The DSLR Experience Continues

•May 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Many of you know that I have been shooting a series for Fox 26 News called Houston Bloggers – reports on restaurants, the arts, and lifestyle with various Houston bloggers. I shoot them with my Canon DSLR and edit them on a MacBook Pro. As I refine and expand my skills, I’ve moved up from using iMovie 11, finally breaking down and buying Final Cut Pro X.

I know there has been a lot of controversy about Final Cut Pro X – but I love it. Fairly simple to use and a lot more flexibility and options than iMovie. One of the options not available in iMovie is the ability to synch audio and video clips. That opened up the door to make my next move in the DSLR world – buying a high-end digital audio recorder to make a separate and cleaner audio track of my interviews and then merge that audio with the clips shot by the DSLR.

It has made a HUGE difference in the audio quality of my stories. I went with the Tascam DR-40 – which gives you the option of using two built-in mics, or hooking up external mics (I use two hard-wired lav mics for my interviews).

Here’s one of the latest pieces for your viewing pleasure.


Mussel Memory

•March 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I had my first experience with mussels in the epicenter of mussels – Belgium. It was a small restaurant in the old town square in Brussels, and a dozen of the succulent bivalves sat steaming in front of me, swimming in a garlicy broth and surrounded by small toasted bread squares. I was hooked.

I can’t remember when the first time was I tried cooking mussels on my own. I do know that I learned over time what a wonderful and easy dish it was to prepare.

The other thing I have learned is that what costs a hefty sum in a restaurant is dirt cheap to make at home. The profit margin on mussels at restaurants must be incredible.

Tonight I made the family mussels steamed in stout with oregano and garlic, plated over spinach capellini.

My wife and 10-year-old son joined in on the feast (it was pizza for the 8-year-old who has not yet developed a taste for mussels, although does make his father proud by eating lox). The not-so-secret secret about mussels is how easily you can make a restaurant-quality dish at home. A large glass-covered pan, some spices and beer, heat, and the mussels and you have it made.

Whole Foods provided the fresh mussels – 9 bucks for 5 dozen. Throw in a couple of dollars for the pasta and about $5 for a couple of glasses of store-bought wine (for me and my wife), and we’re talking a mussel dinner for 3 for under $20. That same meal at even an o.k. restaurant would be at least three times expensive.

So – the next time you want to impress yourself, your spouse, or for the single set, a date,
check out the seafood section and check out with a nice pile of mussels. You’ll create your own mussel memory.

A Technological Epiphany

•January 29, 2012 • 1 Comment

Some people have religious epiphanies. I’ve had a technological one.

Yes, after years of dismissing the “Apple/Mac” craze, I have dived into the deep end.

It started when I began entertaining thoughts of starting a small production company some day, and wanted to develop my editing skills. I’ve been shooting some stories for my station, working with local bloggers to produce stories about the food/arts/community scene in Houston. I’ve been shooting them with my Canon DSLR, and wanted to start editing the stories myself. After listening to the “Macs are the best for video editing” mantra, I took the plunge, and got a MacBook Pro.

So far, I’ve been using the iMovie11 software that came with the computer, and it has been doing a great job for the editing I need to do.

Here’s an example of one of the blogger stories I did recently for our Friday night newscast:

Chocolate Bar from Geoffrey Roth on Vimeo.

And then, I took the next, profound step. After years of avoiding having a smartphone, I went whole hog and got an iPhone 4s. And now I find myself saying, “How did I ever live without this?”. Besides having the world at my fingertips, the implications for using it to enhance my job are incredible. From apps that allow me to scan documents and convert them to pdf files you can email, to the video capabilities and editing you can do right on the phone, it is amazing. Using my phone today with the $5 iMovie for iPhone app, I shot and edited this little video of my kids at the park :

A Day at the Park from Geoffrey Roth on Vimeo.

Just think what you could do if you came upon a spot news story – shoot it, edit it, and email it in to the station!

So – in a nutshell, I’ve become an Apple nut.

Break A Few Eggs

•August 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Everyone should be able to make an omelet. Egg cookery is as good a beginning as any, as it’s the first meal of the day, and because the process of learning to make an omelet is, I believe, not just a technique, but a builder of character.

— Anthony Bourdain

I’ve been meaning, for some time now, to share some thoughts about why I like making omelettes so much (and taking pictures of them to post on Facebook).

The funny thing is, I was never much of a breakfast person, at least not a “breakfast at home” person. I always loved getting breakfast on the road, when someone else was making it for me. That led to one of my obsessions, documented a few times, of finding the perfect corned beef hash. But, on any given normal day, breakfast was a cup of coffee.

I can’t remember the exact day it started, but after I got back from my bi-coastal teaching experience, I decided to make breakfast for my kids, and thus was born the smiley-face omelettes.

What I discovered as I started making these more often was that creating them was an incredible way to start the day.

First, as they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It got me to start eating something in the morning, so I wouldn’t overeat later in the day because I was so hungry.

Second, I found it very therapeutic. Cooking for me, in general, is relaxing. Spend some time in the morning chopping up ingredients, whisking eggs in a bowl,  coming up with different combinations to put in the omelette, and creating that smiley-face, and you’ll find you’ve cleared your mind, given yourself some thinking time, and revved yourself up for the day,

Third, the morning omelette is often a great way to use leftovers from the night before. From short ribs to chicken to brisket, I’ve been able to recycle  food in new and fun ways.

Fourth, it creates some great family time with the kids in both making and eating the omelettes.

As far as photographing my creations – hey, even Iron Chef gives points for the artistic aspect of food, the presentation. Food as art. Like my “flying lox” creation above.

So, crack a few eggs, clear your mind, let your creativity flow, and have a great start to the day. Make an omelette!

Multi- Tasking

•March 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Many of you have heard me harping about multi-tasking in the new world of media. I drilled it in to my students at Hofstra, I champion it in my newsroom, and I try to practice it myself.

I’m also a big fan of cheaper, compact equipment that delivers broadcast-quality work and makes it easier for one person to do it all.

I recently put my money where my mouth is, and started producing a series for our station using local Houston bloggers to put together video essays about cool stuff around town.

I produced and shot these with my Canon T2i DSLR, and a Samson wireless mic designed for DSLRs. Total cost for my setup – less than $1,000.

Truth in advertising: I did have one of the editors at the station edit the story – I still don’t have the editing down with the equipment here, but hope to at some point.

We aired the first story last Friday. Click on the link to watch it.

Houston Bloggers: Gourmet FoodTrucks

Let me know what you think.

Welcome 2011

•January 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well, I suppose if I have this blog, I should take a quick look back at 2010 and a look ahead.

It was another year of traversing the country.

The year started out in New York, still teaching at Hofstra and enduring cold winters.

Then I made the cross-country trip back home to spend the summer in Fresno.

During the summer I changed my look – shaving off  the beard, and then I headed back across the country to start the fall semester at Hofstra. After a lot of soul-searching, personal needs,  and knowing that the family needed to be back together (and in a warm place), I decided to get back into the news business. That brought us to Houston, TX and a new job as an EP at KRIV TV. We’ve been exploring the city and all the great things it has to offer, including lots of fun places to dine out (like Pappas Burgers):

Those of you who know me know that my theme song could be the Allman Brothers “Ramblin’ Man” –

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man,
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can.
And when it’s time for leavin’,
I hope you’ll understand,
That I was born a ramblin’ man.

My 9-year-old son has lived in 6 different states in his young life. But, I think this Houston move may be a “settling down” move. We love it here – love the neighborhood where we live, love the school the kids go to, love the city, and I am loving my job (maybe I need to change my theme song to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”).

Some favorite things from 2010:

Favorite New York City experience: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Favorite class taught at Hofstra:  A Critical Look at the Broadcast Media

Favorite New York Restaurant:  Dovetail (visited during Restaurant Week)

Restaurant Week in Manhattan

It is Restaurant Week in Manhattan. During a slow tourist week, high end restuarants offer 3-course tasting menus for $35. This was my trip to Dovetail on the Upper West Side (with a trip to the South Street Seaport and a walk through Tribeca and SoHo beforehand).


Favorite restaurant in Houston:  Taco Milagro in the Montrose area. Why? Fantastic mole negro:

Favorite family event of the year:   Trip to San Fran and a first time visit to Alcatraz.

Achievement of the Year –  Being awarded Hofstra’s School of Communication Teacher of the Year Award (first time a first-year professor ever won it).

And finally – no New Year’s resolutions for this year – but two goals that I want to hit by the time I retire (which, hopefully, will be sometime into the third decade of the 21st Century)

1) To work somewhere overseas for a while

2) To be living in my retirement city by the ocean – either La Jolla or Key West.

Let’s see if we can hit those goals!

Happy 2011.

We Begin Again

•December 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

O.K. – so it appears WordPress has locked me out of my last blog, which has given me the inspiration to start fresh. Rather that narrow the theme of the blog (although conventional wisdom says that more focussed blogs do better), I am naming this one geoffreysworld, which is pretty much what the last two blogs were anyway. So – prepare for posts about travel, food, our new home (Houston), journalism, and whatever else comes to mind (as in the next post about living in warm weather).