Friday, June 18, 2010

Why The Drobo S Is A Good Choice For Video Editors

I'm slowly but surely cleaning up this mess.

This is a quick post about why I bought a Drobo S, to use as my main storage for HD video files. As a video editor, I'm constantly buying new external hard-drives for projects. HD video files take up huge amounts of data. Now that cameras are shooting on solid state memory, rather than on tapes, footage is not archived unless it is backed up on multiple hard-drives. This means that for every project at least two hard-drives much be purchased. The process gets annoying and confusing quickly.

The Drobo S is a box that allows you to insert "internal" harddrives, one on top of the other, and it automatically RAIDs them, or backs them up. You can stack 5 two-terabyte hard-drives at a time inside the Drobo S, giving you 9 actual terabytes of backed-up space. If a drive ever fails (which all drives eventually do), the Drobo will show you a red light, at which point you just buy another drive and pop it in, in place of the failed drive and the Drobo automatically goes to work putting the data back in the right place.

I own a few 2 terabyte external G-Drives - the Apple store lists them at $330. The Drobo S, by itself is $799. I bought two 2TB Hitachi sata hi-speed drives at Fry's for $118 (on sale) a piece. If I fill up all 5 drive slots in the Drobo S, that gives me 9TB of backed up storage space for a total of $1389. If I were to buy 18TB (or 9 2TB G-Drives), which would give me the same amount of backed up storage space, I'd spend $2970. Also, it bogs down my computer to have multiple daisy-chained drives - the Drobo S allows me to keep all 9TBs running simultaneously, and the 7200RPM drives, going through an *eSata card are very fast (the Drobo S also has two firewire 800 ports).

*The newest generation of 15in. Macbook Pros DO NOT have an Expresscard/34 slot for the eSata card. Instead, they have a single SD card reader. This was a HUGE design flaw by Apple. I do not recommend buying a 15in. Macbook Pro that does not have a Expresscard/34 slot. Here is a link to the IOGEAR 2 PORT eSATA EXPRESSCARD/34 - GPS702e3 that I purchased from Fry's for $39.99. The 17in. Macbooks still have this slot, but they are huge and impractical for travel.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Questions I've Been Asked So Far On Formspring

I'm having a ton of fun with this. It feels like therapy.

What made you choose to just start doing random video hoping for work instead of getting a 9-5 production job with a business?

I started editing yearbook-style videos in highschool, wedding-slideshows, softball banquet videos etc. I went to TCU and got a Radio-Television and Film degree. I graduated a semester early and immediately landed a bunch of freelance editing work. I had no idea how to manage my time, my money, or how to be diplomatic in client relations and I felt in-over-my-head. So I got a full-time position at a commercial post-house, first working in "the vault" and eventually working my way up to assistant editor. I desperately wanted to be working on productions though. I went to Guatemala and Brazil and shot mini-documentaries about Christian mission trips and edited them at work. The production company next door saw some of my Brazil footage and asked me to come to Europe to camera operate on their show "Project MyWorld." So I quit my job and shot the show, but when I returned home, I still wasn't ready to go completely freelance, so I started working at another post-house for an even higher assistant editor rate. I was miserable and I was editing videos in a week with the same budget as my salary. I felt incredibly under-valued, so I quit, started my own video production business and never looked back.

Working freelance is hard and takes a special kind of person. If you're that kind of person, it presents an incredible amount of freedom. I hope to never go back to working 9am - 9pm again (even though I still sometimes pull 24hr days working for myself!).

What do you do to stay fit?

I've been working out and running my entire life. I've always been naturally skinny and when I trained for the Stockholm Marathon in 2003, I got all the way down to 144 pounds, which was just too skinny for my 6'1" frame. Two years ago, I started eating a ton of leafy greens, kale salads and quinoa. I did the P90X workout program 6 days a week and drank protein shakes by Cytosport (Cytogainer) after my workouts. In about 2 months, I went from 150 to 170 with a single digit body fat. I've trimmed my workouts back a little now. I still workout 6 days a week. I do one day of legs, two days of chest and back, two days of arms, and one day of mixed cardio and running (alternating abs and core, resting a day in between). I eat complete foods, rounded, small meals, limit my meat intake (especially red meat - I have a hamburger about once a month), organic produce, take in protein after my workouts and load on carbs the night before my workouts. I'm now about 160 pounds and I have about 9-12% body fat. I can run a 5k in about 19 minutes, I can do about 20 wide-grip front pull-ups at a time, and I could run about 15-20 miles on any given day. My job as a documentary camera operator requires strength and endurance and I want to make sure I'm ready in case the CIA ever wants to send me on a secret mission.

What are you the most passionate about?

I am passionate about making things right. People are not good to each other and I refuse to just accept that it is just the state of the world. I'm passionate about proper urban development to the scale of human beings, the conservation of nature, limiting pollution and making people aware that there is a way to not just be a constant consumer - I want to share the love that I feel in Jesus with everyone I come in contact with, even people who oppose me. In short, I'm passionate about practical education. I believe that education is the way to a better life for everyone on the planet. If people understood the greater ramifications of the small things they do, I believe we'd more consciously care for each other.

What the most frightening experience you've ever had while filming abroad?

Off the top of my head, filming in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya was a freaky experience. It's one of the top 5 most dangerous in the world, because it's run by the Mungiki cult. They're notorious for beheading people. I just felt that something wasn't right and we left, seconds before a Mungiki started approaching our car. Also, I've almost fallen to my death off two different cliffs.

Ask me more questions! Thank you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ask Me Some Questions Please

I've jumped on a new interwebz bandwagon called formspring. If you've ever had a question for me, this website may be a good format to get it answered. Ask me about running a video business, making independent films, or my faith in Jesus; ask me anything you want. I'll do my best to answer honestly and concisely.

You can find my formspring page here:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Last Year At This Time

This is so weird. I had decided to write this blog post and was sitting here trying to think of a title and was saying in my head, "well, I'm happy..." - It was almost a year ago exactly that I wrote a post about how depressed I was. Having just returned from New Zealand and Australia, I had this overwhelming feeling that things were going to get very tough and it was going to be exactly a year before I would be able to get back on my feet. And here I am now, exactly one year later, writing to tell you how happy I am!

For most of the last year, I've been living in Dallas-Fort Worth, staying with my family. The year wasn't as travel-free as I thought it would be. Shortly after coming back from Australia, I ended up in Barcelona, visiting my brother, I stopped in New York afterward and spent some time in L.A. (August 2009 and April 2010). But for the most part, my days have been spent in DFW. Things were slow freelance-wise and I ended up taking a position as a P.A. on a television show shooting in Dallas called The Deep End - it was a great learning experience, just observing production on such a major scale, but after 4 weeks of 16 hour days, getting paid about $1,000 a week (roughly $12.50/hr with no overtime) - I quit. It also turned out to be a good decision to work on the show in the long run because FOX took out heavy taxes from my meager wage and it saved me from having to pay a bunch at the end of the year.

Sometime around December 2009, freelance video work started picking up speed. I got busy. Busy-ness has been a blessing, both for the income and also just to give my mind something to focus on other than anxiety. A few days ago, I turned 27, and while I feel older (like a true-blue adult...finally), I'm also in great shape, healthy and happy. What more could you ask for? So I've been saving my money, finishing my movie and investing in my company. There are a lot of projects on the table, video work, a television show, and a movie. Things feel very different than they did last year. I feel good.

Here are some of the "investments" that I feel really good about. Just some little film-gear bits and bobs:

Canon T2i, EF-S 18-105

Miller Compass 15 Solo Alloy Tripod
5600k Flolite LEDs
It's not much, but I've always been hesitant to buy gear. When we have major productions I rent the best of the best, RED ONEs, Kinos etc. - But for day to day use, for those ideas that just pop into my head, this stuff is perfect and allows me to be shooting and creating all the time. I feel inspired and invigorated.