Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

A greeting from Donna and Jim who wish you joy, health and happiness. After years of writing and reading these archival notes ... we still enjoy exchanging holiday messages with our friends and family, BUT now we're using email, and we try to keep it brief ... and still heart-felt. A few efficiencies to start the new year.

Our family has been blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren who are the focus of our attention, with hockey games, birthdays, grandpa's game room, sleepovers and trips. It seems that grandparents acquire a different perspective as we age ... we live in awe of the kids energy, their learning capacity and their many interests. Looking back as parents, maybe we took a lot for granted, and hoped our kids would turn out okay. Well, they sure did! We are proud of what our daughters have done with their lives, and their own families. It's one more gift to consider this Christmas from Aimee, Heather and Megan, Craig, Jeff and Tom. (See the holiday photo below).

We also travel (some might say "too much"). It's been our keen interest to see new places, meet people and experience life in places far from home. In a few weeks we'll head south, to Australia and New Zealand to see great mountains and fjords, the world famous Opera House, and go kayaking, river rafting, and to the bush. In the past year we visited Hawaii, Europe, and the Caribbean -- and our own North Shore, Arizona & Texas. But, it's always good to be home, and to enjoy the seasons here in Minnesota. It's really our favorite place.

Our business ventures continue to grow -- Donna is a consultant for Carrousel Travel/American Express, and Jim is producing video for corporate clients. He also finished a documentary for cable TV about Shoreview's history and won a national cable TV award for a screen play. (See them on the website below.) We wish you all the best .... Good health. Enjoy the moment. Pray for peace. Stay in touch.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

iRiver MP3 Recorders

I just took delivery on my two iRiver MP3 players ... one T30 model (1+ gig) for my business -- somewhat unique among mini-MP3 players ... due to a mini-plug input for external mic. The second unit is similar, a model T60 (2 or 4 gigs) mostly for my personal pleasure, but this has a built-in voice mic, PLUS an FM radio, which records as well. Neither has video or photo viewing -- only a small screen to ID the content. These are great little storage units ... about the size of your thumb, with plenty of digital features ... ie sound equalizer, etc.

I then shopped around for a decent set of ear buds with 'retractable' cord and noise supression. Got a really nice set from Brookstone at an airport. So, both pieces fit in my shirt pocket. The purpose of both is ultra-portability -- The T60 is mostly for trips (rather than using the PDA or cellphone) -- I have stored plenty of my favorite music for exercise workouts, and just sitting around on planes, etc. -- including recorded talk shows .... all recorded from the FM radio. The T30 unit uses a mini-plug for a mic, and is a common trick used by videographers ... just drop the unit anywhere near a speaker, podium or music, and pick up a wild sound track, while still using a camera mic or wireless in other areas. It's a great way to get background, or a safety track for sound from 2nd sources, like weddings, receptions, etc. Normally, I use wireless mics to the camera, but sometimes I run into surprise issues -- so dropping a small mic anywhere is great insurance and sometimes better video (ie -- a piano player at a reception is nice background). I also use a Marantz portable digital audio recorder with XLR stereo inputs and a flash card -- it has better controls and quality, but is also larger (apx. 8 x 5 x 2). The iRiver units are small, fast, and cheap. Just synch up the audio with the video in post. The units plug in to the PC like an external drive .. so just move the file over to the PC editing suite.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"The Brain" is for thinking

animation2 I have been looking at mind-management software for years. I used the Mind-Jet "Mind Manager" mapping tool in my former corporate job, organizing ideas and project details in free-form -- by myself and with teams. It was perfect for think-tanks, but not animated. I was aware of 'The Brain' but it somehow seemed too simplified, basic and rigid in it's early versions. But who would not like animated thought boxes and expandable tags, search, calendaring and HTML export? Now, a decade or so later, The Brain Technologies, has come out with a more robust version that appears to be a good reason to drop $100+ on cool software. And of course they have a free version for testing. This product is classic "dynamic mind-mapping" software that lets you link your ideas, files and web pages "the way you think." (I'm not sure what that means ... it's their term.) Better that you visit their website at -- in fact, take 'The Tour' movie while you're there to see and hear it in motion ... and attend any of their online seminars. Yes, this has more than text and images, it has motion and interaction ... which makes it cool and useful for my purposes of scripting, video planning, project management -- even travel journalism.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Aiptek Camera Sound Test

The attached link is a simple sound test of the Aiptek video / still camera ... comparing a few seconds of the on-camera mic, to a professional mic cabled to a separate digital recorder, and synch'd to the image in post production. Also see the clip below. Both clips were made with this pocket camera. Amazing technology. Go to:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Aiptek Pocket Camera Review

Here's a review of a nifty pocket camera, with decent consumer quality, and incredible price... two key benefits. The review is about 3 minutes, and worth your time to watch. Click start TWICE below. View the 26-page manual by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Celtx Overview - Video & Film Scripting

 logo-notype For those of you into producing video and film, here is a FREE tool that might advance your productivity and efficiency.  Celtx is the world's first fully integrated software for Pre-Production and collaboration of film, theatre, radio and AV. It has all the tools media creators need to bring their stories to life – combining intelligent writing and planning tools, storyboarding, and scheduling with internet-friendly technologies. Open source and free to download, Celtx is the most complete media pre-production software program available anywhere, at any cost. Over 100,000 independent media creators in 160 countries create with Celtx.   Check out the tutorial first ... Go to:  celtx - Overview - It's The Story That Counts.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Party Tent Discount Canopy, Tents, Awnings, Camping, Wedding, Awning, Manufacturers

This site has it all -- in the world of party tents. If you need any size go to this site and check his pricing. Can't be beat -- he ships same day and stands behind his product. It's a big site, so call the owner Brian Nelson ... he's got a 7 min. video about the tents. Good to view this first (below)

Party Tent City .... click here for website.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Radford Video Creations special events videography pricing page

We've had a number of recent inquiries about price from business clients ... which is listed on our web page nav-bar.  Here it is too.

Radford Video Creations special events videography and production

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Have you considered the authenticity of Wikipedia? Apparently a Vermont college has banned Wikipedia as a source for student papers and tests -- considering that the information in some cases was false. So ... the question might boil down to 'Who do you trust' for authoritative information? I worry about the truthfulness of stuff online -- as much as I do in any media.

But the owners of Wikipedia and Wikia would have you believe that the Encyclopedia Brittanica is no better, no more responsible, as a source -- but I wonder. Wikipedia has had a number of misleading and inaccurate stories. The authors generally submit material based on trust, for free. Yes, there is a level of review. But, if a traditional journalist is being PAID and is judged and reviewed on their performance for accuracy -- then maybe that author and the material might be more reliable?

I think this question is even more of a concern for blogs as well. There are some blogs that are seeking equal footing with traditional news sources by requesting press credentials for special events such as ball games, political events, concerts, and corporate annual meetings. Should they be admitted as legitimate members of the traditional press? The bloggers would say they too are investigative reporters who have a right to know, and the freedom of information act supports them. Plus, they may enjoy a sizeable online audience.

There are even blogs sponsored by legitimate newspapers -- a real extention of the media for trained reporters, and response by readers. Today it's a real 'community' of open dialog. Again, who do you trust for accurate information? And what differentiates the traditional journalist from the blog reporter or developer of a Wikipedia article? Plenty!

Just putting 'stuff' on a blog or a website is not necessarily a 'responsible' act of journalism. In many cases it's seriously biased. (We could argue that some journalists, make good bloggers, while being legitimately biased -- it may be their job to offer biased opinion, similar to the OpEd page of a newspaper. But the intent and bias is clearly identified.) The traditional journalist is normally a trained journalist, who follows an ethics code and is paid based on performance, and held responsible by a higher level of authority ... his/her boss, a board of directors, and peers of the industry.

In many cases, the blogger is simply exercising their free opinion, and is responsible to nobody -- and most often has a clear bias. There is little attempt to be 'fair' and balanced, nor accurate, and real problems arise with misleading information. The traditional training and the review process based on 'standards' of performance, are not usually involved in the blog site. Oh, there are exceptions -- but let's face it, any fool can start a blog or claim authenticity to information on a web site. It doesn't mean it's true, nor should it be considered an authentic source by students, business people, customers, or the general public.

At least not UNTIL there is: 1) standards of conduct and practice, and 2) peer reviews based on those standards.

Of course we've all heard the saying, "Do you believe everything you read?" Probably not ... As long as there is freedom of speech, there will be a difference of opinion. The wisdom of 'buyer beware' prevails. So, let's at least warn people which is which ... and make some attempt to separate the opinion from the misleading, from the real facts that are historically, technically, and socially accepted as correct and responsible. And raise the standards of online dialog.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


For those of you who travel -- allot like us or even a little, or wana-be ... check out, which aims to revolutionize how people exchange information on outdoor travels and adventure. It's intended to be a huge index of travel experiences ... for people who hike, go on sailing trips, bike ride or drive routes ... using their GPS data to pinpoint the site with images and maps, and describe the location with text and photos -- from cafe's in Paris, to a trail in the Captol Reef National Park of Utah. You can also pinpoint the routes using Google Earth, or your pocket or car GPS ... A descriptive video is on YOUTUBE at:

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Here's a great product. It locates your lost gizmos -- in my case, a cellphone! I'm amazed. Only a month ago I bought a subscription from STUFFBAK -- which claimed a high rate of returns, but never did I think I'd really need it. (Finders call an 800# with id on the lost item.) I don't lose much stuff ... OK, I lose it in my own house! So, we went to Maui ... and I promptly lost my cellphone on the beach -- actually thinking it may have been in my swimming trunks, and ruined / lost forever in the depths of the sea. WRONG! I got a call today from STUFFBAK that my very cool RAZR Motorola phone had been found on the beach by a hotel employee and was being returned FedEx tonight, FREE, thanks to my subscription to STUFFBAK. Is that a good investment of $20 or what? Forget phone insurance ... get your STUFFBAK! I am a believer.