out the entire bun, seriously lean. You can get them to cook it to order (mine is well done and so it should be). This is a good one, and it’s organic too! Only downside is the danger of arriving slightly cold – which might be down to delivery time.
THE BUN: soft granary, with iceberg lettuce, mayo, relish, tomato, cheese and even a hint of onion. Great.
CONDIMENTS: you get one portion of ketchup, mayo or aioli free with chips. Comes in unmarked containers, but tastes like Heinz (that’s the only thing that matters).
THE CHIPS: chunky, but cold on arrival; can also be sweaty, and are usually unsalted; they’re trying to be chip shop chips, but celarly aren’t. Minus points for that. The chips ship in cute brown boxes.
PRICE: £9.50 for the burger, (50p less if you want it without cheese), £2.50 for the chips (and 60p for a can of coke from upstairs), that’s a total of £12.60 I think. Rather hefty for a delivery service, but I guess we pay for quality at the same time.
I think as far as a delivery service goes, this is a very good burger, despite the price, and comes close to options like Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Ground, which you couldn’t get delivered. I don’t recommend the chips, even though I order them every time.
My verdict: 9 thumbs up!