Category Archives: Solar Odyssey

Evolving Thinking: 4K and Lumberjack

I frequently find myself evolving my position on technology as new information comes to light. As my email sig line used to say “Above all, I reserve the right to be wrong”. As new information comes to light, or reaching a certain point in thinking allows another perspective to open up, my positions frequently evolve.

One example would be the use of 4K, another is the development of Lumberjack System.

Continue reading Evolving Thinking: 4K and Lumberjack

My 2012 retrospective

2012 has been one of the most interesting years I’ve had in a long time. The year started with the release of 7toX for Final Cut Pro followed by Sync-N-Link X to mark our fourth piece of Final Cut Pro X software. Then came the intense planning for the Solar Odyssey journey and production, followed by the disappointing reality that it descended into. Fortunately a lot of good has come out of the experience. It’s also been a year where the maturing of Final Cut Pro X has won over more people, and the consensus is favoring big sensors. Terry Curren and I took a look back on the trends of 2012 and Larry Jordan also did a good take on the trends on his blog. This is much more my subjective take on my year.

Continue reading My 2012 retrospective

Small production footprint: Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X

I made the deliberate decision to use Final Cut Pro X to experience it on a bigger project. While there are some things that bug me in the interface – see my Disclosure Triangle rant for a start – there are many things I really enjoy and I’m mostly still finding it faster, particularly now that I’m into editing.  Faster for my editing style at least. It performed well with FW800 and USB2 interfaces into the mid-2011 MacBook Pro I was working with in the field. It performs even better with that USB drive connected via USB3 on the MacBook Pro Retina. (My welcome home gift to myself, originally intended to be used as part of the production.) Continue reading Small production footprint: Final Cut Pro X

Small Production Footprint: Storage

For the on-board production, the plan was to ingest all footage via the Mac Mini server to create a Final Cut Pro X Event – for the day, the sub-day or the story . The funny thing is, I questioned Apple’s use of “Event” in Final Cut Pro X until I had to try and find a term to cover the same ground. Event seems to work as well as anything. Continue reading Small Production Footprint: Storage

Small Production Footprint: Lighting and Grip


My primary choice for lighting was to go with LitePanels LED lights (and of course flexible reflectors). The LitePanels Micro, Mini Pro and Croma were the perfect choice. All the reasons you’d go for LED in the first place – low power consumption, low heat and small size – worked for us, plus the ability to vary the output down to “just enough” to fill in facial shadows, made them perfect. We particularly loved the Croma’s ability to dial in just the right color temperature. Also important for our journey was that they ran on standard, rechargeable AA batteries. To be disposing of hundreds of batteries would not have sat well with Solar Odyssey’s “green” message. Continue reading Small Production Footprint: Lighting and Grip

Small Production Footprint: Cameras


My choice of cameras were from Sony: a single NEX FS100 and three NEX7 DSLRs. (One DSLR was destined for the helicopter platform that never eventuated leaving it spare.) I totally love these cameras, even with their kit lenses. The NEX7s are a great camera and I’ll be keeping at least one for future personal use – for both still and video use. Audio quality is good enough to use to sync with second system audio, or with a directional microphone, good enough for field voice recording. Continue reading Small Production Footprint: Cameras

What I learned about working with a small production footprint: Introduction

Now that Solar Odyssey is over for me, I thought it was a good time to look back at the equipment choices and whether or not I’d make the same choices again. As it turned out, I ended up producing a different show than the one that I was preparing for, which was largely based on a solar powered boat. As it turned out, we never tested the workflow on the boat (as we never actually got on the boat). Continue reading What I learned about working with a small production footprint: Introduction