Monday, September 26, 2016

2016: TUCFC Week 5

Texas A&M dominated the second half of their TUCFC game with Arkansas winning 45-24.  They now sit at 4-0 and will travel to South Carolina to defend their title.  South Carolina having just lost to Kentucky is not expected to put up much of a fight, but one never knows. 

I was going to talk about the fact that Les Miles would probably be fired at the end of the season, but that has already happened so let's look instead at how things are shaping up. 

The new team to raise eyebrows is Wisconsin with their 30-6 drubbing of Michigan State.  It's a weird web but their wins over LSU and Michigan State don't look as good today as they would have looked last week.  It is setting up an interesting dynamic in the Big 10.  Ohio State and Michigan are the obvious top dogs in the Big 10, and now we have Nebraska and Wisconsin left to try and knock them off.  In the SEC we have quickly narrowed it down to 3 teams of interest:  Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.  Both teams play Alabama and they are the only other two teams that would currently have a shot at making the playoff.  In the Pac 12 it has come down to Stanford and Washington with Utah and Arizona State being forgotten at the moment, and the ACC has come down to Louisville and Clemson with everyone ignoring Wake Forest and Miami.  Baylor and West Virginia are the only options left for the Big 12 and no one wants to see Baylor in the playoff.  Houston still sits as the one wild card.  If they can keep winning as they are they may get a shot at the playoff. 

All in all it's an interesting year.  The Big 10 seems to be the real power conference this year but one never knows how things will break down in the end. 

Games to Watch

Stanford (3-0) at Washington (4-0)
     When Washington hired Chris Peterson away from Boise State I thought it was a brilliant move and it seems that things are finally playing out the way they envisioned.  If they can beat Stanford they will be in the drivers seat of the Pac 12. 

Louisville (4-0) at Clemson (4-0)
     It's crazy that Louisville is facing another top 5 team in so few weeks but here we are, this time on the road.  If the winner of this game can finish undefeated then they are in the playoff. 

Wisconsin (4-0) at Michigan (4-0)
     Everyone is wondering just how good Wisconsin is, well we'll find out this weekend. 

Week 5 Power Rating

5Ohio State3-012.375149.6500.0000.000162.025
6Texas A&M4-024.688131.1250.0000.000155.813
8Miami (Florida)3-010.875140.6250.0000.000151.500

Friday, September 23, 2016

NFL Poll: Week 3

Here's the latest poll from the AP -- notice that this came out before the Pats crushed Houston 27-0 last night, using their third-string quarterback to do so.  I'm starting to think that the Pats should just see how many games in a row they can win without Brady:

T1.  Pittsburgh Steelers:  2-0
T1.  New England Patriots:  2-0
3.  Denver Broncos:  2-0
4.  Carolina Panthers:  1-1
5.  Minnesota Vikings:  2-0
6.  Arizona Cardinals:  1-1
7.  Houston Texans:  2-0
8.  New York Giants:  2-0
9.  Green Bay Packers:  1-1
10.  Cincinnati Bengals:  1-1

The Dolphins (0-2) fell from 20th to 23d; the Redskins (0-2) dropped from 21st to a tie for 27th.

We had a rare Thursday night game of interest, at least on paper, with the Pats hosting the Texans.  But Texans are gonna Texan, and Pats are gonna Pat, and it turned into a one-sided blowout for the Olde Towne Champs.  I think this may be the last week before byes start, so you may want to tune in -- personally, my interest in the NFL rarely recovers from bye weeks and the baseball playoffs.  The Broncos are traveling to Cincinnati in a top-10 matchup, while the Panthers are hosting the Vikings in what should be an excellent game.  Those are both noon games on Sunday, so you can take the rest of the day off -- although the 3:25 game in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Steelers should have a nice old-school quality.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tech Note: Setting Up a Video Studio

It's been a while since we had a Tech Note entry here on the Heath Post.  I blame myself for that.

Anyhow I just got through building a video studio and I wanted to capture here how we set it up.  What equipment we bought, etc.

I was tasked with the job of turning a small 14' x 17' space with 9' ceilings into a video studio.  Having had no experience ever shooting video I reached out to others for advice and read up all I could on the internet.  One video I saw on youtube in particular caught my eye.  You can check out the video here.  What struck me in particular about this video was the setup they had in their studio.  In the video they have a dedicated green screen studio.  We were not going to have that, but what they also had was a truss in front of their screen to hold their back light and their lighting for their backdrop.

My task was to design a studio space that would be used by faculty, by students, and by our communications director.  He's the only one that is a professional at this and so I needed to create a space where we could have all of the lighting we needed in place but people couldn't mess with it.  A truss I thought would help with this tremendously.  Also as I said we couldn't have a dedicated green screen space, so we needed the ability to change backdrops.  With space being a big issue for us I decided to go with paper instead of cloth and use a wall hanging system to help save as much space as possible.

This led then to the first two items we would purchase for our studio.  The truss we bought from Trusskits.  The kit was very easy to put together and is very sturdy.  Next we bought a wall mount kit and paper.  We bought a few different colors including the basics of white, black, and tech green.

OK now we had our backdrop and we had our structure for lighting next we needed lights.  We had decided that we wanted to go with LED lights.  Mostly because of ease of use since this space would be used by such a variety of people and because it was a small space.  I found a few products on the market and I came down Dracast or Ikan.  Pricing varied a bit and so we ended up with a mix, but I would say this would work fine.  For the back lighting and backdrop lighting we went with the Dracast LED500 Pro Bi-Color LED lights.  For the key and fill lights I chose the Dracast LED1000 Pro Bi-Color LED light along with a softbox.

OK now we had our lights, our truss, and our backdrop.  Next we needed audio and video.

I first looked to audio.  I wanted a shotgun microphone setup in place for the students.  I also wanted to have lavaliere mics for anyone who wanted to get even tighter sound.  For the shotgun mic we went with a Rode NTG1 along with the Rode Blimp Windshield and Rycote Shock Mount.  For the lavaliere mics I went with two Shure MX185s.  For a mixer I went with a ShureSCM268, though in retrospect I may have preferred to go with the Rolls MX410.  The Rolls has both a left and right channel out.  I've used one of these Rolls mixers before and like them quite a bit.

Now with the sound figured out it was down to the video.  After much hemming and hawing I went with the Blackmagic Design Micro Studio Camera 4K.  I also bought a Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm lens and a DigiPin13 WL1 LANC controller.  This last piece is great for our space as you can easily set the talent in front of the camera and then get it focused and opened up the way you want.

OK we had everything now in place to light and shoot video.  But we had a few problems still.  The echo in the room was terrible and we had no way to capture the video.

We wanted something very simple for video capture and we had a decent computer in place, so we bought a Blackmagic Design DeckLink Studio 4K capture card.  I then bought an SSD drive for the computer as a scratch disk.  This allows us to capture the video straight to the computer, then the users can simply copy off the files they've created to their portable media and the machine is ready for the next patron.

As for fixing the sound problem in the room we went with a room kit from Primacoustic that was quite easy to install.  We also changed out all the ceiling tiles in the room with Primacoustic tiles, that was a pain to install.

OK now everything is in place and working.  I've learned a lot on this project and had fun putting it together.  Hopefully it will get a lot of use.

Here is a short video I shot just for this entry on the HP.  I did not clean up the sound or the video.  Does lead me to think I've still got a little echo issue in the room that we have to work out, but all in all not bad for a start.  Now the fun small tweaking work begins.  Oh boy.

Album Review: Something About April II by Adrian Younge

So if you are a big fan of late 60's early 70's R&B from artists like Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield, Sly & the Family Stone, Roberta Flack, etc. then you and Adrian Younge have something in common. He's a producer who has put out a series of albums where he gathers up talent and makes an album that is heavily influenced by these artists and others like them.

Something About April II is his latest and is a solid set of songs. The album tends toward the jazzier side of things but we get solid hooks and beats and very solid vocal performances from all who are involved. These are short, but complexly constructed songs and it all comes together quite well.

The album has a dark vibe to it. Would be perfect to throw on while commuting to work via trolley in Philadelphia for instance on a cool rainy fall day.

 I like this album but there isn't a song on here that really grabs me. It's fun as a piece of art and I enjoy it but I doubt I'll be coming back to this album. Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 2 out of 5 stars for Not Bad.

Monday, September 19, 2016

2016: TUCFC Week 4

I would normally not put the same team on two straight weeks of TUCFC reports, but after Louisville destroyed Florida State they are the topic of conversation in college football.  I guess hiring a good coach does matter.

Other than that and Alabama once again struggling against Mississippi it was a pretty quiet week. 

Games to Watch

Clemson (3-0) at Georgia Tech (3-0)
    A good test on the road for Clemson.  We'll see if they have truly snapped out of their early season lull.

Wisconsin (3-0) at Michigan State (3-0)
     After Michigan State beat Notre Dame last week they are suddenly getting some love.  This should be a good test for them against a Wisconsin team that has surprised everyone so far. 

Washington (3-0) at Arizona (2-1)
     A good test for Washington on the road against Rich Rod. 

Arkansas (3-0) at Texas A&M (3-0)
     A big time TUCFC game.  Don't need to say anymore.

Week 4 Power Rating

1Ohio State3-010.375147.5500.0000.000157.925
3Miami (Florida)3-06.250134.8500.0000.000141.100
8Texas A&M3-07.50095.6000.0000.000103.100