Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Saturday, October 16, 2021




For the longest time, I'd count down the days until the weekend, so that I could embark on whatever project I was in the middle of.

However, for the last month -- or two? -- I've been... drifting.  I spent most of the weekend doing inconsequential things, including watching a lot of YouTube videos:  some informative (mostly about filmmaking techniques) -- but a lot of them just time-wasting, really.

Part of the problem is that I'm inherently nocturnal:  for whatever reason, my default mode is to not get started until late afternoon -- and then I only have a little bit of time before sundown.  And for indoor work, I really don't get revved up until just before (or, just after) dinner.  And then my productivity gets truncated by the need to go to bed for the night -- or, I go with my momentum, stay up foolishly late -- and then pay for it the next morning.

However, today I had a breakthrough:  in order to be more "mindful", I need to occasionally stop and ask myself "What is the thing I could be doing right now that will make the the most happy?"  It might be making a sandwich, of course -- but it's more likely to be something like "making something out of wood", or "playing the guitar", or "listening to the record".  It might even be "doing the laundry" -- not because it's fun -- but because if I do it, I'll stop feeling bad about not doing it.

But whatever my answer to myself, it will be something that I do with intention and purpose -- rather than "drifting" like I have been.

There's reasons for my drifting. But that's a discussion for another day -- and one which I'm unlikely to post online.  ;)



Sunday, July 18, 2021

A surprisingly fruitful weekend

 It's Sunday night right now -- and usually I'm mildly disappointed with how I barely accomplished my "To Do" items for the weekend.  However, this weekend is a pleasant change, in that I've managed to complete all but one (or two?) tasks?

My accomplishments -- some of which were on the list I made Friday, and others popped up:



-Did a "junk edit" (my term:  a crummy version of a "rough cut" -- not particularly worrying about the timing of cuts -- just checking for coverage and whether the over-all concept will work) of some footage I shot during a break on Friday.

-Checked out one of the pawn shops I like to go to; found an inexpensive HDMI monitor for my son (he paid me back) that was larger than his current monitor

-Took a small pile of scrap metal to the metal recycling yard:  usually there's a line and I can't be bothered to wait in line for five bucks (I do it for environmental reasons, not for the money), so I just give my small handful to someone else in line, to add to their stash.  But, this time there was no line, and the guy said that **I** should just take the money:  okay.  So: AU$15:  sure!  :) 

-Picked up a DisplayPort to VGA adaptor, for work -- but then used that with a spare VGA monitor I had to let my son add a second monitor to his PC (he paid me for the adaptor

-Picked up some supplies for next weekend's church fete:  I'm staffing a "Children's percussion" booth, with a few floor toms, cymbals, and etc. -- so bought sanitizing spray (for the "earmuff-style" hearing protectors for the kids), some yellow rope (to cordon off the line for the kids waiting their turn), some carpet tape (to join a large piece of carpet with a smaller piece of carpet; see below)

-Shot some test footage at different shutter speeds, for my "wandering samurai" film short

-Met up with The Lady's family, for a family birthday "afternoon tea"

-Reviewed the footage

-Made three pairs of non-pointy drumsticks (i.e. "kid safe") for this coming Saturday's church fete:  the brown pair from a thick dowel; the yellow pair from a slightly thinner dowel; and the strange pair from an old branch.  De-barked the branch, then sandpapered it; rounded the "striking end" of all drumsticks, then oiled with Danish oil.

-Went to church, did audio, did some diagnostic stuff afterwards

-Visited another branch of the pawn shop chain I liked, and picked up an interesting but inexpensive digital camera (shoots at 720p)

-The Girl helped me get the floor tom, kick drum, and etc. out of storage, and piled it next to the car

-The Girl helped me get a large piece of carpet (about 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft?) that I've had since 210 out of the garage:  I laid it out on the lawn, and vacuumed the underside, then the top; rolled it up; will be the "percussion zone" at the church fete

-Had a Zoom meeting with my family from the U.S. (I'm in Australia) 

-Took a few weeks' of bottles and cans to the bottle recyclers (10c per bottle/can): got about AU$14, which is typical.  

-Got another DisplayPort to VGA adaptor for work, since my son bought the previous one from me; also bought an inexpensive 16GB SD card for my "new" used digital camera.

-Took the drums to church, covered them with some old curtains (to make them less obvious; also to keep the dust off. 

-Throughout the weekend, various loads of laundry.

Will now listen to one or two sides of an LP - -then go to bed.  :)

Did not do:  

-Another non-narrative film short, to honour another family birthday (instead of sending gifts:  as adults, everyone has "stuff" already).

-Put some more time in towards editing the audio of an interview I did of my late maternal grandfather. 

Noting that some of the above productivity was at the expense of sleep:  stayed up late on Friday (2am?) doing my "junk edit" -- then got up early-ish.  Mean to take a nap on Saturday, but kept going from one thing to another.  Mean to go to bed early Saturday night:  didn't.  Got up early on Sunday.

Whoops! And now it's 10:20pm.  Okay -- maybe just one side of a record...



Monday, June 07, 2021

Video editing is addictive

Last night (Sunday night), I "accidentally" stayed up late editing video:


"I'll just import the footage, then call it good." "Well -- I'll cut them into clips -- and then stop." "Well -- and put the clips in the right order -- just so I remember what I was planning." "Oh -- I'll just clean up a few of the clips." "Just one more clip." "Aww... just one more." "Well -- now I'm just about at the end of the scene... may as well finish."

And etcetera.  :)




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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Filmmaking as homework

 As I've mentioned, I'm getting into amateur filmmaking.

In 6th grade they had to shoot and edit a simple recipe for their foreign language class (spoken in that foreign language).

And then about once a year, starting in 7th grade, they've has some sort of assignment -- usually for English class -- where they've have to write and perform a monologue.

In all of these instances, I got to help with the props and staging (my wife tends to help with the costuming); lighting; camera work (including the camera angles and framing), and simple direction (e.g. conveying a mood; asking Socratic questions).  While they do the writing (at the front end), the acting (during the shoot), and the editing and any post-production (at the end).

It's nice having a hobby that's useful for my children's homework.  :) 


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Monday, May 10, 2021

Movie review of Rocketman

Just finished watching Rocketman -- an Elton John biography.  Probably fictionalized, but it's still a good movie:  I have a cold, but it still brought me in, rather than making me bored.

Kind of a musical.

Some good camera work.





Sunday, May 02, 2021

Nice vinyl finds

 Maybe half a year ago I joined the vinyl craze:  i don't actually think vinyl sounds better than CDs -- but I like the meditative, intentional aspect:  it takes a bit of handling, and (because I don't have speakers for my turntable, just a headphone amplifier), I have to just sit and listen to music -- not putter around doing tasks.

Because of that, though, I usually only listen to one side per session:  the typical side of an LP is 23 minutes (or less).

There's a new and used record store downtown, near where I work, which I visit about once a week -- and another record shop in the mall.  "Normal" LP prices are $15, $20, or $25 for the "good" (i.e. popular) used vinyl, and $10 for the "cheesy used" (a lot of Neil Diamond, plus various bands I've never heard of).  When I stop in to a record store, I'm a little disappointed if I walk away without finding something good.  Luckily, I'm a child of the '80s -- and LPs were still in abundance (apparently) until 1989 -- so there's a lot of bands from my youth that are available on LP.

Usually I have a mental list of favorite bands that I'm on the lookout for -- but I also stumble across some unexpected finds:  Saturday (a week ago) I visited a record store I'd only been in once before (about a year ago), and stumbled across two Petra (a Christian rock band from the '80s) albums -- plus the (good) Georgia Satellite album (the one with "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" and "Battleship Chains"). 

And on Friday morning (a few days ago; took the morning off from work to attend a funeral), at the record shop in the mall I found a Talking Heads album for $15, and a semi-obscure band (The Shirts), of which I have one of their albums -- which I like -- in the ten dollar bin:  wooo!!!!


I have a bit of a backlog, in that I'm buying albums more quickly than I'm listening to them.  But I'm okay with that.

I've stopped buying guitars, amps, and woodworking tools -- and LPs take up less space -- so maybe that's an okay trade?


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Biggest edit yet


I'm getting in to amateur filmmaking, and I just finished my largest editing job yet:  usually I do fun little micro-shorts -- about half a minute to a minute.  But this time the finished product is 3 minutes 15 seconds -- plus an Easter egg about ten seconds later.  That doesn't sound like a lot -- but that's me distilling down 54 shots, of about 52 minutes of run time -- not including eight additional shots (at about a minute each) that I reviewed and went "Nah".

It was on a tight deadline, too:  this recent Monday was a public holiday, so my church had a working bee to clean out a storage shed (about the size of a four-car garage) -- so I wanted to have the video ready for the "Announcements" section of the church service on Sunday.  So, about five and a half days turnaround.  

 I don't remember if I started editing on Monday afternoon -- but I at least reviewed the footage.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I stayed up past midnight, editing (although I did take time to have dinner, etc., before starting editing).  Probably four hours per night.

And then on Saturday I spent most (but not all) of the day recording backing music for the various scenes, and editing it into the footage.

And!  Just as I was adjusting the volume on the final clip (Saturday night -- or really, 12:50 Sunday morning) listening the the pitter-patter of rain on the roof -- the power went out!!!  Commendably, I didn't swear -- I just said "Aaaaaaggggggghhhhhh....."  So, I set my alarm for 5am and went to bed.  The lights came on around 3am -- so I went back to it (luckily, the components had auto-saved:  the editing software asked "Would you like to recover your project?" ("Yes!!!  Yes, I do.")

 Went back to bed; got up at 7am; drove my USB flashdrive in to church and handed it in to our pastor, who embedded it into the PowerPoint slides -- and came back home.


I'm writing this blog entry now because I'm not tired now.  But I know I will be in an hour -- at which point I'll go back to bed. 


Anyhow: it's not perfect -- but I'm pleased with it.  I'm happy with the video component; I wish I'd had more time for the audio (my quasi-military drumming isn't as crisp as I'd like) -- but people will be focusing on the visuals, so they probably won't notice.

I learned how to fade in and out, cross-fade, and insert audio: so, learnings.  And I got faster with using the editing software -- as well as making edits by instinct and not agonizing over the "edit points" so much (deadlines!).

It was fun -- but I wish it hadn't been such a crunch.  But -- I'm not "burned out" on editing:  so, that's good.  :)

I told my pastor she could post it to the church's YouTube channel -- which means I can't link to it yet (as I type this, everyone's at the church service).  I'll link it to this post later -- and possible a follow-up post.

Although, I'll then take down the link in a few weeks -- just for privacy reasons (I name the church and the location in the title card; if I every amass tons of subscribers, I don't want that information to be public).  ;)


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Saturday, April 03, 2021

Two types of people - Boxes

 There are two types of people: 

Those who leave on the shelf a mildly-damaged box (e.g. cornflakes) for someone else, in favor of a pristine one....

and those who take the damaged box, because it doesn't really matter -- and by taking the damaged box that leaves the nice boxes available to those who care about such things.


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