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October 2013 Archives

Justin Hall meets Justin Hall

In the 1990s through web searching I discovered there was another guy named Justin Hall who lived in the bay area and told personal stories.

Finally in October 2013, Justin Hall meets Justin Hall Video.

That's a brief video interview I did with Justin Hall, the comic book writer & teacher. I shot and edited this on my mobile phone as I am on the road. The new version of iMovie on the iPhone allows separate audio and video tracks which is a huge improvement.

Justin Hall was a warm friendly funny guy and I look forward to hanging out with him again!

Jamie is a provocative internet lover. From Free Art & Technology Lab work, to Know Your Meme, Jamie has explored the internet and worked to evolve its culture in the public domain.

Now Jamie is CEO of VHX. How did that happen?

an interview with Jamie Wilkinson: Internet Love, Viral Videos and

Watch on YouTube - Subscribe
Watch on Vimeo - Subscribe
Watch on Facebook - Like
Watch on Flickr

Jamie Wilkinson ( was a great candidate for a first interview experience. We always have amusing chats. He's precocious about exploring the internet. He's aligned with open source and the public domain. And now he is running a company focused on improving the online video experience for artists and video consumers.

Note: I'm not a customer of Jamie's, or his company, just a curious friend. I met Jamie through Mimi Ito and Kenyatta Cheese; Kenyatta was my co-teacher for "Portable Video Production and Internet Distribution" at the University of Southern California.

Through Know Your Meme and more, Jamie has his own experience with online video and amateur production; this made him sympathetic, participatory and patient with my emerging home green screen process.

I didn't anticipate how choosing Jamie might make editing easy - Jamie has left a rich trail as a combination media-maker and public speaker. Searching Vimeo and YouTube for Jamie Wilkinson I had plenty to choose from.

What I Learned

For this video, I had my first true multicam experience. Three cameras, set up in my basement, pointed at the two of us on a green screen. I used two iPhones, each with more megapixels than my 2006-era Sony HDR-SR1. I logged the footage into Final Cut Pro X, using the powerful multicam syncing features therein.

I've been messing unsuccessfully with 2-audio-in-1-camera; for this shoot I used 2x inexpensive lavalier mics into the camera and one of the iPhones. Getting the lavalier into the iPhone also required an iPhone-XLR adapter.

Ilyse asked why I didn't have better angles straight on Jamie's face; that was a limit of the shape of my green screen setup. I "lifted the curtain" just before the credits so you can see; I didn't have much room to cheat around.

A few weeks of regular production made this go surprisingly smooth; I can see more I would improve, but I'm grateful that my first green screen interview attempt came together.

I filmed on Friday, edited over the weekend, and on into Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is my weekly deadline for publishing. 22 October Tuesday Apple announced a refresh to their line of laptop and desktop computers; if I wasn't editing, or waiting for my 2008-era MacBook Pro to finish rendering or quavering, I was researching the computer I want to buy.

Future Computering

Since 2001 or maybe before, I've been a laptop carrier. I've bought desktop computers, mostly for games or deep geeking. But all my film editing has taken place on laptops. I love the idea of being able to make media happen wherever I appear. Like editing free beer film in Brazil! Or reading spam in rural Japan!

At the same time, since my web sharin' bus trip of 1996, I have had sore wrists. I'm now an ergonomics primadonna, so I avoid extensive work away from a well-arranged desk situation. I can't hunch over a laptop on a plane or a cafe for long before my body screams at me!

After last week, when I tried to use Motion to make special graphics and my 2008-era computer just wept silently, I realized I want to experiment with a healthy load of computer power. Ilyse is fond of pointing out that any computer from 2013 would be a huge improvement over my current system.

The new 2013 Apple Mac Pro is a sexy cylindrical beast of a new desktop computer, optimized for Final Cut Pro X. But it's at least five or six weeks away, and that's five or six videos I intend to make. I'm in a hurry to accelerate serendipity! And each day I touch my computer I twitch unhappily through extensive downtime.

Plus the Mac Pro starts around $3000 before I even add anything. I'm without income since I left work at DeNA, so I'm wanting to make these dollars I have go far for what I need nowish. If I start working with higher-than-high definition 4K-type footage, and I need moar cores in my compooper, I'll sell my iMac and buying something else.

I left behind the laptop idea, and began looking at the iMac (thanks Taylor). From what I read, I'll be able to make more advanced videos, I'll be able to screw around with Motion graphics so I can resemble a sports team perhaps, I'd be able to experiment with some Unity and PhoneGap programming. MAYBE ALL AT ONCE -

Recently I've been reconsidering my avoidance of caffeine; I'm excited to see what I might make when I'm chemically stimulated that way. But I'm waiting to get a new computer before I try black tea here at home.

What I Used

I leaned on the Know Your Meme archives; you can find Know Your Meme videos on YouTube. I used Know Your Meme: All Your Base Are Belong To Us, Know Your Meme: Phonetic Translations
Know Your Meme: Christian Bale Rant
Know Your Meme: Boxxy
Know Your Meme: Advice Dog
Know Your Meme: Three Wolf Moon

All my music came from Free Music Archive, specifically the dublab: Bonus Beat Blast 2011 which has been supplying much of my October videowork. Gracias!

1000 Names - Beat of Today
Sahy Uhns - Lazy Sumday
Sahy Uhns - Uh Hmmm...
Wake - Glytch Funk

Plus I tossed in some Prince's Orchestra - On A Christmas Morning; I love their eager [now] comedic sound.

OrangeHD supplies me with my timelapse clouds and sky. Woo hoo! This film used Clouds 23 timelapse. The Clouds in Space came from ?? at Footage Island. The Roulette Wheel and footage of Aerial San Francisco came from - they aim to upsell HD footage, but the standard definition footage is all free, thank you very much.

I grabbed a few frames from this short promo piece on by a moving company: Innovators on the Move: Casey & Jamie from Unpakt.

Jamie plugs Duncan Watts as a strong internet researcher; I used a picture from Duncan Watts on Wikipedia, taken by Doc Searls.

At one point Jamie says the internet allows a boy from Arizona to meet people from around the world. I wanted a range of faces to show; I found them searching YouTube for Creative-Commons licensed footage under "faces." I'm not sure I knew YouTube had a Creative Commons search built in! Well they do, and I used it.

Here are the faces I found: Faces of Borsec by LaptopHooligansKMF9 - U-Kiss - Exclusive Interview by koreanmusicfestival, faces by Leonardo Rinaldo Ferri and b+c Faces of Nigeria 2013 by beautyandcoragem.

The "Arizona" themed footage came from The Walk Across Arizona (Full Length) by TArwood Media - the result of a successful kickstarter now available for sale here.

Three stars of YouTube illustrate Jamie's discussion of probability and video fame: Evolution of Dance - By Judson Laipply, "Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday and Susan Boyle - Britains Got Talent 2009 Episode 1 - Saturday 11th April by UKAdvertChannel.

I was looking for network visualizations that would be free to use; best I found was "Network 1" (2008) by Casey Reas, from bitforms gallery on

I'm epically grateful for people who post re-usable media material online, so I like to list them out here. Plus I figure linking to them might help other videomakers find stuff fast. Finally, I think it's probably good for search engine traffic, so this writeup might catch someone's attention searching for Prince's Orchestra or who knows what combination. The more thorougly I write out my video bibliography, the more likely it is to be found, right? Attribution - everyone wins :-)

Personal Pantheon

Who inspires us, sitting in our Personal Pantheon? How do we honor human lives we reflect upon? Experimental Evangelist Justin Hall herein shares a few of the figures in his Personal Pantheon, along with an apparatus for the honoring thereof. Deeper context awaits you here:

Last year I was having fun painting small canvases. Separately I began considering what kind of altar I would make for myself, and how I would incorporate my deities - the beings I referred to for guidance. Here is a video detailing my first draft Personal Pantheon:

Find this video posted across half the known web:

  • Personal Pantheon on Flickr
  • Personal Pantheon on YouTube
  • Personal Pantheon on Vimeo
  • Personal Pantheon on Facebook

    My Personal Pantheon

    My personal pantheon described in this film includes a number of folks, and it's still evolving. Here's the folks I included in this round:

    Clarence Darrow
    Tallulah Bankhead
    Art Tatum
    Howard Rheingold
    Joan Hall
    Jimi Hendrix
    Duke Ellington

    Frank Moore R.I.P.
    Muhammad Ali
    Molly Ivins
    Cory Doctorow
    Perry Farrell
    Tim Berners-Lee
    Willie McTell

    Process Notes

    Looking over a few of my earlier experiences, I realized I want more sizzlacious text up next to the video online. I want the title and first two sentences to grab someone's attention - here I open with the question.

    Folks have been asking if I'm working from a script:

    I start with a theme. Sometimes I storyboard the theme, or outline major beats I want to hit. I pick an outfit, set up the camera, and talk for about 8 minutes. I go to my computer and I cut that up. I see what points are missing, or poorly stated, and I go re-shoot. Sometimes I get my material in one take. This video took eight or so takes - including a few wherein I forgot to turn on the microphone so they had to be shot again :-P

    The first footage seemed too low energy to me, so I reshot some stuff feeling more amped up. I watched that and felt like I was shouting at myself so I went with the more mellow footage for most things. My hair is more flat for the footage that seemed almost too intense for me; my hair was fluffier for the first take.

    After my first video Jake Lodwick strongly suggested I go with single outfits for each single subject video. I hear that feedback; I want to focus the distractions I offer. In this video, I put the credits up next to some outtakes of an experiment I did with a full body green screen suit. Watching the final cut I realize most folks will only focus on one of two things: the scrolling text titles or the guy in the suit waving wooden tiles. I could say that this video rewards repeat viewing. I could also say that I am double plus super eager to get a new computer; this laptop is from 2008 and I think I will have more opportunities for articulate madness with faster hardware. Go Apple Go, please.

    Some friends have pointed out that I might improve the quality of my footage by upgrading my camera. I'm using a 2006-era 4 megapixel consumer camera the Sony HDR-SR1 - Sony's first hard drive digital camcorder. 30 GB of storage!

    Blurry footage quality doesn't bother me nearly as much as my limping computer. Layers!!! I want to have many layers!!!! So first I upgrade my mindbox, and then, after a few more weeks of this I should have a better sense of what other equipment I can justify involving in this knavery.


    This time editing in Final Cut Pro X, I logged my footage with keywords for the first time. It was a good discipline that lead to easy finding clips later. I drew out my name on an iPad, using ProCreate, and exported that into Dropbox to inhale into FCPx. I purchased a full body green screen suit and used that whilst holding the tiles and tile rack, sort of puppeteering.

    I tried using Motion to make something like these puffy 3D letters but this text effect just absolutely killed my computer. So motion graphics will wait a few weeks yet.

    I cut the footage to form new sentences or remove my most ponderous pauses, especially when I can cover up my stuttering facial expressions with b-roll or transitions. Since I'm editing myself I don't feel there's anything dishonest, though while I practice this art, I see how edited video could make anybody say anything.

    Between ZDTV, Home Page and collaboration with Ryan Junell, I have enough video experience to hear myself sometimes and realize when something can be better stated. So I'll do multiple takes while the camera is rolling. I bought a remote control for my camera off eBay; now my old video camera obeys me at a distance.

    I found some teleprompter software for the iPad. But I seldom wear contact lenses during my days working at home, so, blind I haven't been able to try it yet (I remove my glasses right before filming so even at 266 size font I can't read it a few feet away).

    As I described in my last video, I'm making a series of videos to "accelerate serendipity." Since I don't expect to make money off these, that frees me to cross-post anywhere that people might see me yakking, where we might connect and collaborate. This means maintaining identities and attention streams on Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. Not sure if this video identity splaying is a good idea; I intend to let you know.

    Music - All Available Free Online!

    "Dalai Lama's Healing Mantra" by Hein Braat

    "EastMinster" by Kevin MacLeod

    "Anville Chorus" (1942) by Les Brown & His Band of Renoun

    "Whispering Through" by Asura


    Cory Doctorow by Aleksi Aaltonen

    Crowd photo by James Cridland

    Detail from "Detroit Industry Murals" by Diego Rivera; photo by Gabrielle Pescador

    Images otherwise sourced from online sources especially Wikipedia. Woo hoo for Wikipedia!


    Rotating column from Footage Island
    Sky lightning from

    our future

    As long as my mousing hands have strength, I look forward to updating here. Another video in progress for next week! After a little bit of Grand Theft Auto V :-D

  • Accelerating Serendipity

    I am using video to accelerate serendipity! I didn't plan my career so far; now I'm engineering conversation and self-presentation to help me find my next cause or undertaking. This video explains that I don't have an answer for "what am I doing with my life" - I only have a method to ask the question. And you are a part of the method! Thank you for watching!

    Acclerating Serendipity: Youtube, Facebook or Flickr.

    This is the first of my weekly videos that started with storyboards. It's also the first video of this series with multicam-syncing: I shot this episode with my 4 megapixel Sony HDR-SR1 video camera, and shot the scene with my 8 megapixel iPhone5 - then synced 'em together so you can see how my greenscreen setup looks in action. I think I'm getting better with these tools! My computer is 5 years old; I'm hoping that a new computer later this year will make me appear to be more skilled in video production. Right now I can't have a web browser open while I'm running Final Cut Pro X to edit videos, so that makes research and clip-gathering a bit slow. It forces me to be disciplined about multitasking and work on the basics of storytelling in moving pictures!

    My first few videos I posted on YouTube. I allowed some of those videos to show ads, and I made 78¢ in my first full month. I realized that's not a realistic income, and I realized my priority is connecting with people. So now I'm posting these videos to YouTube, to a "Justin Links" page on Facebook, to Flickr - anywhere I can upload and keep track of the people viewing, so I can get a sense of which videos strike a chord with folks. I could spend a lot of my time marketing my videos after I make them; I prefer to spend my time these days making one video after another. I figure a growing body of evolving work will attract the kind of attention I want - people to collaborate with to make something great. Don't know what - but I already recorded my next video about a little art project I'm working on. Everything could lead to something larger! Talking with your neighbor could lead to a block party! Let's see what kind of serendipity I can engineer here for myself this fall and winter 2013.

    Besides making videos, I am cleaning my house. Now that I'm home all day, I don't like to see dishes in the sink. My back is still bothering me a bit (vigorous weekend dancing probably didn't help the healing), so I'm taking it easy.

    Hello Weekly Videos; Goodbye Bernie

    Starting back in September, I'm publishing a new short video online each week. You can find them on my web site, thank you very much, or you can find them on all matter of other social outlets.

    This weeks video says hello to weekly videos, and goodbye to Bernie Sahlins. Instead of my home green screen, I filmed this video off a computer camera in Chicago, where I was visiting my Mom, my 20th High School reunion, and attending Bernie's memorial service.


    Bernie Sahlins was friends with my stepfather George from a young age, growing up on the West Side of Chicago. The two of them knew each other for decades. I saw Bernie a few times a year due to that relationship. Bernie told me a few of my favorite jokes and he asked me difficult questions, either about how good my art practice was, or how I was going to make money from what I was doing.

    Bernie was passionate about the arts; he co-founded Second City, a legendary improvisational theater company that gave many talented comedians their first gig. Bernie's got a writeup on Wikipedia.

    Here's a 6 minute video of Bernie giving a commencement address at Columbia College in 2006, including his fun diction and art ethics, plus coverage of an unintelligible William Faulkner:

    The memorial service featured speeches by a number of people who teach, or are professionally funny, or both. I laughed and I cried. Amongst Bernie's saluted traits was his consistent messy eating: someone said "Bernie was the only guy I knew who could eat a hot dog and get mustard on his back."

    I'll miss Bernie, it's sad to see another one of George's generation of lively friends pass away. I'm grateful Bernie lived so long and that I was able to know him.

    Weekly Videos??

    I'm making one video a week for 2013 - as Bernie suggested in his speech, if you're an artist, make art. I'm not sure what I am, so I'm making something!

    My latest video is posted on YouTube: Hello Weekly Videos; Goodbye Bernie

    And I posted this video on Flickr too. I'm experimenting with the many online networks that offer to host video - last week I uploaded my "a Painfull Storie" video to Facebook. Many people reported seeing it, but Facebook doesn't give you any stats on the number of viewers. YouTube has made me accustomed to stats!

    As I put out a video each week, I want to experiment with both distribution and production. Each week I experiment with a new aspect of Final Cut Pro X. This is the first video where I did color matching, based on what I learned from Ken Stone's free eBook series about Final Cut Pro X. Instead of my paper notebook, I used Markers to create to-do moments throughout the piece as I edited - that I also learned from Ken Stone's eBook series. Finally, I corrected my sound a bit, guided by Larry Jordan's article FCP X: Enhancing Audio.

    Thanks to Jalen Warshawsky for his song "Dollar Theatre" and Rod Hamilton for his song "Gato" off his album Teal - both of which are hosted on

    The record scratch sound effect came from Luffy, on

    As I have time to myself, and some money saved up to last me a few months, I look forward to the discipline of weekly videos to anchor whatever else I work on. I got a few months until 2014 when I need to start figuring out "what next" like for real.

    Silk Road busted - a quick overview

    The founder of Silk Road, a marketplace for illicit goods, was busted today in San Francisco. I published a Silk Road Shutdown overview in the legal section of my web site. First time posting an article there in maybe over a decade! Whew.


    Thanks Steve Rhodes - from @tigerbeat on Instagram
    June 2012 dancing in the streets of San Francisco with Ilyse Magy, photo thanks Steve Rhodes on instagram!

    Hi, I'm Justin Hall and this here is a personal web site I've used to chronicle my time on earth since 1994. The content on the front page is relatively recent; if you search through the archives, you'll find old pieces of Justin. Some folks have indexed my doings on Wikipedia.

    Twitter: jah
    Facebook: Justinreach

    eBooks by Justin Hall

    I've published books for sale, somewhere else online! Behold:

    Now available for the Kindle: A Story of GameLayers. My experience being CEO of a tech company, 2007-2009:

    "A tell-all story of a startup from the very beginning, with lots of info about real-world fundraising. A more intimate look than you'll find in other business reads." says Irene Polnyi in a 5-star review on

    A Story of GameLayers, for the Amazon Kindle.