CN-160 LED Light UnBox

If you’re looking for a cheap “inexpensive” light pick, up one or two of these. I do an unboxing of the lights I’ve purchased and just recently used them on a shoot. Was pretty happy with them and plan on buy 2 or 4 more. Wish they came with barn-doors. Maybe it’s the farm boy in me I think all lights should come with barn-doors.

Find out more at EPhotoINC, or go Check out the spec on the CN-160 or get it for about 10 bucks less on Amazon. It’s nice to NOT have to lug around cords and 3 or 4 of these well fit nicely into my camera bag.


Poke, Nudge whatever you want to call it. Midwest Media Now is trying to get you’re attention. Plus new episodes will be starting soon, we’ll call it Season 2.

Want to be a contributor to Midwest Media Now?

We want to partner with you the help bring this site and the stories, podcasts, tips and tricks and whatever else we can come up with a voice in the Midwest to help other content creators old and new find a new way to establish a creative foot hold in middle America and salute the ones already there. We want to help create the opportunity to not only get you’re content out there but to get your voice and your story out there as the experts you are or working towards.

What we are looking for?


We need media bloggers. Even if you already have a blog and you want to expand your content to another channel. Let Midwest Media Now be that channel. It will be a great way to get more visibility for your story.


Photographers, what kind of events do you go to? Share your photos of the event you think people should know about. So more will know what’s happening with content creation here in the Midwest. Maybe it’s just a Flickr slide show, or a Youtube montage.


Podcasters, we want you’re voice. Tell us what you’re working on, talk about your show, tell us what kind of shows you’d like to hear.

Student content creators.

Are you a high school student that’s really into new media and making you’re own voice? We are interested in your point of view and we want to share that with others.  Midwest Media Now want’s to get your perspective. The way you use tools and software is very different then other generations. Sharing you’re knowledge and seeing you’re point of view will be educational.

We want to help tell your story.

Midwest Media Now wants to help encourage new media production and promoting the skills it takes to get the job done. Have an idea for a podcast or web-show pitch it maybe we can help get the ball rolling. If you live in the Western suburbs of Chicago we want to help get you started with an audio podcast or webshow. If you have something to say about media in the Midwest then drop us a line.

  1. You can be on the Midwest Media Now Podcast.
  2. Write a guest blog post or if you want to be a regular contributor let us know what you want to to write about.
  3. Want to talk about gear? Send us your Review
  4. Send us your Press Release we want to hear about your new product or production.

Whatever it is we want to help get your story out about your latest project it will be a great way to get more people looking at what you’re doing plus help others in the Midwest figure out how to get started. Let’s encourage creativity here.

If you have a great ideas for a story drop us a line or sign up and send us your pitch!


How to Fake a Webcam

The Zi8 comes though again. For this episode of FashionCents we needed a webcam look but I didn’t want to record the webcam video and try to make that HiDef. Of course I could have purchased a HD Web Cam but why when I had the Zi8.

I could have had our talent use a regular camera but I knew the small camera taped to a Netbook would work better. Why? You would carry a Netbook one way and a camera another. Plus as a prop it helps the talent visualize the webcam and use the prop more like a computer. Also the Zi8 video file format made it easy to bring into our video editor.

I only had electrical tape in my camera bag. But it’s a good idea to get some real Gaffers tape which you can get at these fine places. FilmTools narrow and wide, B&HPhoto and my local place Calumet Photo

Electrical tape got me through this shoot but try to have a roll of gaffer tape, NOT Duct Tape, while it might be fine for home repairs and mending your favorite shoe it’s not great for cables or gear. Because it leaves such a sticky mess behind. Duct tape is made to stay put and last till the end of time. Electrical tape is good to have too for that occasional wire fray.


Here’s the final result of the video. I think you’ll agree it has more of a webcam feel than it would if it was shot with a regular video camera.

The Kodak Zi8 is a great camera that should be in every video-makers back pocket. Because of it’s features which you can read about in this story you’ll see why that’s camera is a videomakers buddy.

Can your location drive the drama and dollars?


Watching “CBS Sunday Morning” as I often do.  It reminded me of some discussions I’ve been having lately.

What got my attention about this story is the idea that a location becomes famous because it’s in a movie, music video or book. Which causes people to flock to that location because they want to experienced the same place the actor, writer or artist did when they were being creative there, or they want to hold on to that pretend moment.  Whatever the reason the content creates a special place in our hearts and sometimes we take opportunities to relive or experience the moments again.

Put it on the map, your map

What I’m proposing here is not only making great characters in your web-series but do so in a place where your location can become an integrated part of your storyline as well.  In your neighborhood, town or suburb.  Maybe in our scripts we shouldn’t make just any place that could be anywhere and be nondescript about it. Be bold and say it’s this “insert the name of your town or favorite bar” right here. Put it on the map, your map.  Your characters are part of the town and the business there.  The people in the businesses might even be characters in the background.

Doing this could have an unexpected side effect of creating  fans willing to visit the location that your project was created in.  This could be mutually beneficial for the content creator and the location.  If you can create an experience that people want to be a part of you might be able to bring foot traffic into the town bringing in new customers and opportunities.  If everyones’ experiences is good it might even encourage your location to find ways to support your next project or at least get out of your way when you have your next crazy idea.  If the fans come by, shop at stores and use their services you might have found a new way to get locations and have them wanting to more.

Keep these things in mind when writing you next project.

  1. Promoting the location and it’s local business
  2. Give locals a chance to play a role
  3. Talk to your local government see if they can offer support.  Even if it’s an endorsement it can go a long way to getting others to back you.
  4. On your website where your audience watches your content post the locations of where you are shooting.
  5. When in production tweet you locations, you might just get that crowd scene you need

Can you create a story that will make people want to seek out the location you’ve been shooting and creating at? Do they want to catch a glimpse of some sort of cool action going down. Lastly, get the fans involved too.

Advice to Brands, stores, local governments

Here’s some advice to Brands, stores, local governments. Check out what’s going on the internet in your local communities. At the very least talk to some of your friends that are in the know or just ask some kid that’s fiddling around on his phone. You might be missing out on some opportunities and local voices that could help drive interest to your town or location. It might not take much effort or money, in this day of ever shrinking budgets what do you have to lose?  You don’t just have to look for web series.  Is someone local doing podcast about their favorite restaurants or is there a camera club running around town taking great photos of your town.  These are opportunities to help the groups organize an event round their efforts that can boost their efforts while creating buzz for your brand.

Want to connect with local content creators?  Keep these things in mind.

  1. Look at Twitter and look what’s going on around you.
  2. Check out local Podcasts, bloggers and artists.
  3. Do a quick search on and find your local photographers that love their town.
  4. Think of ways you can help bring these voices to town.
  5. Don’t feel like you have to control the message local content creators were doing fine before you came along they’ll keep doing what they do if you leave.
  6. Sometimes just giving permission is more valuable and encouraging .
  7. Look for content creation in all its forms.

Watch the story here, and check out some of the other stories on CBS Sunday Morning.

What kind of ideas do you have that might encourage locations in your area to participate in your next web series or new media project?

Mini MultiCAM

In an effort to try something new with new media or at least new to us we set up a 3 camera shoot with our at Starbucks as part of our regular Wednesday gatherings. We’ve started experimenting with a live feed webcam which you can here.

One of our regular members is building a setup that will fit in to 2 small cases and have 3 cameras, a switcher, color corrector, titles and sound mixer. That’s all that other gear you see on the table. The other systems you can see used on our uStream Channel as well. It has the feel of early radio I know but it’s funny when you can bring all that stuff together and go live right from Starbucks!

Okay so that’s not what we did with this video. This was more of a test so Midwest Media Now could start integrating video into our podcasts and articles. We had recorded nearly 45 minutes worth of video on the Kodak Zi8. There was about a 2 minute clip in there where we turned our attention to the Kodak Zi8’s and pointed out what we were doing there.

We still have a few kinks to work out but you can watch the video below to get an idea of how it turned out. This was shot with 3 Kodak Zi8’s, edited with Adobe Premiere Multicam Edit Mode. We are still working out some audio details but just wanted to see how this would work. All cameras were switched to 720p. For what we were shooting I figured we didn’t need 720p 60. Also no need to use full 1080p.

3 Kodak Zi8
Azden 3 channel mic mixer
Samson hand held mics.
and various cables to hook all this stuff up.

Nothing too fancy, audio is okay but not great this is because we didn’t speak directly into the mics. Leave it to nerds to play with two things at once. We were in the middle of trying out other things so we didn’t even pick up the mics or put them on the stands to use them had we done that the audio would have been even better.

There are 2 other ways you could go with the sound.

1. Use an H2 external recorder or digital recorder of your choice and sound mixer and use that to be a separate audio channel later you would bring into post.

2. Use tie clip mics directly into each camera to act like a three channel mixer.

In this video you can see the difference a mic makes. In an earlier test I used a $27 tie clip microphone from Radio Shack it really worked great but guess what you won’t see that in this example. Use it with an extension cord and you can get your subject a little farther away from the camera.

We’ll have a better example later and we’ll do a break down of all the parts involved.

It’s Never too late…

It’s never to late to get started in new media. As you look around this site you’ll see all kinds of mentions of groups getting together and learning from each other. One event is called Wednesdays @Starbucks. During that time we get together one day a week ask questions, show off stuff, get pointers, talk politics and bounce ideas off each other. This has been a valuable resource for me because it shows me that I still have plenty to learn and great people to learn from like Celina F. Acquaro.


We lost Celina to Cancer. She’s been coming to the group for a better part of a year and half, she was our Wednesday cheerleader, organizer, note taker, and sometimes glue. Every week she had questions, things to show off and once in a while she would bring in new members and special guests.

She always wanted to make sure I put the sign out. Sometime she would get frustrated with me because I’d forget to bring the sign so she made sure she had copies and one of my extra stands to display the image. She wanted everyone there know it’s meeting time at Starbucks.

Celina lost a battle with Cancer she didn’t even know she had. It was a surprise and shock to everyone who meets with us. We lost a great asset and champion of what we are doing. I admire Celina for many reasons, but the best one, she was ready to take on anything. At 62 she was ready to give new media a shot and that’s what she did.

She had her laptop loaded for bear with programs to help her make just about any kind of art you could imagine photography, video and even sewing. She was proud of what she could make with her sewing machine that made even the most complicated of video cameras look simple. She was working on a whole line of Midwest Media Now apparel.


I’m not sure how many of them we would have sold but I know I would have bought one. She was very in to prototyping something. That’s what we are all about testing things out and trying new things with the creative tools we use and try Celina did!

Rain or shine Celina brought her laptop and various projects she was working on. Always loaded with questions we had answers and we enjoyed giving them.  She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, and not waste her time visiting. But she wanted it to be a learning experience for everyone else too.

She helped me rethink our group and how to help people who have questions about making media with the tools they have.

The drive Celina had wouldn’t have changed even if she had know about her condition, it would have made her more determined to learn. Her last few times with group was spent on the internet connecting to us with uStream or Skype. Whatever tool she had she would make it work.

Now I know without a doubt it’s never too late.