Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Review of JVC GY-HMZ1U 3D Camcorder, 1920x1080 Full HD 3D & 2D Recording, SDHC/SDXC Slot & 64GB Internal Memory, 200x Digital Zoom

3D For Everyone With the JVC GY-HMZ1U

By highkey from New York, NY on 2/1/2012


5out of 5

Pros: Large Clear LCD, Good Image Stabilization, Great Zoom, Easy to Use, Great Sound, Good in Low Light

Cons: XLR Handle Not Hardwired

Best Uses: Documentaries, Travel, HD Shooting, Weddings/Events, Movies/Short Films, Home Movies, Indoors/Low Light

Describe Yourself: Semi-pro Videographer

Was this a gift?: No

As of late, the term 3D has caused bitter blog battles -- fan boys (and girls) fighting tooth and nail as to what medium better illustrates a story -- traditional 2D or this 3D "fad." I was not one to take sides so easily. I love the way a 3D production can bring you right into the story and I also love the way 2D allows the comfort of just watching it happen. As an indie filmmaker and corporate videographer, I hesitated to accept the medium as a tool, regardless of the amount of money being spent by theaters to deliver the goods, the lower prices of 3D TVs and the enormous budgets being thrown at 3D productions.

That has all changed. I have taken a side thanks to JVC and their new sub-$2000 prosumer 3D camera -- the GY-HMZ1U. There are a ton of reviews with numbers and charts and images blown up 900%. I won't repeat those here. This is about the fun and freedom this camera offers and just what can be done with this little jewel.

While attending the Createasphere Entertainment Technology Expo last September I made it a point to head over to each manufacturer to check out the latest and greatest gear. A whole aisle of 3D rigs dragged me in drooling -- just thinking about how I could make that next "blood hit" pop in my next short film. Then reality hit. These rigs were gigantic, needed two very expensive cameras and were extremely cost-INeffective. Post looked like a nightmare. You had to have a tech on hand just to adjust the rig -- Even the rental fees were crazy. The single camera offerings from most of the other companies were somewhat impressive but overpriced for someone hesitant about getting into shooting 3D. I turned a corner and then it happened!

There I stood, shown on a nice big monitor, live for all the expo to see in 3D! The folks at JVC had simply plugged the tiny (by comparison) GY-HMZ1U directly into the display and man, was it impressive! I moved closer and the camera automatically adjusted to account for the movement. The representative handed me a pair of 3D glasses (although none are needed when using the camera's LCD monitor) and I was sold on 3D and it's future. Finally, just about every indie filmmaker can afford to get into a market begging for content. Oh, and there's almost no learning curve!

Alan over at JVC was generous enough to lend me the camera the day it was released to shoot some examples. Unfortunately, timing was not kind and I was not able to dive in as deep as I would have liked -- although I was able to shoot an entire local destination pilot on it! Luckily, this thing is simple straight out of the box. A quick skimming of the instructions was all I needed to start filming everyone and everything in 3D. Rarely did I shoot in 2D mode but it's there if you want it.

The camera has two separate 3.3 megapixel image sensors capable of capturing a full 1080 signal. 3D files can be captured in two ways -- MVC or side by side as an AVCHD file in half resolution. There's a big blue lighted button on the back that easily shows what mode you are shooting in. There is ample manual control to adjust everything you need to -- including just how "3D" you want your image to be. But the fun starts right out of the box in full auto. For those just starting out with this technology, auto works just as good in 3D as on any 2D camera.

To top it off, there are a few amazing features of this camera that I feel the need to mention. The first is the glasses-free 3.5 inch LCD display. It's amazing the depth you can see in this display. It's bright and I was able to watch the entire day without eyestrain. There are optimum angles of viewing though, so it takes some getting used to it -- about 10 minutes worth. Switch it to 2D display (available when shooting in either 2D or 3D format) and you will be treated to one of the clearest LCD images you will ever see.

Second, the internal stereo mic. This thing is amazing for a camera of this sort. Crystal clear. The big advantage the GY-HMZ1U has over it's predecessor and competitors is the included XLR adapter handle. It relieves you of the need to buy an external adapter. I wish they had made it a hard link to the camera as opposed to the ⅛ inch plug but I did find it handy since my "run-and-gun" style of shooting had me using a Rode mic with an ⅛ plug. I was able to plug directly into the camera and still use the handle. More than ample, professional quality sound.

Lastly, post was a breeze with the splitting software provided. The software divides the MVC file into a right and left image allowing you to bring both sides into your NLE software and adjust. I edited easily on my PC and output to "red and green" to view on my 2D monitor. If you're lucky enough to own a 3D tv or monitor, you can plug the camera right in and view the recorded image or just view your edited MVC output right on the glasses-free LCD on the camera. Of course, there's always the option of just outputting one channel to satisfy all the 3D hold-outs too!

Image stabilization, multiple shooting modes, 30i, 60i, 24p, 64 gigs of internal memory, amazing low light performance, a weight of a little over 2 pounds with the handle, 5x to 10x optical zoom -- all these incredible features make this camera one I will keep in my arsenal! Now, off to create some much needed 3D content!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New York Location Delayed

Just a quick update on our 1515 Broadway, NY location.

Gorbs Corp. is currently waiting for final approval to implement this location. We are looking forward to being able to attend to our NYC clients and hold our first super-concentrated SEO and SEM classes and seminars later in the year at the Times Square building. This location should be available in the summer or early fall of 2010. Please subscribe to our RSS feed or go to and get on our mailing list for updates. We're sorry for the delay but our Long Island location is still handling the load and meetings in Manhattan can be scheduled for you convenience. Thanks for your patience as we expand and develop!

Ron Smith
Gorbs Corp.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Backyard SEO... Keeping it local.

So, you just got this client down the road whose business is picture framing. She wants a website and she wants to be on that all-empowering first page because that's what her friends tell her. She only takes local walk-in traffic and phone orders. With some work, you may be able to get her business up there in a few of her chosen keywords but to what avail? Is her business going to really benefit from world-wide traffic? She's not collecting email addresses (as a pro you should be collecting those email addresses for her anyway) or taking orders online. Maybe not. That doesn't mean that her business won't benefit from good SEO techniques and a little know-how (or where in this case).

Today, if you're not on the net, you're not in business. You need to have an online presence if you want to compete. Local businesses sometimes believe that they are too small or too targeted to need an online presence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Some of these people will be happy with their Yellow Pages listings or their ad in the local Pennysaver, actually, response from these offline types of advertising is still strong for certain trades and I highly recommend that business owners take advantage of offline advertising when it suits them. However, what if you could increase their traffic and business just by optimizing their website? Would you be a more valuable asset then someone who just knocks out a quick design, takes the money and moves on? Of course, this information is not just for the designer. It can be applied at any time to any website.

One of the main ways a site gets indexed on the major engines is through inbound links from QUALITY, TRUSTED and RELEVANT sites. What does that mean? Well, it means the days of link farms are over. You can't just link to anyone and everyone with a "click here" button anymore. Google takes a look at sites that change original content often and will index them often. These sites are TRUSTED, QUALITY and are generally RELEVANT if you found them using your keywords.  The key here is to "localize" your keywords and links. Oh, and Google loves directories. They are human based so submit as soon as you feel you page is up to snuff. More on that later.

Let's take the framer. I would build a site with a number of pages, some filled with contact info, history, all the stuff the local business wants on their pages. Make sure proper titles and descriptions are in EACH page. I would have the location at the bottom of EVERY page and I would include pages with relevant information on picture framing - techniques, the business, how to recognize quality materials - things like that. This is RELEVANT content. This is the content other sites like to link to. Pepper it with keywords - preferably local ones - maybe with links to art shows in the area or something. If you ask for links back be sure they are descriptive links meaning that instead of "click here" they have text that reflects the content and title of the page it links too. More on that later as well.

I would then submit to local searches, directories, travel guides and town pages. I would make sure they are listed with Google Maps, Yahoo! Local and Citysearch. I might run a small targeted Google PPC campaign using mapping or zip code based areas. Then I would submit the original content to news sites and informational sites with a link back to the client's site and some local info in the footer of the story. It's a bit more involved than that but just those things alone will get results.

This opens up many new opportunities like specializing in local search or, even more importantly, JVs (Joint Ventures). We'll get into Joint Ventures in the future.

Ron Smith is the president of Gorbs Corp., a print and web design and development firm on Long Island, NY. A new location in the heart of NYC will be opening soon for Internet Marketing and SEO consulting. For more on Ron or Gorbs visit

If you're considering a career in SEM, want to train your in-house web designers on the finer points of SEO or want to just boost your rankings, and you're in the NY area, come to a "Can You SEO?" seminar. - come and sign up for our newsletter and get updates on tools, tips and products.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Which Came First, The Organic Chicken or the Pay Per Cluck?

Some clients are under the misconception that their first effort to rise in the SE results should be to start submitting to search engines before anything else. Sometimes they demand to show up first under a wide range of keywords that they type into a Meta tag. This misconception comes from the mega-load of armchair web designers, inexperienced (or unscrupulous) SEO consultants or the next door neighbor's kid who runs a skateboarding site for his friends (Hey, nothing wrong with that. And I bet there's a bunch of amazingly talented pros doing it right now) and can now place first for "naked skateboarding on red boards in Hicksville Long Island on Tuesdays." Some of these people take a client's hard earned money and make promises based on black hat techniques, 2003 tactics and plain lies.

Ok, so what about paying a little to get listed? Surely you can get the top spot that way. Well, the short answer is yes. But keep in mind it still takes time, money and patience to run a PPC campaign. You still need to know what you're doing or you'll go broke, get tossed from the search engine or worse. Also, paid search doesn’t build “trust.”

So what do I do first? Good question. Thanks for asking!

Before I answer, as I’ve said in past articles - LISTEN TO THE CLIENT. They may have a totally different idea about what they want from their search efforts. Maybe it's just so they and their friends can share information on naked skateboarding. They don't need PPC promotion - or maybe they do if they want to earn affiliate money selling red skateboards! It's a niche site and can excel in organic search. Just listen and they will tell you.

Here’s a simple SEM strategy. Please keep in mind that not all SEO people work the same and that I will probably get a letter or two saying "That's not how you do it Ron Smith, you LOSER!"

All search engine placement efforts start the same way - keywords. You probably all knew that. There are, however, big differences in the way you approach these two strategies. PPC campaigns are generally run and experimented with using many, sometimes hundreds or thousands, of related keywords. This research is absolutely essential to narrowing down your target audience - you know, the ones who actually buy your product or service. So, pay per click is generally my starting point.

Now - after you've narrowed the giant list of keywords through your all-important CTR research, you can go back and rehash your web content to focus on these words. Pick a few keywords per page and then try and scatter them throughout your "relevant and actually informative" content. I'll hit that in a later article.

Now submit and wait. Viola! Organic Chicken! Uh, traffic.

OK, that's a bit naive and simple. There’s a lot more to organic results than waiting. Things like external, relevant links, data tracking and constant changes in your design approach are generally needed - especially for a new site. Look at it this way - the best and biggest are constantly revamping and upgrading to stay where they are after many years. You need to do the same.

So, my conclusion? It depends, but it's usually better to "cluck" first.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Educating Your Clients or "Walking the Tightrope"

In my many years of web design, I have often thought my job was to educate the client. Most of the smaller clients I work with are individuals, maybe with small businesses, maybe a local musician or even someone who just wants a mySpace update. Some (most) have a hard time opening their email no less have a grip on the web and what it takes to really be on top of the heap. Generally these clients are under the impression that they just "need a website." In many cases this is true. However, I have found that these same individuals tend to demand outdated design work, functionality and have a basic "out of touch with reality" view on how well their site will fair. I am not saying that sometimes these clients are 100% right, but most are not (sorry clients!) So, how do you educate your clients while at the same time, not belittle them or make them feel as if they are clueless? LISTEN TO THEM!

Anyone who has read any of my material knows that my top rule is LISTEN TO THE CLIENT. No matter how much more you think you know, how much better of a designer you are or how many web sites you've gotten to the top of the search engines, you still need to follow the number one rule. It's hard not to spout off about dynamic this and scalable that or the details of the history of the word pagerank (hey, look that one up - it may not be what you think!) However, if you hear any one of those words coming to the edge of your mouth ready to spill over into a conversation about what color they would like their background to be, just shut up!

You may say "well, this is important information and the client needs to know it." Maybe, in some cases. But for the most part, the client wants to hear "Yes. Excellent, I can do that on time and under budget."

Let's put it this way. If you had an idea of something you wanted to do like say, collecting shells and someone came to you and said "I can help you collect 100 types of shells from around the world... BUT, I will tell you the best shells to get, who to get them from, what color they should be to get the most oo's and ah's, how you need to catalog them so that they are easier to find from an administrative standpoint, how we can use the connections to get more links that will lead to greater shell position on the sea shell club circuit, how each shell can have it's own inbox so that as others see it, they can be alerted when another of the same shell is found by a competing club member."


"I can do all of this in 6 months for thirty thousand dollars, I need half upfront and we may or may not go over budget and schedule because you might change your mind about the scale of the project halfway through because I'm not listening to a word you're saying about how you want a one-page gallery to show off your six prize sea shells..." Ok, take a breath!

Clients who are not generally computer savvy or who see outdated sites or content will have a tendency to look for support when approaching you with their own project. They DO need to be educated, but first you need to make them feel comfortable with your suggestions. The best way to do that is to just close your mouth until they are done describing the picture they have in their head. THEN discuss exactly how and what they really want to do, the actual goals of the site and the image they are trying to portray of their business or project. There's no problem with making suggestions to up-sell or improve their vision - just make sure it's still their vision - or you're gonna have a hard time getting paid!

NEVER (too negative?) use negatives like "That's not how it's done anymore" or "The pink you chose for your logo makes me want to puke." (Sadly, I said that one early on in my design career back in print ad days!) Always, gently guide them AFTER trust is built. As a matter of fact, trust is really what all businesses are (or should be) about, and yours is no different. As the design progresses and they see you are doing what THEY envisioned, they will allow more input for improvement. They may even see it themselves - oh, and don't forget to add this discovery time into your price. Nobody REALLY expects people to work for free - especially when those people are reworking a project to THEIR ultimate vision (the one you have been guiding along the whole time).

I guess the point is, you can show off your knowledge and lose a client or you can say "I can make your idea a reality" and slowly mold and educate as you build trust. More on this in future columns.

Ron Smith is the president of Gorbs Corp., a web and print design and development firm on Long Island, NY. For more on Ron or Gorbs visit

If you're considering a career in SEM, want to train your in-house web designers on the finer points of SEO or want to just boost your rankings, and you're in the NY area, come to a "Can You SEO?" seminar. - come and sign up for our newsletter and get updates on tools, tips and products or check out (after October 1st).