The Leap of Faith

Yes, you’ve heard correctly: I’ve taken the “leap of faith” and entered the Realm of the Self-Employed. I resigned from Atomic Films in August, 2008, after eight years of employment as their video editor. Nowadays, I’m supporting myself with professional freelance video production and postproduction, design, and consulting. This also gives me time to work on my Community Communication Project and go back to school (in fact, I’m currently teaching Nonlinear Video Editing at Chattanooga State Technical Community College, and I’m planning on taking some college courses at either Chattanooga State or UTC in the spring). You can still reach me via email: pluckey (at) gmail (dot) com

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Trying to look professorial…

Class starts soon at Chattanooga State… and I’m teaching it! Nonlinear Video Editing, Co-241, with me as Adjunct Instructor. Exciting and humbling.

I’ll be explaining to the students how to edit video using a computer. Fortunately, it’s something I’ve been doing professionally for many years. And I enjoy explaining how things work. Still:  Exciting and humbling.

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Nightfall: Ogya!

Kofi Mawuko has a fun band of musicians with the name Ogya. They performed live at Nightfall a couple weeks ago, and I videotaped their show. Here’s an excerpt of Ogya!

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I’ve launched a new part of the Community Communication Project, concentrating on that slice of the communication pie called “Television and Video,” finding a way to bridge that gap between actual people and how they can share with each other. The name of this effort is CommuniTV. In other words, community + TV = CommuniTV.
bridging the gap with CommuniTV
There are CommuniTV-oriented posts on the CommuniTV blog (predictably), as a way of consolidating information about community-oriented video in one location. And as other “slices of the pie” begin to be implemented (such as, say, public access to art, mediation, print, facilitation, web, community memory, and so on), I’ll be sure to let you know.

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Up close and personal

Out working in the back yard today, mowing and whatnot. Here’s a little glimpse of me in all my Philip Luckey glory.

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Contra Dance: Butch & Christie

This week’s video clip again features Butch Ross (on guitar) and Christie Burns (on hammer dulcimer), performing more music at Contranooga‘s contra dance on February 23, 2008, in Ringgold, Georgia. The song actually has another couple minutes to it, but YouTube, alas, has a 10-minute limit.

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Steve Poltz: Rain

This week’s video clip features another concert in Kim’s living room, shot last Sunday (March 9, 2008). Steve Poltz returns with the Cynics (otherwise known as the Truckee Brothers), and is joined by a belly dancer (from Dandasha Dance Company). Good times! Happy birthday, Kim!

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Steve Poltz: Once Again

This week’s video clip is a blast from the past. Way back in September, 2006, my friend Kim held a living room concert in her, well, living room, featuring Steve Poltz. Here’s one of the songs from that 3-hour concert, “Once Again.” Thanks again to Kim and Steve for letting me shoot that show. Check out for his tour & CDs.

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Lumbar Five at the Mudpie

This week’s video clip features Lumbar Five, a local band that played at the Mudpie last Thursday night. Note the wonderful African drumming solo by Kofi Mawuko. Thanks to Lumbar Five & the Mudpie for letting me capture this event.

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Contra Dance music & dancing

On Saturday night I went to the contra dance (held by Contranooga) at Ringgold United Methodist Church, and I videotaped some good dulcimer/guitar/dancing action, featuring Butch Ross on gee-tar and Christie Burns on hammer dulcimer.

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“Chattanooga” montage

People sometimes ask what it is I do during the day, for my “day job” as an editor at Atomic Films. Well, um, I edit videos for clients — ranging from TV commercials to corporate videos to documentaries. That’s just about when their eyes start to glaze over from my answer, so here’s an actual example: it’s a video I edited today, featuring the beautiful footage shot by Atomic Films.

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Made it to Cinncinati — where it’s 10 degrees outside. Big change from California, where it felt like it was 50 – 70 every day. Next flight looks to be on time. Soon I’ll be home!

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Leaving the Friskies

Well, the time has come to leave San Francisco and wing my way home to Chattanooga. Now sitting in the SFO airport, waiting for my delayed flight to board. Hope y’all have enjoyed my updates and pictures — I’ll add some more stories once I get home.

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SF 2008, Part 5

Fifth set of pictures have been posted.

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SF 2008: moving in lapsed time

I’ve been taking some timelapse movies and other videos with my new Canon 870IS (in addition to photos, of course).

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SF 2008, Part 4

Fourth set of pictures have been posted.

On Wednesday, I rested at the house and read more about the history of Tennessee. Later that night, King and I journeyed out to the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), Mission Bay campus, which is evidently all the way over to the other side of town. After supper at Burgermeister in Cole Valley, we hopped on the N-Judah train, riding it for a while before transferring to the T train via a train station (much like a subway station in Manhattan, but much brighter and cleaner). At UCSF we found the appropriate building hosting this year’s Final Cut Pro User’s Group Super Meet. This get-together features several presentations concerning products for and uses of Final Cut — the popular and useful video editing software that King & I use. Last year’s Super Meet was in a dance club and felt cramped and uncomfortable; this year’s venue is much nicer and pleasant. We listened to:

Apple’s Richard Townhill on “The New Mac Pros and FCP 6.0.2”
Adobe presents: DV Rebel Stu Maschwitz
Blackmagic Design presents: Alex Lindsay
Apple’s Steve Bayes on “Evaluating Codecs.”
Sony presents: Noah Kadner on the XDCAM EX1
“They Turned our Desert Into Fire” – Jason Mitchell – Show and Tell
“Soledad Is Gone Forever” – Mabel Valdiviezo – Show and Tell
“FCP Tips and Tricks You Need to Know” – Steve Martin

I saw an actual RED camera close-up, as well as an XDCAM EX1 — cool new video gear! Though the organizers touted (constantly) “over $40,000 in prizes” to be given away at the end of the night via some convoluted lottery drawings, we chose to leave after the presentations (after three hours, around 10 pm). Yes, free things are nice, but we’d made the mistake of sticking around for the drawings last year, and that was just so excruciatingly painful that we considered ourselves fortunate to escape. (Note: drawings should not be so long and drawn-out like what we experienced last year. Even this year, on our way out the door, I heard them announce “we’re still getting all the prizes organized for the drawing” — after, you know, only five hours after they’d opened the doors for the meeting. If it takes more than five hours to just line up the stuff, how long do you think it will take for them to draw a ticket, announce the winner, wait for the winner to reach the stage and claim their prize … for hundreds of prizes? Answer: A Long, Long Time, as we saw last year. No thank you!) The organizers did a fine job — a wonderful job — keeping the rest of the meeting running exactly on schedule, and the speakers were mostly interesting; other than the prospect of another drawing fiasco, the meeting was well-organized.

After our escape, we took the T train to the ballpark (um, maybe the baseball one? “Phone Company Park”?) where we intended to hop on the N-Judah train for our return home. The N train was leaving the station just as we reached the platform, though, so it looked like we’d be waiting 13 minutes for the next one (thanks to the helpful LED signs with their useful info). However, the departing N train stopped right beyond the station, with the last part of the train still at the platform, though with its doors still closed. There it remained, as still as a stopped train. Another N train was stopped farther down the track, and the train operators got out, walked around — mostly around the farther train. Well, now. After standing around on the platform for a few minutes, we walked over to the N train that was almost at the platform. No conductors or operators in sight now. Hmm. Surely the N trains are still running at this time of night? Wondering if this train was still, indeed, functional, we walked down off the platform toward the front of the train (no operator in the cab), when the doors hissed open. Oh, ok. We climbed on, expecting the train to continue on its journey. After a few moments, the doors hissed shut. The train did not move. King and I were the only ones on this train, and now we’re sitting inside a train that’s not even properly at the station — a train that’s not moving, nor seeming to be moving in the future — and now we’re also sealed in. No operators were in the cab at either end. After a few minutes, King tried manually opening the doors (“Push Bar To Open Door”), to no avail. Well, looks like we’re in for the long haul. Suddenly, after a few more minutes, the train started moving, and glided back to the platform, where it stopped and opened up its doors. As we quickly considered whether that meant we should now escape, a couple of people entered our train, and after they’d come in of course the doors hissed shut again. Another couple of captives for the hungry train, I guessed. Our hopes rose as the train started moving, and once we realized that it was, indeed, moving in the right direction, we were relieved. We got home, safe and sound. Evidently we’d won our lottery after all.

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SF 2008, Part 3

Third set of pictures have been posted.

On Sunday, King and Gwen took me to lunch at Joanna’s Diner in San Mateo, and then we parked the car at Fort Mason, overlooking the Bay and downtown, and walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we caught a boat for a Bay Cruise. The weather was perfect — nice blue skies, in the high 60s — as we boated around the Bay, circling around the Golden Gate Bridge (the big red one) and passing close to Alcatraz Island on the way back to the dock. Later that night, while eating pizza we watched “A Midwinter’s Tale” — a funny portrayal of a group of actors trying to put together a production of Hamlet for a small town.

On Monday, I caught up on some reading, and later wandered around Haight Street, shooting some more abstract shots and getting a sandwich from the Cafe Cole on Cole Street (as is my tradition). I even stopped by the local Anarchists’ Bookstore, but much to my surprise, on the inside all the books were neatly categorized and sorted, by a central authority no less. King spent the day at work, and it looks like Gwen has been selected for jury duty (for the next four weeks!). Later, King and I went to the Red Vic Movie House to watch “My Kid Could Paint That.” Interesting documentary; it ends up involving the guy making the documentary as much as the people who are being documented (“I just want you to believe me,” says the woman being interviewed, to the director asking the questions).

On Tuesday, I “watched” the Keynote for Macworld Expo online, as various people physically present at the keynote furiously typed in new updates from Steve Jobs’s speech, as the speech was happening. Not a few websites and blogs melted down from the avalanche of people (like me) that were curious to see what’s going on. Later that afternoon I took the MUNI bus (good ol’ 71) to downtown, where I picked up my exhibition badge and wandered around the exhibit floors (the Expo is in Moscone’s South and West halls this year) looking at new gadgets, new software, new iPod accessories, and the new introductions: namely, the MacBook Air, the new improved Apple TV, movie rentals, Time Capsule, enhancements to the iPhone and Touch, and so on. Lots of cool stuff, but it didn’t take long for the sensory overload to set in, and after a couple hours I headed back to the house. On Tuesday night King and I watched his DVD of “Manufacturing Consent,” featuring Noam Chomsky. I’d barely heard of Chomsky’s name before; this 2.5-hour film was a complete (if not exhaustive) introduction to his views and actions. The film itself (though long and dealing at times with very abstract ideas) had clever approaches to visualizing and presenting various points. I now have a much greater appreciation for Chomsky, and his distinctions concerning freedom of speech, the role of corporations and governments in influencing media, and various other issues. And the vegetable egg foo yung from the local Chinese delivery place was excellent.

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SF 2008, Part 2

Second set of pictures from San Francisco have been posted. On Saturday, after catching up on my rest, I travelled with King all the way to the local Post Office, walking nearly a block. After a few moments rest inside the po-po as King transacted with the better clerk for conveying his DVD package around the world, I then walked all the way back to the house, where we had some more time to rest. Later, King and Gwen and I took a longer trip, walking about three blocks to The Pork Store Cafe, where, after a short wait in line with other hungry people, we sat and ate their tasty food. My French toast was perfectly cooked, and, after being soaked in butter and syrup, eaten up — along with the big strips of crispy bacon. Mmm. We strolled back to the house, just in time to rest and relax on this nice Saturday. After catching up on stories and my Excalibur-like demonstration of my Powers (in twisting off the reluctant pan/tilt head from King’s tripod), I had a good nap in the afternoon. King showed me the completed version of the Mucklewain performance of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ that he’d finished edited recently (that I helped him shoot back in September), and it looks great! I make several cameo appearances as I scamper around the stage getting up-close shots.

Then, it was time for the evening’s entertainment. Via their fascinating Prius (I’m mesmerized by the Back-Up Camera and have a little bit of a crush on the sultry Nav Computer’s voice), we make our way to the Mission District. We’re stuffed with dinner at the Thai restaurant Osha (full as a tick!), and then walk over to the Darkroom SF theater for a performance of “Sweetie” Tanya: Demon Barista of Valencia Street. Great show. Here’s their description:


Tanya, living under an assumed name and on the run from creditors after a failed sexual harassment lawsuit against her employer left her blacklisted and deeply in debt, finds herself applying for a job at a run down coffee shop on Valencia Street. Confronted with yet another lecherous boss and an unending stream of customers who offer more come-ons than tips, Tanya finally snaps when her young coworker is assaulted by a patron. What follows is frothy vengeance. 

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SF 2008, Part 1

First set of pictures from San Francisco, featuring my travel.

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You said what?

So, so sleepy. And ears still haven’t popped yet. What? I can’t hear you… Tomorrow I’m switching to Pacific time. Maybe I’ll have my hearing back. What?

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