Category Archives: Blog

Make+Think+Code Workshops at PNCA

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A few months back, PNCA started a maker space – but rather than restricting access to just students, they (they, in this case, being Exec Director Nandini Ranganathan) did something very smart…  and actually somewhat unprecedented.  They opened the doors to the entire community.

Yes, you heard right – anyone can apply for a swipe card that allows you to come in and use the space and tools available, day or night.

It’s quite a tasty collection of gear, and it continues to get better.  Computer workstations decked out with maker software, the prerequisite awesome 3D printers, a laser cutter, a CNC mill, fun VR setups like HTC Vives, large format printers (paper plotters, that is).  I could go on.

Now, they are taking the next logical step and have launched a series of workshops aimed at bringing together the awesome makers, thinkers, and coders in our community.  Of all levels.  Modeling in Blender, tweaking Arduino circuits, collaging light, projection mapping, basics of Unity…   not to sound like a broken record, but I could go on.

If you want in on the fun, you need to check out the full menu here, now.  These workshops are starting up soon, many as soon as next week.

It’s almost enough to turn this VFX “faker” into a maker, that’s for sure!  🙂

In Praise of Open Signal

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signal

“You can’t stop the signal, Mal.”

I think it’s safe to say that the word is getting around…    if you do anything related to film, video, animation, or audio production and haven’t checked out the offerings over at Open Signal, you owe it to yourself to drop everything and chew on the website for a bit.  Like the legend of the phoenix, the short of it is that some of the fine folks who were involved in the community building and educational programs at the Hollywood Theatre (a gem in it’s own right) took over a great-but-dated Portland Community Media and made it cool again.  Rebranded as Open Signal, armed with a fresh paint job and an influx of top tier equipment, Portland has never been in a better position to create media of all kinds.  Having a voice!  Have an idea for a show?  A podcast?  Need access to a studio?  A greenscreen?  Animation tools?  A laptop decked out with software?  Just feel like getting out and filming something?  Whatever the case may be, they have you covered.

Highlights include shelves full of both Canon C100 mkII and Sony FS7 cameras, both of which can easily yield pro level results.  For we the VFX geeks, take note that the C100’s HDMI out can be tapped by the super portable Atomos Ninja Star recorder (about $199 new, even less used) to yield 10-bit Prores 4:2:2 HQ footage at ~200mbps.  That’s a significant jump from the camera’s built in 24mbps AVCHD 4:2:0 codec, essentially turning it into a C300 at half the cost. Most importantly, it nets you footage you can actually push around a bit in post!  Color grade your heart out!  (And note that Open Signal has Resolve classes to help you with that part, too)

The FS7 is no slouch, bumping the ante to 4k video with significant slo-mo capabilities.  Open Signal had the foresight to buy Sony’s 12bit RAW output film back, although again you’ll need your own Atomos Shogun recorder back to capture it.  Consider renting one from Pro Photo ($75/day, $225/week as I type this).  With the right lens, this tandem could (theoretically) give you an image on par with 95% of the  shows on any major network.  No joke.

I have to say, at the risk of sounding overdramatic, I do tend to sleep better at night just knowing Open Signal exists.  Make it a point to use and support this great resource;  it’s possible to gain access to both studio and field gear with a single class (Music Video Production is the one you want), and then you can further unlock access to an FS7 with a partial day workshop.

Content you create needs to be non-commercial enough to be shown on Open Signal’s public access cable channel (as in, you can’t be filming weddings for hire).  And to be clear, the classes are low cost and once you’re a certified producer, the gear is free to reserve and use.  For ref, a C100 mkII setup would cost you in upwards of $200/day at Pro Photo. An FS7?  $300/day.

So…   do it!  Stop all that noise and go make some signal.

Monthly Meetup on Tap – Pints & Pixels! Kicks off 9/14

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Many of us have expressed the urge to meet more frequently and casually to talk shop over a drink or two. Entirely thanks to a certain cat(alyst) named Dan Short, this is finally happening.  VFX/PDX’ers, we present to you Pints and Pixels!  A logo is in order here:

The community in Portland is incredibly varied and diverse in abilities, medium and experience, and this is a place where we can all meet to share skills, techniques and the current talk of the town. Come out and share a drink with us on the second Thursday of every month from 7:00PM – 10:00PM.  First meeting – September 14th at Bunk Bar (SE).  Mark your calendar.

Bunk Bar
1028 SE Water Ave
Portland, OR 97214
Thurs, Sept 14 – 7-10pm

Agenda?  Let’s keep it loose!  Networking, recent work, a hot new plugin – anything goes at this early stage.  The main thing here is stepping out and seeing all the talented folks from other studios and such here;  everyone is eternally busy and there was getting to be a bit too much time between user group events, so now we have this to count on.

To help with reminders and tracking expected numbers, please nab a free ticket over at Eventbrite:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pints-pixels-monthly-vfxpdx-meetup-tickets-37137888424

See you there!

CCC Motion Capture Class @ WFMC – starting 10/10

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We’re excited to announce that Clackamas Community College has renewed the Motion Capture Fundamentals special topics course for this Fall.  In cooperation with the Willamette Falls Media Center, instructor Thomas Wasson will cover both the smaller, cameraless/portable Perception Neuron setup and also the larger Phasespace system that will now (finally) have a permanent volume set up in the studio at WFMC.  Students will learn how to capture and use MoCap data, and apply it to different rigs and character setups.  A professional workflow will be stressed throughout.

The 1 credit hour low cost class will run Tuesdays from 9-11:50am, October 10th through November 21st.  The first class will be held at the CCC Campus Art Center, following classes at WFMC.

Willamette Falls Media Center
1101 Jackson Street
Oregon City, OR 97045

To enroll, visit the Clackamas County Community College website and contact the DMC department (Kelly White) at (503) 594-3034 with any questions.

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