Sunday, October 6, 2013

Making a Garmin 4-pin to Powerlet Cord for Under $20

I've been looking for a short 4-pin to Powerlet cord for some time for my Garmin 78. I really didn't feel like a power cord should cost $30 or more, and I really didn't want one that was too long.

I found a Garmin 4-pin AC adapter from Adorama for $4.95 with free shipping. I didn't measure, but it's definitely longer than 4' so you can make it a length that works for your application.

I purchased the Powerlet plug off ebay for $13.95, again with free shipping.

Figure out how long you want your cable and cut it to length. When you strip off the outer sleeve, the ground wires are wound around the positive cable. Strip the positive cable and twist them together.

I don't have a picture of it, but I soldered the stripped ends of both the positive and negative cables. I also don't have any pictures of the Powerlet plug taken apart, but it's super simple and has great instructions.

You end up with a cable that's the perfect length for your specific setup. Mine has about an inch of slack when the bars are turned to the stops.

That's it! Now go make your own and save yourself some money!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hard Drive Speed Test

I've been looking to add another external hard drive lately, which got me wondering how fast my current drives are before purchasing a new one. 

All the drives were tested using my 13" MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz i5 running the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app, which is free from the App Store. 

The drives tested were: 

SanDisk Extreme SSD 120 GB (Using the OWC Data Doubler)
Hitachi 500 GB 5400 RPM Internal (Original HD, now used for media storage)
LaCie Rugged 1 TB Thunderbolt External 
Western Digital 500 GB USB 2.0 El Cheapo External
SanDisk Ultra 16 GB SD Card (Using the internal card reader)

On to the results.......

SanDisk Extreme SSD

Hitachi 5400 RPM Internal

LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

Western Digital 5400 RPM External

SanDisk SD Card using built in card reader
So there you have it.

Clearly, and not surprisingly, the internal SSD smokes the other drives. You really notice a difference when booting up the computer and opening apps. Using Thunderbolt with a 5400 RPM drive gives you almost 4 times the speed of a USB 2.0 drive. And finally, I can't really complain about the SanDisk Ultra SD since it's advertised as a 30mb/s card.

I'll leave you with this little note: Keep an eye on Amazon's lightning deals. I purchased my SSD for $79, the current asking price is $103. Also, if you don't have Amazon Prime, GET IT! It really is a great value.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Pitts Flight

I know I've been away for awhile but I haven't forgotten about you. By "you" I mean the one person that reads the blog which is probably just myself, but whatever.

I've done a little bit of flying here lately, the most fun being the recent Pitts flight I was lucky enough to receive last week. I'm fixing to start doing a little work for a guy down at the Fayetteville airport, and he just happened to have a Pitts S2C parked in his hangar. Furthermore, it just so happens that he's in the business of selling video cameras geared towards aviators. Perfect.

I met him out at the airport at 8:00am last Tuesday, the 18th. I would have got there at 5:00 if he asked me to, I was that excited. After a brief, and I mean BRIEF, parachute training session, I somehow managed to wiggle my fairly large frame in to the not so large cockpit of the plane. After ratcheting myself into the 5 point harness I was taught how to remove the canopy in the event of an emergency. Closing my eyes and praying wasn't going to cut it apparently.

Anyhow, the video below shows some of the maneuvers that we did. If there's multiples of the same maneuver, that's because Patrick was sitting behind me and would demonstrate first, and then let me attempt it the second time.


Pitts S2C

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Changing Icons On A Mac

Here's a quick little video that shows you how to make icons and change existing icons on OSX.

Friday, July 13, 2012

'Thanks SJ' Gini Rig

I placed an order for the Thanks SJ Gini Rig yesterday. I'm really excited to get it in and do a review of it. It looks like a great rig, and for $199 it was pretty hard to pass up. Even with the pretty hefty shipping charge of $69 it still came out cheaper than 95% of the decent shoulder rigs on the market. (why they cost as much as they do we may never know)

Based on the limited experience I have with Gini Rigs and all the things I've read, I think I'll be very happy with the purchase.

One thing I did learn is to NEVER use the "Buy It Now" feature on eBay to buy these Gini Rigs. Either try to win the auction or use the "best offer" feature, I did the latter of the two. The rig I won had a BIN price of $357, or an increase of $158.

'Thanks SJ' Gini Rig on eBay

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wedding Gear

I learned yesterday that filming a wedding is no small task, especially when you're the only one shooting.

I decided I would go ahead and put together a list of the equipment I used that made my day somewhat easier. I know a lot of people are always curious as to what other people use, so I like to give a quick run down of things.

2 Canon 60D's
Canon 24-70 f/2.8
Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5
Canon 50 f/1.4
Canon 55-250 f/4-5.6 (I'm going to catch a lot of heat for this one, but it gets the job done)
Glidecam 2000 Pro
Manfrotto 055XPROB w/ 494RC2 Head
Fancier 717 Video Tripod w/ Fluid Head
Monopod w/ Velbon Fluid Head
4' DIY Jib w/ Velbon Fluid Head (as seen in my first post)
Ravelli Tripod Dolly (a must have if you plan on using a jib, you'll thank me later)
36" Slider
4 Camera Batteries w/ 2 chargers. You can NEVER have enough batteries!!
5 SDHC Cards: Two 32gb & Three 16gb. Next time I'll run at least three 32gb plus the 16gb's
RC2 quick releases on EVERYTHING.

Just because you're running a one man show doesn't mean you only need one camera. I would have gone nuts trying to switch between 4 lenses on one body. Having two bodies allows you to have specific uses for each body.

In my case, I used one 60D with the L-bracket for the 24-70, 50, and 55-250. That body would go on either the tripod or the monopod throughout the day. The second 60D body kept the 10-22 for most of the day. I would move that camera between the jib, Glidecam, and slider.

One thing that can be tough to overcome when filming in a fast environment such as a wedding is switching cameras between different monopods, Glidecams, jibs, etc. To overcome this, I put RC2 quick releases on everything. If a piece of equipment came with a different type of QR, I put an RC2 on top of that one. The RC2 is a compact QR that allows you to snap in and out of things quickly. Is it the cheapest solution? No. But again, it saves a lot of time, hassle, and hair by doing it.

One thing that I love about that gear list is the fact that I can transport it in two cases. I use a Pelican 1500 with dividers for the cameras, lenses, cards, batteries and the other little stuff. All the bigger stuff gets thrown into a Plano XXL case. That thing is a great buy, only $27 at Home Depot.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below. If not, just enjoy the pictures.

Matt and Heather Wedding Teaser

Well, I survived shooting my first wedding! It was a long 13 hour day, but it was definitely worth it. The wedding and reception were beautiful, and everyone enjoyed themselves. The ceremony was at St. Catherines with the reception at Pratt Place Inn. I'm very grateful that Matt and Heather gave me the opportunity to capture their special day.

Below is a short teaser video I put together. Matt Wolfe, the groom, will be editing the final video. Hope you all enjoy!