288 Reelsolid.TV s03 ep006 Saphron Restaurant

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Travel with ReelSolid.TV's Bill C. to Maryland, USA to sit down with Charleen Obal, founder and owner of "Saphron" Restaurant.

Show Links

Saphron: http://SaphronRestaurant.com

Ron Carter, Legendary Jazz Bassist: http://RonCarterBass.com

Google Earth: http://Earth.Google.com

ReelSolid.TV / CollegeWit.com / JetSetShow.com Collab!!! :D

Obreahny (collegewit.com) & Bill (reelsolid.tv) cover Scholastic’s “Harry Potter Place” in New York City for Zadi & Steve’s (jetsetshow.com), based in Los Angeles, CA.

Our Segment
Field Producer / Camera: Bill Cammack
On-Air Talent: Obreahny O’Brien
Edit: Steve Woolf, Smashface.com

Special thanks to Scholastic’s Sarah Trabucchi for the Press Access! 😀

I’m really happy with the piece. I think Steve’s edit really captured the essence of my experience that day. When I get the links to the longer-form of the interviews, I’ll post them. 😀

billcammack reelsolidtv video blog obreahny collegewit jetsetshow zadidiaz stevewoolf sarahtrabucci ericmortensen scholastic harrypotter harrypotterplace

Twitter Has “Ruined” My Life

For those of you that don’t know what twitter is… Basically, it’s a DIY (do it yourself) chat room. You choose people that you want to “follow”, and you can see when they type something to the twitter site. People can choose to follow YOU, and they’ll see what you type to twitter. There’s no forced mutual following, so sometimes, it’s a one-sided deal. You can see what someone’s saying, but they can’t see what you’re saying… which is unfortunate for them when they ask a question that you “tweet” (somehow the verb form of twitter…… meaning each entry should be called a TWIT or the site should be called TWEETER, but anyway…) the answer to and then an hour later, you see them ask again if anyone has a solution for them. 😀

I think twitter’s more effective in areas where people are in relatively close proximity to each other or at least can get to where other twitterers (tweeters?) indicate that they are or that something’s going on. It’s extremely useful during conferences, like SXSW or PodCampNYC. Twitter works on cell phones as well as computers, so people on-the-go can still find out the latest information, ASAP. The benefit here is that instead of texting… or, could you imagine, actually CALLING several people to tell them where you’re about to have lunch, or what floor you’re hanging out on and with whom

Photo Credit: Jared Klett

… You can make one “tweet,” and everyone that’s following you receives the same information at the same time. (PS – If you don’t know what twitter looks like, you can see it on my macbook pro screen on the right side of the picture.)

So, by now, you’re saying “All I’ve heard is positives!” 😀 Yes. That’s true. 🙂 I think twitter is a very positive thing, or at least it CAN be. It all depends on how you use it. If you clutter your “friends list” with people that don’t do anything, but seem to always have something to say about the NOTHING they do all day, then it’s a waste of your time and energy to read the feed. That’s not my ‘problem’… it’s exactly the opposite! :O

The first day I became aware of twitter, I ‘crawled’ through my friends’ friends lists and added people that I thought might be interesting to follow. I was doing something that day, and I don’t remember what, but I remember doing just ONE thing… 🙂 So I happened to have added someone that appears to be an actress. A “tweet” comes up that she’s heading wherever to meet with whomever. I’m like “ok”….. Then, while I’m still doing the same thing, and time doesn’t really seem to have moved at all, another tweet comes up from her saying that NOW she was heading to a different location to do something else. I’m like “ok”….. So while I was sitting there, still doing the same thing… over the course of the day, she did at least SIX THINGS in six different locations! :O I noticed how interesting it is to ‘eavesdrop’ on the goings-on of someone that’s in a profession you don’t know anything about, but I ALSO noticed that I could have done a lot more with my day than what I did while she was scurrying all over the place being effective.

I chalked it up as a fluke, but the same thing happened the next day and then the next day. To make matters worse, the rest of the people I added are workaholics also! 😀 So now, all day, every day, I get to hear about where they’re going and what they’re doing and who they’re meeting with and what’s happening in Second Life and what country they’re in and which conference is starting and who’s the keynote speaker and who’s broadcasting live on the Internet right now…..

On top of what they’re ACTUALLY DOING, I have to hear about what they think is interesting on the net, who made a new video, who didn’t get paid for the unauthorized use of their photo coughlanbuicough, what’s the latest social site somebody created, how to get invites to be a beta tester, what just crashed their browser, which phone shoots the better video, who updated their blog, what’s the latest HD camera that records MP4…..

And then, while you’re trying to be more productive with your day, AND you’re checking out all these links that people sent out so the tabs on the top of your browser are increasing and getting smaller and smaller… You get to find out who’s going to lunch at such and such a place, who’s going out for drinks later, who’s flying into town for the weekend, where the Wii Sports tournament’s going to be, which bar is giving out free beer RIGHT NOW!, the sun just came out over Central Park, the party’s moving from location X to location Y….. So now, instead of having the excuse that you don’t know if anything’s happening tonight or this weekend and actually getting to USE the time that you had allotted to being more productive, which was ALSO spurred on by twitter… You’re hanging out all the time, to the wee hours of the morning, then spending the better part of the next day updating your flickr set! 😀

Oh, yeah… It also doesn’t help that people live in different time zones. :/ When you’re in the middle of your day, people are talking about “GOOD MORNING FROM HAWAII,” then when you’re done, they’re talking about going out to lunch…

As you can see, the overall effect of this twitter phenomenon is that there are NEVER enough hours in a day anymore. :/ Every second you’re not running with the pack, you’re falling behind. Unfortunately, I don’t subscribe to slackers, so it’s always build, create, innovate, move, report, link, blog, videoblog, discuss, contemplate, debate….. You just have to do as much as you can and eventually call it a day. 😀

There is one downside-downside to twitter, and that’s when it CRASHES, and suddenly, you’re “flying blind”. Twitter has two types of crashes. Type-2 is complete denial of service. 😀 Either the site doesn’t come up at all or it comes up but doesn’t let you type anything and doesn’t give you any updates from anyone else either. You just sit there looking at this screen that says “so-and-so said whatever about 3 hours ago.” Suddenly you start trying to activate the telepathy that you just KNOW you have that will allow you to discernn where people are and what they’re doing, even though none of the “tweets” are coming through at all, hahaha. I suppose it’s the same way people feel when they open the fridge and find out that someone drank the last of the Kool-Aid and didn’t fill it back up! :O You just stare at the container, IMAGINING how good that Kool-Aid would have tasted… IF it were actually IN the container. :/

The Type-1 twitter-crash is way more frequent and way more frustrating! 😀 Twitter lets you type things, but then there are random occurrences right afterwards. What you typed mght disappear into thin air, and twitter acts like you never typed anything at all. It might appear in the list of “tweets”, but then, when you refresh, it’s gone. You can type something and what appears in the list is a duplicate of something you typed hours ago, competely replacing what you actually typed. “Tweets” show up out of order and randomly appear and then disappear upon refreshes. Etc, etc, etc… Anyway… Type-1 twitter-crashes inspire denial as well as disbelief as you realize your carefully crafted post, complete with hyperlinks, has been eaten by twitter and if you didn’t select it and copy it before pressing “Update,” you have to start all over again.

You can imagine the effect these crashes have on the twitter-dependent… suddenly scurrying to use email, instant messaging and telephones to try to find out what’s going on… one.person.at.a.tiiiiiime… 😀 It’s not for the faint of heart. So beware, and be aware! 😀 Watch out for the effects of TMI (too much information). If you recognize it starting to be too much, take a bunch of people off of your “friends list” to slow down the traffic to only relevant information that’s useful to YOU… or Just.Say.No! 😀

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

PodCamp NYC Starts Today!

PodCamp NYC starts today, Friday April 6th. There are lots of sessions to attend on Saturday at The New Yorker Hotel (481 8th Avenue at 34th St).

Hi everyone, Eric Skiff here. We’re having a bit of trouble with our email service, and we’re currently not able to send mail to the PodCampNYC list. We’re working hard to get it back online so we can get everyone the pertinent info for Friday and Saturday, but in the meantime I’ll be starting to put some of the info here on the blog. If you use a feed reader, you can subscribe to the rss feed for this blog to get updates as we put them out. We’ll also be putting out late-breaking updates throughout the event on the PodCampNYC twitter account.

Schedule Info

With over 100 talks in 12 different rooms, this event is going to be AMAZING! You can now view the schedules and subscribe to them via Google Calendar or iCal.

Links, and instructions for using the calendars are here:

You can also download the scheudle as a big, single page PDF.

If you’ve been to another unconference, having the schedule set in advance might seem a little foreign. Often, unconferences are scheduled by filling in a grid on the wall at the event itself. Because of the sheer number of speakers and attendees we felt that in order to create the best experience for everyone we had to focus on making good use of our space and getting sessions arranged in a sensible way.

That said, we do want to encourage ad hoc presentations and last-minute discussions. This is your event, we’re simply doing our best to facilitate. To help foster spontaneous events, Christopher S. Penn will be hosting a “mashboard’ at his sponsor table. Be sure to check out his booth if you’d like to schedule a talk not on the “official” schedule and see what other people are putting up on the board.

Chris has also put together a fantastic “Unofficial Guide to PodCampNYC.” It’s a printable PDF with maps of NYC and the hotel, sessions schedules, local restaurants, and much more. You can download the guide here:

We’ve only got a few more days between now and PodCampNYC. I’m looking forward to getting to see lots of familiar faces and meet many new friends there!

See you Friday!
Eric Skiff
Co-organizer, PodCampNYC


Be there or be L7! 😀

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

re: Justin Kownacki’s STBD SOTU 2007

re: Justin Kownacki’s STBD SOTU 2007

Brilliant assessment & planning, Justin. 🙂

I’ve been watching STBD since about the middle of last season, and I’ve seen some of the archived episodes. My impression of it was “the life in general of several people that happen to know each other because of professional and personal affiliations”. Since I started watching after the show became more spread out, the radio station didnt actually have anything to do with anything for me. I saw a couple of episodes where they were saying they were selling the station or shutting down, and I saw it as more of a removal of a location than something really important to the show’s storyline.

I suppose the speed of the storylines is as dependent upon how much time the producers & editors are willing to spend crafting them as it is upon how often the actors in a particular scene (and the crew to shoot it) are available at the same time. It’s much easier and faster to cut a more slowly-paced episode than a fast-paced one that requires more cutting and therefore more continuity between the scenes. OTOH, the faster the scenes are paced, the more storylines you can fit into the same amount of time, or you can cut your show lengths down. Another consideration is the effect of changing pacing on the “feel” of the show. Regardless of the choice of pacing inside one scene or one episode, looking at the pacing over time, such as “how many episodes will it take to get this character from finding out about an issue to resolving or becoming consumed by that issue” is very important. Soap operas drop something and the resolution doesn’t happen for the next two weeks (10 episodes). Sit-coms achieve resolution within 30 minutes to an hour. I think that having the IRL timelines of plots in the script locked down is going to be crucial for STBD moving into your new production / business / community plan.

Regarding the lack of unification because of so many characters, STBD definitely needs to have a searchable way to track specific characters. One of your additions in your web site plan needs to be a text-based, searchable episode list with links and tags based on the characters in each episode. If someone watches an episode and wants to learn more about Caroline, there needs to be a way for them to quickly pull up the sequence of episodes with Caroline and/or her storyline in them. She might not be in the actual show, but something that happens in that show is relevant to the development of her character or someone involved with her. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and it’s easier to start off with a text-based cast/crew listing like IMDB has, so that at least fans can create a list of the episodes that the character they’re following is in and possibly create RSS feeds so they can follow along when that character’s next episode comes out. Overall, I think that spinning off shows based on popular storylines is a great idea. 🙂

The “heightened conflicts” issue is very important and IMO drives the IRL timelines of an episodic production like STBD. The show has to move quickly enough to keep people interested in the conflict. Unfortunately, this is a lot easier to deal with in a situation where the resolution is definitely going to occur “soon” like in a show that is completely done after every episode or a mini-series that’s going to be over after the sixth episode. In the HBO series “Rome”, you knew that by the end of the season, Caesar was going to be dead…. I mean, assuming you knew about these things to begin with. That leads to situations of heightened conflicts, but also “lack of conflict” as you know that Caesar’s going to be stabbed to death by people including Brutus, so there’s a complete lack of suspense in his character’s part when he’s on a campaign or in a war or something. OTOH, you never know if the other characters are going to live or die in the situations they get involved in. The heightened conflict is that even though they’re the stars of the show, they’re expendable in the grand scheme of things.

I think “The Sopranos” is more relevant to STBD. In the first season, guys were dropping like flies, because the focus was to show the struggle for posession, survival and success in organized crime. As time went on, there were fewer characters that they were able to develop to the point of being so important either to the characters in the show or to the viewer that they needed to be “rubbed out”. “The Sopranos” settled into being more “Tony’s home life” oriented and stable, which was a turn-off to many of the viewers that were originally so interested in the show because of action, violence and not knowing who was going to “go” next. It’s kind of like “Now that Tony’s made it to the top, what’s there to do? What stories are left to tell?”. STBD (at this point at least) seems to be about the ongoing lives of people that don’t really have any conflicts other than where they’re going to work or whom they’re dating. Similar to Tony Soprano’s settled life in the later seasons, it’s tough to create & heighten conflict in an environment like that. I see it more as being the “fly on the wall” as these people live their lives than watching something that’s potentially volatile.

Overall, I enjoy STBD and I’m looking forward to seeing where this new vision takes you. Much of what you mentioned requires planning, and planning takes time and time is money, so hopefully your monetization plans work out so that the people involved will be able to devote more time and energy to the show.

Good Luck! 😀

oh… either way… make sure you remember that…

“women wanna SEE it & men wanna BE it!” 😀

Bennchoumy wins “Go Hard or Go Home” Hip-Hop battle

Article reposted from HaitiXchange.com: [link]

Creole Hip-Hop triumphs at the ultimate underground Hip-Hop battle. We first met Bennchoumy several years back when he was part of a group called The Shepherds. He has since branched out on his own, and has recently taken home the gold at the “Go Hard or Go Home” Hip-Hop battle held at the Remote Lounge in New York City. While everyone was doing the regular, English, Hip-Hop stuff, Bennchoumy let loose some Creole that most people didn’t understand… and still won.

A judge told him that even though they didn’t understand a word he was saying, they gave him the prize because his showmanship, performance, and skills were absolutely extraordinary.

Bennchoumy believes that there is a future for Creole Hip-Hop in the music industry. Even though people are always telling him to put more English into his rhymes to make it more convenient for the American mainstream, he does not believe that is necessary. He says that Reggaeton took off even though many people do not understand the Spanish lyrics, and that as long as music is good and can be felt, people will accept it.

What Bennchoumy won: Ring tone deal, several mix-tape deals, he will be in several magazine spreads, and cash prize (he would not reveal the exact amount.)

Congrats to my friend, the extremely talented Bennchoumy! Hopefully, we’ll have a ReelSolidTV interview with him soon to go with his HaitiXchange interview! 😀

HollaBack Girls

So I’m browsing the blip videos, and I see this one called “I holla’ed back”. Having no idea what that meant, I figured it referenced the popular song about Hollaback Girls. 😀 The whole point of that record was saying that she WASN’T a Hollaback Girl, so I was curious to know why the title of this video indicated that this person DID “holla back”. I won’t spoil the plot of the video… You can go watch it if you’re interested by clicking this link to the original post. I didn’t watch it from the post, I watched it from blip.tv, but you get the actual context in the post. Anyway… I didn’t see any of that background information when I watched the video. I went to her blog to check out the comments, and that’s where I found out what she was talking about in her title.

There’s a network of sites called “HollaBack…..”:

All Holla Backs are independent collectives, in support of the same international mission; they are in no way affiliated with one another unless otherwise noted.

The site that referenced the “I holla’ed back” video was HollaBackBOSTON. When I followed the link, I realized that she had taken the idea of the site to the next level, hahaha 😀 The idea of HollaBack sites is for women who feel they were harassed to be able to tell their friends and the world about it. Some of them bolster their complaints with snapshots from their cell-phone cameras. This was the next level, because this was an actual LIVE VIDEO of someone going back and confronting her harassers.

It’s really pretty interesting to read what these women have to say about their daily experiences. HollaBackBOSTON has archives going back to May 2006 (6 months). The video was taped in SF, so I figured it was sent to Boston because there was only one site like this. I was thinking… MAN! They could write about this for DAYS in NYC… That’s when I started looking for links and found the list of the rest of these sites, including HollaBackNEWYORKCITY! 😀 New York’s archives go back to October, 2005! 🙂

This was interesting for a few reasons. One of them was that as I was heading back home from Art Bar a few nights ago, after one train completely ditched us at the platform and never stopped… I was in the middle of a subway car that had some overly-drunk guy on one end of it with a couple of guys and a girl with him, trying to keep him quiet and get him to sit down, and a couple of women sitting together at the other end of the car. This guy kept yelling drunk stuff at them, and he was really pretty belligerent. The women acted like they couldn’t hear him. As they were getting off the train, he screams at them “GOOD NIGHT, LADIES!!!” as if he had just been kicking it with them, hahahaha 😕 Obviously, I had my camera on me, but it TOTALLY didn’t occur to me to tape him running his mouth, because A) I didn’t give a damn, and B) I didn’t find it interesting and couldn’t figure out who MIGHT think it was interesting. Now I know… hahahaha 😀

The other reason it was interesting was that I felt like this girl on the subway took a picture of me with her phone. 🙂 I really didn’t think anything about it, because there are always Paparazzi… “those damned Paparazzi! :D” This is New York City, tourists and cameras all over the place. There’s always someone trying to take a picture of someone else.

Anyway, I find this stuff entertaining, because it’s the kind of thing that women never bring up in front of guys… they only tell other women. It’s interesting to see their perception of random guys trying to get sex from them, having just seen them for the first time in life a few seconds ago, or staring at their bodies or hissing at them or committing egregious indecent exposure or worse. I’m sure that from most of the guys’ sides of things, if they mentioned the situation at all, all they had to say was “Yo… there was this fine [chick] at the bus stop… MAN! You should have seeeeeen her ass! :D” and that was the end of the entire conversation.

Made it to WordPress!

OK… so that was a hassle. 😀

I just switched this site from Blogger to WordPress. Initially, I wasn’t going to make ReelSolid a web site at all. The original concept was to have it as a holder for my itunes feed. The only reason I made it a blog at all was so I could use feedburner.

I ran into an issue a while back, regarding categories. The only way to do them in Blogger is to make several blogs and link them. That’s all well and good until you have to make several changes, and then you have to go all over creation checking that you re-created everything the way you originally planned it. My boy CoolP over @ haitixchange.com had been telling me about using databases for the longest, but I didn’t have that much information at the time, so I didn’t mind changing everything every time someone suggested a new idea to me like using Flash (or at this point, Ogg Vorbis).

Finally, I decided to check out WordPress, and it’s really impressive, compared to Blogger. I went with Blogger since it’s easy to get started with, and I wasn’t concerned with any other functionality. The problem with ‘simple’ is that the more different forms of information you become involved with, the more containers you need… UNLESS you can put them all in one place and define them by manipulating their database entries. You don’t have to move the data, but you can distribute it however you want to. I can make as many categories and sub-categories as I like. I can point the car-people to the car-stuff and the bike-people to the bike-stuff.

One of the things that snagged me was that I didn’t realize WordPress was dynamically creating “pages” for archives and categories. When I switched from Blogger, I left my archive folders intact, so WP couldn’t create the new archives on the fly. I tried emptying one of the folders, and even that didn’t work until I deleted that folder, then WP did its thing. I lost a few permalinks, but I’m not concerned about that, because I didn’t have people linking to my pages anyway. They can just re-find the pages they’re interested in in their new locations. 😀

Updating is MUCH faster with WP. None of that waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, WAAAAITNG!!! to see if Blogger decides to go all the way to 100 to post your entire blog, or whether you have to start all over or wait until it’s not the middle of the day :/ I haven’t gotten anywhere near plugins and backgrounds and trackbacks, blah blah blah, but there’s definitely more ‘room to breathe’ with WordPress, and my time was well spent making the changeover.

Formats & Codecs

I received a comment today regarding the download times of my videos along with some suggestions on how I could improve those times. I hadn’t been thinking about it in a long time, but it caused me to consider the way this site was built, and also what my procedures are in posting vlogs.

Initially, I was just building a site to hold videos as a source for my iTunes feed. I wasn’t really thinking about people watching them from the site. One of the first problems I had was that most people access my site with PCs, not macs, and a lot of them couldn’t properly view Quicktime movies. I wasn’t aware of Flash at the time… well, not as far as universal video access. I was aware of the program itself. Anyway… I made AVI files, which are completely archaic, and posted those for the windows viewers. Again, this was an afterthought, because the site was intended to be an iTunes feed, so I was neither concerned nor interested in whether ANYONE could view the videos from the site, especially PCs. By the time I started looking at the stats and saw the overwhelming percentage of PC and IE viewers over Mac and Safari users (most of which also happened to be MYSELF, since testing the links was adding to my stats :/ ), it was too late, until I decided to make my primary format Flash.

As far as the MOV or MP4 files, again, their purpose was to sit on an iPod and look pretty. 🙂 Even though I selected ‘fast start’, and maybe even ‘compressed headers’, since the goal wasn’t streaming them over the net, I encoded them at as high a rate as I was comfortable with, which was ~ 2,048 Kbps. So.. .for someone that just plugs their iPod in and lets iTunes download videos, everything’s cool. For someone trying to watch the Quicktime file from the direct download link, my videos are going to DL slooooowly, compared to other videos of the same size (and potentially the same quality).

I really stopped thinking about it when I went to Flash, but today’s comments have prompted me to consider re-encoding the MP4s to be more internet-friendly.

Having said all that, there’s another issue. Time.

I really like the difference that H.264 makes over MP4. H.264 looks great @ 700 Kbps, even if you expand the frame size from the encoded 320×180. Unfortunately, H.264 takes FOR.EV.VER to encode. When I’m trying to post something day-of, I’m trying to get it on the site ASAP. That means I will most likely use the 2,048 Kbps MP4, which encodes MUCH faster. It also might mean I use 1-pass CBR/VBR on a flash video instead of 2-pass VBR. Flash is another issue, because now I’m aware of On2 VP6, except *that* takes even LONGER to encode than H.264! :/ So I end up using Sorenson so I can accomplish ANYTHING ELSE during my day besides encoding a video.

Clearly, since you can make the same quality H.264 video at about 1/3 the data rate of MP4, it’s going to DL faster, which is better for the viewer… but worse for the encoder! 🙂 Perhaps the best deal is a dual-tier process where I put up the ‘fast’ version, then let the ‘better’ version render overnight. Anyway… this is what happens when you build a site from scratch, and go through several page format changes and several video format changes during the process.

Let me not even MENTION iframes! :/