Category: Admin Posts

Lights…Camera…New Site!

Welcome to the new home of Rambler Productions. We are in our third year of having a blog and I felt it was time for a facelift at least, and as I tried to navigate the changes (many unnecessary imo) to google blogger’s dashboard, I realized I had grown to like WordPress much better through my use of it for another blog I run.

I spoke with my best bud, Kris, aka NoMansLand aka NML. He graciously agreed to host Rambler Productions on his server at no cost! Thanks, Kris! You are my favorite Aussie!

Over the coming weeks and months, gravitystix (who continues to ROCK) and I will be shuttling content from the old blog to here. We will highlight content from the beginning of the blog, so our history will not be lost.

I welcome visitors to join the conversation with us. Celebrate the learning and accomplishments of my video students and offer suggestions, advice, and insights to help them grow.

To my students, I offer this advice: Keep dreaming, keep filming, and keep growing.

Film on!

~ Shaw


Rambler Productions Newest Release: Welcome to Lovely’s

Rambler Productions is happy to announce that Welcome to Lovely’s DVDs are now available for purchase. Each DVD is only $5. This will make a great addition to anyone’s growing collection of WHS Drama Club productions.

Welcome to Lovely’s was written by AJ Coppola, a former student of Mr. Setchell’s. It was performed this past October by our talented members of the WHS Drama Club.

To order your copy, please see Miss Shaw in Room 108 or email us at [email protected]  All proceeds to benefit Rambler Productions and WHS Drama Club.


It has been far too long since I or anyone else has posted here. It is time for an update all that has been happening around Rambler Productions, and shockingly, even with no official class this semester, a great deal is taking place.

First, we have filmed a number of productions over the last few months. These have ranged from motivational assemblies to dance shows. Following is a list of what we have been working on lately:

  • Live and Dance Strong: Benefit dance show we filmed this summer. DVDs are now available. 
  • Inn Disposed: Our 48 Hour Film Festival piece. A separate blog post coming soon about this.
  • Welcome to Lovely’s: The WHS fall play. Currently in editing.
  • Cabaret 2010: Fall Edition: Currently in editing.
  • Thrills and Chills: A Kennebec Dance Centre production. DVDs are now available.
  • Julia Clukey: Olympian bobsledder from Maine who came to speak about choices. Editing on the back burner at the moment.

We will also be filming the Kennebec Dance Centre’s Tap Nutcracker this Saturday. Information and DVD pricing and availability will be forthcoming.

Furthermore we have been asked to film all the boys’ basketball games this season and three students have volunteered to do this.

I also have updated the “Buy Our Stuff” page with the details on our latest releases, including those mentioned above as well as the 2010 Football Highlights DVD that Joey Brennen put together.

Saving the best for last, I have ordered about $2200 worth of new audio equipment, which should be here any day now. This includes an audio field recorder, a mic and boom kitheadphones, and a few other necessary accessories. Once the order finally arrives and I have some time to play with it, I will post a review. This equipment will help us produce much better sound quality on future projects. Of course, purchases like this would not be possible without everyone that selflessly gives up their time to film, edit, and produce the various DVDs we are committed to making every year. A huge and heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you.

More to come soon, so stayed tuned!

"Tips from NESCom" Three Point Editing

Hello Ramblers! Welcome back from summer! Spencer here, up in Bangor at the New England School of Communications. While I’m no longer able to be there and work with the rest of the Rambler Productions crew I plan on posting “Tips from NESCom” now and then to help you guys out with some pro tips. Today I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve learned recently, mostly just a few tips and tricks for using Final Cut Pro and a quick refresher on the conundrum of the “ND filter” on the GL2.

Forget what you know about basic editing. Forget about dragging clips from the browser to the timeline. Forget about dragging the entire project out of the way before inserting a clip into the middle…..

And learn the glory that is three point editing. (click for more)

If you are familiar with “in” points and “out” points from doing multiclipping this will be a bit easier. I’m looking at you Pat.

So here is your standard Final Cut workspace. No surprises here. I’m actually running Final Cut Express on my laptop but 99% of the controls are the same and none of the differences should be a problem in this tutorial. I’ve got a couple clips in the browser, a photo, and my sequence. These are actually the building blocks of the vlog you can find on my blog.

First off lets talk about “overwrite” and “insert.” Select the first clip you want from the browser. Now, instead of dragging that clip down into the timeline and over to the beginning of the project like we’ve always done double click on it and bring it up in the viewer (center window). Then, click and drag from the viewer over towards the canvas. A bunch of colored drop areas should appear (see below) labeled “Insert” in yellow, “overwrite” in pinkish red, and then “replace”, “fit to fill” and “superimpose” on the lower half. If you drag your first clip onto the “overwrite” and let go it will magically appear at the very beginning of your project. If you then position the play head on your timeline to any point and drag a clip over to “overwrite”, it will appear at that point.

 Let’s say you do this a few times and have a few clips run end to end like below. Position your playhead in between two of the clips and then drag a clip onto the “insert” drop area.

Wham bam alakazam you have just inserted a clip between two others. You can do this in the middle of a clip too and it will make the cut and push the rest of the project down the timeline. I haven’t fiddled with the transition versions of insert and overwrite but I’m certain it isn’t that hard to figure out.

Now lets get into the real reason this is called “three point editing.” Let’s say you only want to insert a certain section of footage from a really long clip. We need to set some in points and out points. First select the clip you want and bring it up in the viewer. Find where you want the clip to begin. We need to set an “in” point here. There are two ways of doing this. One, simply hit the letter “i” when the playhead is where you want it. Two. hit the “in point” button located in the little circle in the picture below. The larger circle shows the in/out point indicators on the clip. Now we need to set the third point. The third point goes in the timeline. It can be either an in point or an out point. The program will match together whichever points there are two of. If you have two in points, they will line up. If you have two out points, they will line up. In the example below I’ve set an out point.

Now simply drag the clip from the viewer to the “overwrite” drop area. The clip will line up the end points and appear exactly where you want it. Only the portion of the clip between the in and out points will be put on the timeline. Bam, your efficiency has just increased by about 30%. The other three drop areas do exactly what they sound like they do. “Replace” replaces a clip on the timeline with one you drag in. “Fit to fill” can fill an empty place with a clip you drag onto it. If the clip is too small or large for the space, Final Cut will automatically adjust the speed to fit the space. “superimpose” places the clip on a layer above the other clips.

For those of you who have always wondered about the use of the “ND filter” button (near the manual focus button) on the GL2 camera here’s the gist of it. “ND” stands for “neutral density.” Basically, turning it on is like giving the camera a pair of sunglasses. It reduces the intensity of the light entering the camera. The ND filter should not need to be used indoors. However, on a bright sunny day it can prevent your shot from being overexposed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and I look forward to doing more! Let me know if anyone has any questions about Final Cut or the GL2. I have plenty of professionals here who can answer just about anything.

I hope to see some awesome projects!



Summer is here and school is out! Rambler Productions will be back this Fall with more news, reviews, and updates from Winthrop High School.

I’m headed off to college but I’ll still be around the blog, helping out and keeping up with what’s going on at WHS.

The blog may be updated sporadically over the summer, but don’t expect too much.

Have a great summer everyone!

What Awesome is Made of – Light Warfare

Just came across a really neat video I thought I’d share. Similar to Chris and Joey’s “The Chase” in that it employs stop motion instead of smooth video. It adds another element as well, light painting. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean. No post-production effects were used to make the lights. You can find more information here. It’s a Youtube vid so you’ll have to watch it at home.

When the little things go right…

…it makes life so much more entertaining. I just figured out how to FINALLY fix the problem with the link bar on the top that was causing it to overlap with the main section of the blog. It was about the easiest code alteration I’ve ever done but darn if it doesn’t feel good to get that fixed. In other news I just discovered how to control my music without having to switch to the ITunes application. Again, it was a really easy solution, but one that makes life a bit more fun.

Thought I’d just post an update with the status of various Rambler Productions projects.
Here are my percentage estimates of how complete each project is. Since these are percentages you have to keep in mind that the Latin Promo might get done before something like Hazards simply because it is a much smaller project.

  • Putt Putt Syndrome Documentary – 75%
  • The Hazards of Love – 80% 
  • Kennebec Valley Dance Centre – 75%
  • Latin Promotional Video – 15%
  • Reflections From Nature Documentary – 20%
  • 1st Annual Marlee Music Festival – 50%
  • Graduation DVD – 0%

I know I’m forgetting something but I can’t remember what it is.

Partners in Rhyme

Hey there fellow Ramblers, we got a response to Chris’ post about royalty free music from the site Partners in Rhyme. Aside from having a clever name they have a bunch of music and even some video clips that we can use in our projects free of charge. I’ve added a permanent link to the site in the left sidebar. Browse around and check them out!

Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects Download the music and sound effects you need for your multimedia project today at Partners In Rhyme.

TItans Clash, but is it a Smash?

Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: Clash of the Titans* is a decent entertainment package that is entertaining to watch but doesn’t push any boundaries like the original film did. Nevertheless it is worth the time to watch and I honestly have more good than bad to say. But a smash hit it is not.

 Really long answer: If you haven’t seen the original 1981 flick I highly recommend you do so. The special effects were astonishingly good for their time and the movie is entertaining. Not to mention you get to see a lot of Bubo, Athena’s mechanical owl which follows Perseus around on his quest. In fact, all the monsters in the original were made the old fashioned way, no CGI rendering. All the monsters are excellently made by Ray Harryhausen This gives the film a classic feel. Anyway, go watch it. It’s an “Epic Entertainment Spectacular!”

I did not see the new movie in 3D because Augusta has nothing fancy despite being the capital of Maine.  Going into the film I was expecting a large crowd seeing as it was opening day. There were only a few dozen in the showing I went to, displaying once again what tough economic times we are in. Since this movie really kicks off the summer blockbuster season I wasn’t expecting a deep storyline or phenomenal dialogue. I was expecting giant scorpions snipping people in two, Medusa making lifelike statues, and a giant turtle…..I mean Kraken. Seriously though, it looks like a cross between your typical squid-like Kraken, a turtle, and the Rancor from Star Wars. The old one looked laughably like a swamp monster. The movie delivered on the action front but skimped on story. Character development was okay but nothing special.

There were two guys in the film who apparently were supposed to be the comic relief. They were hunters, claiming to be capable of killing anything…unless it’s in the underworld. Their characters were underdeveloped and weak, lacking any real value in either comic relief or story and only moderate value in action.

The biggest problem I had with the film was they needed MORE BUBO! I mean COME ON! Bubo was the coolest part of the original film. A fully animated mechanical owl with a heroic side. He only appears once as a brief homage to the original film and he isn’t even animated.

Even if Bubo didn’t get the screentime he deserved, the film did do some really cool updates to the old movie. Mount Olympus was very impressive, though a nice full CGI shot would’ve been cool. The underworld and the medusa scene were well done and added the urgency that the original film lacks. Overall the film was very entertaining with an appropriately epic soundtrack.

Rating?  87%**. The movie did what it set out to do, did it well, and didn’t leave me with a feeling of dissapointment. That’s all I ask.

*Side rant: Why do they always make movie-sites so large it takes three hours to load them? Darn it all. However, you can do one of those neato 3D card things with the kraken here.
**I’m switching to a percentage rating system because it allows me to be more precise. Otherwise I’ll feel like I’m giving too many films the same rating that are really on different levels.


No matter how much planning you do before your video you are going to forget something or leave something out that would add an immense amount of value to your final product. This is something you can’t avoid. Good planning helps minimize it, but even pros have something called “pickups.”

Here is a great short video by Whitestone Motion Pictures which explains just what pickups are and how they are what makes a good movie great. Also, if you haven’t watched Whitestone Picture’s lineup of short films I highly recommend that you do so.

Pickups: The Mortar of The Story from Whitestone Protege Program on Vimeo.