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Timelapse: a day of roadtropping in under two minutes

Bite size pieces of our view on the road

In planning for this trip, I thought it might be a cool idea to do a timelapse video of our journey. We certainly wouldn't be the only people who've done this, but it would be a great way for us to remember a month-long trip that's so packed with events that a week in, I'm already having trouble remembering just where it was we were three days ago. At first, I thought about getting some older Canon point-n-shoot, installing hacked firmware, and mounting that somewhere, but after doing some research, I discovered that a camera called the GoPro Hero HD has a built-in intervalometer. You can set it up to shoot pictures every 1, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. Maybe even more than that, but that's all I needed to know. So a few weeks before we hit the road, we checked Adorama, and they happened to have a blowout on the previous generation of the camera, to make room for the newer, even flashier cameras.

These little things are amazing machines. I'd seen videos people took with them, but in doing this research, it was the two videos of people dropping their GoPros while skydiving (at 2,000ft and 13,000ft), then finding them (while they were still filming!) that sold me. Or maybe it was the video of a GoPro falling off a surfboard and rolling around in a reef that impressed me (That one was found a few months later, in perfect working condition). I knew that nothing we were doing would be that hardcore, except maybe climbing Half-dome, but that level of engineering really impressed me. What also impressed me was that it was $153 for the camera, with six mounts, a 200mph suction cup mount, and two cases (one waterproof), new in the box.

I tried mounting it to the dashboard, but had I read the instructions I would have known that for as great as the 3M moutning adhesive is, it doesn't work on textured plastic. So, on the glass behind the rear view mirror it went. Through a somewhat archaic process involving the two buttons and cryptic LCD display, I set the camera up to take a photo every 30 seconds. I had to buy a new (third!) case that allowed me to run USB into it so that we could power the camera whenever the car was on.

The case also has a slot on the side for easy removal of the hot-swappable SD card. I can pull the card out, dump the photos onto a hard drive, then pop it back in and it picks up taking photos where it had left off.

Like any other digital camera, it stores the photos using incremental numbers appended to the photo name. This comes very much in handy when its time to turn those photos into a video. For this, I use one of my favorite all-around programs, Sony Vegas. I started out using this for multitrack audio, but it's developed into a phenomenal video editor, and I've learned how to utilize that. In this case, I import the photo sequence, set a framerate, and because the camera is mounted upside down in the car, rotate the video. I play around with the resolution, reducing it for a speedier upload, add audio, render, then whenever we have wifi, upload it to YouTube.

With some downtime in Daytona, Melissa busted out the mandolin she brought with her, and recorded a tune into our Zoom H4n. I put together a beat using Figure on my iPhone, and dubbed in some traffic sounds I recorded outside our hotel. Since I had uploaded the first few videos before having audio, I simply used YouTube's audio replace function to swap in music, but you can hear part of the track we recorded on the Day 4 video. Day 5 features a beat I put together on the Tempest a few months ago as part of Melissa's composition for "Pulse," a dance piece performed in New York earlier this year.

Day 1: Philadelphia to Cape Hatteras

Day 2: From the Outer Banks to Knoxville, TN

Day 3: Knoxville, TN to Atlanta, GA

Day 4: Spending the day in Atlanta, then driving to Savannah

Day 5: Savannah to Daytona Beach via Highway A1A

Also, there are more pictures available at pix.roadtrop.com:

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Posted by leviathant 11:56 Archived in USA Tagged florida savannah georgia daytona atlanta kennedy_space_center video gopro timelapse Comments (0)

Nashville and Atlanta

A breeze-through taste of a couple of Southern towns

all seasons in one day 80 °F
View Roadtrop on mormolyke's travel map.

FLICKR SET: Roadtrop: Nashville
FLICKR SET: Roadtrop: Atlanta

When we first decided to take this roadtrop, I thought 35 days was a pretty decent length of time to spend on the road. It became clear as I dove into planning, however, that if we really wanted to do it properly, six months might have been more appropriate -- but there was no way we could afford to leave home and jobs for half a year. So it goes that some of the cities we visit are basically pit-stops; we can get out of the car for a few hours and walk around, but we can't really soak it up or take the time to live like a local.

Nashville was one of those towns, but I'm happy we dropped in. We first spent about half an hour walking up and down Music Row, which felt like a soon-to-be-artifact, especially after the classes I took this semester, which focused on new developments in copyright and the cultural changes precipitated by the internet. Maybe twenty years ago, I would have been seriously excited to see the names of the big record labels and their hulking art deco styled studios, but the complete dearth of other passers by and the frequent "For Lease" signs made me think ghost town. Sandwiched between the studios are plenty of lawyer's offices; I predict the whole street will be nothing but law firms eventually -- the lawyers who got fat and rich preying on the companies that preyed on the musicians.

Nashville: Greeted by a pianist near Music Row

Nashville: Greeted by a pianist near Music Row

Our next unplanned stop was the Frist museum, which we initially entered for the purpose of gulping down some air conditioned climate and to avoid a possible storm (which never appeared *thanks, Inaccuweather*). One of the you-win-some-you-lose-some aspects of living in the NYC-Philly megalopolis is that art museums everywhere else seem so cheap! Wow, are you kidding me, $10.50 for both of us to enter!? AND there was a sweet exhibit on the theme of (extremely creepy) fairy tales, that was not only right up my alley, but contained artworks by some of my creeptastic favorites, like Charlie White and Patricia Piccinini.

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We avoided the Country Music Hall of Fame, though I'm sure it would have been kind of interesting if we'd had more downtime, and strolled around the downtown district, with its music-themed everything, and bar stages already alive with various performing country bands at 2PM. It was cool to see. Even though 90% of country music isn't my thing, I wish we could have hung around for night time, when I bet that whole area is popping.

Nashville: Batman

Nashville: Batman


Nashville: A band on every floor of the bar

Nashville: A band on every floor of the bar


Nashville: Matt checks out a walking map

Nashville: Matt checks out a walking map


Nashville: Matt is surprised that Nashville is actually pretty neat

Nashville: Matt is surprised that Nashville is actually pretty neat

Other highlights: I found a Goorin hat store - I've been buying their hats online for years (the two hats I've worn so far - see pix - are both by Goorin) but they don't have an outlet near Philly.

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This photo is from a shitty tourist store, but I have been thinking of buying a shitty straw cowboy hat. For shits.

We closed out Nashville with a trip to the estate of Great American Brilliant Asshole Andrew Jackson, known as the Hermitage, which is idyllic and gorgeous as long as you don't think about all the slaves.

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The Hermitage: Matt in Arcadia

The Hermitage: Matt in Arcadia

There were neat animals there too.

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The Hermitage: Cat and rabbit Mexican standoff

The Hermitage: Cat and rabbit Mexican standoff


The Hermitage: Cat stares at rabbit

The Hermitage: Cat stares at rabbit


The Hermitage: Rabbit ignores cat

The Hermitage: Rabbit ignores cat


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The Hermitage: Turkey and his horse friend

The Hermitage: Turkey and his horse friend

That evening, we hit the road again and made our way back east to Atlanta, Georgia, which Matt had always been interested in visiting. It was a total joy to stay with friends Dave and Charlene, who have known Matt since he was about 15 when they ran an ISP in his hometown of Shrewsbury, PA. They are seriously some of the most awesome people we know (along with their Baltimore-dwelling daughter Melanie, also a friend that we don't see nearly enough). They stuffed us with so much breakfast six hours ago that we haven't eaten since, and they're about to take us out to a barbecue joint that I'm sure will be ridiculously delicious.

7164666710_5c06d1441e.jpgDunphys hanging with Lesters

Dunphys hanging with Lesters

We weren't too sure what to do in Atlanta at first, because we totally forgot that CNN is based there.

Atlanta: We're at CNN!

Atlanta: We're at CNN!


Atlanta: Wait a minute, what are we doing at CNN!?

Atlanta: Wait a minute, what are we doing at CNN!?

OK, so it's not like we like CNN, at least not the stream of garbage it's sadly become in the last decade or so. But Matt has worked at newspapers, and I worked in TV news for a couple years in both Australia and the US, so there's still something kind of cool to us about going to check out CNN's main studio. We took an hour-long tour by a great guide named Brandon who took one of our Roadtrop business cards and checked out this website on the spot; it was interesting to Matt because he hadn't really seen the inner workings of a TV news studio before, but for me, the interest was in how freaking inflated everything was from the environments in which I used to work. Everything and everyone in it was functionally identical, but BIGGER and MORE and FLASHIER and SUPER-EXPENSIVE. Studio 7, their flagship space, has about $12 million worth of equipment in it, including 100-inch interactive touch screens and five $300,000 robo-cams and a crazy body-mounted steadycam that I honestly thought was a bit pointless -- but it was cool.

Brandon? Brendan? CNN tour guide dude.

Brandon? Brendan? CNN tour guide dude.


Atlanta: Fake master control

Atlanta: Fake master control


Atlanta: Quality journalism from HLN

Atlanta: Quality journalism from HLN


Atlanta: Fake studio

Atlanta: Fake studio


Atlanta: CNN journalists diligently scour Twitter for breaking news material

Atlanta: CNN journalists diligently scour Twitter for breaking news material


Atlanta: CNN courtyard tilt-shift

Atlanta: CNN courtyard tilt-shift

The tour even included a ride on the longest free standing escalator in the world.

Atlanta: The longest freestanding escalator in the world

Atlanta: The longest freestanding escalator in the world


Atlanta: View from the escalator

Atlanta: View from the escalator


Atlanta: The globe at the top of the giant escalator

Atlanta: The globe at the top of the giant escalator

But I still think all of that was eclipsed by the sight that greeted us as we first entered the building:

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Atlanta: RAINICORN!!!!!

Atlanta: RAINICORN!!!!!

We are so happy for Pendleton Ward and the runaway success of Adventure Time. We were both plugging the hell out of his short online before the series was picked up by Cartoon Network, and whenever we catch episodes (usually in random hotels since we don't have cable), it seems mainstream success hasn't dulled the writing. Super yay.

Atlanta: CNN and I are twinsies

Atlanta: CNN and I are twinsies

Posted by mormolyke 17:02 Archived in USA Tagged tennessee georgia atlanta cnn nashville rainicorn Comments (1)

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