Category Archives: video

Lightworks – Pro video editing for Linux?

Anyone have any experience with Lightworks?

Very affordable ($60) video editing software, claims to be pro, and they (beta) support Linux!

I need to upgrade my video-editing set-up and with the demise of FCP really not sure what to do.

Apple makes a great laptop but I’m sick of using it for editing. I want a high-powered tower that I can upgrade myself as funds become available (and that will function decently with the limited budget I have now). The new Mac Pro will surely be out of my price range & I detest being locked into one manufacturer’s hardware, especially when nothing but the RAM appears to be upgradeable. And it looks idiotic. But the thought of running Windows is unsavory, to say the least. A Hackintosh seems like more trouble than it’s worth, but maybe not…

Linux is already standard for render-farms, and Blender is supposedly quite good, and Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve (pro color-correction software) runs on Linux. So Linux seems like a promising environment for pro video editing & post. But the editing options were dire last I checked (albeit a couple years ago) — doable for simple web videos, perhaps, but buggy and definitely not set up for making deliverables for a professional post house. Though mencoder can probably do anything; perhaps I’ll end up with some convoluted workflow of editing on a Mac and compressing with Linux?

Anyway, mulling over the next upgrade. Avid on a PC? FCP-X or Avid on the cheapest Mac that will work with eSATA? Premiere on any of the above? None of these are particularly appealing, so I’ll be very excited if a Linux video workstation were to become a not-insane option. Lightworks on Linux is in Beta now, with a very long list of bugs, so it still qualifies as insane for the moment. But I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on it over the next year.

Edward Snowden’s Opening Statement


“NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society …”

“You could not have done better if you had gone to central casting and had a professional scriptwriter. He’s on the nerdy side of attractive, sensible-sounding and relaxed, articulate, and able to deliver key points in a compact, mass market friendly manner.” Yves Smith

I was surprised that the existence/extent of our surveillance state was a surprise. Didn’t everybody know that? But the way the Guardian/Greenwald have played this so far is wonderful. The prosecution of whistleblowers is in many ways a much greater threat to our freedom than the spying. It seems completely inescapable that private data will be collected by both corporations and governments so long as the server space & energy exists to do so cheaply. But it’s what’s done with the data that’s scary, especially the lack of consequences for abusers of data. Whistleblowers are a crucial line of defense against abuse. This is true not just of surveillance but also financial & environmental regulation, for example. Consistently we’ve been prosecuting the whistleblowers instead of the criminals, accelerating the cycle of corruption and decay in government and society.

For Edward Snowden to publicly reveal himself at the height of media attention on the story, is a masterful shift of the story away from “privacy” and towards “importance & vulnerability of the little guy who speaks out against the system.” Whereas police brutality was arguably a distraction from Occupy’s message of income inequality, I hope whistleblower prosecution usurps the surveillance debate. Which isn’t to say that surveillance isn’t a huge issue. It deserves the spotlight, or even better, full sun. But we can’t make any traction on that issue, or financial crimes, or unsafe power plants, etc., if we keep ignoring & imprisoning whistleblowers.

In this video Snowden is a perfectly-cast hero for the whistleblower plight. If a more confident America in 1964 got Mario Savio speaking truth to power, then for 2013, with our “rockstars” being Facebook developers (or some such nonsense), Snowden is perfect: white, male, nerdy, calm, non-threatening, attractive enough to look good on camera, “self-made” high school drop out who went on to a lucrative upper-middle class career thanks to his skills. Basically, how the archetypal Redditor imagines himself to be.

So we finally have a narrative to make rally around whistleblower protection. Exquisitely played PR, Mr. Greenwald. What Cindy Sheehan was to the anti-war movement, perhaps Edward Snowden will be to whistleblowers. Of course, that means the counter-PR will ferocious. So far Snowden appears to have more foresight than Manning and more humility than (and hopefully none of the rapiness of) Assange. So it remains to be seen how they’ll go about destroying him in the court of public opinion. I am relieved that he seems to have gone into this with his eyes open, fully aware of what he is sacrificing. He deserves our gratitude and admiration. The battle ahead will be nasty indeed.

“The Struggle for Full Employment: Not a New Idea and Not a New Struggle”

Last weekend I attended Left Forum and videoed a fantastic panel, The Struggle for Full Employment: Not a New Idea and Not a New Struggle, sponsored by the National Jobs for All Coalition.

“The Struggle for Full Employment: Not a New Idea and Not a New Struggle”
Left Forum 2012
Saturday, March 17, 5:00-6:40 PM, Room W401

www.njfac.org
www.jobscampaign.org

The presentation explores New Deal job creation efforts and FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights that began with the right to a decent job. It discusses two major attempts to secure full employment, in the immediate post-World War II period and in the 1970s, the first ending in the defeat of full employment legislation and the second, in the failure to implement a watered-down full employment act. Full employment, the presentation shows, will take a fundamental break with neo-liberalism and a reorientation of power from big business and Wall Street to middle- and working-class people and will require the full-scale social movement that both earlier struggles lacked.

Panelists:

Chuck Bell: Vice Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition, co-author of “Shared Prosperity: The Drive For Decent Work” (2006). Twenty years of experience in consumer and health care advocacy, and community movements for jobs and economic justice.

Helen Ginsburg: Professor Emerita of Economics, Brooklyn College, CUNY., and co-founder of the National Jobs for All Coalition. Author of books and articles on employment policy and strategies.

Gertrude S. Goldberg: The New Deal and Social Welfare Professor of Social Policy Emerita, Adelphi University School of Social Work where she directed the Ph.D. program. Chair of the National Jobs for All Coalition. Co-chair of the Columbia Seminar on Full Employment, Social Welfare & Equity. Author/co-author and editor of six books and numerous book chapters and articles on social policy and employment.

Moderator: Sheila D. Collins, Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University and co-founder of the National Jobs for All Coalition.

Video by Rebecca Rojer, http://rrrojer.net

Remarks on Proposed Middle School De-leveling.

Context: The Maplewood-South Orange School District, which I attended my entire public school career, is in the process of de-leveling the middle school. The district belongs to a community with many wonderful and unique characteristics: suburban, easy public access to NYC, artistically vibrant, and both racially and economically diverse. But the leveling system reveals an uglier side, as the school is blatantly segregated along racial (and socio-economic) lines.

You can read the district’s proposal here. A paper profiling three case studies of successful elimination of “curricular stratification” can be found here. Its focus is on how to de-level, but the endnotes contain an overview of the literature on why, with two decades of papers discussing the benefits of heterogeneous grouping. Our district is in communication with one of the district’s profiled, and seems to be following the steps outlined in the paper.

Finally, I was inspired to prepare these remarks after attending a discussion of alumni last week. It was a powerful post-mortem on our public school experiences. Hearing first-hand the vastly different experience some of my peers had in the very same schools has motivated me to get involved in this issue (again). The discussion was hosted by a filmmaker and fellow district alumnus Cris Thorne, who is working on a documentary called Deleveling the System. Excerpts of the discussion are online here and here. Additionally, I highly recommend Cris’s earlier documentary (produced as a high school student!), One School, for more background.

Finally, I should note that I was unable to read the complete transcript, because I had prepared for the standard 3 minutes of public comment and found out upon arrival that we were restricted to two minutes.

My name is Rebecca Rojer, CHS class of 2005.

As a k-12 alumnus of this district, it is clear to me that the leveling system is not colorblind. In both the classrooms and the hallways, white students are consistently given the benefit of the doubt, while black students are assumed to be trouble-makers and low achievers. Students enter school with different degrees of preparedness, but the leveling system calcifies these differences into inequalities.

Worse, the leveling system turns prejudice into self-fulfilling prophecy. Low expectations correlate to low performance. For example, women perform worse on math exams after being told there is a genetic difference in math ability between the sexes.

There is clearly a place for grouping students by skill-level and motivation. But it is not always beneficial, even for “top” students. This is especially true of the turbulent and vicious middle-school years, where academic success is better predicted by behavior and obedience than by aptitude.

There are many styles of learning – fast, slow, deep, shallow, literal, abstract, disciplined, intuitive – yet we conceive of “high” and “low” achievers through standardized tests that are valued precisely because they simplify everyone onto a single metric. When testing becomes the end game of education, we all suffer. Excessive reliance on testing dehumanizes students and ultimately sabotages their education. Students who feel valued and respected are more apt to learn. The infuriating paradox in our district is that top-level classes are discussion based, encouraging of critical thinking and debate, while lower-level classes too often focus exclusively on test prep.

Education is about empathy, respect, creativity, and citizenship as much as it is about literacy and arithmetic. These values reenforce each other. Knowledge is power, and schools should empower students. Let’s teach compound interest alongside the history of redlining and predatory lending. Education is about life, not the GEPA.

There is much to be gained by heterogenous classes. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to a peer. And one of the best ways to be challenged, is to be confronted by someone who’s experiences and values are different from your own. That is what I most cherish from my education in this district. And for that, I really have to thank a group of my classmates, some of whom who are here tonight, for literally stopping classes my senior year to create a conversation among students in different levels.

Lets not forget, we’re all in this together. Today’s students are tomorrow’s voters, workers, mortgage-signers, taxpayers, parents, neighbors. Your children’s lives are affected not just by their own education, but by the education of everyone who participates in this society. To fret about the rigor of your special snowflake’s 6th grade social studies curriculum in light of massive, structural inequality is short-sighted and just plain wrong.

There is a wide-spread assumption that integrating classes will destroy our education system and wipe out our property values. Students can feel this very early on, and it is exactly this kind of attitude that perpetuates inequality. The best way to lift your property values is to do what’s right: work towards a system that benefits all students instead of only half. Lets reject the politics of fear, and instead move forward with empathy, creativity, and determination.