This Recorder IS Handy: Zoom H2

Handy Recorder might be a silly name, but the Zoom H2 digital audio recorder is anything but silly.

I was looking for a way to record audio on the go, mostly with video in mind. The most common options are wireless microphones. But a really good one is expensive. And since we would be using it around machinery (ie; spark plugs) I worried about interference with the radio signal.


Then one afternoon I picked up a copy of Event DV magazine and saw an article about the Zoom H2. The specs rolled off like a wish list: built-in mic, external line or mic input, USB interface, no tape, no moving parts, weighs like… nothing. It even has a guitar tuner! What’s not to like?

We ordered one up. When it arrived I put a new battery in my trusty clip-on mic from Radio Shack and we were ready to go.
Synch
To record audio on the Zoom while recording video on our camcorder requires us to synchronize the two for our final product. This is really pretty easy to do with computer video editing software. It’s a similar process to synching a two-camera shoot.

To simplify this feat we use a $2 clicker from the local pet store (you’ve seen them before- like they use to train Border Collies). The click makes a huge spike that’s easily visible on the two audio tracks. Move them so the spikes match up and your sound is synchronized. Once we’re rich and famous maybe we’ll get one of those cool clapboards like the Big Boys use!
The sound is great, it can store days of audio and uses AA batteries. For under two hundred bucks we’ve got a fully portable audio system that can be used standalone or with a clip-on lapel mic. So far it’s worked out great for our nascent video productions, and we’re coming up with new uses almost every day.

I’m planning to use one at work to record conferences. Last week a buddy told me he attended a concert at the Cain’s Ballroom. A guy down in front was holding a Zoom recorder over his head to catch all the action.

This darn thing really is pretty handy.


Video Project to Feature Oklahoma Motorcycling

Several months ago Brad and I decided to start documenting our motorbike journeys more thoroughly. Whenever we set off on a ride we made sure to include a digital camera and/or the video camcorder.

The initial intent was to spruce up the rides listed on Places2ride.com with photos and video clips. After editing a few of the videos (samples are available on You Tube at www.youtube.com/places2ride) we began wondering what would happen if we added in more history, some interviews and maybe a tech tip or two along the way. It all sounded like a TV show we might actually watch!

This is when the idea for Two Wheel Oklahoma was born.

Brad and Rex pretend to be TV hosts!Right now we’re working on a pilot episode for a half-hour television program about motorcycling in and around Oklahoma. The premise is to cover a particular area or road by visiting points of interest along the route. This first show focuses on Oklahoma State Highway 20. We’re also in the process of writing three more that include the Talimena Drive and Route 66.

Once this first one is completed we’re going to work on selling the idea to someone who can get it on the air. In the meantime we’re also looking for more content from other riders who shoot video of their rides in and around Oklahoma, or clubs that have an upcoming event.

We’ve set up a new website where you can find more information and stay up to date with our progress and submit info: www.twowheeloklahoma.com

Drop by and sign up for our email updates while you’re there!

Honorable Mentioned

In between all the bad news, rotten weather and lack of electricity this week there were a few bits of good news.

  • PSO claims our power will be back on this evening.
  • Tulsa Overground selected one of my films.
  • My blog was mentioned in a national newsletter.

Hopefully our juice will be on soon, before we spend a sixth night without lights or heat. The neighborhood has been awash in work trucks and linemen as power is slowly being restored. Last night the temperature finally dropped to the point we had to give up and spend the night with friends.

This year I submitted a few short films to the Tulsa Overground Film Festival. Since this is their 10th year I hoped they might find one of my entries worthwhile. In 2005 they selected Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance and What Happens in Tunica. This year they chose the spoof commercial Because We’re Dix. All of these are available online from the films page at maduko.com.

Last but not least, the latest newsletter from the Recent Past Preservation Network had a brief mention of my Oklahoma Modern blog. They included a photo of the concrete turret house near Sand Springs.

But I still wish our lights were on.

Fun at C-Store Trade Show

Time for my annual tongue-in-cheek video tour of the NACS Show. Here’s another year’s worth of zany products from the huge exposition held by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Once again the hall was awash in energy drinks. The latest trend is to ditch the espresso-style tiny little cans and go for the gut buster Tall Boy. Yet even more energy. Candy looks to be just as gross as always and the merchandise appears to be fully embracing the China Express, with yet more crap that makes a dollar store look upscale.

Enjoy.
http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-8735566810538114234&hl=en

This year I enlisted the help of co-worker Tena Wooldridge, who did an excellent job. The video was shot with my JVC DV-800 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The exterior scenes were shot on the opening day and we roamed the floor on the third and final day of the trade show.

More of my videos & short films…

Winding Down the Drive

My BMW R1150R at the tourist info center on the west end of the Drive.Brad and I made a run down to the Talimena Drive this weekend.

We unknowingly picked a great weekend to go— cooler weather and less traffic. In a week or so the leaves will start turning and the twisties will be crowded with Land Yachts full of gawkers. It was almost like we had the place to ourselves!

We headed down with cameras and gear to start collecting some video to eventually find it’s way on to Places 2 Ride TV. The plan is to begin enhancing the content available there with video segments about the places to ride and roadside attractions along the way. The Talimena seems like a perfect place to start this project. Eventually we hope this would grow to become a standalone site, then shortly followed by fame and fortune. Ahem.

It's no Rocky Mountains. But the Ouchita National Forest is pretty cool just the same.After setting up the tent at a campsite on Lake Wister and a bite to eat in Poteau, we made a quick loop around Heavener and a portion of the Talimena Scenic Drive, or just “drive” as the locals call it. At one scenic turnout we marveled at the rolling hills stretching from one row of mountains to the next. The once majestic mountains of Southeastern Oklahoma have been beaten down by the millennium, but to my eye, still offer a view worth an oh-ah.

The ride back to Wister was purdy as a pitcher. As the sun set I tried to keep my mind off the threat of deer darting across the road (a constant threat but multiplied during the twilight hours). We cruised along and enjoyed the ride.

Brad plays locomotive engineer. But safely.At the Queen Wilamena Lodge we ran into several other motorcyclists. Some of them were from Dallas and stood shivering as the wind howled through their light mesh jackets. I remarked how different this landscape must seem from than anything near the Metroplex. They heartily agreed.

It reminded me how great it is to live only a couple of hours away from such a great place.

Here’s a couple more photos from the trip (click to enlarge)…

Cushmans in Kinta
On the ride down we “discovered” this gathering of Cushman scooter owners in Kinta, Oklahoma.

Stateline Tavern on US-270
Since Mena, Arkansas is in a dry county this is the closest place to the Queen Wilamena Lodge to buy a beer.

Bottle Caps in front of the Stateline Tavern
The parking lot of the Stateline Tavern is carpeted with bottle caps…

Outhouse behind the Stateline Tavern
and the ladies room is well ventilated.

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