TED Weekends

Okay, stop me if it feels like things are getting pushed just a little too far, but the Huffington Post now has a featured called [TED Weekends][]. The blurb in the lower part of the lefthand column reads: “TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice!” Sorry, but I’ve seen the [TED discussions on LinkedIn][] — and that’s why this feels like the push too far — and it’s really very much a producer-consumer dynamic: you little people can talk among yourselves. I have never seen any of the TED authors or even any of the TED staff show up in any of those discussions.

Make no mistake, there is some great content on TED, but how long can you milk Ken Robinson’s “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” And this is from someone who came across it the same year the video was published and has used it in his classes ever since.

This feels, in this moment, a lot like the FoodNetwork, which made a small list of chef/personalities famous but hasn’t really been able to grow beyond that moment. In part, in the case of FoodNetwork, one has the sense that they can’t quite figure out what worked so well in the first place and so they can’t quite give up their first stars. They may have gotten past this, in part, with their, televised even, search for their next stars, which had produced a limited cast of useful characters. And Guy Fieri.

And so maybe the question is who will be TED’s Guy? Because when they find him, we’ll know it’s time.

[TED Weekends]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tedweekends/
[TED discussions on LinkedIn]: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=138801&trk=group-name

Everything Is a Remix

Kirby Ferguson is an independent filmmaker who has both a gift for rapid fire verbal delivery as well as the editing chops, and amazing erudition, to back it up. His *Everything Is a Remix* series of shorts are perfect for demonstrating quickly how culture works: he does a nice job of demonstrating how cultural products are influenced by previous products. His focus is largely on films, but other genres get swept into the mix as well.

[Here’s his Vimeo page](http://vimeo.com/kirbyferguson).

And here’s his most recent piece as of this post:

Movie Magic

The great thing about this particular parody is that by its very nature of offering up abstractions it successfully outlines the structure of American narrative film. I can easily see using this in a film studies course.

And, yes, it’s just plain funny.

Broadcast Television Now Filmed with Canon 5D

It’s a bit staggering to think about it, but the season finale of House was shot entirely using a Canon 5D camera. The director loved the experience. The details of the shoot, as pulled from his tweets are:

  • The episode was shot at 24fps.
  • They used a collection of stock Canon prime lenses (all the L stuff) as well as the 24-70 and 70-200 zoom lenses. (Hey, those are the lenses I have, but, oh yeah, mine are EFS, not L.) These lenses provided some focusing problems, but apparently “cine-style” lenses are already in the pipeline.
  • They used plain old CF cards. 18GB cards gave them 22 minutes of footage.

Amazing. For years, the gap between amateur and pro quality gear was considerable. It has closed in recent years, but there was still a gap. The Canon 5D is not exactly something you’re going to find at Walmart — the body is currently priced at $2500 on Amazon — but it’s not beyond comprehension. Why, only a few years ago the folklore concentration at the University of Louisiana invested in a prosumer Canon video camera that was $3500. The 5D is clearly now professional grade, and it’s less. (But in saying that I really am lying, because I am completely leaving out the cost of lenses.)

For those who don’t want to wait for the House episode, you can check out a short film shot with the 5D. (Not the best film, but the cinematography is nice.)

Oh, did I mention the 5D shoots in HD?

Sometimes Twitter Is Good

I only *tweet* occasionally. Not as many people follow me on Twitter as read this blog. I’m okay with that. And, for the record, I only check my Facebook page once every two weeks. I am completely not okay with the fact that Facebook not only makes it impossible for me to get back out anything I put in, but that they are using whatever I put in to sell me stuff. Others are okay with that, but the promise of the web, to me, was that it would not only be a read-write experience but that we would own our own writing. Facebook is easy and convenient, but it’s not democratic.

But back to Twitter. There’s a guy who tweets [things his dad says](http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays). Apparently he got a deal to write a pilot for television. (I’m not making that up: you’ll have to look it up on TechCrunch, though — I already closed the page.) This is kind of cool. It means people can experiment with content and it might just end up paying the bills. For the record, his dad, be he fictional or real, says mostly expletive-laden things that occasionally make you smile. Only one made me laugh out loud:

> “No, I’m not a pessimist. At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain’t shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist.”

The Future Experience of Media

The iPhone, and now the iPad, are establishing that there is a place, even with the consumer utility device market, for general computing devices. In particular, [Game Developer Research](http://www.gamedevresearch.com/) has just its report on the current state of game development. The 100-page document is available on their site and is covered in the the current issue of [Game Developer](http://www.gdmag.com/) magazine. Some of the trends revealed in the report include that the economic downturn has more developers working in smaller companies (less than 50 employees) and an increased focus on the mobile device market:

> Of these mobile developers, nearly three quarters of that group are targeting iPhone and iPod touch development, a number more than twice the reported support for traditional handhelds like Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

This only confirms our own household’s decision to retire our daughter’s Leapster that we had paired with my old iPod Video for road trips and mobile entertainment. Both were handily replaced by an iPad Touch that not only has the games and the videos of the previous two devices but also flash card activities, wikipedia, and other applications. General computing, baby, general computing.

Analog Blog in Africa

From Motherboard TV comes this story of a man in Monrovia, Liberia who gleans the news from both traditional, print sources and digital sources and compiles them, aggregates them in the new terminology, into … wait for it … a whiteboard blog.

More on RAW and JPEG

This past spring Pravina Shukla asked me what a JPEG file was and what was the best way to interact with them (if that was the format that your fieldwork data was in). I asked on [Mahalo](http://mahalo.com) and got an answer, but I continue to read around in hopes of finding better answers to her questions and to the many folks who ask me:

* There’s a detailed [raw] over at Luminous Landscape. It’s part of their “Understanding …” series.

[raw]: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

A Louisiana Marquez

It appears Andrei Codrescu agrees with me: Acadiana is well equipped to support a novelist like Gabriel Garcia Marquez; we just don’t have one yet. Codrescu’s agreement were the topic of his NPR commentary today:

[](http://media.johnlaudun.org.s3.amazonaws.com/audio-20070612_atc.mp3)