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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Confessions of a Video Expert

Audio & Video, Blog0 comments

For my first confession, I will have to admit that I’m not really an expert. I don’t know it all. There’s simply too much to know in the field of video.

But I know all the answers to the most frequently asked and most important questions. Not to mention I can walk you through a process that you may be unfamiliar with. I am not a hoarder of knowledge. I would like to share what I have learned and to tell you that you can do it too. A lot of people tell me that they’re dumb when it comes to computers and I literally cringe because I don’t like to hear that kind of negative self-talk. Also, I know what they mean. Computers aren’t all that intuitive for everyone but I don’t think it’s as difficult to pick up as say, playing a musical instrument, although practice does lead to progress in any field.

Everyone I know who is tech savvy is that way not because of some innate gift but because of a deep interest in computers or in editing or in whatever their field of expertise happens to be. They follow their curiosity and that is what leads to learning. So no one need be afraid of a little computer, especially since the newer models are so much more user friendly. Don’t forget that any question you have, someone else probably had that question before you. And they probably figured it out. It’s called Google, don’t be afraid to use it. If you don’t know how to do something, there’s no need to leave the confines of your home. You can probably even find a video tutorial that will show you step by step how to solve your problems, whatever they may be. So what does all of this rambling blog signify? If there’s one message that I want to convey, it’s this: Don’t underestimate yourself. You are a lot more intelligent that you give yourself credit for. So don’t be afraid to try new things and get involved in this encroaching digital age. Contact us (323) 469-0707

Bluray Options and Opinions

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We have been offering Bluray authoring for about a year now and this format is getting increasingly more popular amongst professional film makers as well as with consumers and all points in between.

You may have a few questions about this process so I wanted to write a little bit about it. What is authoring you ask? It is the process of converting files to a disc whether it’s Bluray or DVD. It involves transcoding your media (aka your files) into a specific file type that will work with the disc creation. It also involves the building of menus, assigning buttons for specific functions and in this process we can do a multitude of other changes to your disc. So why go Bluray instead of just going to DVD?

If you want HD quality in a disc, you have to go Bluray. It’s also very popular at the festivals these days. The cost of Bluray authoring reflects the amount of time spent on the project. The files can take the better part of the day to encode, thus tying up one of our systems for that time. Generally for short films under 30 minutes the cost is $150. That’s partially because they fit onto a smaller disc. There are two types of Bluray discs, 25GB and 50GB. The 50GB discs we use for the feature length films. The cost for this is $200. If you want 5.1 surround sound we charge an additional $50 for separating the tracks and assigning them to the correct speakers. Bluray is no longer our future. It has finally made that quantum leap to the present. Contact us here. (323) 469-0707

Backing Up Your Media

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Every day I recommend to customers that they make a copy of their transfers.

Whether it’s a VHS to DVD or some other analog format to digital file or DVD, I always recommend it. The thing about a DVD is that it can get scratched or dirty or misplaced. Having a 2nd disc greatly increase the odds that you’ll never have to lose those precious home movies. If you took the time to have the transferred to DVD, why not have an extra copy made or perhaps you may need a whole set of copies for relatives who are on the video or who might like to relive something beautiful or just something amazing or hilarious that went down back in the day.

It’s not talked about a lot but there is also the fact that even modern DVDs will decay over time. The science isn’t in yet so I don’t have an exact answer for how long while your DVDs last? It could be 20 years. It could be more or perhaps it could be less. There are a lot of factors that go into this outcome including the way it was stored, the brand, even the device used to create it. That’s why at Advanced Media we use the best media available while keeping the costs reasonable and easy on your pocket book. We also use top of the line gear that is relatively new and in perfect working order. In this modern era, nobody wants to be without their media. Whether it’s DVDs or hard drives or files, do yourself a favor. Back up your media. Please contact us here. (323) 469-0707

Backing Up Your Hard Drive

Audio & Video, Blog, FILES0 comments

It’s a sad fact that sometimes, hard drives can die and take all your secrets to the grave.

Not to mention all your important documents, video files, pictures and whatever else you may have stored on there. Hopefully it’s not your screen play or your feature film. So what can be done to prevent such a tragedy? The thing about hard drives is, they may last a very long time or they may not. It’s kind of a crap shoot. I spoke with a customer the other day who told me he went through 6 drives in the last 4 years. I don’t think that’s normal, but he was extremely frustrated and wanted to get all of his family video history in one place, safe once and for all. The other thing about hard drives is that they need to be used. It’s a use it or lose it situation. This type of technology, much like your automobile, needs to go for a spin every once in a while. That can help to prevent the hard drive from fragmenting. If that happens and you lose all of your data there are options, very expensive options, which may or may not work. So it’s best to back everything up which means having another hard drive to store everything. Hopefully someday the geniuses who come up with these amazing, new technologies will figure out a way to preserve all of our important media on a tiny drive that fits in the palm of your hand, that will never, ever quit on you. But until then, back up your media. Please feel free to contact us here. (323) 469-0707

Audio Cassette to CD

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If you’re like me, you’ve probably got boxes of audio cassettes in your garage.

They’ve made many moves with me and yet, I never seem to have the time to listen to them. Not to mention I don’t even own a tape deck anymore. The only way to listen to my old mix tapes from my teenage years that good friends had given me would be to transfer them to CD. I do a lot of these transfers in my professional life and there are a lot of misconceptions about these types of transfers. First of all, I use very good equipment for playback as well as for recording. It’s not that sophisticated though. I use my Alesis tape deck to play back and I go through a pair of RCA cables into the CD recording device. I play the tape back. If there’s a hiss, I turn on the Noise Reduction. If not, I simply set the record level so it’s not hitting the reds when it peaks at the top volume. I pull back a little if it is. Then I simply press play on the Alesis and record on the CD recorder.

A CD can hold 80 minutes worth of audio in contrast to an audio cassette which could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. Therefore if a tape is more than 80 minutes long I will use 2 discs, one for each side. Also, the equipment does not generally create a new track every time a new song is on when conducting this type of transfer. It’s better with vinyl. So if a client needs everything cleaned up and organized, I can do that no problem. But it does take a little longer so I charge about $35/tape for that service. Of course if you just have one song you need, I won’t charge you the full amount. It would be more like $10. Also, sometimes people need MP3 files, which is a compressed audio format. My machine creates AIFF files so I would be able to convert that using software on my Mac. MP3s can be very good files for the web and for email because they tend to be pretty small while retaining a decent quality. For more on audio transfers feel free to contact us here directly. Or call (323) 469-0707

Free Bluray Software

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At Advanced Media we now offer Bluray authoring.

From time to time a client will call in with a problem. They’ve been trying to make their own Bluray discs and they hit a snag or the result is less than spectacular. So they’re coming to us to fix to the problem. Other times I have had customers tell me that $150 for a short film on Bluray is out of their price range and they were going to burn it themselves. Generally I get a call back because it’s actually a lot more difficult than a lot of people think it will be. There is a lot of Free Bluray Software out there on the web available for downloading.

The main problem is that you can’t really get the results we’re getting using a program we use which is called Encore. We have worked out all of the kinks and found all of the specific settings in a series of tests that took months to arrive at the perfect recipe for an incredibly clear and amazing HD image. We have had three highly qualified Post Production specialists working on our team to bring you the best possible Bluray quality at an affordable price, not to mention with a very fast turn around. So if you’ve tried it or even if you don’t think you’re up to it, give us a call and we’ll help you get your Bluray to market or to fistival. For more information, please click here or call (323) 469-0707

DVD to File

Audio & Video, Blog, FILES0 comments

A lot of people are not familiar with the fact that you can change your DVDs into files, so I wanted to write a little blog about it today.

Most people are aware that you can go from VHS to DVD or from various tapes to file, but what if you have a DVD and you want to edit the footage or upload it to the web? That’s something I’ve been helping customers with since 2007. There are two basic types of DVDs that you should be aware of. The first is the professionally manufactured DVD. That would be something that you purchase in a store and it’s very well protected. Of course there are ways around the protection but we do not offer that service because it’s not legal. The service we do offer is for the 2nd type of disc. That would be the DVD-R. This would be an unprotected disc. If it’s purple on the bottom, it’s probably a DVD-R. If it’s green, it’s more likely to be a CD-R. If it’s silver, it could be anything. If the bottom is black you have a Bluray disc. We are now offering DVD to .mov file or .mp4 file for the cost of $10/disc. In the past customers have paid upwards of $25 for files from disc. We’re offering this deal until the end of the year to see if we can drum up some new customers. Also, this is something that we feel is going to become more and more common place and necessary for our ever changing, technological society. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here or give us a call during business hours which are 10am-6pm Monday thru Friday. And yes, that means we’re not open weekends. (323) 469-0707

Super 8 to Bluray is here!

Audio & Video, Blog, FILES, Film & Photos0 comments

In the last year we have added HD telecine transfers and high quality Bluray discs to our arsenal.

Now, we’re offering them in conjunction. You can have us transfer your old 8mm and Super 8 film to HD files as well as Bluray. Of course we’re still offering transfers to DVD as well because not everybody has a Bluray player. Me, for example, I don’t have one but personally I would prefer the files anyways because I would like to edit my footage and create new files to upload to my Vimeo account and share them with family members. Actually I already had my own footage transferred. I wish there had been more of it but it amounted to about 45 minutes of footage ranging from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. The colors are so beautiful and the images are incredibly sharp but I think I’ll redo them to get the HD quality. To find out more, please contact us here or call (323) 469-0707

How does our pricing work?

Audio & Video, Blog0 comments

I get a lot of questions about pricing and I wanted to write something about how it works. It’s not always cut and dry.

Larger jobs require more thought because we give discounts for volume. Even if you have as few tapes as 10, we give 10% off. If you have 20 or more tapes, we give now give 15% off. However, some price points are very simple to give. For instance, VHS to DVD transfers cost $16 for tapes under 2 hours. 2-4 hour tapes are $25. 4-6 hour tapes (yes, they exist!) are $35. That’s because each DVD has a maximum length of 2 hours in order to preserve quality. I could record an 8 hour DVD of your material and fit it all on one DVD but then you’d have some very blurry faces and nobody wants that. I get this questions a lot. “Okay, my tape is half an hour, how much is that?” Well, it’s under 2 hours, right? So you get the picture.

I also do a lot of DVD duplications, short runs and larger runs, even replication. So if you have a DVD and you want copies, this is how much they will run you, 1-5 discs is $5/disc. 4-20 discs is $4/disc. I hope that this is helpful. We don’t really have a comprehensive price sheet. It’s complicated. I can also give pricing for audio cassette tapes. 60 minute tapes are $20 and 90 minute tapes are $25. 90 minute tapes require two CDs because a CD only holds about 80 minutes worth of audio. We also do specialty tape formats like Hi8, Video 8 and mini DV to DVD transfers. These are all $25/tape. HDV is $35 to DVD. And we can go to file with all of these formats as well. Any further questions about pricing? Please click on the word “here” or call this number. (323) 469-0707 Thanks for reading J

What is a demo reel?

Audio & Video, Blog, Portfolio0 comments

EDITING

EDITING

Simply put, a demo reel is a short video meant to display the talents of an actor with the intention of securing future work as such.

The reel should showcase a variety of roles if possible. Mainly it should be the actor delivering a bunch of lines. Of course it has to be watchable, even entertaining because if the viewer who is hopefully in a position to hire the actor is bored or turned off, he or she will simply move on to the next demo reel. Actors are not the only people in the business who need demo reels. Directors, Cinematographers, Visual Effects Designers and Editors need them. We even cut a reel for an Art Director here at Advanced Media.

It’s a great way of saying, check me out! Look what I can do! You can show a potential client what you can do. It’s a way of showing people that you’re for real, that you’re not all talk and that you have been hired before in similar situations. You’re just the person they’ve been looking for. Also, demos can be posted to your website and you can send your potential employers a link. Many actors have more than one demo. You may need a commercial demo for getting commercial jobs. Or you may want to separate your comedy reel from your drama reel. Or you may be going out for a specific role and you just need to send a reel that showcases your talents as an action hero. Any way you look at it, these days, if you don’t have a demo reel, people in the business won’t take you seriously. If you do have a demo, and it’s good, your chances of landing a role are increased ten fold. For more information please contact us here. (323) 469-0707

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