Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cate's Newest "The Wonder Show" Produced, Recorded at Bopnique in Chelmsford

John Cate has written more than 300 songs and recorded 7 albums. His songs have been featured in many films and TV shows.  He created and hosted the Americana Showcase at the House of Blues in Cambridge which ran for 8 years.  The new CD release from John Cate and The Van Gogh Brothers is entitled "The Wonder Show", and contains new songs said to tell stories about side shows and religion at the Turn-of-the-Century.  Cate's troop returned to Studio Bopnique in Chelmsford, MA to work with producer Anthony Resta and engineer Karyadi Sutedja recently, and critical previews have considered this latest release, which debuts on February 6 at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA, to be his best yet.

The Wonder Show is available on iTunes and on CD at the release event, where Cate will perform selections from the new album. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New 55 Project Commences!

Here is the link to the New 55 Project, with its own blog and images, with reports on progress to come soon. The goal of the project is to produce a new, very high quality instant 4X5 and 8X10 negative material to replace the no-longer-in-production Polaroid Type 55 instant P/N film. Learning to be done first on fuji instant B&W film fp100b. Not very good is it?

Click here, and please join in the project.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What is a "Still Actor" ?

"Still Actor" is the term used as the name suggests, for an actor for the making of still images.  The implication is that Still Actor relies upon more skill, when done well, than "just a model".  Though there are wonderful models who are also actors, and therefore Still Actors by definition, Still Actors may favor non-moving, silent forms of acting for artistic reasons.  Still Acting may have its own methods and meanings, requiring additional skills beyond striking a pose, and holding it.  Still Acting is primarily used in conjunction with some form of optical image, such as photography. The intersection of portraiture and Still Acting might involve the interpretation of the person through single or serial still images, and various motives, themes, emotions, intentions and complex meanings can be developed by skilled Still Actors.

In commerce and advertising, Still Acting in photographs may attempt to convey meanings that motivate potential customers to favor a specific product, or service.  Still Actors have been involved in certain street  and gallery performances where the contrast between the normal movement of persons in a place stands out against the motionless Still Actor.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Bopnique Site Launches - Massachusetts based home of Anthony Resta

Just a referral to the new Bopnique website that has some dynamic content as well as a player with new music on it.  Anthony Resta and Karyadi Sutejda's lair, now a very busy place for the post-indie making of new music.

There's nothing like doing new things with old parts, and that's what makes Bopnique so productive - Anthony's ability to recreate and collaborate often leads to the unexpected.  Serial Thrillers, Shawn Mullins, and New Collisions are regulars.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hofner Verithin Galore

A shot of my 60s Hofner Verithin with the Scholz X-ray inserts.  This was the Hofner that I bought from Tom Allman in 1980 for $200 and used in many banners and ads.

Here is a link to more on this Hofner.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jim Koger explains the origin of IVUS transducers

Here's Jim Koger test probing early IVUS transducers that worked at the then unbelievable fequency of 30 MHz with fractional bandwidths of 50% or greater.  Not only that, but these particular transducers, which Jim developed, iterated and built over and over many times, had nearly zero ringdown. That meant that close-up imaging, where the transducer is very close to the wall of a heart artery, for instance, could become a reality.

It did.  Today, so-called Direct View IVUS (intravascular ultrasound) is the gold standard for measuring coronary lesions and directing the implantation of arterial stents.  IVUS is about a 600 million dollar business today.  The stent business is many times that, but probably would never had developed were it not for the images provided by IVUS, which were key to the clinical trials and device approvals.  Stent trials drove much of the sales of IVUS in the beginning, but eventually clinicians realized they could do a better job putting stents in if they used IVUS in their daily practice, so many hospitals use IVUS in most coronary interventions involving stents.

All this costs money though, and ultimately lengthens lives, so somebody has to pay for it. Same with new drugs, the cost of development is very high.  But IVUS was done more cheaply, using Ham Radio flea market equipment in this example!

Image: TMAX  6X4.5cm negative processed in pyro.  Shot around 1989 or 1990 and scanned in today using a neato epson 750 pro scanner.

The equipment is interesting and very similar to the way Crowley and Tripp ribbon microphones were developed.  Once exception is the Panametrics 5052UA Ultrasonic Analyzer that I bought at Hosstrader's Hamfest and used at Boston Scientific for many years.  That same analyzer still does the job at Soundwave Research today and is a very valuable, rare piece of gear, combining a short pulse transmitter, stepless gate, and a high gain broadband receiver.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Gibson Strings and Bokeh

Mona-Steel strings suggest perhaps the inclusion of some monel - a naturally occurring stainless steel sort of alloy comprised of nickel and iron, found, I believe, in the city of Sudbury, Ontario.  This old orange box showed up one day and has been propped against the Lafayette PA42 microphone and in front of one of the several remaining RCA 77DXs that still clutter up shelves here at the lab.

But this shot was my first test of a new old lens that I became interested in - a Kodak Aero Ektar, F2.5, able to cover 5X5" film and originally designed for WWII aerial reconnaissance.  It is a big lens and had to be specially mounted on a Pacemaker Speed Graphic camera.

The lens can be thought of as sort of an analog of a transducer, or at least the first part of a transducer.  This wide aperture lens is regarded by aficionados to have "good bokeh" which is an awkward term used by photogs to describe a nice out of focus effect rather than a blur with spikes, circles or pentagrams in it. When it all goes right, there is a subtle but noticeable "3D" effect in the image where the subject stands out nicely.  The field of a microphone is sometimes thought of having an aperture and a focus.