Camera Roll Vlog

I started a new YouTube series called the “Camera Roll Vlog”. Everyday I hope to release a new video that includes video clips and photos from my camera roll. I’ll either set these clips to music or talk about them. The format is freeform. I don’t promise anything. The point is simply to create and share on a regular basis.

I have also opened my vlog to viewer submissions via a telephone number that I display in most of the videos. I don’t publish the number outside of the video to reduce spam callers. When someone calls the number they are sent straight to voicemail and I am then able to take their voicemail and drop it into the show.

I felt it was important that I kept the Camera Roll Vlog series going; not because it’s my best work, but because I need to get in the habit of producing new content regularly. I also use this as a remedy to counter my perfectionism. In these vlogs I try to be as genuine as possible.

Keep an Unabridged List of Your Creative Work

I’ve made a lot of videos since I first picked up a camcorder in 2001. Some good, many bad, but all great learning experiences that shaped my skill to what it is today.

For the majority of this time, I would fall in love with my latest creation and toss my previous work into an abyss—ashamed that I ever created it. I never kept my work online for long. It was always being usurped by my latest creation. I now realize this was a missed opportunity. Both in terms of SEO and remembering the journey.

I never think my work is good enough, that’s what keeps me pushing forward and motivated to improve. Creative work is a perishable good. Like a baker’s bread, last month’s batch of bagels is disgusting. If you’re not baking then you’re no longer a baker. You’re known for your product and that product must be fresh. I know video is a little more enduring than a loaf of bread, but sometimes it feels this way.

Since I never thought my old works were any good in comparison to my latest work and my latest work has a shelf life before I frown on it too; it’s easy to see why my YouTube channel is a little empty for a decade worth of creativity.

That being said. The whole catalog of work is impressive in its volume. I luckily kept a list of all my creative work by date. Sometimes I need to be reminded of the journey.

Why I Created an Unabridged Portfolio

I’ve owned this domain since 2008. I originally purchased this domain with the intent of expanding Paleolithic Films into a professional video production service. But, considering that I was just 16 at the time; I still had a lot to learn before this could become a reality.

This website remained a testing ground, I used it to publish class projects, blog my thoughts, host podcasts and general experimentation. I recognize that if I hadn’t purchased this domain 8 years ago (at the time of writing this), I would not have learned about web development and marketing.

You do not need to know the reason you’re doing something. You just need to do it. Learn something, for no reason at all. That’s what I did with this site. I’ve struggled for many years to decide what the point of it was. Needless to say, my old high school history teacher is doing the same.

His blog exists just because. Now I won’t reveal his actual name, I think that’s the point of having a pen name. But, in the process of writing his posts, I’m sure he’s learned a little about web development and maybe about himself. I know I learn about myself each time I write something out.

The name of this website came before there was an actual purpose for it. And after some thinking I’ve decided to turn it into an unabridged portfolio. I already have a few portfolios online, but I go through periods where I don’t think my work is good enough to be published; so I take some pieces down.

If you’re always taking your work down and replacing it with something new; you’ll forget how you got to now. Remembering the journey is just as important as the destination. This site helps me remember what it was like to run around with a Hi8 camcorder. It reminds me that I wasn’t always this polished as an editor as I am now. Makes me appreciate my skills a little more.

An unabridged portfolio also helps prove that I have the years of experience I claim to have on my resume. In some cases, it makes me mindful that I’ve been selling myself short. That’s the real reason to create one. When you look at your resume and give yourself credit for 2 years of video editing experience, when you’ve been editing videos since you were 16; you do a little math and realize it’s been 10 years!

How about that, 10 years of X or Y. This is what my work used to look like, this is what it looks like now. What a difference between the two. That moment when you realize this is the moment you recognize the importance of an unabridged portfolio. Besides that, you’re learning how to maintain a website and perfect your SEO.

The reason I am writing about this process is simply to improve my skills as a writer. I installed a plugin that scores the density of my paragraphs and the complexity of my word choices. I have some work to do in both departments.

iPhone 6s 4K Video Quality is Spectacular

If my iPhone 6s had more storage, the ability to use external microphones and longer battery life, I would probably never need a traditional camcorder. Especially, if I didn’t have a big ego that required a big camcorder. The iPhone’s vivid colors, compact size and ability to upload directly to the web make a traditional camera look prehistoric.

The majority of what I record with my iPhone are the everyday moments I spend with my girlfriend, Kara. I purchased the big Panasonic HC-X1000, but I infrequently use it. I’ve wanted a professional camcorder ever since I was a kid, but now that I have it the iPhone is still getting more use. It’s a swell camera, don’t get me wrong, but my iPhone is constantly with me. It’s sole drawback is I can only record for 3 minutes in 4K, before it’s storage is full.

I take a lot of photos, have lots of apps installed and shoot many 4K videos; the time it takes to upload all that content to iCloud is why the iPhone’s storage capacity is a problem. With a traditional camcorder you can just remove the SD card, copy and clear. Or if you have a few extra SD cards, plop another in and you’re on your way to recording more 4K content. Maybe with 1 terabyte of storage, then my iPhone would have enough space for me to record while slowly uploading content to iCloud.

I can see the iPhone usurping conventional video camcorders with its stunning quality and unrivaled portability; but the storage problem needs to be addressed first. Of course when I film clients, that’s when I break out my big 4K professional camcorder, because they would expect nothing less of me. It’s heavy, sure, but it’s impressive in appearance. Granted it does allow for XLR input and phantom powered microphones, it’s got better low light abilities; but even if all things were equal an iPhone would look amateurish in the eyes of my clients. No matter how small the technology got, we expect professionals to carry big cameras and fast cars to make lots of noise.

Do you see yourself using an iPhone or similar device in the future to shoot professional video? Assuming that their capabilities were comparable. Taking into account for detachable lenses and larger sensors; if everything could be stripped away while offering a similar final result, would you still long for a large form factor?

 

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Ideal Video Length for Web

In an age of media abundance, attention spans are rapidly decreasing. That means your web video shouldn’t be too long or you’ll lose your audience. The ideal web video length used to be 2 minutes and 50 seconds, but today it should be as short as possible! That means 1 minute or 30 seconds, 15 seconds… whatever it takes to get your point across after you’ve removed unwanted fluff.

When live streaming, try to keep this in mind as well. You’ll notice when people start tuning in and dropping off. For live streaming, you’ll need to be on long enough for viewers to jump in, but keep what you’re saying brief enough, before they dropout.

Plagiarism is Not an Option

It was the fall of 2002, I was in 6th grade, briskly walking to the library to inquire about a tri-fold presentation I had turned in a few days earlier. I was sure I would win 1st place. When I asked the librarian about my project, she summoned the dean.

This was the first time I had ever met a dean. Up until that point, I didn’t even know the school had one. She was very friendly. She told me that my presentation had been disqualified.

“Disqualified,” I repeated in disbelief. She then asked me if I knew why. I honestly couldn’t think of any reason for my presentation to be disqualified, so I told her no. “Plagiarism,” she said. “Do you know what plagiarism is?” she asked; slowly realizing I had never been introduced to the concept. I again responded with a simple no.

After a lengthy explanation that somehow wandered from paraphrasing whole paragraphs of a digital encyclopedia into the copyright restrictions on typography, I had been thoroughly converted to pledging the rest of my life to being original. I would never again plagiarize or so much use anything remotely close to something I didn’t make 100% myself.

Through the rest of my academic career, I worked extra hard. I was never tempted to plagiarize because it simply wasn’t an option. Every paper I wrote and every presentation I gave had to be original. As original as possible. I began to scrutinize how original, a person like me, could realistically be.

Has this phrase been used before? Is a PowerPoint template bad? How about this example résumé? Before I knew it I was questioning everything, down to the fonts used on my business cards. If someone else made it, I wasn’t using it, because it wasn’t mine. I’d have to change it quite a bit before putting my name to it. And to my credit, there are instances where I brought up a valid point. “No, you can’t use that photo randomly pulled off Google!”

But still, it’s hard. Someone once said, “No man is an island.” A quick Google search will reveal who said that and at least 100 others plagiarizing it. There is no way you could be completely self-made. There’s no such thing as a self-made billionaire. Everyone had a mother. English is not my invention. And prose was around long before I could write.

Even so, plagiarism is not an option. Credit must be given where credit is due. And with that, no work is completely original. By the way, this website was developed by Squarespace, I just dropped in photos taken on God’s earth and decided how to arrange the English language on this page. My business cards were also printed by Moo.

Making a Website Just Got Easier

On the morning of March 29, 2008, I purchased paleolithicfilms.com and launched my first website with Apple’s iWeb. I followed the instructions to connect my MobileMe hosted website, with Yahoo, my registrar; entering the appropriate information into the A Record field.

With no guidance, at age 16, I had a website. I remember frantically pacing around the kitchen waiting for the DNS records to refresh, while trying to convey this monumental achievement to my parents. I was ecstatic! Months of guessing, Googling and waiting for the dots to connect lead to what I believed, at the time, to be a breakthrough.

I’ve come a long way since then. So has the Internet. I can now complete the same process in under 2 minutes. It’s so easy for me now that until I wrote this post, I forgot what it was like to not know where to start.

There was no one who could help me, or rather I didn’t know who to ask, or even what to search for. All I knew was I wanted a website. I wanted to be like the big shots, you know Google, Yahoo and Apple. I wanted my very own .com.

Maybe there’s others like me? Maybe you want one too, but don’t know where to start? If so, you don’t have to spend months in search of where to begin, like I did. I’ll point you to shortcuts that will make this process seem really easy.

It took Christopher Columbus seven years to convince royals to grant the five week journey to the new world—today it takes a few seconds to book a six hour flight on Expedia. The distance hasn’t changed, but how we get to our destination has.

While it was challenging to learn how to build my first website unguided, today I can hand this skill over to you on a platter. I love helping people. I will admit it’s hard to see what took me years to learn, taught in just a few minutes—but that’s progress. It’s about leaving the world a better place than we found it. And if it wasn’t for all those who came before me, who developed the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, we wouldn’t have the wonderful experience we call the Internet today.

I encourage you that when you’re tempted to withhold information because you feel that a person hasn’t earned or worked for it, remember that most of our knowledge is unearned. Many of the mathematical concepts we use today were developed by those literally jeopardizing their health and even losing their lives trying to discover them.

That being said, click here to discover the easiest way to build your website. If you have any questions or want to accomplish something specific, click here to get in touch with me. I accept payment via PayPal which will enable me to perform these services full time.

The New MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro has garnered a lot of criticism by the creative community. I’ve seen an influx of posts bashing it for a number of reasons. The incredible volume of negative posts may be due to an unprecedented number of creatives venting their frustration.

A part of me is curious to know if these posts are real. We just came from an election season filled with fake news written by kids in Macedonia. So it is possible that rival companies could be stirring up dissent in the Apple community for their competitive advantage. Despite this suspicion, I did feel slightly disappointed when I watched the unveiling. 

When Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7I defended it while everyone else was bashing it. Because personally, I could see a slither of their forward thinking vision. I haven’t used the headphone jack on my iPhone in at least a year. With Bluetooth connectivity in my car and in my home, I’ve had little reason to use the headphone jack. 

I’ve also stopped using earbuds because I was concerned they would hurt my ears in the long term. I never did like the redesigned EarPods. I stopped using them even before I learned that having the volume too high could damage your hearing. Now if I hadn’t learned that little fact and I was frequently in a place where playing my music on speakers wasn’t practical then I would better appreciate the frustration of not being able to plug in your old headphones. 

So in all, I am not too disappointed with the loss of the headphone jack although I do not see any added benefit by removing it. The price hasn’t decreased.

It was at this point that I realized Apple’s MO: making their products thinner and lighter by removing antiquated features, was making them richer. They are incredibly efficient at doing this and that is why they are the most profitable company on earth. Given that in the political sphere the creatives who tend to be progressives are fighting economic inequality— Apple’s soaring profits are a bit out of touch.

Many young creatives have college debt, buy every new Apple product that comes out and have little to show for it in terms of return on investment. At some point, you begin to ask yourself why spend thousands of dollars on cameras, video editing software, web builders, graphic design tools, external hard drive’s and cloud storage when I’m in debt? 

This new MacBook directed me to that discussion with myself. If I have to buy new hard drives for USB-C, is it worth it? I’m not making gobs of money like the tech industry is, maybe creatives are getting the short end of the stick? Low returns and high overhead… not ideal.

Maybe there are two groups of creatives: college enthusiasts who invest more in tech than they can reasonably expect an ROI from and seasoned professionals who demand more out of their equipment because they’re shooting with RED 6K camcorders. Apple is caught up in the middle trying to serve these two groups: the aspiring professionals and the actual professionals. Inevitably, there will be a portion of aspiring professionals who find themselves stuck in the hobbyist zone, unable to turn over a profit from their endeavors. Apple may be leaning toward the more profitable group.

Are the New TLDs Worth Getting?

There’s no dispute .com is king. For many people .com is the internet. But tech savvy people know that there’s a lot more Top-Level Domains (TLDs) out there.

Besides .com there’s .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .biz, .us and so on. There are even country TLDs like .ru for Russia and .it for Italy. There are over 200 countries in the world, so you can imagine that list would be fairly long.

Then ICANN opened up topic and industry specific TLDs like .blog, .church, .school, .tech and so on. Which brings us to the question of this post: Are these new TLDs worth getting?

Yes and no. This is an opinion. Google has stated that all TLDs will be treated fairly. So in theory, there’s no problem in getting one. People do not look at the domains that closely in a Google search anyway.

The Cons of the New TLDs

But, when sharing a link such as aaronjosephgarcia.blog you may run into a short term problem with auto-hyperlinking. Your messaging app may not recognize aaronjosephgarcia.blog as a URL and therefore it won’t be clickable like aaronjosephgarcia.com would be. And that can be a real bummer, if you’re trying to share a link.

Also, most people won’t remember .blog and will most likely substitute for .com. And that won’t be good either. About the only thing the new TLDs are good for is looking clean on a business card.

The Pros of the New TLDs

All that being said, eventually all messaging apps will recognize .blog and .com equally. And at which point things might change. Google might start to recognize these new TLDs based on the category they’re in. And if you’re one of the early adopters to select a short TLD, it might be worthwhile in the future. Example last.fm.

Security v. Privacy

Welcome to the Post-Snowden era. A time when it is common knowledge that a revolving door of strangers are peering into every aspect of our private lives—and it is becoming virtually impossible to stop them. No thought is safe, every conversation has a third ear. The very secrets kept from mom and dad—are unwittingly shared with those one would hope to never meet.

Past generations kept handwritten diaries—yes the lock could be picked by a younger brother, but now much more than that is indexable by parties thousands of miles away.

Where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, what you think, what you’ve said, what you’ve read, how many steps you’ve walked, what your current heart rate is, who your friends are, and where you’re going next. All to be combined with what you do not know about yourself. The medical records you’ve never seen. The blood test results you’ve never asked for. The records displayed boldly on LED screens, but face the wrong side of the desk.

Not to sound alarmist, but this is an alarm. Like the many burglary alarms in a neighborhood; few will bother to react. A few tech-savvy individuals are taking steps to encrypt their data, but the average person simply doesn’t care nor fully comprehend the gravity of this matter.

If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.

This allegory summarizes our projected course. We may have sensed that our privacy was being invaded. That we were being tracked, analyzed, studied by those we have no knowledge of and cannot refuse.

While partially understanding the breach we continued to entrust a teller window disguised as a vault with our secrets. We readily shared our secrets with strangers far stranger than those we were trying to keep them from.

Yet, our eyes do not open wide with astonishment at this revelation. We are the frogs, smiling, uploading and freely surrendering our privacy—offering knowledge, which is power over ourselves. We have surrendered without a fight.

We gave ourselves up unknowingly, then knowingly and now willfully in the face of horrors birthed overseas. We trust our freedom to a revolving door of strangers—whose motives change with a change in office.

Can’t trust one political party? What is authorized for one, is authorized for both. What is possible here, is possible overseas. What you can do, they can too.