Safe Online Banking for Military Families

first_imgOnline banking may be recently growing in popularity among civilians, but it is a process many service members have been using for years.Reconciliation of shared checking accounts can be near impossible when a family member is away; online banking helps by making transaction history available from anywhere in the world.Many online banking programs are now designed to offer online bill pay, a service that allows customers to set up regularly occurring debits from their account to pay cell phone, car payments and other monthly bills. A tutorial of this process is at www.bankofamerica.com/onlinebanking/learning-center.goAs a PFM, you are probably used to encouraging service members to do their research before opening an account. Bankrate.com is a good resource that lets users comparison shop for bank services, interest rates and check locations before opening an account.Military-affiliated credit unions or banks are financial institutions that understand the military lifestyle. Military credit unions also offer a bevy of services, and are always located on or near military bases. Member-owned credit unions also usually offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and lower rates on loans than shareholder-owned banks. And the Navy Federal Credit Union serves all four branches of the military and offers specialized accounts. Large national bank with locations around the country can also a good strategy, as military families relocate frequently.Online banking does require vigilance to protect user’s account numbers and personal information. Here are 7 steps you can suggest to military families so they may conduct online banking, safely:Make sure computers used for online banking have updated operating systems, web browsers and security features like anti-spyware, anti-malware and firewalls that update automatically.Try not to do online banking in open access wifi spots where Internet access is shared among users. Ask if the network is secure and what security measures are in place.Look at the URL and note the ‘s’. Banking sites should begin with “https” as the “s” stands for “secure.”Use strong, unique passwords with a combination of lower case and upper case letters,  numbers and special characters and keep passwords hidden.  Do not use any part or combination of your name, birth date, or, common words. Change passwords often and use different passwords for different accounts.Log out after completing online banking and clear the Internet history.Keep account numbers and banking information in a safe, secure location, in the event that passwords are forgotten or online access is otherwise denied.If you get an email from your bank – or from any other company- requesting account numbers or passwords., do not reply. Call the bank for confirmation. A reputable bank will never ask for this information through an email.Get more tips at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/online-securitylast_img read more

Military Father Involvement: Part 1

first_imgBy Rachel Dorman, M.S. & Kacy Mixon, PhD, LMFT[Flickr, 20140626-Z-XH589-278 by Mayland National Guard, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 23, 2015In past posts we’ve touched on child outcomes of father involvement and provided resources surrounding the National Fatherhood Initiative. Today’s blog continues the conversation in part one of our military fatherhood blog series featuring a study examining thoughts, feelings and actions of military fathers. Willerton, Schwarz, Wadsworth, and Oglesby (2011) gathered information about military fathers’ involvement with their children [1]. Participants in the study included 71 military fathers from 14 U.S. military installations who attended focus groups within six months after returning from deployment. They were asked questions about their 1) perception of their role as a father, 2) relationship with their children prior to deployment, 3) interactions and communications with their children while deployed, and 4) experiences upon reunification and reintegration into the family after deployment.Researchers categorized their findings into three overlapping domains: thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In this post, we will focus on the findings within the cognitive domain, defined by the researches as the thoughts related to fatherhood. There were seven themes found to arise in this domain, four of which were not related to whether the father was deployed or not. The seven cognitive domains of fatherhood involvement themes were: Responsibility, Evaluation of Parenting, Developmental Awareness, Psychological Presence, Planning, Monitoring and Control, and Reintegration. Below we highlight not only how the researchers conceptualized these domains but also the associated findings.Cognitive (Thoughts) Domains of Fatherhood Responsibility:This theme encompassed the thought process of the father related to providing financial security, being a mentor, providing unconditional love and acceptance, providing a foundation of values, and being a consistent friend to their child. Fathers reported awareness of their mortality when deployed, which led some to convey their parenting philosophies in writing and thoughts to their children.Evaluation of Parenting:[Flickr, Welcome Home, 441st Ordnancey Battalion by William Franklin, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 23, 2015This theme explored how fathers evaluated their parenting. This was done through self-reflection on their role as a parent, how their military career impacted family life, and their desire to imitate or reject their own father’s parenting styles. The study reported that fathers felt guilt for being absent from their children’s lives during deployment, which may have resulted in them feeling conflicted about disciplining their children. Some fathers reported avoiding disciplining their children while away or taking a secondary parenting role. After returning, fathers reported feeling reluctant to discipline their children after being physically absent for so long.Developmental Awareness:In this theme, fathers reported their understanding oft heir children’s developmental challenges. Fathers showed mixed emotions about the possibility of deploying during a children’s infancy, and the children’s inability to understand their absence. Fathers of teenagers recognized their children’s desire for autonomy, but stressed the need to continue to be involved in the teenager’s life.Psychological Presence:This theme was described as the continuous presence of the child in the fathers thoughts. When fathers were not physically with their child, they reported thinking about their child. Fathers reported expressing these thoughts to their child to reassure the child that they had presence in the father’s mind, even though they were not physically together. The study found that, to these participants, good fathering meant ‘being there’ for the child but being a military father sometimes conflicted with this because of the physical separation often required in their military career.Planning:This theme was defined as the forethought fathers put into their parent-child relationship in order for the relationship to be sustained and grow. One example mentioned in the study was fathers who preplanned care packages or gifts for their children, or who planned to preserve and celebrate milestones, such as birthdays, even when they were not physically present. The researchers found the planning theme to demonstrate a father’s strong desire to be a part of their child’s life despite their physical absence.Monitoring and Control:This theme described a father’s efforts to monitor and maintain supervision over their children despite being absent. The study revealed fathers showed concern about discipline and potential misbehavior of children. Fathers expressed having difficulty monitoring their children from far away.Reintegration Challenges:This theme was defined as the process of rejoining the family and assuming a paternal role after being absent. The study reported that the readjustment phase differed in length for fathers. Fathers with younger children showed concern as to whether their children would be able to recognize them. The fathers in the study emphasized the need for children to be allowed to warm up and re-establish emotional connection, Fathers were aware of the possibility that some children may be resentful of their absence.Professionals can use this study’s findings to gain insights into unique barriers that fathers in the military may experience. To learn more about military fatherhood keep an eye out for our next blog, Military Father Involvement: Part 2, where we continue to relay findings from Willerton, Schwarz, Wadsworth, and Oglesby’s (2011) study by focusing on the emotional and behavior domains. Also, mark your calendars for May 29, 2014 from 11am-1pm for our MFLN Family Development webinar focusing on Fathers, Work, and Family Life.References[1] Willerton, E., Schwarz, R., Wadsworth, S., & Oglesby, M. (2011). Military fathers’ perspectives on involvement. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(4), 521-530. DOI: 10.1037/z0024511This post was written by Rachel Dorman, M.S. and Kacy Mixon, PhD, LMFT.  Both are members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

Editing With Custom Resolutions & Frame Rates in FCPX

first_imgLearn how to “trick” Final Cut Pro X into working with any resolution or frame rate.One ongoing frustration for many Final Cut Pro X editors is the inability to work with custom resolutions and frame rates.  With FCPX, Apple attempted to simplify many things, one of which being the ability to dial in unique frame sizes and rates.  You’re relegated to use the presets that come with Final Cut Pro X…or so it would seem.Several video pros have devised their own solution for overcoming this Final Cut Pro X limitation by forcing FCPX to adapt to the properties of a particular clip.  The trick then to editing with custom resolutions and frames rates in Final Cut Pro X is to create a clip with the custom attributes you desire.  Each of the solutions below address similar ways to tackle this FCPX workaround.  Find out which one is right for you:CUSTOM CLIPS with MPEG STREAMCLIPEditing plugin maker and post production guru Alex Gollner (we’ve posted about his great plug-ins previously) says the trick for getting custom frame rates and resolutions in FCX is to “create the timeline in a composite clip stored in an event.”  To do this you’ll need to have a clip with the desired settings.  He suggests you create it from a .JPG file in the free MPEG Streamclip video converting application.  More information on Alex’s approach here.Apple Motion: Create Compound ClipVideo editor T. Peyton posted a great video tutorial over at Creative Cow that showcases his approach to tackling this Final Cut Pro X issue.  He suggests that you can easily create a custom clip using Apple Motion, and then bring that clip into FCPX to create a timeline with custom resolution.  If you often work in unique resolutions and frame rates (say, vertical orientation video) then it’s a good idea to save these clips in a Presets Templates folder in FCPX so they’re easily accessible for future projects.  Get the rundown on how to modify the frame size and resolution in FCPX using Motion in this video tutorial (link to original Creative Cow post here):Larry Jordan: Compressor’s GeometryThe “godfather” of Final Cut Pro shares several tips for customizing your FCPX project resolution, including those mentioned above.  In addition, he personally contacted Apple to get their input on how to deal with this issue.  Apple suggests editing your projects using the presets in FCPX and then changing the frame rate and resolution in Compressor after export.  Modifying Compressor’s “Geometry” tab allows you to dial in custom frame sizes.  Personally, this seems like a bit of a backwards approach (Larry agrees that “it would really be helpful if FCP X could create custom image sizes”) but this workaround is worth sharing for anyone interested in tackling it this way.Perhaps Apple will add this feature to future updates, but in the meantime these handy workarounds make it possible to work with custom frame sizes and resolution in Final Cut Pro X!last_img read more

Digital Cinema Guides for Popular Pro Cameras

first_imgLooking to get a quick rundown of a camera’s features?  Spend less time fumbling and searching and more time shooting, using these comprehensive camera pocket guides.Evan Luzi knows a thing or two about working with cameras.  As a pro camera assistant and the brains behind industry site TheBlackandBlue.com, he has gained first-hand knowledge about working in the pro digital film market with the latest cam equipment.  He’s taken this knowledge and applied it to an extensive, and rather ambitious, set of camera guides for the professional shooter.  Currently the collection includes 20 guides in all, covering most of the popular pro cameras used in video and digital film production (RED, Alexa, Blackmagic Cinema Cam, Phantom, to name a few).   As well, there are several guides for shooting video with Canon DSLRs.Download the camera guides over at TheBlackandBlue.comusing a “pay what you can” model (the suggested donation is $5).These guides are ideal for any pro shooter that may be put in a situation where they have to use a camera they’re unfamiliar with.  Sure you can find much of this information on the web or in the camera manuals, but when you’re on-set the format of these guides is perfect.  Each of the camera guides are designed to be printed on one sheet of paper and folded into a small “book”.  This makes it easy to throw in your pocket for quick reference.  Also, it doesn’t matter if they’re lost or torn up…you can easily print out another for a different shoot.Charts, graphics and diagrams make it easy to get the camera info you need quickly.  Best of all, Evan promises that the guides will continue to be updated to reflect the latest firmware and cam updates.  Very cool.Here’s a full list of the cams that come in the guide pack: ARRI AlexaBlackmagic Design Cinema CameraCanon 5D Mark IIICanon 6DCanon 7DCanon C100Canon C300Canon C500Panasonic AF-100Phantom Miro M/LC-110Phantom Miro M/LC-120Phantom Miro M/LC-310Phantom Miro M/LC-320SRED EpicRED OneRED ScarletSony F3Sony F65Sony FS-100Sony FS-700 More and info and download link over at the TheBlackandBlue.comlast_img read more

What is Light Wrapping? Tips & Tutorials

first_imgTake an in-depth look at the art of light wrapping in post-production.If you do a lot of keying than you’re probably familiar with the term “light wrapping“. Light wrapping as a concept is easy to understand, but in practice it can be rather difficult to get a perfect light wrap. In the following post we will take a look at light wraps and examine a few easy methods for creating them yourself.What is Light Wrapping?Light wrapping is a compositing technique designed to blend keyed out green screen footage with a background plate. When done correctly, light wrapping can really help give realism to your scene. If overdone, it can make your footage look soft and unbelievable.Often times light wrapping is preformed automatically when using a keying software. However, just like in photography, automatic doesn’t always mean better!How to Light WrapIn a nutshell, light wrapping works by softening the hard edges produced when keying out a green screen footage. By adding in a feathered portion of the background to the edges of the keyed subject you can make your scene look more like a composition than a series of layers. Check out the following diagram:As you can see light wrapping is a very subtle effect that, when done well, isn’t going to be noticed by your audience. The light wrapping layer is merely using the outline of the keyed footage to blur out a small portion of the background. Light wrapping is used to simulate the ambient light that is supposedly casting light onto your subject in the scene. In some circumstances (like mixed lighting) it can be better to use another layer besides your background layer for the light wrap, but it all depends on your scene.Light Wrap TutorialsEven though light wrapping is a pretty straightforward concept there is a seemingly endless number of ways to create a good light wrap. The following tutorials illustrate a few ways to tweak and manually create a light wrap.Easy Light Wrap by MikeyIn this After Effects video tutorial, AE expert Mikey Borup shows us how to create a light wrap using only a few effects including the Set Matte, Fast Blur, and Channel Blur.Light Wrapping in After EffectsThis video created by Marcos Salvi illustrates how light wrapping can be used to simulate lighting, even if it doesn’t use the background layer at all.Plugin SolutionsA lot of higher end keying applications have light wrapping built-in, including the Keylight software that comes with Adobe After Effects. However, if you want to get stunning light wraps check out a few of our favorite plugins for creating realistic light wraps:Key CorrectKey Correct is an industry-standard when it comes to light wrapping, noise reduction, and any other key-related feature you can imagine. In Key Correct you will find 15 stand-alone plugins designed to help you clean up your green screen keys. The results are fantastic and you can even get a free trial from Red Giant’s website.Price: $399Borris Continuum: Key and BlendServing as a small portion of the larger Boris Continuum Complete, the Key and Blend pack gives users of After Effects, Premiere, FCPX, Resolve, Nuke, Media Composer, and even Scratch the ability to preform realistic light wraps with ease. The pack comes with 20 plugins and filters designed to help with the compositing process. Boris is also offering a free trial of Key and Blend so you can use it today.Price: $299If you want to learn more about other filmmaking concepts check out the video production section of the PremiumBeat blog. We have hundreds of articles and tutorials dedicated to helping you become a better filmmaker.Have any other tips for light wrapping? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

How to Avoid Sepia Looks While Warming up Footage in Post

first_imgWhen warming up footage in post, many inexperienced colorists will take a wrong turn and wind up giving their footage a sepia look. Here’s how to avoid that issue entirely.It’s surprisingly common to find poorly colored independent films that inadvertently feature sepia-like tones in many scenes. This is almost always a result of poor technique in the color suite — and can scream amateur to any audience with a trained eye.More often than not, this issue is a result of pushing too much warmth into an image while color grading (in the shadows, mids, and highlights) and then desaturating the image afterwards — usually in an attempt to offset the overdone color work. This is a perfect recipe for a sepia look (if that’s what you’re going for) but a very poor approach to adding warmth to your image in a more general sense.In order to achieve a more natural warm look in your shots (without completely draining your footage of any other tones or colors) these are the steps you need to take:1. Balance Your ImageThis rule applies in color grading no matter what look you’re after: always balance your image before adding any sort of look to it. If you neglect this step, you’re already going to start off on the wrong foot and it will be hard (if not impossible) to recover from.Keep your eye on the scopes as you adjust your color wheels to a point where you have an evenly balanced image. At this point you aren’t going for any type of creative look. You’re simply looking for a neutral starting point from which you can continue to build.2. Warm up the MidtonesI always recommend starting your creative grading process off by warming up the mids. Doing so will give you a far more pleasing result when compared to pushing warmth into the shadows — or even worse, applying warmth globally to the whole image.There are certainly times when you should be warming up your shadows, but if you are working from a neutral starting point, warming up the mids first will set you in a much better direction. Doing so will add warmth to the areas you notice most (skin tones) but will leave the shadows and highlights cooler, which will help you maintain a nice amount of color contrast in your image.3. Tweak Your Shadows and HighlightsDepending on how far (or not) you pushed your mids, you’ll likely need to adjust your shadows and highlights to complement whatever changes have been made so far. For instance, if you pushed a little too much warmth into the mids, it may have had a residual effect on your shadows/highlights, in which case you’ll want to cool them off. With that in mind, be sure not to push your shadows too far in the cool direction.Unless you want a Transformers-esque blockbuster look with blue shadows and orange highlights, be very slight with your adjustments in the shadow department. Always be looking to neutralize them, not stylize them.4. Adjust SaturationBy now your image should be most of the way there. You should have a nice warm look from the adjustments made in step two, and the fine tuning you accomplished in step three should have helped add a noticeable amount of color contrast. All that’s really left is to adjust your saturation level to help everything blend in a little bit more. Depending on how saturated your image was to begin with, you may either need to dial your saturation up or down to get things looking just right. Nine times out of ten, I find dialing it down just slightly is the way to go.With that said, be weary if you feel like you need to push it way down in order to make the image look right. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance you have pushed things too far in steps two or three and might need to go back to the drawing board.Got any color grading tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

The Indie Filmmaker’s Guide to Recording Audio

first_imgRecord SFX (Wild Takes) On SetWild takes are sound effects recorded on set without dialogue. If cameras aren’t rolling (and if you can convince the crew to be quiet) you should try to record some on set SFX. They can be as simple as an actor’s footsteps or the clashing of dishes, doors, or machinery.The goal is to capture the sounds that could be difficult to find in a SFX library. While we may have hundreds of thousands of SFX here on PremiumBeat, you may not find the exact sound to the exact time you need. For example, if you are shooting a scene with an old car, it’s best to record real engine sounds to keep the sound as authentic as possible.Something to keep in mind: you don’t need to turn up the gain to capture all these SFX. Since they will become layers in post, you’ll want to keep them accurate to the levels you’d hear on set. So if footsteps are quiet and slightly registering on your recorder, that’s ok. Try to record each SFX in a few different ways, including different microphone angles, positions, and distances.Pro Tip: Announce each action as soon as you hit record and before you start performing. That way you can easily keep track of each different sound effect.Make sure you check out the rest of the Indie Film Sound Guide episodes. There you will learn about working with everything you’ve recorded in post. Also, be sure to subscribe to The Film Look’s YouTube channel for weekly tips and tricks on filmmaking, video production, and post-production.Do you know other indie filmmaking tips for capturing audio? Let us know in the comments. Setting Audio Levels and Capturing Room ToneThe loudness of actors and actions differs in every take. Make sure audio levels don’t peak, and leave some room for any unexpected loud noises or increases in conversational volume.In this episode, you’ll hear the audio clip when one character shouts. Be sure to lower the gain while recording dialogue. Also, be sure to capture about two minutes of room tone to help avoid unnatural silence. This ambient noise makes conversations sound more realistic, and it can cover up hard edits. (If you forgot to capture room tone, check out our pack of 15 free ambient noise tracks). Learn how to properly record audio on set with a traditional boom mic setup.All images via The Film Look.Here in the PremiumBeat office, we’re big fans of The Film Look — a YouTube channel dedicated to showing you how to make better films and videos (with new episodes every week).We recently teamed up with The Film Look to bring you a series of tutorials on capturing better sound for your videos. The eight-part series will cover a ton of different audio recording and mixing topics, with plenty of tips and tricks for you to learn along the way.In the first five episodes, you will learn how to work with audio on set. Then the series will shift focus to working with audio in post-production.You’ll quickly see that it’s not about having the right gear — it’s about knowing how to properly use audio equipment. The audio kit used in the series is the basic setup for indie films and corporate video productions — a shotgun mic, boom pole, audio recorder, and headphones. There are also tips on recording with smartphones and on-camera microphones for those without this setup. (You can piece together a professional boom mic kit for around $500.)Microphone Position Is KeyThe position of your microphone is crucial to a quality recording. In the first episode, you’ll hear the difference between a smartphone recorder and a shotgun mic — but there’s a twist.The smartphone audio was better in the first take because the shotgun microphone was too far away. To get better audio, place a shotgun microphone over the head of your speaking subject.If you are on a windy set, try positioning the microphone underneath the subject, or for the best results combine that with a dead cat or blimp.When it comes time to record, limit the movement of your hands. Use your arms and shoulders to reposition the microphone to avoid making noise. There are also some great tips in the video about the best ways to grip a boom mic.Capturing Dialogue Is Your First PriorityThe highest priority when recording a film or video is dialogue. Noises or sound effects are easier to  recreate in post — or to draw from an SFX library.While on the topic of noises, if you detect any outside noise on set — like a plane, train, or automobile — be sure to bring it up if recording has not yet started. If you are already rolling, finish the take, and then mention any need for another take.Before shooting, make sure the camera crew (specifically the 2nd AC if you have one) uses a clapper board to mark the take. This will help tremendously when editing and mixing the project in post.Minimize Unwanted NoiseYou can silence the set as much as possible to eliminate unnecessary ambient noise, but that doesn’t always prevent unwanted sounds. Episode three dives into separating dialogue from any noise the actors make on set.If there is a loud action, like placing a glass mug on a glass saucer, you can eliminate the noise with some simple camera tricks and foley work.last_img read more

Why Independent Film Festivals Matter Now More Than Ever

first_imgAs the film industry continues to grow, indie film festivals are becoming essential for up-and-coming filmmakers.Cover image via D Magazine (Bret Redman).Indie film festivals — historically fringe territory for filmmakers outside of the mainstream — are now becoming a hotbed for up-and-coming filmmakers looking to develop their craft, make connections, and launch their brands.Using the Oak Cliff Film Festival, a fast-growing indie fest hosted around the historic Texas Theatre in Dallas, Texas, as an example, let’s explore how filmmakers are using these festivals for everything from audience testing, to networking opportunities, to even de facto theatrical runs.Filmmaking ConnectionsImage via D Magazine (Bret Redman).Film festivals, at their core, bring people together to watch films. Quite a concept, I know, but as films are gradually moving away from theaters and toward online streaming, finding opportunities to sit, watch a film, and chat with other enthusiasts at real screenings are becoming more rare.The indie film industry is built on collaboration. If you’re not actively involved with a community and helping friends on their projects (as much as others help you on yours), film festivals are the perfect place to meet some fellow contributors.Test Audience ReactionsDavid Lowery screening A Ghost Story for audiences at the OCFF — image via Clayton Browning.Indie films, unlike the majority of their blockbuster counterparts, do not often get the luxury of multiple rounds of audience test screenings. Instead, indie filmmakers most often rely on screenings for feedback and audience reactions.Film festivals are a great place for filmmakers to screen a project for hundreds of people, whom they can actively engage before and after. It’s not uncommon for films to go through a festival run only to get re-cut (or sometimes even re-shot) based on critical feedback from crowds.The Allure of LaurelsDirectors Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund winning the Narrative Feature — Grand Jury Prize for their film La Barracuda — image via OCFF.While this may be a point of contention, screening at film festivals puts your film in front of new people, and it brings your project a stamp of approval.In addition to laurels for screening, film festivals give out plenty of awards for achievements in everything from directing, to cinematography, to breakout performances. Many even include cash prizes or sponsorships.De Facto Theatrical RunsImage via OCFF.In many cases, films that screen at indie film festivals may very well be the local public’s only opportunity to see these movies on the big screen. While some may go on to major theatrical runs, the majority will screen sporadically in select cities before finding a home online — whether it’s through Netflix, Amazon, or some more indie-focused online channel.For films caught between major theatrical runs and their pending online VOD distribution, a tour of indie film festivals across the country becomes the de facto theatrical release, which offers one-off chances for fans to see the film and engage with other fans and the filmmakers.Community EngagementEric Hatch speaking at the OCFF awards ceremony at Small Brewpub in Oak Cliff.Film festivals also give filmmakers a chance to engage with local communities and develop connections. Festivals usually have deep roots in the communities that host them. From outdoor screenings, to daytime workshops, to trips to nearby restaurants — attending film festivals gives filmmakers a great opportunity to engage the community and the filmmakers who support it.For a full recap of the 2017 Oak Cliff Film Festival, you can go to their website or Facebook page — or check out their video recap below. What are your thoughts on the indie film festival scene? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

The Essential Guide to Finding Deals on Video Production Gear

first_imgWhether you’re camera shopping, building out a light kit, or optimizing your workspace, these three sites are essential to the hunt.Saving money on cameras and production equipment is more of a way of life than a collection of tricks. You already know this if you rent expensive lenses, schedule shoots back-to-back, and depend on available equipment to borrow. When the time comes to level up gear-wise, price tags can be daunting.It’s easy to focus on the most expensive pieces of your setup. Even breaks on accessories can add up, though. No matter how much money you’ve blown on impulse buys — and replacing lost items — it’s not too late to start being shrewd. Whether you’re camera shopping, building a light kit, or optimizing your workspace, these three sites are essential to the perpetual hunt. Save your future self time and money by signing up for each outlet’s newsletter and notifications.Wirecutter DealsImage via Wirecutter.What it is: Wirecutter is a clean, clear site for getting sensible street prices for electronics and camera equipment. It’s the Expedia of sales, but with thoughtful reviews. A team of professionals employed by The New York Times Company inspects prices across popular retailers, sharing both subtle and notable drops on specific items.Why it’s useful: Helpful context written by humans accompanies each tip, helping searchers make informed decisions and navigate previous Wirecutter posts about products they never knew they wanted. A quest for constantly low prices defines the site. Wirecutter is easy to use, and it also offers deals on goods other than electronics, helping users save across the board.Good for: Lifehackers looking to streamline setups and workflows. Ace gift-givers. Anyone who values a three-dollar price drop on a phone screen protector as much as a $200 break on a new camera — on principle.Sample finds: The Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 4K projector for $2,000 (reg. $2,300); a Panasonic Lumix G85 for $700 (reg. $800).B&H Deal ZoneImage via B&H.What it is: The popular camera and accessories retailer offers significant specials on a wide range of gear in one place.Why it’s useful: Free expedited shipping for many zip codes. Best deals are time-limited, with countdowns on the main page.Good for: Top-tier cinematographers and photographers, production companies, appreciators of exquisite camera bags and storage. B&H regulars who often search for specific items on the site and forget about this trove of savings.Sample finds: $450 off a SmallHD 502 Bright On-Camera monitor (sale price $849); $120 off a DJI Mavic Pro drone (deal price $779).Adorama DealsImage via Adorama.What it is: An all-purpose wonderland of sales and trades on computers, cameras, musical instruments, printers, pro audio equipment, and more.Why it’s useful: It features used, refurbished, open-box, and overstocked items. Ease of search by brand, product category, price range, recent releases, and rating; financing available on select brands — even for some used items. Discounts offered for students and educators.Good for: Sellers and buyers. Compulsive fixers. Film photographers. Camera mechanics.Sample finds: Overstocked Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 II DG HSM AF Super Wide-Angle for Nikon AF for $949 (reg. $1,400); Used Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera in expressed great condition for $559.Cover image via DJI.Looking for more on film and video production gear? Check out these articles.The 6 Best Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000Gear Roundup: Finding the Best SD Cards for Your CameraThe New ARRI ALEXA Mini LF – Large Format, Little CameraHands-on Review: Is Syrp’s Genie the Lone Filmmaker’s Ultimate Tool?Gear Roundup: The Top Three Audio Recorders Under $300last_img read more

Lose With Grace

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now If you lose an opportunity, lose gracefully. Maintain your professionalism, no matter how you lose. Be respectful of the prospective client’s decision, and be respectful of your competitor.At some point, your dream client is going to change their partner again. When they do, they are going to base their own decision about whether they allow you to compete for their business again on what they remember about how you compete (as well as how good of a job you have done nurturing the relationships you have built with members of their team).When you lose an opportunity, it is fine to argue your case, as long as you do so politely and professionally. It is also okay to ask your dream client to reconsider their decision, especially if there are issues surrounding their decision that may harm them (in fact, you are obligated to, if you really care about them). But you can’t be argumentative while you are pleading your case.There are boundaries that you do not want to cross, lest you prove to your prospective client that they made the correct decision by choosing your competitor.You don’t want anything you say or write to come across as a personal attack on the person or people who made the decision. You don’t want to attack their integrity or their ability to make a good decision. You don’t ever want to plead for their business because you were personally counting on winning their business (don’t laugh, I’ve seen this done).Your ability to lose with professionalism and grace is what allows you to maintain the relationships you need so that you can compete and win the next time. And never be so desperate for any one deal that you can’t be professional no matter what happens.last_img read more

Macro Management and Micro Management – Episode 33

first_imgMuch of the time what people perceive to be micro-management is really macro-management. Their manager is trying to produce the big, important outcomes, but because those outcomes aren’t being achieved, they have to ask about activity.last_img

Reducing Friction and Creating Antifriction in Sales

first_imgIf you don’t know who your dream clients are, if you haven’t identified the best prospects in your territory, you have a form of friction that prevents you from prospecting.When you don’t know how to gain an appointment by trading enough value for the time you are asking for, the resistance you get when you ask for a meeting is unnecessary friction. The “no” you hear is friction.Your dream client has concerns about meeting with you, and those concerns are real to them. When you decide to overcome their objections you create resistance than would have been more easily removed had you decided to resolve their concerns. Unresolved concerns are friction.When you show up and begin a conversation by talking about your company, your products and services, your global footprint, and the big name logos you presently serve, you create the friction that comes with believing that you win sales by providing proof that your prospect should buy from you because your company and products are great instead of using that time to serve them. Self-orientation, in all its forms, creates resistance.Sometimes things that create friction feel like progress. Your dream client asks you tells you how impressed they are and asks you for a proposal and pricing. But because you haven’t collaborated around the solution and haven’t done the work to really understand their challenges or their constraints, you have created friction by providing them with something to which they can easily refuse. Lack of an effective theory about how to control the process is friction.In larger, complex, B2B sales, there are often more stakeholders than smaller, simpler sales. When you try to bypass including the people who are going to be effected by any decision to change, you create the friction that is their resistance to being excluded from the conversation. You also have likely created the additional friction that comes from losing the high ground that comes with dealing with friction.The intention to speed up sales does not create friction when the tactics employed mean slowing down. When the tactics you use speed things up, you create the kind of friction that can bring the entire process to a crawl.The remedy for friction is lubrication, making the surface smooth and even and easy for things to move from one side to the other. If there is a potential to create friction, then there is also the potential to create antifriction. If you want to make selling easier, then do the hard work of creating antifriction. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Proud Panchur jives to beats of dhol

first_imgIn the picturesque Garhwal Hills, 95 kilometres from Dehradun, a short walk from the nearest motorable road leads to Panchur, a sleepy village from where hails the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Ajay Singh Bisht, popularly known as Yogi Adityanath.Throughout Sunday, Adityanath’s teary-eyed mother, proud father and brothers spent most of the time receiving hundreds of friends and relatives visiting to congratulate the family.As crowds shouted Har har Yogi, ghar ghar Yogi, drummers played the dhol. The village in Pauri district of Uttarakhand came alive as people celebrated with fervour. For Adityanath’s family, it was a moment “beyond imagination”.“We have not been able to congratulate Mahantji yet… We have been trying to call him, but his phone is switched off,” Adityanath’s younger brother Mahendra Bisht said on Sunday evening.In 1994, 22-year-old Ajay became Yogi Adityanath when Mahant Avaidyanath, a native of Kandi village, three kilometres from Panchur, and the then head of the powerful Gorakhnath Peeth in Gorakhpur, chose him as his successor.From then on, for his family and relatives too, Ajay became Mahantji.However, even as Adityanath’s stature has risen in the past years, his typical Garhwali family here lives a life of simplicity.The family members say Adityanath’s image as a Hindu hardliner is in stark contrast to the personality he had when he lived in the village as a young man. His father, Anand Singh Bisht, 85, attributed his present image to the time he spent with Mahant Avaidyanath.Contribution as MPFor the villagers, however, Adityanath is synonymous with “progress”. “Being a postgraduate in Mathematics, he believes that education is the building block towards progress… When he first became an MP in 1998, he got a degree college built in the village,” Surendra Singh Rawat from the village, said.Adityanath’s recent visit to the house was in February.His sister-in-law Asha Devi said: “Whenever Mahantji comes home, his father sits with him and tells him to keep calm. His father tells him to keep certain things in his heart and not be too vocal about everything he feels.”Adityanath has been at the centre of several controversies. His father said he was “aware of the flak Mahantji draws”.“I do try to tell Adityanath to keep a check on his speeches, but he follows his own mind,” he said. “I hope that he follows the BJP’s agenda of Sabka saath, sabka vikas. This is also my advice to him that he should follow the BJP’s agenda, which is inclusive of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, the rich and the poor.”last_img read more

School owner, teacher arrested for stripping girl students in Bihar

first_imgThe owner of a private school in Bihar, and a female teacher, were arrested on Sunday for allegedly stripping two girl students for not paying the fees for their school uniform on time. The girls, both sisters, were forced to walk back to their home half-naked on Friday.“The girl student’s father had lodged an FIR against the school owner and a teacher…we immediately took cognizance of it and arrested the accused in the case…we shall file a charge sheet in the case within the next 24-hours. The accused will be punished and justice shall be meted out through a speedy trial”, Ranjit Kumar Mishra, Superintendent of Police, Begusarai told The Hindu.The two school girls, one in the first standard, and the other a nursery student, were enrolled at a private school in Koria village, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Mufassil police station of Begusarai district. The school owner had reportedly asked the teacher to undress the girls.Some private local news channels had broadcast the incident.The father of the victims, Chunchun Kumar Sah, a small-time businessman, later lodged a complaint against the school owner Mukesh Kumar and the teacher, Anjana Kumari, both of whom were later arrested.The father said that he had requested for a deferment in the deadline to pay the fees for the uniforms, but his plea was not considered, and the school authorities took matters into their own hands. The girls are in utter shock and kept weeping after the incident, he added.last_img read more

Jaish attack on BSF camp leaves soldier, 3 ultras dead

first_imgThree militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and an Assistant Sub-Inspector of the Border Security Force (BSF) were killed in a nine-hour gunfight in a heavily fortified BSF camp near the airport here on Tuesday.The “heavily armed” and “highly trained” militants of the JeM suicide squad, named after Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, stormed the camp at Humhama at 4.15 a.m. “The fidayeen [suicide] attack was repulsed. All three militants were killed,” said Muneer Khan, Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir.The ASI killed was Braj Kishore Yadav, 50.Airport not a targetMr. Khan said the Srinagar airport was not the main target of militants. The gates of the airport, which has four-tier security in place, are just metres away from the BSF camp. “Only one flight was delayed or cancelled, and the rest operated normally,” Mr. Khan said. However, no flight was allowed to land in Srinagar during the first six hours of the gunfight.There are four layers of security in the area as it has BSF and CRPF training camps and the complexes of the J&K Light Infantry and the IAF. Mr. Khan said such attacks would continue “as long as Pakistan is our neighbour.” “The JeM believes in fidayeen attacks. We will have to deal with them separately.” One worker who helped the militants reach the camp was identified, the police said.Sources in the counter-insurgency cell said the militants spread out as they mounted the attack.“One tried to enter the camp through the main entrance, lobbing grenades, while two others cut the barbed wires to reach the premises and stormed a concrete block,” a police officer said.The body of Braj Kishore Yadav, assistant sub-inspector of the BSF, was found in the complex occupied by two militants. “Four BSF jawans were also injured,” Mr. Khan said.Security forces used high-calibre shelling to flush out the militants. The third militant was smoked out and “jumped from the complex around 2 p.m.”Sources said the JeM wanted the attack to be staged on the first anniversary of the surgical strikes carried out by India in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on September 29 last year. Two groups of militants were sent for the attack — one through the Poonch route in Jammu and the other through the Uri route in Kashmir, they said.last_img read more

Modi attends Akshardham celebrations

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday participated in the silver jubilee celebrations of Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar and praised its founder late Pramukh Swami for bringing about positive changes in the society.While addressing a gathering of Swaminarayan sect’s disciples, Mr. Modi said Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar and Delhi should be a case study of how modern technology could be blended with Indian traditions.Late Pramukh Swami, who headed Bochasanvasi Akshar Puroshottam Sanstha, a sub-sect of Swaminarayan sect in Gujarat, built around 1,200 temples across the world including the two giant temple complexes in Gandhinagar and New Delhi.During his 30-minute speech, Mr. Modi reminisced about instances of his interactions with late Pramukh Swami and said he was “very lucky” to have the blessings of the Swami from the very beginning of his career.last_img read more

Petrol bomb thrown in U.P. theatre screening ‘Padmaavat’

first_imgTwo unidentified youths threw petrol bombs inside a cinema hall screening Padmaavat in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh on Saturday night, the police said. However, no major damage was reported by the theatre’s owners, they added.“Last night Padmaavat was being screened in Chandra Talkies when two people came on a motorbike and tried to set the building on fire by throwing petrol bombs. The cinema hall security personnel tried to chase the culprits but they escaped,” circle officer Hareesh Bhadauria said. He added that the police have enhanced security around the three halls playing the movie in the town.last_img read more

Poll-bound Meghalaya resents visa hurdle for global Baptist body chief

first_imgA part of poll-bound Meghalaya is unhappy with New Delhi for denying visa to the Pope equivalent of the Baptists, who was scheduled to attend a four-day celebration of 150 years of Christianity in a small town in the State.The Garo Baptist Convention had invited Dr. Paul Msiza, the Johannesburg-based president of Baptist World Alliance, for the four-day celebration at Rajasimla from Thursday. Rajasimla is in Kharkutta assembly segment of Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district.“The denial of visa to Dr Paul for the 150th anniversary of Baptism in Rajasimla has caused a great deal of resentment here. This is not the only case; many of our foreign friends have been denied visa in the last three years despite the fact that they have been coming here on earlier occasions,” Reverend Janang R Sangma, general secretary of Garo Baptist Convention, told The Hindu from Tura, the headquarters of western half of Meghalaya comprising Garo Hills.“The NDA government at the Centre should realise that this is a celebration, not a mission programme and has nothing to do with conversion. Visa for such religious functions should not be denied,” Reverend Sangma said on Wednesday.Members of a local Baptist association said they have tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a tweet asking why Dr. Paul’s visa is still being kept pending. They did not receive any feedback till Thursday morning.Meghalaya Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Vincent Pala said he was not aware of the visa issue. “I will have to check,” he said.The party’s leaders in Kharkutta constituency – it is a Congress bastion – said this Dr. Paul episode reflects the Bharatiya Janata Party’s attitude towards minorities.“People are free to make allegations. One has to first find out if the South African Baptist leader’s papers are in order, or if there are reasons related to security of the country,” Meghalaya’s BJP chief Shibun Lyngdoh said.The BJP, keen on conquering Meghalaya after Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in the Northeast, has been struggling to explain its position in the Christian-majority State after a series of attacks on churches and Christians, mostly in northern India.The BJP was somewhat shaken in June last year when two Garo Hills leaders – Bernard Marak and Bachu Marak – resigned during the peak of the beef controversy.Meghalaya goes to the polls on February 27.last_img read more

Militants fire at special police officer

first_imgSuspected militants fired upon a special police officer in Pulwama’s Puchal on Tuesday. Aqib Wagay was critically injured in the attack, reports said. “Mr. Wagay has been shifted to a hospital. We are waiting for more details,” a Srinagar-based spokesman said.last_img

Governor’s rule evokes mixed feelings in Kashmir Valley

first_imgThis is the eighth time since 1977 that Jammu and Kashmir is coming under Governor’s rule. The palpable unease on the Valley’s streets is turning into ominous silence, as people fear a surge in violence. There are some, however, who celebrate the demise of the 40-month long “unholy” alliance between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP.There was thin pedestrian movement in the tourist hotspot Boulevard in Srinagar that saw a separatists-backed shutdown on Thursday, the first since Governor N.N. Vohra took over the reins 24 hours ago.‘Bad omen for tourism’A shikara [small boat] owner, Siraj-ud-Din Malla, at Ghat No. 9, terms the sudden end to the PDP-BJP rule a “bad omen” for the tourism sector. “This development has already scared away tourists. There was no apparent reason for the BJP to pull out. The political instability is bound to add fuel to the fire in a situation like ours,” he said.Muhammad Yaqoob, a retired government school headmaster, sees the present Governor’s rule different from those in the last two decades, especially between 2002 and 2016. “The four Governor’s rule J&K saw in the past two decades was an outcome of political exigency and not security failure. This time, however, it is an admission that the PDP-BJP rule has failed to contain the situation in Kashmir. Growing protests and increasing local militant activity have left Delhi with few options. It seems violence is bound to surge,” said Mr. Yaqoob.He likened the present Governor’s rule to the one in 1990. An out-of-control situation triggered by the resignation of National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister that year saw longest ever Governor’s rule in the State. It lasted six years and 264 days.“I wonder if any election, to Parliament or Assembly, will be possible this year. The people are agitated and militants are holed up in the upper reaches. If violence surges, development and education will take a hit,” fears Mr.Yaqoob.‘It’s people’s victory’But on the other side, there are many like Javeed Ahmad, a downtown shopkeeper, who sees the end to the PDP-BJP rule as a victory of the people. “The PDP-BJP regime had been unacceptable here from day one. It’s fall was hastened the people’s resistance to their agenda and designs,” he said.Meanwhile, police officials believe the fall of the government will defuse the anger to a large extent in the Valley, especially in south Kashmir.last_img read more