Saturday, April 19, 2014

My CoolTools Story - Phil Shapiro

    Back in early 2012 I was looking for an affordable LED projector to project some Blu-Ray DVD's I had made.  I was thrilled to come across the review of the LG HX350T projector on the CoolTools web site. A big appeal to me is the lamp life of 20,000 hours. Paying $400 for a projector lamp is not my idea of fun. With this projector, you pretty much never have to replace the bulb.
   Since I don't own a television, the only way I can view the Blu-Ray DVD's I've made is via a projector. Sure enough, the LG HX350 lightweight projector does a lovely job of projecting the Blu-Ray DVD's I made.
     By way of brief background, I create Blu-Ray videos on DVD media, using a regular DVD burner, because that's much cheaper than using a Blu-Ray burner with Blu-Ray media.  For the video projects I work on, less than 20 minutes in duration, DVD media works great. The Blu-Ray DVD's I make play in most, but not all, Blu-Ray players. Most works just fine for me.  I use Roxio Toast 11, with the $20 Blu-Ray Burning Plug-in, on my MacBook laptop. You can do all this on Windows, too, as explained in this PCWorld article by Becky Waring. 
   The only drawback to the LG HX350 projector is that you need to turn off the lights in the room to see the image clearly. So I've been keeping my eye out for the next generation of LED projectors that bumps up the brightness a bit. I now have my eye on the Acer K137 whose brightness is 700 lumens.  (The LG HX350 brightness is 300 lumens.)  The Dell M900HD takes the lumens up to 900. A big plus on the Dell is that it can use WiFi to display the image from mobile devices.
     The most fun I've had with my LG HX350 projector was when I took it to a community technology event in Washington DC in early 2012. This event was set up in the style of a mini maker faire, where community members could learn different things at different tables. I was given a small room to teach high definition video.  First, I set up a blue backdrop using a $3 blue bedsheet I bought from a thift store. Then I set up my tripod and Canon Vixia camcorder. I set up some homemade video lighting made from clasp lights I bought at Home Depot hardware store. The last step was to set up my professional lavalier (clip on) microphone.
      I borrowed a nice video screen from the school where the event was taking place. I could now shoot video of community members and then play back the video, directly from the Canon Vixia camcorder to the LG HX350 projector, with very clear video and very clear audio. To help people here their own voice clearly, I hooked up some computer speakers to the audio output port of the projector.  Here are some of the video clips I shot that day.

Rob Jackson
Matt Leasure

    (Friendly tip - To view these videos in high definition, choose 720p or 1080p from the gear icon at the bottom right of the YouTube video.)
     Youth and adults attending my impromptu high def video workshop walked away with some new skills and some new knowledge.  I hope they also were able to reflect a bit on the topic of human dignity. So many people in society feel marginalized, as if their ideas and opinions don't count. If we now have the video production tools to represent everyone's ideas and opinions with the dignity they deserve, that can be a step forward.  For me, my high def video explorations have been an inquiry in to the dignity control panel in the human brain.  I'm grateful to CoolTools for helping me move forward in this journey and have written this blog post to help close the giving circle. Any CoolTools readers who have questions about the LG HX350 projector are welcome to email me questions. I've explored every possible feature of this projector and am happy to share my knowledge back to the community. Please include the words: "CoolTools question" in the subject of your email to me so that I make sure I don't miss seeing it.

Phil Shapiro

Incidentally, my LG HX350 projector also played a role in this prank thought-experiment I wrote about for MAKE magazine.  Although I have yet to carry out this prank, the mere prospect of the prank makes me giggle.