The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bruce Brown's Endless Support for Surfrider

In 1963 and 1964, Bruce Brown created the first surf movie that the general public would see and that surfers would worship even to this day. He shot 9 miles of silent 16mm film on a world tour with two young American surfers, then spent the next several years editing and re-arranging and working out his simple narrative in front of a live audience.

In the process he created a film genre - the surf movie - and a style which is the forerunner of the modern "reality" video.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Bruce Brown in the studio yesterday as we recorded sound for new Public Service Announcements sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation.

The session was directed by K.C. Cagle of NewBreed Media Arts of Dana Point California - a legendary surfing area that was once home to Mr. Brown. Mr. Cagle joined us in Santa Barbara for the session.

Bruce Brown has been dedicated to preserving public access to our coastlines for surfing and recreational use and surfrider has for many years worked within the community of watersport enthusiasts to support beach and water clean up.

At a time when most of us would be comfortably retired and proud of our accomplishments, Mr. Brown continues his work with Surfrider saying, "It's the least I can do."

(The Sandals - Theme from Endless Summer)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Popcorn Politics

The presidential debate will be fun to watch.
But unless McCain rips off his clothes and screams "They're after me!"
Nothing much will change.

Obama has been campaigning too long to screw this up.
He's been sure footed all week. All he has to do is show that he comprehends what's going on and he will look more presidential than the trapeze artist he's running against.

For his part, all McCain has to do is look he might kill somebody and the right wing will eat it up.

The big news from the McCain camp will come when Palin tearfully resigns next week.

* * * *

Update: 9/30/08

Well, I thought Obama didn't hit very hard on Firday night. Not hard enough to score a knock out. But he apparently won on polling points. He's finally up about 5 points overall which puts him beyond the margin of error, And the swing states have swung his way.

Mean time the angry, divided and increasingly shrill McCain Campaign is spinning into the ground. The problem is certainly bigger than John McCain or the Republican party. All the more reason for him to stand back and avoind getting crushed by the fallout.

But the real deal is this:

George Bush - the head of the Republican party - is nothing but a ghost.
John McCain couldn't unify or lead his party to deliver a win in the House AFTER banking his prestige on it.
AND the Republicans have lost control of the government.

Now its up to the Democrats. They are free to write and pass any bill they want.
But first, they're going to let the Republicans sit and spin.

The Live Web

This is a great thread that is currently (9/26/08) running on Doc Searls Blog called,
"The Live Web"

The conversation is linked here because it discusses what companies are failing to understand about designing and building their online presence.

The comments are from people who are very forward in the online community, meaning that they are "early adopters" who use cutting edge applications to explore the edges of cyberspace. OK, that might be a little hype-ey but I noticed several important ideas here that more business people should read and understand.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ISDN - From Santa Barbara to Anywhere!

What's ISDN?

"High-speed digital network that can send voice, data and video over the same line simultaneously. This network uses traditional telephone networks but requires specialized equipment that allows travel at a higher speed." -

More important is what you can do with ISDN.

For example, The Production Room regularly hosts guests of programs on NPR, BBC, CBC and recently - Radio Netherlands.

The guest arrives at our studio in Santa Barbara and we are linked by ISDN to the recording studio where the program is produced. The host and the guest sound as though they are in the same room at the same time and the result is very high quality interview delivered in real time. In fact, some of our guests have been interviewed and broadcast live on national networks.

I'll have more information about ISDN in the weeks ahead.

New Narration for Channel Islands National Park

I'm very proud of the work I've done on environmental documentary productions over the years. I've been associated with Jean Michel Cousteau and Ocean Futures, The Save our Seas Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and now, thanks to Michael Hanrahan at the Ocean Channel, I also have the privilege of being selected to voice media for Channel Islands National Park.

As someone who has for years been captivated by the National Park System and it's mission to make our nation's natural and cultural resources available to everyone, It's my honor to be part of the media presented to visitors of one of our newer parks. Also, as a proud native of Santa Barbara County, I'm pleased that a local talent has been asked to tell the story of this national park.

For an online example of the work I've done with the Ocean Channel, please watch,
"Santa Cruz Island - Restoring the Balance".

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...And We're Back!

Back in the dim past (I think it was spring) I kind of blew up my business blog to comment on politics and the rhetoric of the Democratic Primary season. Hard to resist since we had two powerful and well coached contenders fighting for control of the Democratic Party as a preliminary to the general election.

But this general election is less about the dexterity of candidates or their skills as campaigners and more about who can find a life boat that will float until we're all rescued in November. So I'm not that interested in what they say because it's mostly obsolete now. (UPDATE: McCain has just suspended his campaign due to the financial crisis. Translation: "The script is out the window!")

I did notice that the Bush appointed Treasury Secretary is lobbying on behalf of his former employer for an industry wide bailout. The final act of this President could be to saddle the next administration with unspeakable debt. Wow. Great idea.

At least there is FINALLY some bi-partisan outrage on Capitol Hill.

* * * * *

In OTHER News!

While you were rapidly sliding into 3rd world status as a citizen of the largest debtor nation in history, I was actually producing hilarious media and serious voice over projects. And beans. I grew a lot of beans.

Fun to mention this item on a day when McCain campaigners continue to stamp their feet and fret over partisanship in the media. (Isn't it ironic that John McCain also chairs the Commerce Committee which oversees the FCC.) UPDATE: McCain also voted to block a re-introduction of the Fairness Doctrine*.
See our take on cable news journalism since the de-regulation of broadcast:

Ooops! And I was trying so hard to stay off of politics!

*McCain co-sponsored Broadcaster Freedom Act

He co-sponsored S. 1742:

Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007
A bill to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repromulgating the fairness doctrine.

Cosponsor: Sen. John MCain [R-AZ]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn Leaves

The following is a post from my other blog page, Dunn Creek Organic Farm. It's kind of like that essay we all had to write in September, "What I did this summer".

Each summer, our family lives and works on our organic farm on Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada. This year I related some of our story in text and pictures. I hope you'll check it out!

This summer on PEI was all too short as usual and a quite bit wetter than normal! After the basement flooded, Post Tropical Storm Hannah dumped another 3 inches of rain on our farm in Eastern PEI.

So, when the weather cleared and the fields dried enough for me to slog through, I found soggy potatoes but glorious beet greens and swiss chard! Lots of our yellow beans went un-picked until it was too late for me to bring in a top quality product. The beans showed rust, and other effects of too much water. Letting them hold too long on the plant also meant they were past their tender best. So out to the compost they go!

Sweet corn finally came in - but too late in the season to do much good. We had an acceptable level of corn worm damage and nice size ears from plants otherwise stunted earlier in the season by lack of rain and some fertility/rotation issues I need to solve.

My last few days of work on the farm have focused on cleaning up the rows that were fallowed this year and the crops that were finished for the season. I take up a lot of this material by hand (weeds, plants, etc.) and mix it into compost. The compost works for two years and is then applied to planting rows.

It was beautiful on Friday morning when I went to the shore to pick up a manure spreader load of sea kelp for the compost pile. This rich source of micro-nutrients and biological energy mixes well with the horse manure we collected over the summer and the fresh green waste (the old bean plants, cukes, summer squashes, windfall apples and weeds). All are combined in layers with spoiled hay and then the fun begins!

Nothing better than coming out on a frosty Autumn morning to see steam rising off the compost pile! It's tremendous to be able to watch the process that creates fertility as bacteria, water and oxygen become a bio-engine that sterilizes and breaks down the mixture into healthy soil ammendment!

The farm business was slow this year. Despite our success at Dundas and at our periodic market table in Murray River, the number of visitors to eastern PEI and customers at our gate lane was well below what it has been in former years. I'll let tourism PEI determine why, but I think it's fair to guess that the high cost of fuel, parity of the US dollar and confusion about border crossings etc. made it tough for Americans to make the trip.

The number of visitors from Quebec, who often exclaim their appreciation at finding an organic farm on their island tour, also seemed to be fewer this past year. Though the visitors we did receive from Quebec were lovely and enthusiastic and made me aware that I really need to learn to at least name our produce varieties in French.

Even so, we did have some success in ways that are important to our business. We used our logo and the PEI organic producers co-op label on our bagged products and were rewarded by repeat business from people who recognized our branding.

We also found new ways (for us) to use machines for planting, how crop rotations can be improved and how companion planting can improve resistance to pests and improve yield.

So, all in all we made progress on the land and kept things moving ahead.