I know I tell a lot of stories about the old days, but this doesn't mean I'm 100 years old.
Just wanted to get that cleared up for those of you keeping a tally of how many times I mention 1" tape and CMX edit controllers.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress...
For those of you just joining us, welcome to the Mike Cohen Creative COW 100th Blogiversary
"100 blog posts? So what," you might be saying.
Well I try to put a little bit of my personality and philosophy into every post. For me it's a big deal. It's a big deal not that I have composed and published 100 entries about my job and my life, but that in doing so I have gotten involved in other aspects of the Creative COW community. As a result of blog entries, I have had the opportunity to write magazine articles, to be interviewed in podcasts, to make friends and business associates and even to obtain potential clients for my company's services. Something that is good for the soul and good for business is, well, a good thing!
And from what I hear, the blogs in general are good for the Creative COW's business. Google searches often lead people to the forums. If I Google myself or certain keywords I have used in my blogs, these blog entries come up in results. Presumably I can't be the only one searching for "CMX edit controllers" or more likely "AVCHD editing in Premiere. If new first-time visitors to the COW get in via the forums, the blogs, the services or the video reels - that too is a good thing.
And speaking of good things, have you seen the wide selection and amazing displays of creativity in the video reels section? You could spend hours there getting free inspiration for your own projects. I've actually started taking notes as I browse the reels. Go ahead, click "VIDEO REELS" in the main menu..I'll save your seat.
So back to the 100 blog retrospective. The best thing to do is to browse back issues going back to 2007. It is educational for me to see what I was thinking at the time. So rather than regurgitating my favorite posts, I think I will regurgitate my favorite images as used in past posts. I get a kick out of grabbing a quick picture with my phone when inspiration strikes. I send the picture to myself with a note and then, often on a long airplane ride, fill in the gaps to try to tell my story.
This first one takes me back to my first position as a professional editor. The Ampex ACE 25 edit controller. For those of you who have only used digital nonlinear editing, lucky you. Back in the day, you had to have some engineering know-how in order to perform basic editing, assuming you were in a facility without in-house engineering expertise. For more on the subject check out this link:
Now back to our show:
This image brings back some memories. A surgeon I work with on a regular basis needed to do a live powerpoint presentation to a medical conference. He was in Vegas, the conference was in Portugal. Thus, he was scheduled to go on at about 4am Vegas time on a weekend. At that time of day, we couldn't get a local video conferencing suite, so we had to think way outside the box. WebEx is advertised and used as a great tool for corporate meetings, but using it in multiple locations including in front of a live audience can be a bit dicey. So we came up with a stop gap solution. This picture depicts our audio transmission system which included VOIP and two telephones.
Speaking of medical conventions, back in early 2009 we managed a conference on obesity surgery. Our company arranged the venue, the audiovisual and catering, invited the faculty, reserved hotel rooms and managed registration for about 500 attendees. Think of it as a mini-NAB for surgery. One of my roles was managing a day of live surgery. We streamed 9 surgical cases from NY, San Francisco, Miami, Michigan, Brazil, Chile and two other locations. Some signals came down ISDN, others via the internet. Everything went through a skybridge, and there was audio and video from our location going back to each location. To be even more clever, I created roll-ins for each surgeon and location, run off DV tape. This acted not only as a nice transition but also as a place holder in case of technical difficulties. It was a fun fast day with lots of audience participation.
My other jobs at this meeting were to document the proceedings for posterity (ie, transcription, publishing articles about the proceedings and possible future on-demand webcasting)...
And drinking a lot of coffee and tea.
2009 was the year I finally traded up to a smartphone. I went with the blackberry because most of the clients and doctors I work with use this device. It has made a huge difference in productivity while traveling and even while in the office. For example, if I have a hot and heavy editing session planned, I may not even boot up the laptop (e-mail computer) and just check the berry periodically. This can save an hour or more per day. You'll note around April 2009 the quality of my blog pictures improved significantly. Still underexposed and grainy, but certainly bigger!
Sometimes (a lot) I add pictures and anecdotes about food, restaurants and eating or cooking to my blogs. What the heck does this have to do with the multimedia business? Everything. If I am fed I have energy to do my job, or I have rewarded myself for a busy productive day.
Sometimes I take my pictures to the next level and make them into useful illustrations. Here for example I was talking about preparing for a trip. Charged batteries, extra tape stock and tightened wingnuts on your equipment make a big difference.
As mentioned, several posts talk exclusively about travel. I don't go to the ends of the earth or to exotic locations (with the possible exception of Cleveland) but I have been known to go to the ends of the airport terminal for a Mocha Chip Latte!
I also used the blog to follow our entry into high definition production. What better venue for HD imaging than surgery? Of course you can get plenty of discussion about formats, editing workflow and playback issues in dozens of forums, so I'll just wow you with some imagery:
Sorry if that was gross, but this is my business!
Just thought I'd take this opportunity to mention 1" tape, for those of you keeping track at home.
All that travel also affords the opportunity to snap some quality pictures with a real camera, and sometimes I like to share those images as well - and if you're lucky, a story to go along with it.
This was a unique venue for a meeting - Jackson Hole, WY - in August.
In 2008 I attended a convention in Toronto. Since my hotel was about a mile from the convention location, I got to see some of the sights morning and night.
This week I took the train down to Philadelphia for a meeting, took the train home, then two days later went back to Philly with the gang for a meeting. Sometimes conventions are in cities with things to see and a wealth of good places to eat.
Vegas is a weird town. The Strip is full of amazing sights and some shady characters - sort of an odd mix of themes. NAB and the Bellagio fountains are two of the highlights.
Post-Katrina, New Orleans remains a popular destination for meetings and the occasional video shoot. Just stay on the main roads.
Think I'll hang this one in my office.
How many times do you find yourself in Moline, IL with a few hours to kill? Those tractors are huge.
Another good reason to carry around a proper camera. And with that, we'll let the sun set on the first 100 blogs of my blogging activities.
I appreciate all the feedback and the readers. If this is your first time on the COW, welcome. For my old friends, thanks for coming back. I look forward to coming up with new stories, anecdotes, learning experiences, recollections and images in the next 100.
As always, thanks for reading.
Over the past two weeks I attended several medical conventions as an exhibitor.
First was a meeting for laparoscopic surgeons. Last week was a combined meeting of surgical program directors and coordinators, held in Toronto. The unique aspect of the exhibits at this meeting were the uses of multimedia technology aimed at surgical education.
First, of course, the Cine-Med display featured our latest books and our online video libraries, and a demo of our forthcoming Multimedia Atlas of Surgery. At this meeting, the most popular items were the books. Particularly a book about improving communication techniques for surgeons. The ACGME has mandated that surgical education serve one or more of six core competencies, including communication and professionalism. This book covers these two competencies. Click here if you want to see more:
Other interesting displays included virtual reality for surgical skills training. Cine-Med incidentally was one of the pioneers in medical VR, back in the early to mid 1990s. Our simulations required SGI computers costing more than your average family SUV of today. One memorable experience had me at a pay phone at the Atlanta Convention Center talking to our engineer, writing UNIX commands on the back of a cocktail napkin, then running back to our booth, climbing inside the wooden enclosure, typing the commands into the UNIX shell, jiggling some wires and then repeating until things were working. Cell phones in 1995 were not quite something your average person carried around, so payphones and running shoes fit the bill.
Today obviously the simulations run off laptops or similarly equipped desktop computers, sometimes cleverly hidden inside streamlined plastic enclosures. Input devices take the shape of actual or simulated surgical instruments, attached to any number of sensors, force feedback mechanisms or simply viewed with a video camera, as in actual surgery
Perhaps the most impressive use of multimedia and computers is the virtual patient simulator, known as Stan, seen in the lower left. This 200 pound android, developed for the military, has all the vital signs of a real person. You can listen to his breathing and heartbeat with a stethoscope, listen to bowel sounds, feel for a pulse in the neck and wrist, intubate his airway and even administer drugs and fluids. Wirelessly controlled by a Mac, and attached to a DVR with 5000 hours of recording time, the setup is used to train medical students in dealing with a variety of medical scenarios, and then review the exercises in real time. Very cool.
As usual, I spent my off hours exploring the city and seeking out new dining experiences. Unfortuantely I was also dealing with either Spring allergies, a head cold, or both. The first night I went to the Pickle Barrel, an odd restaurant serving deli food, Asian dishes, steaks and everything in between. The next night, exhausted from 8+ hours of standing and sneezing and coughing, I ate at the supposedly well regarded Chinese Dim Sum restaurant at my hotel, Lai Wah Heen. The Duck soup was very good, the roasted walnut beef dish was ok except for the walnuts and the beef, and the service was extremely slow. However watching the parade of roasted ducks (beaks included) and other unique presentations passed the time. The final night I went to the Irish Embassy Pub for a much deserved Irish Stew and a pint of Guiness. You can't go wrong with this combination. Finally Friday's events included a complimentary sit-down lunch at the hotel, then a quick break down and load out, cab to the airport, US customs while still in Canada (?) and an earlier flight back to New York for a drive home.
Thanks for reading.