The Best Tree House Ever
- Category: Home Trends
24 Hours of Happy - Just Brilliant
This is one of our favorite creative projects we've seen in 2013. Great song and steady cam fun. Be sure to check it out here and check out all the different times of the day and the clever transitions. A simple idea done really, really well. http://24hoursofhappy.com/09h43AM
- Category: Art and Design
Pentatonix - Little Drummer Boy
- Category: Fresh Cut Fridays
- Category: Fresh Cut Fridays
iZotope RX3 Advanced Review
Izotope RX3 Advanced is an elegantly designed suite of audio restoration tools with a beautiful and intuitive interface that delivers transparent and effective results when used judiciously. We used it both in standalone mode and as a plug-in with Sony Vegas Pro 12. Most tools in the suite worked as a plug-in except for Spectral Repair which had to be run in standalone mode.
Izotope RX3 has become an essential part of our post production workflow. When shooting video we encounter a variety of audio challenges related to the environment, equipment or the performance. Plus there's the crew. We have an awesome network of audio engineers but no one's perfect and audio levels can be too weak or too hot in dynamic situations. So that's a lot of variables to deal with.
The end result of this imperfect sonic wonderland is unwanted hum and noise, rumble, occasional distortion, unwanted reverb and more. It all has to be addressed in post so we can deliver a pristine audio mix with our final video.
In the past we've had mixed results using noise reduction and audio restoration tools because of the artifacts introduced by the algorithms, mainly the phasing and thinning of the sound. The harder the tool was pushed the worse the artifacts got. The results were never really transparent enough to our liking.
Izotope RX3 is a smart prescription for post because it allows you to fix complex problems without introducing artifacts. Yes, if pushed too hard it's easy to do more harm than good, but we generally were able to improve the quality of the audio before introducing unwanted sonic garbage.
We've now used RX3 Advanced on multiple video projects to remove rumble, reverb, HVAC noise..etc. The more we use it the more we appreciate what a powerful tool it is for making our dialogue pop through the mix. The cleaner we can get it the better we're able to sweeten it.
The RX3 noise reduction module does an excellent job removing unwanted hum and white noise from the HVAC. We got excellent results with 10 seconds of room tone as our noise profile. About 6dB of reduction was ideal for removing most of the unwanted noise with minimal artifacts. This was more than enough for projects where a music bed would help mask any remaining noise. We also tested it with shorter noise profile and it worked very well.
In most cases, we were able to use RX3 to improve the audio in a transparent way. Removing reverb from a recording is still very challenging to do and takes more time to dial in. Luckily, the intuitive controls make it easy to simply experiment until you get the desired results.
In general we got the best results by pushing the software until we would start to hear unwanted artifacts and then dialing back a bit, and then maybe a bit more. Interestingly, with the declipper we tended to push it a little harder for the best results. We even ran the audio through a UAD plug-in before the declipper and that yielded good results. So experimentation is very important.
The folks at iZotope have optimized RX3 to take advantage of multicore systems. Our 12 core Xeon test system was pushed to the max and yielded very good performance. Nice to see software like RX3 putting all those cores to work. What use to be an arduous task of cleaning up audio is now a simple batch process that can be done in minutes. It's also been very stable and has not crashed in standalone mode. It did cause occasional problems in plugin mode. We recommend working in standalone mode for most work. Little fixes are fine in plugin mode.
Izotope RX3 Advanced is one of those tools that is best used sparingly with the goal of improving the quality of the audio without giving it an overly processed sound, unless you're going for some sort of effect of course. Super clean is not better than what we would call sonically authentic. For example, we still prefer the sound of a clean FM radio signal to XM radio because of the compression used by XM. To our ears it just sounds bad. It's sterile, compressed and sad. With Izotope RX3 you can make your mixes cleaner but still happy and bright. Taking the time to clean up your mix with a tool like Izotope RX3 is well worth the effort. It's an essential tool for post.
Here you can listen to a sample with and without using the RX3 noise reduction.
- Category: Production and Creative
Original Pancake House Apple Pancake Recipe
Mmm...tasty Apple Pancake. Nothing makes me feel more like Homer Simpson than a giant baked Apple Pancake. When I was a kid my dad and I would sometimes play hooky from work and school and go for a late morning breakfast at the Pancake Pantry or Original Pancake House. The Apple Pancake contains eggs, flour, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, butter and lots of apples. It takes about 40 minutes to bake in an iron skillet or pyrex dish and is served all puffed up and steaming hot. It's really more like a A soufflé than a pancake. With a side of bacon and cup of coffee, it's comfort food with no equal.
The only way to truly appreciate it is to try one yourself. If you're lucky enough to have an Original Pancake House in your neck of the woods you should go there as soon as possible. Don't make the mistake of confusing the Original Pancake House with the infamous chain the International House of Pancakes or IHOP. IHOP is more like the McDonalds of breakfast places, perhaps kid friendly but there's nothing great about the food. The Original Pancake house or a local knockoff is what you're looking for. They're scattered around the country. Locations in Detroit, MI, Beaverton, Oregon and Aliso Viejo, California are the best we've been to.
Brock, one of our spotty contributors, recently helped us dial in the recipe for the Apple Panckage. He dated a women from one of the locations and way able to conjole some tips. After some experimenting we perfected the Apple Pancake clone. We keep teaking it and funkyfresh readers have also suggested improvements. Thank you Roxanne Schultz! This recipe is so good we actually now prefer it to eating out. We've had the real thing in Detroit, Chicago, Oregon and California and this is just as tasty. If you don't have an Original Pancake House in the neighborhood do yourself a favor and try this recipe today! Your home will smell great all day long too. Oh yeah, one last thing, you'll want an apple peeler. No really, it's one of the greatest little gadgets and it works on spuds too. I know the skin is good for you and all, in fact I sometimes eat a potato just like an apple-CRUNCH! But baked apple dishes usually taste much better nice and clean without the skin. Surlatable sells them for $25. It's well made and well worth it for apple lovers. That said, this thing is so tasty with or without the skin it really doesn't matter. We used to use an iron skillet for this monster but we're having such good luck with Pyrex that we now use it exclusively. Can be round or square. We prefer round but 10x10 works great too.
5 Tablespoons of butter up to 1 stick, we like lots of butter
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin. Actually we also like the apples simply chopped up with the skins left on. It's better for you this way too.
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla, use the good stuff from Mexico
4 - 6 Eggs, depends how eggy you want it, size of eggs, you'll need to experiment a bit
In a mixing bowl, add flour, milk, vanilla and eggs. Mix well until it's nice a smooth. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and cinnamon to a 12 inch Pyrex pie deep dish or square dish and put in the oven. (deep dish Pyrex is great) Crank to 375 degrees. When the butter is completely melted remove from oven and add the apples. Apples should completely cover the bottom of the pan and be nice and coated with butter and cinnamon.
Now pour the batter into the Pyrex dish directly into the center of the apple, butter, cinnamon.
Next coat the entire surface with the brown sugar, cinnamon and granulated sugar mixture. To little and it won't be sweet enough. To much and it will be too sweet. So you really have to tweak this until it's the way you like it. Generally, a thin layer across the top of the surface will work.
Now, let it cook for about 40 minutes depending on your oven. When the edges are golden to dark brown but not burnt it's time to remove and let the monster sit and cool for a few minutes. Then slice and enjoy!
-- Rick Spence with recipe research by Jeff Brock
- Category: Food
Bose QuietComfort 2 Headphones Review
I don't think most people notice the amount of background noise that is generated on airplanes. Since it's in the form of white noise you don't really notice it until you try and listen to music or a movie. Have you ever noticed that you have to turn the volume way up to be able to hear the dialog of a movie' And you thought that was because of the $2 airline headphones.
To give flyers piece and quiet Bose has created the QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. These are the 2nd generation of noise canceling headphone from Bose. The headphones use both acoustic isolation and active noise canceling to block out all of the unwanted background noise.
- Category: Home Electronics
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