Making Donut Graphics

My new nemisis.

A cool Photoshop Technique

$20.00 AE Script

Another AE trick using “Polor Coordinates” to create a pie, a simple Alpha Mask can cut the center out for you.




Meerkat vs. Periscope

 My friend Maciek tweeted me today and asked me a simple question. Why do a prefer Meerkat over Periscope. I realize that the vast majority of people that I know have no idea what I’m talking about, let alone have an opinion about why one of these applications should be better than the other, but that’s never stopped me from sharing my opinion.

Meerkat and Periscope fall into the catagory of what I call “Personal Streaming” applications. This is not to be confused with video conferencing because conferencing implies that you are engaged in a one on one conversation with a person or small group. 

Steaming, on the other hand, implies that you are sending a signal out into the ether and you really don’t know exactly who is watching. More like “broadcasting”, but the analogy breaks down pretty fast. 

Both Meerkat and Periscope are Apps that live on your phone that allow you to engage in a webcast, or stream, very VERY easily. Basically you hit a button and you are streaming from you phone. The way the apps work are fairly similar but the feature sets are subtly differnt and thats what I want to talk about here.

First I want to say that I’ve spent WAY more time with Meerkat and my views are definately skewed. But here I go. Also, this world of what developers call “agile development” means that everything in this blog post could change by the time I hit upload.

In a nutshell, Meerkat is designed for interaction and Periscope is designed for broadcasting. Why do I say that? It all revolves around one feature that I call “Persistent Chat”. Both applications allow the viewer to “interact” with the person doing the streaming, or “broadcaster”, but Meerkat is MUCH better at it. 

In Meerkat you can chat with the broadcaster and the broadcaster can read that message at ANY TIME. You can even scroll back though the conversation going back to the beginning of your stream. So if you miss a question or a comment from the audience you can access that information later. It gives the broadcaster a better connection with their audience. If you’ve ever tried to conduct a live stream and interact with people you know how hard it can be to read a chat window AND talk… its not elegant at all but you REALLY need to be able to scroll back to catch up with people. This is what I call “Persistent Chat”, if you miss it, you can go back to it. This is perhaps my FAVORITE featuer of Meerkat. 

On the other hand Periscope’s App is pretty and very sexy but when people chat, you get about 5 to 10 seconds to read that comment and then it disappears… forever. As far as I know, and correct me if i’m wrong, there is no way to access that chat after it vanishes. This means that the chat is not really important, the writers of the App don’t really intend for you to ACTUALLY interact with the audience. This is a deal breaker for me. What it ends up being is that Periscope broadcasters either TRY to read the chat and interact with their audience or they just ignore it and become like any other broadcaster. Think about it, Walter Cronkite never tried to carry on a conversation with the people watching him on TV. 

Most people get hung up on the fact that Periscope offers a way to save your broadcast for a period of time, so that it is not JUST a live experience. From what I can tell Meerkat is adding that feature with something called “Meerkat Library”. So the ability to archive a transmission is not that big of a deal anymore.

I think the most exciting feature of Meerkat that just went live this past week is “Cameo”. Cameo allows you to give over your stream to one of your viewers for up to a 60 second window. They literally appear as a window on your stream and it allows you to get verbal interaction with your viewers. Yet another reason why Meerket is a platform that favors interaction with your audience.

For these reasons, I think that Meerkat is a much better platform for Personal Streaming and that’s why I use it. 

It also may be relevent to know that I was also a HUGE proponent of Betamax in the 80’s and Macintosh in the 90’s. So I’m only right some of the time.


FCPX and AAF Support

Recently a post came up on Twitter with my name mentioned and it was asking if FCPX supported AAF support yet. My guess is that this post won’t get much traffic because the VAST majority of my readers and followers don’t know or care what AAF is. 

What is it? Well… in high end production workflows it is very common that various parts of the work be devided up between differently specialists. Graphics are done by the graphic artists, color is done by a colorist, effects are done by the effects department and audio is done by a guy who has magical ears and better plug ins than the rest of us. If you want to interface with these people there is a long history of standardized workflows that have worked for a long time. 

So the other day when this Twitter post came up about AAF support came up for FCPX I just sort of rolled my eyes and here’s why.

1. The installed user base of FCPX users is vast and growing. 

2. MOST of them don’t know what AAF is and they aren’t missing this “vital feature”.

3. For the high end guys that DO need it, there are simple to use plugins that solve this problem that cost less than 3 months of Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

4. If you were REALLY serious about getting this answer you’d actually ALREADY KNOW about this plugin. 

5. You’re probably just unhappy with something else in your life and you want to kick the dog, which in this case, is Final Cut Pro X. (and yes… its pronounced 10 and not “ex”) 

Then my friend Dave Valencic on Twitter chimed in and said, “it’s still a function that should be included”. Maybe Dave but frankly… I like the way that the development of FCPX is going. It’s a VERY strong tool and Apple constantly chooses where to put it’s efforts and resources. To do AAF support right would take resources and frankly… IT’S ALREADY DONE… its cheap to implement and again… the VAST majority of FCPX users DON’T need it so let the specialists take care of it.

And again. I want to say, although I have good friends that work at Apple none of them have shared ANYTHING with me about this topic this is PURELY my own opinion.

Later Later. 


Tutorial - How to Use Snapchat Stories

In April 2015, Alex MacLean showed me the Casey Neistat video called “Snapchat Murders Facebook” here on YouTube. Since then I’ve been playing around with Snapchat Stories and having a lot of fun. Since Snapchat is often associated with sending dirty pictures to people, we thought we’d do OUR little part in showing you another way to use it and some of what you can do with it. Please add me on Snapchat.


Editing on the Road.

After arriving on Maui for a weeks worth of work I needed to transform my hotel room into a suitable workspace. In this video I Chronicle all of the decisions that I made to come up with the final work environment I created. This was all shot on my iPhone 6 Plus and I cut it in iMovie on the iPhone.

I’m not sure what what is causing the “clicks” at the edits, It could just be the sound of the button to start recording. 

The other thing I noticed is that the new iMovie on the iPhone actually shows you the “Used Media” indicator like FCPX does, and keep in mind, I’m talking about iMovie for the iPHONE!!! Pretty interesting actually.