Tuesday, January 09, 2024

The best and cheapest laptop you can buy (2024 edition)

If you are looking for an excellent lightweight laptop for everyday use, I have a suggestion. My impetus for writing this article is not to encourage you to spend more money, quite the opposite. My goal is to highlight a strategy to counter the continuing wastefulness of the tech industries. Read on for a (slight) rant and some (excellent) advice. 

Monday, December 04, 2023

Photographic Equivalence

The problem of photographic (or cinematic) equivalence is a subject that rears its ugly head every so often. Many people simply misunderstand this concept. For my own benefit I am providing the following summary. Details can be found in the references, but the purpose of this article is to clearly state the objective facts. After this, people can argue as much as they like about personal preferences.

The sections will be numbered for ease of reference.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Martha Graham on artistic vitality

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening...” 

This fantastic quote from Martha Graham is reproduced below in its entirety, together with correct reference. Provided as a resource for those who see this distributed on social media. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

What is a good low noise microphone for field recording?

This is another blog post in my everyone-asks-this-question-a-million-times-so-now-I-can-just-link-them-here series (patent pending). The problem with most such questions asked on social media is that not enough information is provided. Answers depend on the use case, available equipment, and budget.

All prices provided are for two mics, since I assume that stereo recording is desirable. 

Note that I have used very few of these mics in practice but have been aware of their performance for, in some cases, decades. Here I am compiling the expert opinions of others, based on my training as an audio engineer.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

My favourite Windows utilities

Here's a quick article listing the essential applications I install with every new Windows computer. These solve some of the nagging annoyances and make life more efficient. 

The great thing about Windows is that every problem has a solution and most of them are open source. All of the solutions below are free. And none require compiling or other technical jiggery-pokery.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Easy 10-bit video support on Windows

This article will help you with the fact that many Microsoft Windows applications do not, by default, view cinema camera output, including 10-bit files and the HEVC (also known as H.265) codec. Have you ever asked yourself...

  • Why won't my video application play my video files?
  • Why can't I see icons for my video file in Windows Explorer?
  • How can I see full technical information for my video files?

Read on for solutions, most of which are free and easy to achieve. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Carl Zeiss Sonnar 2.8/85mm review

If there are no perfect lenses then there are at least those that come close. The Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2.8/85mm for Contax-Yashica mount is one of those. This is a film-era lens designed for Contax SLRs. For more details, read my previous article, in which I sing the praises of this lens line as a whole. Here I will share photos from this particular optic.

Though the Contax Zeiss lenses are well-loved, you don't read much about this 85mm model, no doubt because the maximum aperture of f/2.8 seems inadequate. Why buy this lens when there are so many other 85mm focal length options? No doubt your camera system has at least one such lens, native to your mount. Perhaps it is f/1.8 or even f/1.4. So why choose a slower lens that also requires manual operation?

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Carl Zeiss lenses for Contax SLR - summary table

The title says it all. I've compiled a spreadsheet of all of the Carl Zeiss lenses made for the Contax SLR system, 1975-2001. These are highly-prized lenses that were often very expensive when released. The best performers are once again expensive, since it is difficult to find good copies. This table can help you build a set and confirm reasonable prices. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Scritti Politti answers the Situationists

Inspired by the Sex Pistols, Green Gartside formed the band Scritti Politti while studying art at Leeds Polytechnic. Moving to a squat in Camden Town, the band released their first single “Skank Bloc Bologna” in 1978. Before transitioning the group to a pure pop outfit with several chart hits, Green produced a number of songs referencing leftist political theory and post-structural thought.

One of the finest of these is “The 'Sweetest Girl'”, released October 1981 on Rough Trade. I have just made a discovery that perhaps has gone unnoticed. This song is an answer record. But who asked the question?

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Which Samsung SSDs for video?

This article will recommend which Samsung SSDs you should use for video recording... and which you should avoid. This article assumes that you wish to support high video resolutions and bitrates. For less stringent requirements you may get away with something else. But it makes the most sense to purchase accessories that support the most demanding mode of your camera, in case your requirements change in the future. 

Bottom line: The Samsung T7 Shield is recommended. Do not use the "plain" Samsung T7. The Samsung T5 is OK for lower rates. If you already have a Samsung T7 Touch, it will do as well.