Darwin Motocross 2015 Thumper Series TV Commercial

Darwin Motocross has started it's season off with the Darwin Motor cycle Club's 2015 television advertising campaign for their Thumper Series.  The series is the biggest motocross event on the DMCC calendar so when we were asked if it was possible to get a TVC out to air in under a week before their first round, we had to do some very quick calculations ... and luckily the answer was YES.

Footage collecting with some Darwin motocross action
Photo by Edmund Forman HighRPM
Ordinarily I'd be able to spend a little more time on animations and all the pretty bits to make the TVC a little more memorable, but given the short turnaround required, some creative premade AE templating (thanks Pond5), our speed dial access to the super fast voiceover guru Wayne Cottle who we use for a number of commercials, and the fact that +Edmund Forman  and I keep a huge archive of motor sports footage on file saved the day.

Thank goodness for large disk storage solutions, they've proved to be more than their worth of easy storage and quick file access for situations just like this when we don't have time to gather footage for event advertising.  We make sure to archive decent footage from events we film at during the motor sports seasons up here as you never know when stock video might come in handy.

If you are local or visiting Darwin during the series you should got take a peek!  Plenty of dirt action for those that love their motocross, and the DMCC host a great crowd of both fans and families at their events.
Auto Power On - Jumper Position for Power Recovery Enabled
Inside the MINIX NEO Z64 (Fig 1.)

With the recent release of the Z64 and the Bay Trail processor goodness it brings with it,  I saw a great opportunity to try out a new windows capable mini PC to hopefully act as a low cost, low energy pseudo server on the home network.

Of course a server's functionality is greatly increased if it can automate computing and schedule various tasks around the clock, so some sort of recovery after power failure feature is needed.

The Z64 does not do this straight out of the box, however knowing that some of the other models on offer from MINIX have on board jumper settings to achieve this I had to take a look.  Some of you who have bought this great little piece of kit will be dismayed that you will be required to open it up to enable this, but I found it was relatively easy to do.

*Standard Disclaimer: Please note if you care about your warranty at all, DO NOT OPEN YOUR device, or do so at your own risk.

If you are still reading and do want to try this out, make sure you have good quality mini screwdriver (Phillips head) available, those little screws feel like they will strip easy if you have a cheap one!

1. Unplug the power and any other items you may have inserted into the device (eg USB's, MicroSD, Cables)

2. Flip the device over.  You will need to peel off the 4 small rubber feet located on its underside as the screws are located there.  I found they retained enough stickiness to place back on without using adhesive - your experience may differ.

3. Take out the 4 holding screws - use a firm grip and applying good downward pressure so as not to strip the head of your screws.  I found mine to be rather tight.

4. The board should lift out easily with the connecting wires still attached. You will be able to flip it over, locate the PWR_MODE jumper and then set it to the position as shown in Fig1.

5. You are done.  Put everything back together

I have done some initial tests and listed the results for you; here is the behaviour you can expect from your Z64 after setting the jumper in the steps above.

1. Conditions: NEO Z64 is on, power supply to device is momentarily cut then resumed (unplug/re-plug power cable).
1. Result: device powers up automatically

2. Conditions: NEO Z64 is manually shut down from within windows, power supply is maintained.
2. Result: Device powers down and stays shut down.
- 2a. If device power button is pressed in this shut down state, device will start back up.
- 2b. If the power is cut to device (unplug/re-plug power cable) in this shut down state, it will start automatically as if recovering from power failure.

Next on my list of things to do is work out how I can image this little beast with a server O/S like 2008. The Windows 8.1 install on here is pretty good (and runs well on the Z64) but the extra functionality of a server would be the bomb!  If anyone has any tips on how to do this it would be very much appreciated!

How do you pronounce Quinoa?

A pseudocereal often touted as a 'superfood' (bleh, don't lets get started on the overuse of the term superfood nowadays).

There is so much huff-and-fluff about this word and the correct way to pronounce it, not to mention a decidedly good measure of patronizing superiority accompanied by sarcastic laughing when people hear what they think is the incorrect pronunciation of the word ... so here's a little background that might help you not be THAT person ... the pronunciation snob.

'Quinoa' it's the Spanish spelling of a Quechua word. The Quechua people are comprised of SEVERAL indigenous ethnic groups in South America, the area it was first cultivated in for human consumption. (Another side fact - the Quechua are NOT one single tribe as mistakenly described by many)

  • The Quechua people call it kinúwa and pronounce it kee-NOO-wah.
  • Hispanics in Latin America pronounce it kee-NO-ah.
  • "In the know" foodie types like to call it KEEN-wah.

Pick your own path people ... just remember, pronunciation snobs are #LAME so smile, be happy and don't bring that party down.

Darwin Motocross Video with TEMCC rider Phillip Bodey
© +Auki Henry  & HighRPM

Cleaning the GoPro  'orbit cameras' during a break.
On location for +HighRPM - Photo © Ed Forman

What a better way to get the new gear christened than a baptism-by-fire stress test in typical Darwin conditions, shooting some sweet Motocross action in wet season humidity?

The new gear I am talking about is our Sony NEX-FS700RH rig that arrived recently and the sweet Motocross action I am talking about was a sponsors photo shoot with local rider Phillip Bodey at the Top End Moto Cross Club's track out at Palmerston over the weekend.

I had been waiting for the FS700 to become just that little bit more affordable before grabbing one and was delighted that the Christmas sales last year made that happen.  Picking one up for a (relative) bargain was a bonus that just sweetened the prospect of plenty of slow motion action footage that can now be planned for this 2015 production season.

The particular session for the weekend was originally planned around a sponsors photo shoot that +Edmund Forman had arranged with Phil,  and as usual when I was invited along it evolved into a stills AND video affair ... it inevitably does when we are on HighRPM duties though we just love grabbing the action when the opportunity presents itself, otherwise what kind of media team would we be calling ourselves really?

There are already some more engagements lined up for the FS-700 in the near future and not all of them are motorsports.  You'll have to come back to check them out soon!

Even though it is now 'off motorsports season' I still make a habit of having the video gear on standby ready to go. So when +Rob Russell and his wife Mel told me they had put together a synchronised Christmas light display just around the corner from my place I was glad to have a little outing with a couple of the cameras to enjoy the show.

I have to admit I am a bit of a nutter about the festive season, all my happy childhood memories are awakened with the carols and the tinsel and lights every year without fail.  December feels that little more relaxed than other months, perhaps it's just my perception but the general mood of people around me seems more buoyed and positive.  I was happy to see this was true of the small crowd gathering on the sidewalk and lawns across the street from Rob and Mel's place in Darwin's northern suburb of Moil to watch one of his twice nightly advertised displays.  Family groups with kids were walking in from other parts of the suburb and chairs were arranged for people to sit and enjoy.  Cars were even pulling in down the street carrying people from further afield who came to see the show.

Even though it was their first attempt at a synchronised display Rob and Mel did a fantastic job with their Chirstmas lights, with an appreciative family crowd and entertaining display the spirit of the season was most definitely palpable in the evening air.

Rob Russell
Rob & Melissa's display as featured in the NT News on 19 Dec 2014

The +HighRPM  crew filming on Season 1 of Autos & Angels
Filming has started in earnest for HighRPM's latest series "Autos & Angels" and I have managed to line up quite a list of impressive local cars and girls for the show.

This weekend we were kindly given permission  to use an underground car park in the heart of the city for as long as we needed to film the shoot with Darwin girl Christie Petersen, our first ANGEL of season one.

In striking similarity to her "Angel" title, 28 year old Christie is a logistics co-ordinator for Careflight and co-ordinates all the aeromedical evacuations in the Northern Territory, she told us her dream job was actually in the same industry but she would like to be aircrew jumping out of helicopter to save lives.  This is not the first time Christie has had the title of Angel bestowed upon her,  co-incidentally she was one of "Amber's Angels" training with world champion fitness trainer and lifestyle coach Amber Walker and having been in front of my lens before as part of that team.

Christie was matched up with our first AUTO of the series, a supercharged six, the classic lines of the VG Valiant Ute owned by Rob Anderson, we filmed the driver sequences for the car a few weeks back and Rob was only too happy to bring in the ute for us and patiently help with the shoot for a few hours while we worked with our guest stylist Angie Barker from Faces Artistry.

You'd probably think that the underground garage would be a cool environment this time of year (It's monsoon buildup time of year in Darwin) but we spent much of the down time gathered around the fan that  was being used to feather our model's hair!

Trying conditions to be sure but the crew got it done and we definitely got some great images and footage for the series.

Behind the Scenes Snaps - On Location with Christie Petersen

Shiny! Capturing the detail.  Image thanks to +Salvatore Finocchiaro 
Saturday 20th September saw our very first session of filming for Autos & Angels.

The day’s session was spent putting together the Auto driving sequences and driver interviews for Rob Anderson’s supercharged hemi powered VG Valiant Ute.

I also was fortunate to have Terry Finocchiaro from Sienna Productions came along to help out with the activities so we could work out a workflow template for future shoots in the series.  Terry will be concentrating mostly on the Angel shoots for each episode using the Arri Amira but he has worked with the team trackside many times for HighRPM so was keen to come down and try out some techniques rigging the on-car cameras.

There were definitely some constructive lessons learned and some new equipment already ordered to assist with better footage next session.  Although stripping back the weight of the DSLR on board camera to the bare minimum and using a very sturdy Camzilla triple-suction mount we found that the combination of non-stabilized DSLR video plus a single fixture point made for some rather shaky footage at times which we can hopefully iron out in post.   To mitigate this issue I have decided to go with the Spyder Pod vehicle camera mounting system from Digital Juice, it has a robust 3 point suction mounting system with 3 fixture point which will make for a rigid, no bounce platform to mount a reasonable weight of camera on (up to just over 22kg)

Next to organise will be the Angel shoot and we are currently going over a theme with our stylist Angie Barker and matching one of the numerous models who have put their hand up to be involved in the project.

Check back soon for more updates!