A quick recap for anyone who didn't get to read Part One. In the beginning of 2008, my friend, writer/director Tibor Spiegel shared with me the completed production footage of his independent film, "Overnite Shift". The thirty-plus minute movie tells the story of an older, immigrant New York City taxi driver who, on a particular evening, picks up a series of passengers. As he interacts with them, his past hauntingly resurfaces, and in the process changes his future irrevocably.
Intruders have entered the world of video. They're small, they're stealthy, and they offer the biggest bang for the buck since the Alaska Purchase. We're talking, of course, about digital SLRs—specifically those that shoot high-definition, progressive video. These hybrid interlopers, called VSLRs (or HDSLRs), are wielding their swollen sensors and 35mm optics like digital clubs over the heads of prosumer video enthusiasts. Each new model seems to pry another finger loose from the once-secure grip of affordable HD camcorders.
Though inexpensive flash memory camcorders have been snapped up by consumers in droves in recent years, even casual users recognize their severe limitations. Typically, these devices offer a lackluster lens, provide only digital zoom, and perform poorly in dim light or an unsteady hand. Manual controls, touch screens, and GPS simply aren't included in the equipment. All this helps explain why cameras that record to tape or hard disks continue to be preferred by home video enthusiasts.
Traveling with precision tools and instruments has long been a game of seeing how far one can press the limits of government/corporate rules without pushing one-button-too-many of the person behind the ticket counter. Ever tighter carry-on allowances and checked baggage fees of $25, $50, $75, and higher have only made things worse. And do you really want to wave bye-bye to your precious camera gear as it's carried off to a Samsonite version of hell?
It's been almost 10 years since Apple brought its first version of Final Cut Pro to market. In that time, the professional, nonlinear video application has seen many improvements and features added. With each subsequent release the software has offered greater stability, reliability, and productivity in the ever-changing moving image space. These updates have always been informed by the latest innovations in both Apple hardware and OS software deployment. Final Cut 7 is no exception.
If you've ever flown over the Grand Canyon or Rocky mountains at 35,000 feet, you already know how humbling and enlightening this experience can be. Tall mountains appear small, almost flush to the plains leading up to them. The grandiosity of the Grand Canyon is equally diminished when viewed from high above. The Rockies and Grand Canyon viewed from ground level appear immense and unconquerable, yet from high above these same geological wonders simply blend into the textures and patterns of the overall landscape. As with most things in life, how we see them is often a matter of perspective.
In an earlier chapter of my life I taught photography part-time at a local community college. One of my co-workers, a fellow named Pietr, whose last name I could never pronounce let alone spell, had a novel way of introducing his Photo 101 students to their cameras. He would start off by having them wander about, focus on things that catch their eye, and before pressing the shutter button, peer over the viewfinder and try to visualize where the borders of the image were based on what they saw in the viewfinder.
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