Friday, November 16, 2012

Home-Built PC

My dad and I are working on a new project:  build a video editing desktop from scratch.  We have looked for a decent (or, preferably, really great) computer that would take just about any task we could throw at it and have it just eat it.  I've looked for a couple years at the best value setup I could get, but nothing seemed to quite work.  Then we started looking at just building our own--researching the parts, buying it all, assembling it piece by piece and then putting the operating system on it.  While it costs to get the really good components, I searched and searched until I found a good setup with all the parts we need at a lower price than anyone else can offer.
Apparently, this is what the inside of our
processor (Intel Core i7) looks like.
Image from:

We've ordered all the parts now, and they have finally arrived at the house.  I personally think that was the hardest part, but I hear assembly can be a huge task of it's own.  I'm sticking to the PC building guide as much as I can to ensure that we will end up with a smooth, working, huge computing machine!  I can't wait to get working on it...

Also, just wanted to mention that the house is still coming along.  Right now we are in the stages of fixing it up before we move in full force.  It's always a process...

I have a photo job coming up as well during early December taking Christmas portraits.  This is one of my biggest income sources from a single job, so I am excited about it.  Last year I bought a portable photo studio setup and got the basics of selling people photographs laid out:  What size of prints they want, how many, if they want a digital copy, and (one of the hardest parts), figuring out how much to charge.  I don't want to make people unhappy and overcharge for my services, yet at the same time I do want to make some decent profit, at least enough to cover the costs of the equipment I purchase for the event (which, naturally, those costs were pretty high last year because I had to buy so much equipment.  This year ought to be a little less expensive).

I've shopped around some and found a backdrop that I thought looks good.  If I can find some Christmas-ey props, I think it will look great when I put it up with my photo studio.  And with my software, I'll be able to touch up more photos at once in less time!  I hope it goes well...

Looking forward to the next few days and weeks!

Monday, November 5, 2012

General Update

Well, I finally bought it--Adobe Creative Suite 6!  The software that I've been needing for over a year now is finally mine, with the help of many of the people from the 168 Project team I helped with this last year.  It was a bit of a process--first, ordering it from the store, then getting everything together to prove to Adobe that I qualified for the educational discount, then waiting for the serial number to get in, and then licensing the programs.  It's taken a while, but now I have the tools I need.

I've played around with the trial versions several times, so although many of the features are now unlocked, I am still pretty familiar with the way it works.  In addition, I've been using Adobe's Premiere Elements (8) for a while now, which is just a smaller version of the main program I have now.  But it's also much newer, more complicated, and there are a whole bunch of programs that came in the Creative Suite package, such as Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Illustrator, Encore, Audition, and many others.  All of these programs are individually complex and powerful and it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the features and functions.  I'm looking at a few ebooks that teach the programs, but they don't always cover all the details that you can just find on the internet and they are pretty expensive (just for the digital versions--in real paper and ink, they cost more).  I may end up just having to buy the books if I find myself getting lost or not knowing what to do on a regular basis and can't get the information I need for free just from tutorial videos and such.

Also, it looks like I and the family are moving!  I generally try to keep this blog real professional and business-related, but I figured this was big enough news to post.  That wouldn't usually mean a whole lot to impact my photography/filmmaking, except that our previous situation was a little tricky when working on large projects.  For the past several years, we've lived off-grid, so we've run our electricity from a variety of generators over the years.  That made it very difficult to keep going on one project steadily without any interruptions, as the generator would run out of gas, or nobody else would need to use it, or sometimes it flat-out broke down, which ended what I was doing right then.  Now I don't mean to whine or complain about this--I think living that way for a few years was good for me.  I learned to value electricity, and budget my time carefully.

But this new house will be on grid again, 24-hour electricity, almost all the time (it does cut out sometimes when there's a storm or something, but that's happening to everyone on the same line and is to be expected to happen at some point--it's way better than things were...).  Now I'll be able to set bulk amounts of footage to rendering overnight if I need to, or copy a whole hard drive's contents without worrying about it cutting out on me.  That's pretty good news for me!

Seems that the older I get, the more opportunities open up for me.  Looking forward to the coming months!