GearTalk: We Live in the Future

Okay, enough with the heady concepts and societal observations: let’s talk toys.

Christmas having come and gone, I’m sure I’m not the only one who got some nifty gadgets to play with. Several family members latched on to the idea that I was doing a lot more teaching, presenting, etc. and got me presents that would be useful for that. End result? I can now fit enough gear to do a film fight workshop… in a lunchbox.

I suppose that process started this Fall, when we upgraded our 2+ year old, free with contract cellphones with brand spanking new iPhone 4s. Capable of shooting pretty nice video, and you even get to control focus (a feature I definitely appreciate).  Okay, so it’s not a Cannon 5D Mk II (which my wife and I would love to acquire after we win the lottery we don’t buy tickets for), but it’s pretty incredible for a cellphone.

Then for $5 or something we got the iMovie app, which lets you edit. Granted, it’s extremely limited as editing software goes, but we’re talking about a freaking cellphone here, so I can’t really complain.
Then comes Fathers Day and Christmas. Amongst the goodies accumulated:

OWLE Bubo for the iPhone 4. Not a bad mount, which can make for more stable shots and a place to attach a video light (upgrading from the camera’s built-in one, which is a nice feature itself). Biggest difference is the ability to mount lenses though. It comes with a wide-angle, and I got a telephoto off ebay pretty cheaply as well. It’s something else to carry, so I won’t use it for that random moment of babies being cute… but I could certainly use it for a workshop, or grabbing choreography reference in a small classroom, etc.

iPhone Video Out cable. I’ve gotten good use out of this one since Father’s day, as it lets me play music or video off my iPhone or an iPod in the AV consoles in classrooms at VCU, or through a TV at the Banff Centre during the Paddy Crean.

Gorillapod. Attach-anywhere tripod, perfectly capable of holding the iPhone even with the Bubo mount… but can also hold other things, like the:

Samsung Pico LCD projector. This thing is crazy. The power cable takes up as much room as the projector does… and the projector can run 2 hrs on the battery. We’re talking deck of cards size, and it’s pretty bright and crisp. Combined with the video out cable listed above, it lets me show movies I made on my iPhone (or from my old Canon HV20 camcorder, or my laptop, or theoretically just a mini SD card) projected on a plain wall larger than any TV screen, and brighter and crisper than the big old projectors we used to have mounted in the classrooms at my old workplace. Granted, the sound isn’t great, so it’s a good thing I also got:

Motorolla Bluetooth Speaker. It’s about the same size as my phone, but means I can get half decent music during a class and not even have to walk back to the player to adjust it- my phone acts as remote control. Also good for car trips, where it can be a speakerphone on steroids. Includes audio in jack and cable so you can connect it to non-bluetooth devices… like the projector.

A reminder, should you choose to buy any of these things or other gifts through Amazon, please use my portal!  It gives me a 1% commission I can use toward purchases of more toys… or things like textbooks.

The one thing I made myself I actually didn’t bother getting out to play with in Banff, as the workshop sessions were just too short to make it worth messing with extra gear: I made a little dolly system that could use two quarterstaffs (or other available equipment) as rails, the whole thing taking up about as much space as a rollerskate.

Just submitted a workshop proposal for some weekend intensive arts adventure programs VCU is doing this Summer, to do something on shooting action scenes. I figure that’ll be fun, and a good chance to get some high school students as lab rats for the kind of stuff I’d like to do more of with adults in the future. Here’s hoping!

Now where’s my jetpack…?

Coming up some time later: GearTalk: We Live in the Past.


One Comment

  1. Posted January 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Fixed the broken link for the OWLE; sorry about that!

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