Archive for April, 2008

late April news

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Las Vegas Golden Nugget neon

World Trade Center from Ellis Island

The Capitol framed by flags

The good news is that I’ve established that Plan #73* will fit on the final DVD. This means the 13 tracks of RetroRoadTrips and Plan #73 combine to provide 77 mins of programming, and that’s with the audio in full AIFF (rather than compressed AAC) format.

* Plan #73 is 26′ long, and continues the road film diary approach used in Road Dreams, though based on driving a 3 ton van around Europe in the ’80s. I’ve been able to add a range of new fx to the soundtrack – though this has been, as always, a time consuming task.

Mid-air dive into pool

NYC-PR Parade, woman on float

Conversation by flag

The process has not been without the usual range of technical trials and tribulations. I had exported the tracks from Final Cut Pro in QuickTime Movie format, only to discover that 41″ of the audio was missing from the soundtrack. The usual Ho Ho. The workaround (for any of you with similar problems) was to change Current Settings to the DV PAL 48KHz setting, though this is not anything that one can discover in a manual. After this glitch was fixed I discovered that the audio goes out of synch over a 10′ encode in DVD Studio Pro 4. I’m debating whether I should change my name to Sisyphus Bristow. But I now have all the material on a DVD – it works – and, though I say it myself, looks pretty good. Perhaps all this somewhat obsessive attention to detail has been worth it. However, this is not the project completed. I need to set the Play All button on the DVD and this seemingly minor task is not one I can solve. So I must try and locate some professional help to sort it out.

Kindle’s Donut stand

Shack and mine

late sun with hiline poles

While I was waiting for all these lengthy encodes to run their course this provided the opportunity to start on a major cull of the 22 hours of Road Dreams footage, with the aim of establishing a collection of stills. Some of these are incorporated in this weblog. At the rate established so far, there should be well over a thousand stills by the time I’ve culled the full 22 hours.

Depending on how soon I can get some help for the DVD details, I hope to post more news within a couple of weeks.

Thanks, as ever, for your continuing interest.

Echo Park - Volvo by gate

LA ’shark’ car

Freeway Interchange

April news

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Iowa - red towel & fridge

Iowa - sofa at Plato

I’m well aware that today is April Fools’ Day, though have made no apple pie beds myself. All the same, how about this for a catch phrase or sub-text to describe Road Dreams – ‘Far superior to Prozac’. It came as a third hand quote in an email. Perhaps the t shirt would be the location to place it? Nothing like claiming to have a more positive effect than one of the most widely ingested drugs known to mankind.

Acme Hotel

Husky diner

This last month has seen a bit of a production detour, though not an aimless one. I’ve now completed a box set of RetroRoadTrips iPod files. The impulse for this arose from having acquired my own iPod touch (after having previously borrowed my neighbour’s). The screen size has been something of a revelation where the quality of the image is concerned. There is no intention to move away from the PAL DVD production – DVD is for shared viewing and the iPod for the solo sort (and the DVD set will contain both types anyway, on separate discs) – but the iPod touch experience did set me to thinking about how I might set about trying to publicise the RetroRoadTrips project when the website shop is open. For a site that has had no deliberate publicity efforts made on its behalf it really does quite nicely, but an extra effort will have to be made to coincide with the shop opening. Putting together an NTSC DVD is just too time consuming and costly (at least until Codachrome is finished). So the partial epiphany was that an iPod disc would be a way to mail out demos, especially to America (where Road Dreams has never been seen). Here’s a couple of images of what the box looks like. (I’m well aware that I’m unlikely to develop a career as a pack shot photographer.)

iPod box cover

iPod inside box

The technical details of what encoding formula works best – the trade off between file size and quality – are, as usual, hardly worth recounting (other than mentioning the, by now, standard mental seizures it all engenders – plus the time taken to sort it all out!). My solution has been to provide three different file types on the one Data DVD, to address those two objectives separately. Let the viewers decide for themselves is the aim.

And thank you to those of you who leave comments from time to time – it helps to establish that these entries do get read. I also occasionally come across other strands regarding Road Dreams, and here’s one that I read recently. An appreciative nod to Nige of the Old Hangar.

On the Hadlyme Ferry

I hope to post a much shorter list of ‘jobs to completion’ within a few weeks.