McCoy, Tabitha (2014). This is personal photo of Tabitha McCoy and family used with her permission.The caregiving mini-series, 444 Days in the First Year, was written by Tabitha McCoy. Tabitha is a contributor to the MFLN Military Caregiving team and is a former military caregiver to her husband, SGT Steve McCoy. In this mini-series, Tabitha shares her personal story of caregiving, loss, grieving, and transitioning, as well as insight and advice for both professionals and family caregivers as she recounts the 444 days following her husband’s death in June of 2008.Tabitha holds a Master of Science in Marriage & Family Therapy, is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Marriage & Family Therapy with a concentration in Therapy with Military Families at Northcentral University, and is the Social Media and Webinar Coordination Specialist for MFLN Family Development. Like what you read here? Check out the….2015 MFLN Military Caregiving Virtual Learning Event focusing on Reimagining Your Skills as a Helping Professional: Working with Military Family Caregivers. Be sure to visit their Virtual Learning Event webpage for more information and to view archived recordings of each event. By Tabitha McCoy, MSMFLN Family Development is featuring a 6 part blog series titled, 444 Days in the First Year, written by our very own Tabitha McCoy, Social Media and Webinar Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development team. Tabitha originally wrote this blog series for the MFLN Military Caregiving team about her experience as a caregiver to her husband, Steve McCoy, Army SGT.Read the additional parts of the Military Caregiving mini series, 444 Days in the First Year, here:Part 2 – The Waiting RoomPart 3 – Unanswered QuestionsPart 4 – DecisionsPart 5 – Please Don’t Leave MePart 6 – Finale 444 Days in the First Year Part 1The Phone CallMcCoy, Tabitha (2006). Former SGT Steve McCoy. Personal photo of Tabitha McCoy used with her permission.“Mama, what happened to my daddy?” My three-year-old son asks from the back seat.It was Easter weekend and we were an hour into our three-hour drive back to my hometown to spend the weekend with my family. I had just hung up the phone from yet another less than 5-minute phone conversation with my husband who six months prior had left for his second deployment to Iraq.Fighting back the tears of frustration from not being able to remember the last “real” conversation I had with my Soldier, I slapped on my “brave, everything is great face”, looked at both my son and daughter through the rear view mirror and said, “Nothing has happened to your daddy buddy, he just had to go work, but he said to tell you both that he loves you, and he will try to call us back this weekend.”Friday…no phone call, Saturday…no phone call, Easter Sunday…no phone callIt was beginning to feel like forever since I had heard my Soldiers voice and I was more than happy to be woken up before daylight to the sound of my phone ringing. I was immediately wide-awake, over come with relief and anticipating the sweet sound of him saying, “Good morning baby.” However, as I reached for my phone my excitement quickly turned to dread as I read the number on the caller ID. It was not an “unknown” Iraqi pay-phone number that my husband would sometimes use to call me from, nor was it his satellite phone number. No, this was a new number, one I had never seen before.I looked at my two babies who were still asleep in the bed beside me, and all of sudden I was reminded of the question my son asked me just a few days before, and with a shaky voice I said “hello.”Caregiver’s Advice to Professionals and Military FamiliesThe time shortly following the injury of a service member is stressful for everyone involved, and as both professional and civilian caregivers it is easy to place our focus solely upon the wounded service member. We must remember however, that the service member is only a part of an entire family system: and while the majority of the focus should be placed on the service member and their recovery, the family members have also in a sense, been wounded.The mental and physical health of the primary caregiver is such an important part in facilitating both recovery and health in the wounded service member, yet it is also something that can be easily overlooked; not only by the professionals who are being paid to take care of the service member but by the caregiver themselves.As professionals, education is key in understanding how to treat not just the wounded service member but the wounded family, and while the suggestions I make may seem simple or insignificant, I am drawing from my own personal experience; the brokenness I felt, the roller coaster of emotions I experienced, and how lonely it felt even though I was in a room full of people. As I remember the first few days and weeks following my Soldiers injuries, I am reminded that it’s the “little things” that truly mean the most.Be genuine: One of the first things that seemed to be the most noticeable was how genuine someone was being. I never wanted to have someone’s pity, however it was extremely obvious when someone was being nice because they had to be.Smile: I remember looking forward to the smiles of the doctors, nurses and volunteers in the waiting room at Brooke Army Medical Center. It made me feel safe, it always lifted my spirits, and above all it was typically contagious.Journaling: Offer this as an idea during conversation to the family member(s). This may sound silly but there has been research done supporting the idea of keeping a daily journal, especially during times of stress. I kept one while I was with my wounded Soldier and I remember it becoming one of the most valuable tools I had. A great stress reliever, and while it didn’t alleviate all stress; it did help, and it quickly became my release. I didn’t write much, and I didn’t even write everyday, actually I didn’t always actually write, sometimes I would just “add a calendar event” on the particular day. Either way, it helped and even now, 6 years later I will go back from time to time just to reread some of the thoughts.Eating and nutrition: This may seem like a “no brainer” for many, but nutrition plays such an important role in our stress and anxiety management. I remember there being days that I wouldn’t eat, especially in the beginning when my Soldier was first hurt. I didn’t intentionally skip meals I just had way too much on my mind to worry about food. Lack of eating and nutrition can lead to a host of other mental and physical issues that can further hinder care-taking abilities. It doesn’t take but a second to check in with the family, or to give a friendly reminder that they too need a “lunch break”.Access to resources: Make sure the family caregivers of the wounded service member have access or information regarding resources that may be helpful (i.e., Chaplin, therapist, counselors, gym, library, etc.). Remember that a family may not be from the area of where their wounded service member is receiving care. Some times just knowing where to go is reassuring enough for some, regardless of whether the information is ever utilized.Read the additional parts of the Military Caregiving mini series, 444 Days in the First Year, here:Part 2 – The Waiting RoomPart 3 – Unanswered QuestionsPart 4 – DecisionsPart 5 – Please Don’t Leave MePart 6 – Finale
Check out these useful sites that offer free design elements for creative content creators – high quality vector images, textures, fonts and 3D models!As video editors and motion designers, we’re constantly looking for cost effective ways to add extra ‘oomph’ to our projects. The following resources offer FREE design elements that can give your project a very custom, high end feel. Whether you’re using Photoshop, After Effects, or simply building your text and graphics in a video editing app, bookmark these sites and use them to build up your personal library of design elements!1. Lost & TakenCaleb Kimbrough offers a wonderfully useful selection of free textures for use in video and motion graphics. If your looking for that vintage vibe and pretty textures, this is the place for you. They include grunge, watercolor, vintage film, to vintage paper. Most of them are 4000 x 3000, which give you a lot of flexibility when using them in 720 or 1080 projects.He also sells a collection of 430 textures for $29, which is a steal and a nice way to help support the site.Example of a subtle grunge texture:Textures with masks and blending modes in After Effects:2. VectorStockAlthough VectorStock is primarily a paid image library, they offer a ton of freebies that are super useful for video editing and motion design. Backgrounds, grunge elements, filmstrips, paint splatters make up the 100’s of free stock design elements on the site. Best of all they’re vectors, so you can scale them up or down in your image or motion design application (like After Effects) without any degradation of the quality.3. PixelLabPixelLab makes 3D Models for Cinema 4D & Video Copilot’s Element 3D plugin for After Effects. They offer a bunch of useful free 3D models (skateboard, cameras, retro television) that will work in the full version of Cinema 4D or free Cineware version (comes with After Effects CC).4. Free TypographyFree Typography offers free, design friendly fonts. They have useful descriptions of each font and helpful examples of how to use the fonts. These free fonts can be used in an graphics or video editing app and are perfect for creatives on a budget.If you’re looking for more free fonts check out our previous post “8 Free Font Resources! Add A Unique Text Look To Your Video Projects”5. BittBoxBittbox offers free textures, brushes, fonts, and vector art. Lots of useful stuff here, with each category listed on the right side of the page. Really nice, high quality graphic elements. If you use a lot of their elements in your projects, maybe consider donating a few bucks to show your support.
This video was first shared by Makify1 on their YouTube channel. Thanks for sharing!Have any tips for shooting macro photography? Share in the comments below. Get incredible macro photography shots with this DIY tutorial.Macro photography is a photographic term for shooting extreme close-ups. To shoot macro images or video you need to have either a macro lens or an extension tube that can help you shoot up close.With cheap macro lenses going for around $299 and an extension tube going for $150 online, it can be expensive to shoot. Instead of buying an expensive macro tube you can make your own using this very helpful technique from the Makify YouTube channel.Things You’ll Need:1-1/2-in ABS Pipe: $2.95 at LowesCamera Body Cap: $3.95 from B&HCamera Lens Back Cap: $2.99 from B&HJ-B Weld: $5.70 from AmazonYou will also need a few tools to get the job done including a table saw, drill, and work area.As the video states, anytime you use a macro extender tube you are going to have some light loss. In this particular instance you will be losing 3 stops of light. However, this number can shrink or grow depending on how long your extension tube is. If you want to know the exact number of stops you will be losing check out this awesome Macro Extension Tube Calculator from FlyBacon.It should also be noted that while this video does focus on using a Micro 4/3 camera, the same technique can be applied to other popular camera mounts.Examples of Macro PhotographyHere are a few great examples from the video that demonstrate the type of image you can create with a macro tube.
There’s no substitute for having a sound recordist on your crew, but there may be times where you need to multi-task and record audio yourself. These tips will show you how to do it right.Top image from The Location CrewWe all know that audio is just as important (if not more important) than video when it comes to the audience experience. Audio is much less forgiving than video, which is why a great looking film with poor audio will never be received as well as a mediocre looking film with great audio. It all comes down to how our senses react to the content we perceive.Even so, many of us make the mistake of neglecting audio – especially on really small shoots. Personally speaking, even though most of my shoots have full crews (including an audio team), I also have many shoots were I’m working as a one man band. In the latter scenario, I’m typically shooting, directing and rolling audio all at once, which can be a real challenge. Through a lot of trial and error (and many big mistakes along the way), I’ve managed to develop some techniques that work really well for me when shooting under these conditions. Like many of you reading this, I am not a professional sound recordist, but that doesn’t mean I can’t employ the right techniques to capture professional quality audio.Here are three fundamentals that you should always follow when recording audio without a boom op. 1. Use a Lav and BoomEven though you might not always have the luxury of working with a dedicated location audio recordist on set, you can still emulate their workflow to ensure you’re getting the best results. Most sound recordists prefer to have two mics covering their talent: a boom and a lav. The boom mic is usually preferable as it typically generates the cleanest sound and doesn’t run the risk of getting muffled or hit the way a wireless lav mic will.At the same time, a lav is critical to use simultaneously. Some shooting conditions won’t allow you to get the boom as close to your talent as you would like, or there may be more than one character speaking at once, and the boom is unable to cover both effectively. The bottom line is that using two mics gives you a safety net. If there’s an issue with one, the other is a great backup.Typically on set, I’ll have my boom mic set up on a stand and the lav mic hidden under the clothing of my talent. Both are running into my Zoom H6 recorder, and in post I’ll choose between the two tracks depending on the specifics of the scene in question.In this video, Curtis Judd guides us through the process of picking the right lav microphone for your needs. 2. Always Go ManualImage from DSLR Film NoobWhether you’re recording audio straight to your camera or using a dedicated recorder (such as a Zoom or Tascam) you’re going to want to set your levels manually. This is one of the most common mistakes that inexperienced filmmakers make on set, which results in really awful sounding amateur audio.When your levels are set automatically, the quality of your recordings is diminished substantially. Automated systems are constantly boosting and reducing their levels in an attempt to catch up with the variances in levels being recorded — but no system works perfectly, and there are always issues. One example is the hissing sound that’ll occur in between lines of dialogue.When nothing is being spoken in the scene you’re shooting, the automated levels will boost up really high to compensate, and you’ll be left with a lot of white noise. And even though you may be able to correct this in post to some degree, it’ll never sound the same. When your talent starts speaking (and breaks the silence) the levels will drop very quickly and you end up with a strange audio artifact that just doesn’t sound professional.The solution to all this, of course, is to set your levels manually. Simply run a few lines with your talent before you start recording and make sure that the levels aren’t peaking. Now you’ll have a consistent result throughout your entire take, and can rest assured that you won’t generate any of those strange artifacts associated with auto-levels. 3. Record A Backup TrackImage from The Location CrewWhen you’re working as a one man band, you don’t have the luxury of monitoring your audio as closely as you would if were your sole task. In many cases you’re going to be spread pretty thin while checking your focus, directing your talent, and handling all sorts of other things on set, which means you’re prone to error on every front. Audio is no exception.One of the most common issues that you’ll run into when working this way (as it relates to audio), is improperly set levels. We’ve already gone over why it’s so important to record your audio manually, but the downside to manual audio is that your recordings are prone to peaking. For example, your actors may have run their lines and sounded great during your test (and level setting), but then in the scene they get much louder or one of them screams. Now all of a sudden your levels are peaking like crazy, and you might not even notice since you’re so bogged down handling other aspects of the shoot.The solution to this potential problem is to always record a backup track. Many audio recording devices will allow you to record a safety track (usually -20db lower than your regular track), so that in situations like this, you can pull clean audio from your backup track to patch over any moments that peak. You also might have the option (depending on your setup) to split your audio and record to two different devices – let’s say your camera, and an external recorder – each set to different levels. The method that you use isn’t the important part, what really matters is creating a safety net for yourself to fall back on in case of any technical issues.Want some more audio tips? Check out these articles:On-Location Audio – 3 Tricks Every Filmmaker & Sound Person Should KnowAudio Tips for DSLR FilmmakersHow to Capture High Quality Audio for Low Budget FilmsGot any recording tips for your fellow filmmakers? Share in the comments below!
The first footage from the new GoPro Drone is devastatingly disappointing. With plummeting stock, GoPro seems to have gone from Hero to zero.GoPro first announced that they were building their own drone at the 2015 CES show. Now, we are finally getting a look at the footage. No announcement on the look of the drone itself, other than the fact that it is a quadcopter.GoPro announced plans to release a quadcopter in the first half of 2016. The featured video was captured with a developmental prototype of GoPro’s quadcopter and stabilization system. No post-production stabilization was implemented; this is an example of the incredible image quality we are already able to capture at this advanced prototype stage. – GoProBased on the intro of the video, it appears this was shot with a GoPro Hero4.Initial thoughts: I’m not sure why GoPro didn’t make a new camera specifically for the drone. The footage is way too fish-eyed for serious professional use. The market is currently flooded with third-party apps that try to remove the fish-eyed look of a GoPro. The company itself has a page detailing how to remove the distortion. Think about how little sense that makes. Why still have so much distortion when it’s obviously an issue?Now the drone footage does mention that no post-production stabilization was used, but it also looks like the aircraft barely travelled. It’s easy to pull off stable footage if there is no wind and the aircraft is barely moving.It’s apparent that the goal is to allow users to attach their current generation GoPro cameras, which does make sense in a consumer market. But that’s all this thing has to offer. From the footage alone, this barely competes with the drones being targeted to children for the holiday season. The GoPro drone doesn’t look to be anything more than an entry level aircraft.Is this the aircraft they expect to compete with the likes of DJI, Freefly Systems, and 3DR? Sure the 3DR Solo smart drone uses a GoPro, but everyone else has moved on. Even DJI introduced a new Micro 4/3 mount camera for the Inspire 1.The release of this GoPro drone footage comes out after GoPro admitted their 2015 Q3 earnings and revenues missed expectations. GoPro Chief Executive Nick Woodman admitted they made mistakes with the launch of its Hero4 Session camera. (I was very disappointed with the Hero4 Session too.)If Session had been stronger out of the gates, if we hadn’t mispriced it, and if we had backed it up with the marketing it deserved, I think we would have had a very different earnings call yesterday. – Nick Woodman tells CNBCThe Hero4 Session was originally released for $399.99, and the price was dropped $100 two months after launch. Right before sitting down to write this piece, a GoPro commercial played on the television. We see a young child sledding downhill in the snow. The goal of the ad is to get you to buy a new GoPro for Christmas. Want to know the problem? They played this exact same commercial last year. As I watched, I really had to take note that GoPro cameras are no longer for professional users. Sure, we can use them when the need arrives, but GoPro is now focused on the consumer market. For better or worse, that is the path they have decided to take.What are your thoughts on the footage? Let us know in the comments below.
The holiday season is upon us. Here are some cheap and practical gifts to get for your filmmaking friends — or for yourself!For those of us in the film and video production business, shopping for film-related gifts can be tricky. Yes, there’s tons of stuff we all want and need, but we can be quite picky and need items specific to our individual gear. Also, if we really need something, chances are we will already have purchased it for ourselves.If you’re looking to get a holiday gift for a film professional — or are a film pro looking to get a gift for a fellow film friend, gift exchange, white elephant, whatever — here are seven gift ideas that are sure to be a hit.Editor’s note: For the love of all that is good, please do not give anyone you know a coffee mug lens. We appreciate the one you got us last year and we have far too many already. Happy holidays!1. A Hat That Says Movies On It: $25Chances are, if you’re in the film and video production industry, it’s safe to say that you’re a fan of movies. From big blockbusters to little indies, movies are great and deserve your support in the face of competition like virtual reality, video games, television shows, and internet videos. Luckily, indie filmmaker and movie-aficionado Kentucker Audley has your back with his successful Kickstarter campaign for “a hat that says movies on it.” You can also buy a movies sweatshirt, blanket or movie.2. Custom Lens Covers: $14.95Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs lens covers. They’re small, nondescript, and easy to get lost between pockets, camera bags, and the last place you set one down to change lenses. They’re also easy to get mixed up with your buddy’s or another videographer’s.All that can be changed with LenzBuddy’s custom lens covers. A great gift for videographers with their own branding and logos.3. Lumu iPhone Light Meter: $99While not a mainstay in every prosumer’s setup, setting your shots with a light meter (and not just using your camera’s auto-lighting optimizer) is still the best way to set your lighting and camera settings. With Lumu’s iPhone Light Meter, it really isn’t as difficult as you’d think. Here’s a video of the Lumu stacking up against some traditional digital meters.4. ASC Magazine Subscription: $29.95For those unfamiliar, within the film community there is a professional group called The American Society of Cinematographers which represents some of the best and most successful directors of photography and special effects experts in the industry.Since 1920, the ASC has released a print magazine full of insights into the craft of cinematography with trade updates, behind-the-scenes perspectives, and exclusive interviews. A must-read for any film enthusiast.5. JOBY Gorilla Pod: $49.95As seen on TV (probably), this popular invention is the future of tripod technology (not likely). While not quite the game-changer it claims to be, it is an inventive and useful camera mount for certain situations and can be a lifesaver in a pinch. JOBY’s signature flexible tripod comes in different sizes depending on your camera’s size and weight.6. Google Cardboard: $15VR is the future and the future is now. That can be scary, especially if you’re concerned with what a VR experience might cost in terms of immersive hardware. However, worry not — Google has your back, as usual. Google Cardboard is as cheap as, well, cardboard. All you need to do is fold together one of their cut-outs, insert your smartphone with one of their designer’s apps, and strap in for a full VR experience.7. Lens Cleaning Kit: $28While definitely not the flashiest gift to open up, it might be the most useful. Lenses get dirty, smudged and dusty every time you take one out on a shoot. A good videographer, filmmaker, or photographer will always have wipes, clothes and other lens cleaning supplies with them at all times. That being said, those supplies are always running out, getting dirty, or in need of an update. A fully stocked lens-cleaning kit will be practical and gladly welcomed by any film or video professional.Have any cool or practical holiday gifts you’d like to recommend? Let us know in the comments.
Final thoughts, the drive will hit you in the wallet, but it will save you time if you’re constantly transferring large files. You’ll need to get creative if you only use devices with Thunderbolt 3 connections, and you need the high transfer rate. We’re also only talking 1 TB of storage, which won’t last too long. All that said, there isn’t a faster, tougher option on the market, and I think this would make a great drive middle-man drive for a DIT, based on the speed alone. I’m sure we’ll see some updates in future releases, so I look forward to watching the line develop.Looking for more on film and video production gear? Check out these articles.5 Things to Consider When Buying a New CameraHands-On Review: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4KHands-On Gear Review: The Versatile DJI Ronin-S GimbalLens Review: How To Shoot Anamorphic with The Atlas Orion LensesReview: The Illuminati — A Hands-Free Light Meter G-Technology really put some speed into this drive. In my opinion, the 2800 MB/s transfer rate is mind-blowing. Transferring files to this drive will take no time; the limiting factor would be the speed of your computer. If the grip-friendly casing I mentioned above wasn’t enough, the internal casing (with three-meter drop resistance) is an added plus. We all stop paying attention from time to time and get clumsy, but hard drives, especially mechanical ones, do not . . . like being dropped. While SSDs are less prone to breaking, causing data loss, the Mobile Pro SSD is crush-proof up to 1000 lbs. Sure, maybe this is overkill, but what if there’s a grand piano around and . . .You get the idea.So, overall, the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD is great. The product page tells a user can edit 8k footage at full frame rate off the drive, and it can also transfer a terabyte of media in under seven minutes.During a night shoot on location, I wanted to see what this thing was made of, so I transferred some photos and 4K video just to test the speed and reliability of it. I was not disappointed. The read time was almost instant, and transferring media was just as fast. To put it in perspective, getting my laptop and drive from my bag took longer than the transfer.And the cons . . .It’s pricey. At $699 price point, this drive isn’t an impulse buy for most of us. The biggest issue I had was using this drive with anything that didn’t have a Thunderbolt 3 connection. Looking online for yet another dongle, it was hard to find a simple solution. The writing speed is incredible, and so is the durability, so I would’ve love a bit more than 1TB in storage. Obviously, the drive’s build looks and feels solid — all while staying relatively lightweight at only .45 lbs. It has has a silicon, rubbery casing that keeps it from slipping out of your hand on set or in the field. This is smart design because the drive is only four by three inches — it takes up little to no space in your bag — meaning it could see the floor in a hurry during a busy shoot. There are heatsink vents on both sides of the drive, cut into a protective aluminum casing. This thing looks aggressive and clean.The single Thunderbolt 3 cable is both tough and rugged — and flexible if you find yourself working in tight spaces. Why am I stopping to review a cable? Because in the past, I have had many drives unexpectedly eject because the cable was too stiff. Experimenting with this setup, I had no such problems.Yes, it looks and feels great, but does it work? Of course, this drive is a monster; its speed and responsiveness are incredible. Here are some of the specs:1 Thunderbolt 3 portMac OS/Windows compatibility2800 MB/s transfer rateProtective aluminum internal casing3-meter drop protection1000-lb crush-proof500 GB — 1 TB optionsPrice: $699 Extra space for photos and videos is always a plus — so is accessing them in a hurry. We took a look at the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD to see how it stacks up.So we recently got our hands on the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD from G-Technology, and, right to the point, this drive is a beast. G-Technology is known for their reliable, high-quality products, and this drive is no exception — but it has quirks. Here’s what we found out.
So What’s the Big Deal with Film Grain?If you aren’t familiar with using film grain overlays on digital footage, you may be wondering, “What’s the point?” Well, I think of it like music — how some people prefer listening to music on a vinyl record player. The hums, hisses, and pops of a vinyl record fill in the empty space and create a full sound that feels . . . warm. Digital silence is much different than analog silence — in digital silence, there’s no information being processed, so there is no sound output. With an analog source like a record player, the needle will continue to play the information that it finds in the grooves of the record. It’s comforting in an odd way. Film grain works the same way — it cuts the “silence” of digital video with a bit of motion and grit that brings warmth to an image.Now whenever I first posted this video to YouTube, the first comments were all pretty much the same — “Why not just shoot on film?” Yeah, okay, that is definitely the preferred way to get film grain. But, the thing is, it isn’t practical. Most people do not have access to a cinematic film camera, let alone can they afford rolls and rolls of 16 or 35mm film, which is very expensive. I remember an episode of Project Greenlight wherein the director wanted to use real film cameras for his feature, but he wasn’t able to since it was going to increase their expenses by about 40 percent. For the average filmmaker who doesn’t have the clout to demand film cameras on set, it just isn’t feasible to shoot with them on a basic budget.So, your second best option is using film grain overlays.Using Small Amounts of Film Grain in Your ProjectIf you want to avoid obvious film grain, whether for aesthetic or practical reasons, you can blend it lightly into your project with the opacity settings. Overlay it with the blend modes in the opacity tab, and then bring down the opacity to 15 or 20 percent. This will just lay a thin veil of grain onto your project, and it might be the slight touch you need to get the look you want. (There is also a very fine 35mm film grain in Shutterstock’s download package that you can use — it has very tiny grains that still act as a cohesive element, but without being as obvious as a coarse grain.)Film Grain and Motion GraphicsFilm grain also adds a cinematic feel to motion graphics. Most motion graphics come out looking very sharp, which could stick out when being integrated into a stylized project. When you overlay film grain onto a motion graphic, it acts like a cohesive agent and “glues” all of the layers together so they don’t look so separate from each other. It also smoothes out the harsh edges of digital shapes, and it even reduces banding on gradient backgrounds. Give it a shot — throw a fine grain overlay onto your next motion graphic and blend it into your layers. You’ll be surprised how much difference it makes.Looking for more post-production tips and tricks? Check these out.Quick Tips: Improving Your Product Shots and Commercials3 Easy Stereo Recording Techniques For Your Next ProjectAre Bedsheets a Viable Option for Low-Budget Light Diffusion?Quick Tip: Fixing Rolling Shutter Flash with Opacity BlendsVideo Essay: The Significance of the Shot-React-Shot Sequence4K Film Grain Overlays Dirtying up a clean digital image with a film grain overlay is relatively simple, and it’s a perfect way to add a touch of nostalgia your project.When working with digital images and videos, you may come across a relatively new problem in the filmmaking world. Your video is too clear and too sharp. I know that sounds ridiculous — “My footage is too perfect!” — but really, sometimes you look back at your footage after shooting, and it just seems a little off. Certainly, there are times to use film grain, and there are times when you shouldn’t (we’ll just leave the whole can of worms about using it in the first place for you to fight about on the internet). But film grain has plenty of other uses than recreating an old film look.Recently, Shutterstock Tutorials gave away 5 free film grains recorded using actual film cameras, and here, I’ll show you why you should be using them — and some unconventional uses for your next project.
Earlier this week a client asked me what I would do to produce better sales results right now. He wanted to easy answer. He wanted me to tell him how to go fast. If you’ve shared your Sunday morning with me for any time, you know that I believe that fast is slow and slow is fast. I wanted to give him the right answer in the short time we had together, so I told him the five things I would do if I were him.Spend more time nurturing and prospecting. Most sales organizations and most salespeople can immediately improve their results by spending more time nurturing their dream clients and spending more time prospecting. You don’t close opportunities without first opening them. You improve your results when you nurture the relationships you need by providing them with value in front of your asking for their time. You open new opportunities by prospecting, by gaining the crucial first appointment.Ask yourself if you are giving prospecting and opportunity acquisition the attention it deserves.Discover what is or what should be compelling. Your dream client isn’t going to change without some compelling reason to do so. We find our prospects in one of two places: they are either dissatisfied with some gap in their performance or they don’t recognize they have a gap in their performance. You aren’t going to create an opportunity without an underlying reason for change. You either uncover that reason to change or you help your dream client come to understand that he has a reason to change. The more compelling the reason, the more certain the change.Look at every so-called opportunity in your pipeline. Is there a burning reason for your dream client to change?Talk about the necessary investment as early as possible. Grown ups know that acquiring something of a higher quality requires a greater investment. But sales organizations and salespeople mistakenly want to postpone that conversation as long as possible. If there is a compelling reason to change, there is a compelling reason to invest in that change. Mostly I work with clients with higher prices and who produce greater results than their competitors. The greater investment is necessary to produce those results. You might believe a higher price builds resistance to a deal, but if you are focused on the value you create (the outcomes), it reduces resistance.When do you discuss the necessary investment for producing the results that your dream client needs?Spend more time building consensus. If there is one thing that could derail an opportunity for you faster and more assuredly than anything else, that would be your mortal enemy, the status quo. The status quo has many defenders. Unless and until you work your way North and South through your dream client’s company building consensus, you aren’t likely to move the opportunity forward. To loosen the status quo’s grip on your dream client’s company, you have to spend time with the stakeholders. You have to help them understand the case for change, and you have to help mitigate the problems it creates for them.Ask yourself if you are spending time with the people whose support you need.Gain the commitments you need throughout the sales process. If you want to go fast, go slow. Follow your sales process. Create value during every interaction with your dream client and earn the right to take the next step together. Spending less time helping your dream client creates drag and slows you down. Go from commitment to commitment, creating value at every stage of the process.Are you following your process, creating value, and leaving every meeting with the next necessary commitment?That’s five big pieces, none of them easy, all of them critical.
You only need two things to be a trusted advisor: trust and advice. But you do need both of these attributes; one alone will not a trusted advisor make.Without AdviceTrust without advice doesn’t make you a trusted advisor. It just makes you trusted. This is better than not being trusted, but it limits you in your ability to help your dream clients produce better results. Without the advice portion of this equation, you can’t really help your dream client in such a way that they would consider you their advisor.Without the advice, you can’t explain the dissonance that your dream clients feel. You can’t help them develop a compelling case for change for a problem worth solving. Without the advice, you can’t get to the root cause of their issues, nor can you help them explore potential options for producing better results, and weigh the trade-offs.You cannot be an advisor without being able to advise. Advising requires business acumen, situational knowledge, and wisdom. The harder earned the wisdom, the better.You might be an order-taker. You might be a supplier or even a preferred supplier. But you can’t be a trusted advisor without advice.Without TrustYou also can’t be a trusted advisor without trust. In a lot of cases, advice without trust makes you appear self-oriented, as if you are proposing some new idea for your own benefit, not your prospective client’s advantage.Change doesn’t come easy. The recommendation to change without trust creates resistance. Even with the best advice, it can be hard to create a case for change and compel others to action when they don’t know your true motives. Your dream client may also be unduly skeptical, not because they don’t trust the advice, but because they don’t trust you.People will resist sharing the real root causes of their problems and challenges if they can’t trust you. They won’t share the internal politics that prevent change.You might be a smart person with interesting ideas. You might also be someone people will listen to. But you won’t be the person that people decide to do business with if they don’t believe they can trust you.Trust + Advice = Trusted AdvisorThere will always be people who suggest that relationships aren’t what’s important, that technology is going to revolutionize sales and eliminate jobs, that artificial intelligence and automation are going to be the future of sales—and business.All things being equal, relationships win. All things being unequal, relationships still win. Your job is to make all things unequal. To do that, you need trust, and you need advice. You need the relational value that comes from trust, and the economic value that comes from advice.Trust me.
Your capacity for work is like a muscle. The more you work to develop it, the more it grows. The more you develop the capacity for work, the more you can produce, and the greater quality.The Rise and Fall of the Knowledge WorkerYou live in the Information Age, a time of accelerating, disruptive change. Instead of using your back and your hands as the means of producing, you use your brain. You are what Peter Drucker called a “knowledge worker.”One of the many challenges that accompany being a knowledge worker is that you define your own work. That means you have to decide what needs done, and much of the time, you decide when and how it gets done. Unlike the Industrial Age, there isn’t someone directing your efforts, and it is rare that your slowing down shuts down production.Because you control much of your own work, you also control whether or not you work on what is important, the urgency or pace with which you work, and how much work you actually do. If you work for a big company, you may be able to get by doing very little. If you work for any company, you can easily find yourself distracted by the things that look and feel like work without actually accomplishing much of anything.The challenge with knowledge work is that it can lessen your capacity for real work.Up, ProducerYou can improve your capacity for work. You can increase your endurance, putting forth greater effort over longer periods of time.You can start by turning off all distractions and working a single 90-minute block uninterrupted. You can add additional 90-minutes blocks of focused, concentrated effort as 90-minutes becomes an effort that is easily sustained. Most people don’t spend 90-minutes on their highest priorities in the course of a week, let alone a single day. Think about the results you could produce if you were able to work two 90-minute blocks on your greatest priority every day.One of the greatest determinants as to the results you will produce now and in the future is your capacity for work. It is also the one thing that is within your control that will level the playing field with people who have advantages over you in some other way.If you are being out-hustled, you can change that any time you want to. Even though it may be popular to try to hack success, the straighter, faster, shorter path is to worker harder than anyone else. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Dave Brock writes an excellent piece on the hyper-focus on buyer’s journeys here. Here is another reason one must be careful in the way they use this concept.The traditional idea of a buyer’s journey starts with awareness, then moves to interest, then to consideration, then to purchase, then re-purchase. If you want to throw in other stages, like “delight” or “evangelist,” you won’t be the first or last to do so.I’ve always believed that the buyer starts when they are unhappy enough about something that they are compelled to change, at which point they start to explore what they might do differently, explore their choices, resolve their concerns, and then decide. Now, we compel that change by helping them to recognize the greater results available to them. We do that by helping them recognize and the dissonance they are experiencing.Whatever the process, you are likely to see it displayed as starting on the left side of a PowerPoint slide and progressing towards the right side of the slide. The way that the journey is displayed indicates that it is a linear process, and that it progresses from one stage to the next, each moving the buyer closer to a purchase. But the truth is that the buyer’s journey is non-linear, and in B2B sales, the non-linearity is non-linear (which is to say, it’s a mess)One contact inside your dream client company is unhappy with the results they’re producing. You can call this pain or dissatisfaction, or maybe it’s just dissonance, something just not working right without being understood. But her peers don’t agree that there is anything wrong, nor are they close to being compelled to do anything about the dissonance she’s experiencing.Two levels above her, the senior leadership team is not only unaware that there is a compelling reason to do something different, it isn’t something that is going to make their priority list if they were aware. The leadership team is working on what they believe to be their two most strategic initiatives.There is no buyer’s journey in B2B sales. There are buyer’s journeys (plural). Not every constituency within a company is going to be neatly aligned with the main contact, or what I call the CEO of the Problem. Not all stakeholders are going to reach the same point in their journey at the same time, and this process isn’t one that is easily managed or controlled. The misalignment, disagreements, and resistance to management make this a difficult challenge for salespeople—and the people trying to pursue change.I dedicated a chapter to this concept in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need titled Managing Change. I also included a chapter in The Lost Art of Closing on Building Consensus. If what you sell requires consensus and requires the support of different constituencies, knowing that the process is non-linear, meaning that it isn’t likely a straight line, and knowing that it’s non-linear between individuals and departments gives you a fighting chance of finding a path to consensus – even if you have to slow down the hard chargers and work on bringing the laggards up to speed.
Demanding a probe into the mysterious death of a 16-year-old girl in April, protesters prevented Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar from entering the State Assembly on Thursday. Ruling Left members moved a censure motion in the Assembly against the stir, organised by the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad.No prior informationThe police allegedly had no prior information about the protest. They only learnt about it after activists assembled at the New Capital Complex, which houses the Secretariat, the Assembly and new Governor House. Carrying placards and seeking justice for Anwara Choudhury, the protesters shouted slogans and sat on the road as soon as the Chief Minister’s convoy appeared at the outer entrance. Stuck, the convoy turned back and Mr. Sarkar returned home.As police officers were supervising and detaining protesters, CPI(M) . chief whip Basudeb Majumder informed the House about the incident. Following this, Health Minister Badal Choudhury proposed a censure motion. The motion was adopted amid chaos, with the Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) MLAs exchanging allegations. Stating that the protest was well within the democratic rights, the Opposition condemned the government for its reluctance in carrying out a complete investigation into death of the first-year polytechnic student. The doctors had initially attributed her death to a heart attack. However, the police had later conceded that Anwara was poisoned and announced the arrest of her maternal uncle. There have been a spate of protests over the issue in the past two months by various student and social groups.
A 35-year-old Dalit, Mukesh Parghi, committed suicide in a village panchayat office reportedly after he failed to get proof of income certificate in a village in Rajkot.According to sources, Mr. Mukesh had sought the income certificate from the panchayat office a fortnight ago but his request was repeatedly ignored by the authorities.Subsequently, he had an altercation with sarpanch Amit Bhandaria, who refused to give him the income proof and certificate. “He filed a complaint in the local police station against the sarpanch, who not only refused to issue the certificate but also hurled caste abuse,” a family member of the deceased said.“When the local police did not take the complaint, he got angry and consumed pesticide inside the panchayat office,” the relative added.A police official from Rajkot said the issue was being probed.
State Industries Minister Subhash Desai said on Monday that opposition from grampanchayats in project-affected areas had made it difficult to acquire land for the west coast oil refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri district.Reading out a statement in the Assembly, Mr. Desai said there are 14 project-affected villages under nine grampanchayats. “All nine grampanchayats have passed a resolution opposing the oil refinery. Since a policy has been accepted as per the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, to acquire land only with the consent of the owners, it will be difficult to proceed with land acquisition,” the Shiv Sena leader said.He further said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and the project-affected persons (PAPs) met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on February 15 and submitted thousands of letters from locals opposing the project. The CM assured them the project would not be forced on people, and hence Memorandum of Understanding for the refinery was not signed in the Magnetic Maharashtra summit.Mr. Desai said, “I have written to the CM, appealing him to make public his decision regarding the refinery considering intense opposition from the locals.” Mr. Desai was interrupted by slogans from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Bhaskar Jadhav and Congress MLAs Prithviraj Chavan and Nitesh Rane, among others. Mr. Jadhav said the minister’s statement did not abide by the rulebook, since he was replying to a starred question which was not even discussed. “How can the minister make a statement on an issue which was not even discussed? Isn’t it only a political stunt to ensure no blame goes to him?” Mr. Jadhav asked.Mr. Chavan said the issue was brought up because it is politically sensitive. “How can the Speaker even allow the minister to make a statement [on the refinery]?” the former chief minister asked.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Ajit Pawar said the Opposition wanted to discuss the Nanar refinery issue in detail, and a special discussion be held in the ongoing budget session, to which Mr. Fadnavis replied in the affirmative.The proposed west coast refinery, which will be biggest in the country, is expected to bring in investment worth ₹1.5 to ₹2 lakh crore. The Indian Oil Corporation will have 50% stake in it, while Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) will have a stake of 25% each.
Parallel to its electoral fortunes, the CPI(M)’s membership has declined in West Bengal and increased significantly in Kerala.At a two-day meeting which ended on Friday, the Central Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, assessed the organisational strength nationwide. The political-organisation report, which carried details of the organisational expansion, was discussed. And it will be tabled at the party congress to be held in Hyderabad from April 18 to 22.The plenum, held in December 2015, decided: “Expansion of the party cannot be equated with the expansion of membership without taking into account the quality of members.” It had come up with a five-point rule for membership renewal. It comprises payment of membership fee and levy, regular attendance at branch meetings, satisfactory participation in party classes, political campaigns and agitations, active participation in mass front work, unless exempted, and regular reading of party organs and subscribing to them.“The West Bengal unit has been stringently applying the five-point rule decided at the Kolkata plenum. So it is natural that there will a drop in membership there,” general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.Karnataka electionsThe CPI(M) will put up candidates in 18 seats for the Karnataka Assembly elections. The Left Front, as a whole, will contest from 30 seats. In 2013, the CPI(M) contested from 16 seats and lost deposit in 15, polling barely 0.22% votes. “In these elections, the main objective of the CPI(M) will be to defeat the BJP. Apart from the seats where we are contesting, we have decided to support the strongest candidate,” Mr. Yechury said. Asked what if the “strongest” would be a Congress candidate, he said it was for the people to decide. “We are not saying that we are supporting the Congress or anybody. We are only saying that we want to defeat the BJP and the communal forces,” he said. The party’s political-tactical line says there can be no understanding or alliance with the Congress. Impeachment motionMr. Yechury was the first to propose an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The Opposition has now revived the effort to move a motion. “We believe some MPs have started the process. I am no longer in Parliament, so I have no idea. But I know that our MPs have signed it. Let’s see what happens on April 2,” Mr. Yechury said.
The Ranchi High Court on Friday extended the provisional bail granted to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad by another six weeks on medical grounds.While hearing the fodder scam cases related to fraudulent withdrawal of money from Chaibasa, Deogarh and Dumka treasuries, Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh extended the relief. After being convicted in four fodder scam cases, Mr. Prasad was lodged in the Birsa Munda central jail of Ranchi. However, now out on provisional bail, he is undergoing treatment in a Mumbai hospital after an operation last Sunday. Supreme Court lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Mr. Prasad, told the court that he has been suffering from fistula, is a chronic diabetic and requires time to recover post-operation. “Today [Friday] the court fixed the next date of hearing on August 10 and we’ve to submit Mr. Prasad’s latest medical report on August 3,” counsel Chitranjan Sinha told local journalists in Ranchi.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to name the Agartala airport in Tripura after Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore, the erstwhile ruler of the state.The airport was constructed in 1942 on the land donated by the maharaja. “As a visionary ruler, who had travelled across the globe, he took several steps for the all-round development of Tripura,” an official statement said. There was a long-pending demand of the people of Tripura as well as the Tripura government for paying tribute to the maharaja, it said. A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to rename the Agartala Airport as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport, Agartala, the statement said. The maharaja, who ascended the throne of the erstwhile Tripura princely state in 1923, was an “enlightened and benevolent ruler.” The airport is the second busiest airport in the north east and provides crucial air connectivity to Tripura.
Students of intensified their demand for the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey by locking all the departments of the varsity on Wednesday. This followed the resignation of 21 heads of departments since protests began on the campus on May 30.Mr. Pandey has been accused of making frequent trips outside the State, misusing university funds and obtaining Y-category security and bullet-proof vehicles.“Our agitation will continue until the Vice-Chancellor is removed,” a spokesperson of the Manipur University Students’ Union said on Thursday, blaming the Central and State governments for the impasse on the campus.The Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and the Manipur University Staffs’ Association lent support to the students in their agitation against Mr. Pandey and have accused him of taking “whimsical decisions”.Mr. Pandey has refused to resign, insisting that he has followed the rules in running the university.An MUTA spokesperson said six deans and 29 heads of departments had tendered their resignation so far to give moral support to the students’ agitation. They include the 21 who quit on Tuesday.State-wide shutdownThe “lockdown” coincided with an indefinite State-wide shutdown announced by four tribal students’ organisations in protest against the government’s “failure” to appoint tribal language teachers in higher secondary schools of Manipur.A joint committee of the four organisations said the State government did “great injustice to tribal students” by not appointing teachers in nine tribal languagesThe organisations include the Thadou Students’ Association (TSA), Rongmei Naga Students’ Organisation and Liangmei Naga Katimai Ruangdi (LNKR).‘No teacher posts’ “The State Cabinet on March 12 decided to recruit 42 teachers for nine tribal languages. But no posts were announced for tribal language teachers when the order for recruiting 409 teachers was issued recently,” LNKR education secretary Rofica Newmai said.The government was urged to issue a recruitment notification for tribal language teachers in one month. “We resolved to announce an indefinite shutdown after the government ignored our deadline,” TSA joint secretary Thangtinlen Haokip said.The students’ organisations said the government should comply with the National Council for Teacher Education, 2014 norms and not deprive the rights and privileges of trained candidates.
Extremists from Nagaland allegedly fired at the manager of a tea estate in Assam adjoining the disputed border between the two States. The manager escaped unhurt.Police in Jorhat district said the attack on Pradip Phukan, manager of Seleng Tea Estate near border town Mariani, could be related to extortion. They did not rule out the possibility of the incident being a fallout of the border dispute.The extremists had reportedly been demanding ₹50 lakh from the tea estate. “Four people dressed in camouflage were said to have fired at the manager,” a police officer said.Police in the districts bordering Nagaland have been apprehensive about the members of the Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland and United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent stepping up subversive activities along the border. The Jorhat district administration, accordingly, declared a nine-hour night curfew from 8 p.m. within 5 km of the Assam-Nagaland border.