My favorite photos of 2012

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 31, 2012 in photos, portrait, Ryan's Life
Braden Paquette, left, and Tara Jackman dance to the music of Kellie Pickler in the beer gardens at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alta. on August 3, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Braden Paquette, left, and Tara Jackman dance to the music of Kellie Pickler in the beer gardens at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alta. on August 3, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

The view through a night vision scope of Canadian solders on night patrol at Forward Operating Base Maiden 1 during Exercise Arctic Ram near Yellowknife on February 13, 2012. Approximately 1,500 Canadian soldiers and Rangers participated in Arctic Ram to re-familiarize the army with a harsh winter environment and to exercise Canada's Arctic sovereignty.  Journal reporter Elise Stolte and photographer Ryan Jackson were embedded with the military this week and saw the exercise first hand. Go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/arcticram for photos, blog updates and check out The Journal on Sunday and Monday for the full story on our military in the arctic.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

The view through a night vision scope of Canadian solders on night patrol at Forward Operating Base Maiden 1 during Exercise Arctic Ram near Yellowknife on February 13, 2012. Approximately 1,500 Canadian soldiers and Rangers participated in Arctic Ram to re-familiarize the army with a harsh winter environment and to exercise Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. Journal reporter Elise Stolte and photographer Ryan Jackson were embedded with the military this week and saw the exercise first hand. Go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/arcticram for photos, blog updates and check out The Journal on Sunday and Monday for the full story on our military in the arctic. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

8 Platoon commander Lt. Nick Ethier climbs into a snow cave built during winter survival training with the Canadian Rangers at Forward Operating Base Maiden 1 during Exercise Arctic Ram near Yellowknife on February 14, 2012. Approximately 1,500 Canadian soldiers and Rangers participated in Arctic Ram to re-familiarize the army with a harsh winter environment and to exercise Canada's Arctic sovereignty.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

8 Platoon commander Lt. Nick Ethier climbs into a snow cave built during winter survival training with the Canadian Rangers at Forward Operating Base Maiden 1 during Exercise Arctic Ram near Yellowknife on February 14, 2012. Approximately 1,500 Canadian soldiers and Rangers participated in Arctic Ram to re-familiarize the army with a harsh winter environment and to exercise Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

A couple walks down a pathway in Edinburgh, Scotland.

A couple walks down a pathway in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Wouldn’t it be cool to sit down for a chat with party leaders for the 2012 Alberta provincial election? Well, now you can. By stitching together four separate videos, Edmonton Journal videographer Ryan Jackson puts you at the same table with the leaders of the Progressive Conservative, Wildrose, Liberal and NDP parties. You can pick which candidates you’d like to hear from on five hot topics in 360-degree interactive video. So grab a cup of coffee and go to edmontonjournal.com/360election In this frame grab you can see (left to right) Alison Redford, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose Party, Raj Sherman, leader of the Liberal Party and Brian Mason, leader of the NDP at Cafe Rista in Edmonton on March 29 and 30th, 2012. This image was created by stitching multiple frames together. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Judith Benson, librarian at the Alberta Legislature poses for a photo in the library of the Legislature building in Edmonton on August 21, 2012. The Legislature turns 100 years old this year.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Judith Benson, librarian at the Alberta Legislature poses for a photo in the library of the Legislature building in Edmonton on August 21, 2012. The Legislature turns 100 years old this year. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Students with St. Joseph Seminary created a giant "Snow Pope" in honour of Edmonton's Archbishop Joseph McNeil society in Edmonton on November 7, 2012. There was supposed to be a fundraiser for the Archbishop Joseph MacNeil Society at the seminary but it was canceled due to weather so the students spent their day creating the sculpture and shovelling sidewalks for neighbours. For a fun video of the students creating the "Snow Pope" go to edmontonjournal.com/videos  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Students with St. Joseph Seminary created a giant “Snow Pope” in honour of Edmonton’s Archbishop Joseph McNeil society in Edmonton on November 7, 2012. There was supposed to be a fundraiser for the Archbishop Joseph MacNeil Society at the seminary but it was canceled due to weather so the students spent their day creating the sculpture and shoveling sidewalks for neighbors.
For a fun video of the students creating the “Snow Pope” click here. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Neil Herbst, owner of Alley Kat Brewing Company poses for a photo in his brewery in Edmonton on August 27, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Neil Herbst, owner of Alley Kat Brewing Company poses for a photo in his brewery in Edmonton on August 27, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Simple Plan performs on the Telus Stage at Capital Ex on July 28, 2012. This image was created by stitching multiple pictures together. The Journal's Ryan Jackson has created a fun "choose your own adventure" style 360-degree panoramic tour of Capital Ex including 360-degree videos on a roller coaster and several other rides. You can eat corn dogs, play games and watch the fireworks.  The game is especially neat on a gyro-enabled iPad2 or iPhone 4.  Go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/capex360    (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Simple Plan performs on the Telus Stage at Capital Ex on July 28, 2012. This image was created by stitching multiple pictures together. The Journal’s Ryan Jackson has created a fun “choose your own adventure” style 360-degree panoramic tour of Capital Ex including 360-degree videos on a roller coaster and several other rides. You can eat corn dogs, play games and watch the fireworks. The game is especially neat on a gyro-enabled iPad2 or iPhone 4. Go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/capex360 (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

The sun sets on the Pacific Ocean along the west coast Highway-1 in California.

The sun sets on the Pacific Ocean along the west coast Highway-1 in California.

A panoramic view of the homes on 9th St. SE in Slave Lake, Alta. on May 23, 2011 (top) and May 2, 2012 (bottom). Nearly one-year after after a wildfire devastated the neighbourhood. Images were created by stitching multiple pictures taken taken at GPS location N55°16.411' W114°45.859'  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal) To see these images in a 360-degree interactive split screen view, go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/slavelakemap where you'll find more before-and-after photos and panoramas.

A panoramic view of the homes on 9th St. SE in Slave Lake, Alta. on May 23, 2011 (top) and May 2, 2012 (bottom). Nearly one-year after after a wildfire devastated the neighbourhood. Images were created by stitching multiple pictures taken taken at GPS location N55°16.411′ W114°45.859′ (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal) To see these images in a 360-degree interactive split screen view, go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/slavelakemap where you’ll find more before-and-after photos and panoramas.

A view of the Alberta Legislature building minutes after a severe rain storm taken from the roof of the Annex building in Edmonton on August 23, 2012.   (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

A view of the Alberta Legislature building minutes after a severe rain storm taken from the roof of the Annex building in Edmonton on August 23, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Marie Dann and Adrian Smith enjoy some A&W on their wedding day in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. on August 25, 2012.   Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

Marie Dann and Adrian Smith enjoy some A&W on their wedding day in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. on August 25, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

Aaron Hoyland holds his soon-to-be bride Lisa's hand while her bridesmaids keep her hidden.

Aaron Hoyland holds his soon-to-be bride Lisa’s hand while her bridesmaids keep her hidden.

A blacksmith poses for a photo at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village near Edmonton, Alta. on September 1, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson, ryanjackson.ca

A blacksmith poses for a photo at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village near Edmonton, Alta. on September 1, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson, ryanjackson.ca

The sun sets on a snowy field along highway 21 near Camrose, Alta. on December 11, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

The sun sets on a snowy field along highway 21 near Camrose, Alta. on December 11, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Interactive Video of 2012’s Top 10 News Stories for Edmonton Journal

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 26, 2012 in DIY, Interactive, lighting, photos, timelapse, video

I got the assignment to film 10 Journal reporters and editors discussing the top 10 news stories of the year in their own words.
I decided to use some of the gear and techniques I’ve been developing to shoot and present the video.

Rather than shooting 10 separate videos and presenting them as 10 separate clips, I put them all together in one YouTube video and used annotation buttons to make the video interactive. You can jump back and forth between clips and choose which stories you are most interested in.

Since the videos are mostly just “a person sitting at a desk talking” I decided to up the production value a but and have the camera constantly moving.

I built a Pan/Tilt/Slide robot for doing timelapse videos in the summer. I used it for the World’s Longest Soccer Game Video but now I would need it for video instead of stills.

I made it programmable so I can tell it to start in position A, then take X number of minutes to move to position B. The device consists of three stepper motors and three Phidget stepper controllers.
Everything is programmed in Python. Those years spent in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science come in handy!

I used my hacked Panasonic GH2 for the video and my Olympus LS10 audio record with a Sennheiser wireless mic for sound.

Here is my Pan/Tilt/Slide robot that I've been working on for months. I added 8:1 ratio pulleys to the motors to make the movements smoother and slower. I also surrounded the motors with plastic to dampen the sound. (not shown here).

Here is my Pan/Tilt/Slide robot that I’ve been working on for months. I added 8:1 ratio pulleys to the motors to make the movements smoother and slower. I also surrounded the motors with plastic to dampen the sound. (not shown here). The design is constantly changing which is why I haven’t blogged about it much. Though I guess I should blog about all the changes!

I made a DIY teleprompter using cardboard, tape and my iPad running the Teleprompt+ app. This was my first time recording reporters with a teleprompter and it made my life so much easier! The subject doesn’t have to fumble for words and some say it makes them forget about the camera a bit.

Here is the very rough version 1.0 of my Pan/Tilt/Slide robot controller.I plan to eventually control everything with an iPad app that I'm writing so there's far less wires!

Here is the very rough version 1.0 of my Pan/Tilt/Slide robot controller.
I plan to eventually control everything with an iPad app that I’m writing so there’s far less wires!

Frame grab of David Staples from the video. I just used two 500LED lights for him.

Frame grab of David Staples from the video. I just used two 500LED lights for him.

 

Here is my setup for David Staples in City Hall. My assistant and friend Megan Voss is on the right.

Here is my setup for David Staples in City Hall. My assistant and friend Megan Voss is on the right.

Frame grab of Gordon Kent from the video. I just used two 500LED lights really close to him. The sunlight coming through the window was much brighter than the video lights so they had to be placed close.

Frame grab of Gordon Kent from the video. I just used two 500LED lights really close to him. The sunlight coming through the window was much brighter than the video lights so they had to be placed close.

 

Gordon Kent in City Hall talking about the hockey arena saga. Photo by Megan Voss.

Gordon Kent in City Hall talking about the hockey arena saga. It was hard to balance him against the bright window with only two 500LED light panels so I underexposed him a bit and then brought up the shadows in post.  Photo by Megan Voss.

My setup for Graham Thomson in the Alberta Legislature talking about former Alberta Premier Peter Ligheed's death. I got Graham to stand on a box so that I could frame him with the portrait.

My setup for Graham Thomson in the Alberta Legislature talking about former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed’s death. I got Graham to stand on a box so that I could frame him with the portrait.

Frame grab of Stephanie Coombs from the video. She has am 1800-watt 48" Octobox to her left and one 500LED video light to her right.

Frame grab of Stephanie Coombs from the video. She has a 1800-watt 48″ Octobox to her left and one 500LED video light to her right.

 

Stephanie Coombs at her desk to talk about the Hub Mall shooting. Photo by Megan Voss.

Stephanie Coombs at her desk to talk about the Hub Mall shooting. You can see I used my Olympus LS10 audio recorder connected to my wireless Lav for sound. It’s always better to record your sound separately and monitor it with headphones. Photo by Megan Voss.

A frame grab of Sandra Sperounes from the video.I just used the light on her desk and a small Light Panel with an orange filter off to the left.

A frame grab of Sandra Sperounes from the video.
I just used the light on her desk and a small Light Panel with an orange filter off to the left.

 

Sandra Sperounes at her desk talking about the Paul McCartney concerts. Photo by Megan Voss.

Sandra Sperounes at her desk talking about the Paul McCartney concerts. Photo by Megan Voss.

Marty Klinkenberg at his desk to talk about Highway 63. Photo by Megan Voss

Marty Klinkenberg at his desk to talk about Highway 63. Photo by Megan Voss

Frame grab of Jim Matheson from the video.I used two 500LED lights and one small Light Panel as a hair light.

Frame grab of Jim Matheson from the video.
I used two 500LED lights and one small Light Panel as a hair light.

 

Jim Matheson in Rexall Place to talk about the NHL Lockout.I wanted to film him in Rexall place to illustrate the empty stadium seats and lack of hockey.

Jim Matheson in Rexall Place to talk about the NHL Lockout.
I wanted to film him in Rexall place to illustrate the empty stadium seats and lack of hockey.

Using the Pan/Tilt/Slide robot added a ton of work to the setup for each video but it really made the videos more visually dynamic. It also moved the camera much smoother and consistent than if I moved it by hand.

I certainly wouldn’t do this for most news video but a fun feature like this was a perfect opportunity to test out some new tools.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 25, 2012 in Ryan's Life

Christmas Grinch Jackson Postcard Photo 2012 IMG_0280

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Battle River Railway Interactive Tour

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 8, 2012 in 360 Panoramas, photos, Soundslide, video

Everyone loves a good story. And everyone loves trains. Combine the two and you get the Battle River Railway story.

Basically CN Rail was planning on shutting down the longest stretch of straight line track in Alberta. This would leave many towns and farmers without a railway which would cost money for the farmers and hurt the small towns along the tracks.
Instead of giving up, a co-operative was formed to purchase the tracks and a train engine and run the railway themselves.
It’s a nice David vs. Goliath kind of story that hits close to home if you grew up in the prairies like me.

I overheard Journal reporter Marty Klinkenberg and an editor talking about this story and jumped on it as I knew it would be a perfect opportunity to use a new storytelling technique I’ve been working on.

Think of it as a truly multimedia slide show incorporating stills, video, audio 360-panoramas and educational interactivity. You can play the interactive tour here. It works great on desktop and iPad but there are still some bugs with iPhone FYI.

Ever wanted to drive a train?  Journal photographer Ryan Jackson has created an interactive tour of the Battle River Railway story. Take a seat at the controls of Engine 5353 and learn how to drive a train! The tour works on your desktop or mobile device. Go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/BRR

Ever wanted to drive a train? Journal photographer Ryan Jackson has created an interactive tour of the Battle River Railway story. Take a seat at the controls of Engine 5353 and learn how to drive a train! The tour works on your desktop or mobile device. Go to http://www.edmontonjournal.com/BRR

Will Munsey, volunteer Engineer for the Battle River Railway, poses for a photo in Forestburg, Alta. on December 1, 2012.  The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it's shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future.  [Note: Munsey is also the president of the Alberta Party. That is unrelated to the story]  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Will Munsey, volunteer Engineer for the Battle River Railway, poses for a photo in Forestburg, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it’s shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future.  Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Battle River Railway Engine 5353 transports grain near Galahad, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it's shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future.  Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Battle River Railway Engine 5353 transports grain near Galahad, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it’s shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Ken Eshpeter, Chairman and CEO of the Battle River Railway, poses for a photo in Forestburg, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it's shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Ken Eshpeter, Chairman and CEO of the Battle River Railway, poses for a photo in Forestburg, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it’s shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Peter Wetmore, Forestburg-area farmer and railway conductor for the Battle River Railway, links two grain cars near Galahad, Alta. on  December 1, 2012.   The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it's shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Peter Wetmore, Forestburg-area farmer and railway conductor for the Battle River Railway, links two grain cars near Galahad, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it’s shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Peter Wetmore, Forestburg-area farmer and railway conductor for the Battle River Railway, poses for a photo near Galahad, Alta. on  December 1, 2012.   The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it's shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Peter Wetmore, Forestburg-area farmer and railway conductor for the Battle River Railway, poses for a photo near Galahad, Alta. on December 1, 2012. The BRR is a community-owned railway line between Camrose and Alliance, Alta. The new generation co-op purchased the 80-km short-line from CN in 2008 after they announced they were going to sell off the rails for scrap. By keeping the line active, local area farmers are able to save money and time transporting their grain. The co-op also turns a profit which it returns to it’s shareholders and plans to offer tourism and oil transport in the future. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

I got to drive a train!

I got to drive a train!

Here's how the story turned out in the paper. The designer Keith did a fantastic job!

Here’s how the story turned out in the paper. The designer Keith did a fantastic job!  You can read Marty Klinkenberg’s wonderful story here.

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