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Whether owning an entry level, enthusiast, or professional Canon DSLR camera, it is an imperative to also own at least one Canon lens.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Using Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer technology, this lens delivers sharp handheld shots at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than the usual. This expands picture-taking possibilities any time slow shutter speeds are needed. With focal length and maximum aperture of 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II, its aspherical lens element corrects aberration for excellent image quality throughout the zoom range. Meanwhile, its circular aperture works well for the exquisite rendering of shots with out-of-focus backgrounds.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Lens
Given its optical qualities and the 2 to 3 stops of stabilization given by its IS system, the magazine SLR Gear called it ”the best bang for you buck for this type of lens with extremely sharp and excellent AF performance.” When taking its extraordinary low price point into account, this light, compact, and affordable lens turns out as a no-brainer choice for a large number of DSLR kits.

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 Lens
The small but mighty package is literally pocketable for being less than an inch thick and weighing less than 5 ounces. This makes it work as a great backup lens so the user can have something extra to shoot with.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Lens
As a normal prime lens that is significantly sharper than the kit lens, this remarkably affordable piece turns out as the best value lens in terms of the quality of output. Aside from its reliable STM focusing motor for faster, quieter autofocus, its extremely fast aperture works great for images requiring blurry backgrounds and images shot in low light. It is also worth noting that when this lens gets used with a 35mm film or full-frame sensor, it is widely considered to match the perspective seen by the human eye.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L Lens
Its exceptional build quality with excellent and very even optical performance makes it one of the most popular lens for photographers moving to professional lenses. It generally lasts as a workhorse, especially to portraitists, wedding and event photographers, and fashion shooters.
Being a professional grade “L” lens allows it to retain its value extremely well.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Lens
With silent USM focusing motor and full-time manual focus and 4 stops of image stabilization at normal focus distances, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 lens offers the reliability of reproducing an object the size of the image sensor, known as 1:1 magnification. This great and versatile telephoto lens with a convenient 100mm focal length focuses to infinity, just like regular lenses, making it usable for portraits. It produces sharp picture and boasts a unique hybrid IS system designed for macro shooting to work as well.


Most Popular Canon Lenses Worth Buying
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Regularly changing a vehicle’s engine oil and filter is one of the most important periodic maintenance tasks every motorist should do to keep the vehicle running well for a very long time.

Buy the Right Oil and Oil Filter
Confirm the right motor oil and oil filter unit to best fit the car requirements. To do so, one must secure the following information: car’s engine displacement size and car’s year, make, and model, and car’s oil type. Following carmaker recommendations for oil viscosity is always the best route to avoid engine damage and poor car performance. It is best to buy a quality filter rated to go the distance as the oil.

Gather Tools and Equipment
Before even opening the hood for a change oil, one should always make sure to have all the necessary supplies and equipment within reach. Aside from the oil and filter, one must prepare the following: oil wrench fitting the diameter of the filter to make removing the old filter easily, especially when unscrewing by hand won’t cut it; socket wrench to unscrew the drain plug; funnel to transport oil; drain pan or old bucket to collect used oil; newspaper to catch any spilled oil outside the pan; rubber gloves to protect the hands from hot surfaces; and oil rags or paper towels to wipe off drips and help clean hands.

One should also invest on a jack and jack stand, car ramp, or a safe and secure set of blocks or wheel ramps to elevate the car’s front off the ground and give more room to work underneath the car. Additional tools may be needed in the case of some vehicles that require removing the top or bottom panels for the change oil.

Warm Up the Engine
Warm up the engine for 5 to 10 minutes to allow sludge to move out of the engine easier. Don’t keep the car running for too long to prevent the oil from getting too hot. If the oil gets too hot, wait for about 30 minutes to avoid getting burned.

Raise the Car
With the car parked on a flat surface and the parking break engaged, put the car ramp or wheel ramps in front of the front wheels accordingly. Alternatively, locate the jacking points and jack up the car using a jack stand. As additional security measure, put wheel blocks or tire restraints on the rear tires. Apply enough force by rocking the vehicle to test its safety while raised.

Drain the Oil
Spread newspaper out on top of the drain pan placed underneath the engine, specifically under the oil drain plug. Always exercise precaution when working underneath the car, especially with the engine and exhaust that may still be very hot. Loosen the lone bolt of the oil drain plug by turning it counterclockwise using a socket wrench. When still not familiar with this part, verify that it is really the engine oil drain plug and not the transmission drain plug by checking the manual and looking for a flat metal pan closer to the engine than the transmission.

Wear rubber gloves and manually unscrew the loosened plug as quickly as possible to give way to the stream of oil for draining and minimize spill. The draining process usually takes about 10 minutes. Once oil stops dripping, reinstall the drain plug by hand, then tighten with a quarter turn clockwise using a wrench.

Remove and Replace the Oil Filter
Oil filters come in different varieties depending on car specifications. These include self-contained units that can be simply unscrewed by hand and those made of paper that slides out after unscrewing a cap. Look for the oil filter, a Coke can-sized object that is usually found under the hood, but at sometimes foun beneath the car. Move the drain pan underneath the oil filter before unscrewing the oil filter for replacement counterclockwise, as more oil may still come out from it. If it’s difficult to remove, one may need an oil filter removal tool. To avoid oil spill while removing the filter, wrap a small plastic bag around the filter to catch any oil that escapes as you remove it.

After allowing the opening to drain completely, wipe off the opening using paper towel or oil rug. Smear some of the new motor oil along the rim of the new oil filter by dabbing a finger to it, ideally while still wearing gloves, as this lubricates the gasket and prevents sticking, cracking or causing oil leak by creating a reliable seal for the new filter. Putting a small amount of oil into the filter itself prior to installation also reduces the amount of time the car takes to regain proper oil. Skip this step if using paper filter. Replace the filter and manually tighten the seal. Wipe off both the filter and pan after oil filter replacement.

Refill the Oil
Once everything underneath the car is sealed and secure, remove the oil cap from the top of your car, place a funnel inside the fill hole, and refill the tank’s oil based on the manual’s specified amount and grade of motor oil. Most oil jugs provide a measure on their handle to confirm how much oil is left. If the filter is mounted vertically, filling with oil may reach almost up to the top. If the filter is mounted at an angle, a minimal amount of oil will spill just prior to spinning the filter on. It is good to hold the bottle with the spout on top so oil pours more smoothly without bubbling. Replace the fill cap, tighten all parts, making sure there are no loose tools and leaking issues. Wipe off any spills to prevent burning oil smell.

Test the Car and Record Information
Get the car off the jacks. Start the engine for a minute to allow the new motor oil to circulate thoroughly. Turn off engine and allow the oil to settle for 5 to 10 minutes to check oil levels by pulling out and cleaning the dipstick, the putting it back and removing it once more to see how much oil there is inside. It is worth noting that in cases when the engine has just run, one can’t always rely on the dipstick for accurate measurement, as some oil may still be in the galleries. Check the odometer to record the distance the car should run before next oil change and list down the date to also serve as basis for the next oil change.

Dispose the Used Oil in an Approved Facility
Since dumping car motor oil in an unapproved area is often illegal, and more importantly, is a serious environmental concern, pour the oil from the drain pan to a secure container and bring this to any auto parts store, gas station, or oil-recycling center for proper oil disposal.

Motoring Guide: How to Change Car Oil, DIY-style
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Entourage movie review

Protecting fruit trees from impending birds and pests is important to prevent damage to the produce, especially when nearing harvest time. In doing applicable bird-control measures, which often means incorporating several methods to keep birds and pests at bay, fruit tree owners can ensure a better harvest with the peace of mind that no birds or pests turn out first in line with touching, eating, or even destroying their produce.

Trappings and Alternative Food Source
Using bird trapping or netting, which often requires baiting a trap with water and food attractive to birds, works as a form of protection for the fruit trees. However, people should be responsible enough to release any captured birds after. It is also important to check local laws in the area, as birds are generally considered protected animals, making it illegal to kill them. Another way is to provide the birds with alternative supply of food such as birdseed and corn away from the fruit trees, while still employing extra barriers of defense for fruit tree protection.

Visual Decoys
When the budget is tight, fruit growers can simply put out balloons with drawn eyes on them about 3 feet above the trees to help repel birds. In case the birds pop these balloons that are tied around tree branches or poles, the loud sound and blast of air can also scare them away.

Aside from the traditional decoys around, a good number of decoy product varieties are readily available in the market including solar-powered and battery-operated items with extra features like aluminum cannulations, steady LED light and flashing light functionalities beneficial for evening protection, and decoy moving parts for a more convincing look.

Sound Decoys
Whether solar-powered or battery-operated, the more modern sound decoys often provide extra features like daytime and nighttime working modes and passive infrared (PIR) motion-activated sensor for more efficient repelling of nearby birds and pests within the area of coverage. Some also emit ultrasonic waves, vibrations, and pulsations supporting frequency conversion to irritate or simulate danger and repel birds nearby.

Motion detectors that trigger noisemakers can help deter birds through the aid of recordings of beating large wings, predator sounds, and distress cries. It is best to alternate the sound of bird cries with a variety of convincing shrill noises including those of locomotive or static sounds, as well as move the speakers in different areas so the birds don’t get used to these noisemakers.

Chemical Repellents
Chemical repellents are more reliable when needing to seriously protect landscaping and property from corrosive droppings from birds, reduce the health and liability risks linked to pest bird infestation in the region, and prevent the spread of diseases caused by birds such as bird flu. It is best to use chemical repellents that are biodegradable and organic for a more environmentally responsible means of repelling birds.

Many available chemical repellents in the market are diluted to water in containers. Some are directly sprayed or painted onto surfaces so that the area produces food-grade taste aversion to birds and they leave the treated area for a long time or even permanently, as they look for more conducive spaces with better food source for them.

How to Protect Fruit Trees From Birds and Pests
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Metro Manila Shake Drill

Manila, Philippines — Kudos to everyone involved in conducting the metrowide earthquake drill today. This is a worthwhile initiative by the government, in collaboration with private institutions and the public. Last Tuesday at SanLo, the drill allowed everyone in school to be more aware of what to do (dock, cover, hold; then, run towards safest and nearest possible ground right after the shake) and lessen the possibility of panic, injury, or even death.

I hope today’s technological breakthroughs can be utilized for further enhancement of emergency systems nationwide, most prominently the conversion of TV and radio stations’ broadcast into digital — which I believe would make it easier to have confirmed national and local government announcements of emergencies including crucial typhoon, flood, fire, and earthquake warnings — just like how it is practiced in the US. In an emergency case, regular programming will be replaced by unified local or national government warning.

In connection with this, the country should have a standard SMS number to text and inform local government rescue teams (like 911 less the person/dispatcher), since I think it’s a more practical and second best option to get in touch if the need for rescue arises. And for practicality as well, have this SMS number instantly activated only, for the mean time while we await to become a more developed country, after an official emergency warning is implemented.

Also, may we request any of the Public Information Offices of the country or whoever should be in-charge to provide an official infographic and list/guide of what the public needs to do in case of emergencies — each document easy to read and categorized into the type of emergency including fire, rain/flood, and earthquake. A standard, easy-to-remember, and go-to government website (.ph) where all these will be accessible should be properly disseminated to the entire country.

Things to Do During Emergencies: Metrowide Shake Drill 2015
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Check the official website for more Las Vegas Monorail information

Value
Cleanliness
Management/Service
Style/Location
Amenities/Perks
Food/Drinks
Points of Interest
Average

The Las Vegas Monorail allows tourists to experience the famed Las Vegas Strip in as little as $5. Its speed is just right to have the eyes feasting on the magnificent lights and structures in this bustling tourist destination from a different vantage point.

Aside from being a very fast, environment-friendly, and practical alternative to taxi and shuttle rides, this strategically located, state-of-the-art transportation system lets the tourists enjoy the sight of the city from above the ground — without the traffic and at the fraction of the cost of a car rental. Even for locals, it has its own benefits as well.

Cost-efficient Transportation

Aside from the single-ride ticket for $5, a 24-Hour Pass for $12, Two-Day Pass for $22, Three-day Pass for $28, Four-Day Pass for $36, Five-Day Pass for $43, Seven-Day Pass for $56 are also available. These rates are updated as of April 2015. Check out for promo codes from various Las Vegas travel and tourism platforms to take advantage of an even cheaper monorail cost.

Nevadans enjoy discounted tickets available at all customer service booths upon presentation of a valid Nevada driver’s license, a State of Nevada government-issued identification card, or a Nevada Sheriff’s Card. The local fare for residents is only $1 per ride with a maximum purchase of two single-ride tickets per person per day.

Convenient Monorail Stops + Free Shuttles

Monorail riders don’t need to worry about city traffic or spend much with car rentals and high fuel consumption when dining, shopping, gambling, and enjoying entertainment venues both on and off the Las Vegas Strip.

The monorail arrives every 4 to 9 minutes at the seven monorail stations along Las Vegas Boulevard. People can explore every stop and take advantage of the free sites in each hotel station: MGM Grand; Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas; Flamingo/Caesars Palace; Harrah’s/The LINQ; Las Vegas Convention Center; Westgate Las Vegas; and the SLS Las Vegas Station.

Commuters can also catch the free Las Vegas shuttle from the monorail’s routes, which further help save commuters more time and money. They also have access to the free shuttle services departing from locations along the Monorail route: Rio Las Vegas Shuttle; Bally’s/Paris Station; Sams Town Shuttle; Palms Shuttle; and Orleans/Gold Coast Shuttle.

Additional shuttle options are not directly connected to the Monorail, but they are mostly about 10-15 minute walk from the closest Monorail station: M Resort Spa and Casino; Palace Station; Green Valley Ranch; and Southpoint Hotel.

For more detailed information about the Monorail stations and free shuttles, check out: Las Vegas Monorail Guide: Nearby Hotels and Attractions

Accessibility

The monorail system is completely ADA compliant with convenient access to wheelchairs, walkers, mobility scooters, and motorized scooters. All stations have accessible elevator services to all levels. Properly harnessed and trained service animals accompanying persons with disabilities are also permitted in the trains. Every child under five years of age always gets a free ride.

Ticket Validity

Monorail tickets are valid for one year from the date of printing. This information is shown at the ticket’s upper right corner. The unlimited passes should be used within a one-month period. Once the pass is used, it will expire in either 24 hours or 72 hours. To serve as guide to pass holders, every used ticket shall be stamped with an expiration date and time upon first use.

Monorail Schedule

The Las Vegas Monorail is open every Mondays from 7 a.m. to 12 m.n., Tuesdays to Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

The Customer Service Ticketing Office operates daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations: MGM Grand Station, both The Underground (Formerly Star Lane) and The District Entrances; Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas Station; Flamingo/Caesar’s Palace Station; Harrah’s/The Linq Station; Westgate Las Vegas Station; and SLS Las Vegas Station.

More Las Vegas Monorail Information

The Las Vegas Monorail is an ideal option in specific occasions such as the New Year’s Eve celebration when the Strip is generally not very accessible to motorists, as well as popular conventions like The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show and CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which attracts visitors from different parts of the world.

More Las Vegas Monorail information is available at its official website. Travelers are encouraged to tag @LVMonorail for their posts about their Las Vegas Monorail experiences.

Las Vegas Monorail Information: The affordable transportation around the Strip
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My blog is back online… finally!

But here’s the thing… This blog is currently being manually restored. Yes, each post (except for the more than a dozen posts left in my workable backup file that only backed up my 2006 posts) is being copy-pasted back as blog posts — the entire blog that started in 2006, being copy-pasted back one by one.

With thousands of posts to work on, it would take a really long time to have everything back online. Lesson learned the very hard way: ALWAYS BACKUP EVERYTHING PROPERLY and MAKE SURE ALL YOUR FILES ARE UP AND RUNNING WITH NO TECHNICAL PROBLEM IN YOUR ENTIRE PLATFORM.

A big part of the problem was my hosting issue. I changed my web hosting earlier this month as part of the decision to overhaul everything, since I don’t even get a decent customer support from my prior hosting. This, alongside my own irresponsible way of maintaining my blog through the years, has caused my WordPress files to fail, leading to the impossible means to backup my blog from the prior hosting — I can’t even open my cPanel from my old hosting and it’s taking forever to get a response from technical support.

I’m taking the relatively clean slate to overhaul my entire blog: a much better, cleaner, and more strategic theme, design, and layout; and more organized categories, tags, and links.

I stopped blogging in 2012, the time when I had A LOT of writing stints from about a dozen of U.S. and Philippine writing platforms, which included websites, other blogs, and broadsheets. I didn’t want to stop, but I had to pick my priorities. Since I really needed a lot of money for lots of expenses back then, I stopped blogging to allot more time for all my work loads (imagine shooting, teaching, and doing at least 10 articles per day — everyday).

Now, I want to focus more with my own… I am still doing writing gigs alongside my primary works in advertising and the academe, as well as my polishing of scripts for my future films, but I also want to build back my blog, which I am writing for my own, not just for commissioned works. It’s my very own. I should start loving it again.

So in a nutshell, how has this blog evolved? Read my About Blog page for the short and sweet details.

Hello world, it’s March 2015 and my blog is finally back online!
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airlines with flights from US to Philippines
For those intending to travel to the Philippines from U.S. and Canada, there are many airlines offering both direct and codeshared flights. For passengers traveling to the Philippines with flight itineraries involving more than one carrier (through connecting flights), it is best to inquire at the airport’s check-in counter if checked-in baggages need to be checked-out and checked-in again at the connection point, or if the baggages just need to be picked-up at the passengers’ destination.

Here is a shortlist of airlines serving flights from the U.S. and Canada to the Philippines (and back):

Air Canada
(Canada) 1-888-247-2262; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-840-4626 to 28
Frequent Flyer: Aeroplan

Baggage Information

Known to have the most extensive flights available from Canada to the Philippines and back, Air Canada offer international flights from all over Canada to the Philippines via Vancouver and Toronto. There are daily flights are available with stopovers: in Hong Kong, China; Narita, Japan), and Seoul, Korea.

American Airlines
(U.S.) 1-800-433-7300; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-817-8645
Frequent Flyer: AAdvantage

Baggage Information

American Airlines has an extensive U.S. network and codeshare agreement with other Asian airlines to fly their U.S. passengers to Manila, Philippines and other key cities in the country.

Asiana Airlines
(U.S) 1-800-227-4262; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-892-5688 to 89, (Cebu Philippines) +63-32-342-8066 to 67, (Pampanga, Philippines) +63-45-599-6657 to 78

Frequent Flyer: Asiana Club
Baggage Information

Asiana Airlines is the second major carrier of South Korea. It has flights from Canada to Manila via Vancouver. In the U.S., Asiana has a significant number of flights from major U.S. cities to the Philippines.

Cathay Pacific Airways
(U.S.) 1-800-233-2742; (Canada) 1-800-268-6868; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-757-2436 to 37, (Cebu, Philippines) +63-32-231-3747, (Davao, Philippines) +63-82-222-8901
Frequent Flyer: Asia Miles

Baggage Information

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, services three of the largest U.S. cities New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco with direct flights to the Philippines. The other cities have partnerships with regional airline companies to fly passengers to the Philippines. Cathay Pacific has daily flights directly traveling to the Philippines via its two biggest cities, Toronto and Vancouver. It also has many codeshare flights with other airline companies in Canada to passengers to Canadian cities not serviced directly by the airline.

Delta Airlines

(U.S. and Canada) 1-800-447-4747; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-889-6440
Frequent Flyer: Skymiles

Baggage Information

Delta Airlines service flights to Manila from both the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., it has direct access to and from Manila with its own fleet. It also offers multi-city flights in and out of major Canadian cities through direct and codeshare agreements with other airline companies.

Eva Air
(U.S. and Canada) 1-800-695-1188; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-753-1380 to 82
Frequent Flyer: Evergreen Club

Baggage Information

Eva Air, Taiwan’s major flag carrier, has daily flights from four major U.S. cities Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York to Taiwan. Then, Eva Air takes the passengers from Taiwan to Manila. In Canada, Eva Air services Vancouver direct to Taiwan; while passengers from other Canadian cities take a partner airline to reach a connecting flight going to Manila. From Taiwan, Eva Air takes North American passengers to Manila. Flights are available daily.

Japan Airlines
(U.S. and Canada) 1-800-525-3663; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-886-6868
Frequent Flyer: JAL Mileage Bank

Baggage Information

Japan Airlines has extensive available flights in several U.S. cities, whether direct or codeshared flights. Japan Airlines services Vancouver and Toronto in Canada. From Vancouver, the airlines has direct flights to Tokyo. From Toronto, passengers need to disembark through Chicago to take a codeshared flight to Toronto.

Korean Air
(U.S. and Canada) 1-800-438-5000; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-893-4909
Frequent Flyer: Skypass

Baggage Information

Korean Air, South Korea’s flag carrier, has several service areas in the U.S. and it service direct flights to Seoul thrice a week. It also services two the Canadian cities Vancouver and Toronto. From Seoul, passengers bound for the Philippines can avail of several daily flights to Manila.

Philippine Airlines
(U.S. and Canada) 1-800-435-9725; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-818-4914 and +63-2-816-4302, (Cebu, Philippines) +63-32-252-8412 and +63-2-252-8917, (Davao, Philippines) +63-82-224-6977
Frequent Flyer: Mabuhay Miles

Baggage Information

Philippine Airlines, the Philippines’ flag carrier, has multi-city, daily flights from all over the U.S. to major Philippine cities. The airline also services thrice weekly flights in and out of Vancouver to Manila. These flights connect passengers to regional airports in the Philippines including Cebu and Davao.

Singapore Airlines
(U.S) 1-800-742-3333; (Canada) 1-800-387-0038; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-756-8888, +63-2-756-8877, and +63-2-756-8899, (Cebu, Philippines) +63-32-232-6211, (Davao, Philippines), +63-82-221-1039, +63-82-224-5608
Frequent Flyer: KrisFlyer

Baggage Information

Singapore Airlines has flights available from the Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. It also flies in and out of Canada via Vancouver. From these cities, passengers can get a connecting flight to Manila and other Philippine destinations serviced by Singapore Airlines from Singapore.

Thai Airways
(U.S. and Canada) 1-800-426-5204; (Manila, Philippines) +63-2-812-4744
Frequent Flyer: Royal Orchid Plus

Baggage Information

Thai Airways have flights from New York and Los Angeles to the Philippines via codesharing with other airlines. Passengers coming from Canada get connecting flights to Canada from the U.S.

Airlines with Flights from the U.S. and Canada to the Philippines
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You don’t shell out thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions just to let the film bury itself inside the can, that dusty DVD container, or the inner workings of your dying hard drive.

Whether you intend the film to be watched for commercial purposes or you want it to be merely seen and touch lives of people for non-commercial film screenings, festivals, and other artistic endeavors, you need to let the people know there is something to watch out for.

Creativity and networking are crucial to effective marketing. From PR materials to merchandising items, they play significant roles in making the film better known; while actually earning additional money from sales through branded materials.

Classic examples of a film franchise’s merchandising items include books, shirts, button pins, bookmarks, keychains, bags, caps, paperweights, and school supplies (especially for children’s movies like “Harry Potter”and “Ice Age”) — where the film’s title or its sample art work gets branded into specific merchandise items. Sponsors also receive product placements in movie projects and their logos and contact details can even be placed at the film credits. The major sponsors can even be provided advertisements and write-ups in newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, and sometimes, even the film’s poster. Events and advanced screenings to further create buzz also become welcome sources of sponsorship goods.

Press people are invited to conferences and advanced screenings. They are provided physical and/or digital press kits containing publicity photos, production notes, poster, bonus articles about the film, film trailers and other media files. There are also fun stuff sold to a number of stores and Internet sites, where more than just merchandising materials, actual props used in films get auctioned or sold. Sponsorships and ex-deals on children’s films are also common in fast food chains and other commercial establishments where merchandise items are sold or given as freebies.

Marketing sounds pretty commercial, but even independent films practice marketing in one way or another. It is quite clear how the marketing arm of a mainstream production goes. Now, taking the idea of marketing in an independent production: a person talks about the film with friends, then friends-of-friends, and so on. The filmmaker and his/her team build profiles of the project in various online networks, create a website, a blog, or a Facebook page, put trailers on video sites like Youtube, and even collaborate with certain musicians for the scoring and coming out of music videos with mutual benefits for both parties. They promote the movie posters or even create memes and even artistic and viral calls to action in as much venues as possible. People get screening invitations through post cards, phone calls, text brigades, emails, e-groups, and social networking sites.

More often than not, a motion picture clings on to reviews and words from those who watched it in advanced/press/block screenings. The idea is, “if the film is really good, people will start talking about it.” With Hollywood productions and even independently-produced films like “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Once,” words coming out from those who initially saw the films affect their box office power.

In the Philippines, the main difference between Hollywood films and most of the country’s local films is how the value of marketing gets practiced and taken into account. To compare, it is still Hollywood and other developed countries with successful film industries that are able to market their films effectively, as they have ample budget and they have the support of their own governments, as well as many private institutions. However, this doesn’t mean that Filipinos should hamper their creativity in marketing strategies. Being creative and resourceful people, Filipinos, whether involved in commercial or independent films, can come up with great ideas and innovations on how to go about it. This also applies to struggling independent filmmakers and small production companies anywhere in the world. In fact, by this time and age, basic marketing strategies abound with or without a big budget. In this era of fast-paced communication and information technology where it is already very feasible to reach the greatest number of people through viral campaigns in the internet, film marketing is just a matter of setting priorities and putting effort and creativity to it.

It is as simple as: “If you have a film, you have to let other people know about it.” You have to reach out and let others share their thoughts about it. It is a storytelling medium anyway… so just tell them you have a story that they may want to check out, and hopefully, they enjoy it and tell more people about it.

Marketing as a Vital Part of Film Production
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Best Museums in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is not all about hotels and gambling. It has some of the finest museums in the U.S. While there are dozens of museums and exhibits of various themes and interests located all over the city, these are the best ones to check out when visiting Las Vegas:

Atomic Testing Museum

755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119;702-794-5161

With 8,000 square feet of gallery and exhibit hall and a specialty gift store called the ATM Store, the Atomic Testing Museum provides multiple viewpoints of the Nevada Test Site and its impact on the country. It features many artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and pieces of the Berlin Wall and World Trade Centers. Its design offers a highly interactive experience filled with touch screens, motion sensitive plasma TV presentations, audio interviews with former workers from the test site, and other valuable multimedia components for the benefit of museum visitors.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Museum
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109; 702-693-7871

The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is Las Vegas’ premier exhibition venue hosting various exhibits of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art by the world’s leading and most influential artists. It has already featured works of many renowned artists from Picasso to Warhol. Its rotating museum-caliber exhibitions offer visitors rare opportunities to view legendary and historical works of art carefully selected from prestigious international collections.

Clark County Museum
1830 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, Nevada 89002; 702-455-7955

The Clark County Museum provides guests with the uniquely valuable experience of visiting Southern Nevada’s past. Visitors can tour many sites such as the Heritage House, Mobile America, Beckley House, Esslinger Barn, Giles/Barcus House, Boulder City Depot, and Candlelight Wedding Chapel. Its Heritage Street features unique collections of historic homes restored to recreate lifestyles of important periods in local Nevadan history. There are replicas of the 1900s newspaper print shop Donald Reynolds Printshop, outdoor exhibits of a resurrected ghost town, a Paiute Indian Camp, and a Pueblo-style Exhibit Center providing a historical journey through its timeline from the Ice Age to the Age of Entertainment.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum
900 North Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89101; 702-384-3466

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum features animated dinosaurs, Southern Nevadan plant and animal life, international wildlife room, shark exhibit with live sharks, children’s hands-on exploration room, exhibitions about the African Savanna and African Rainforest, and other interactive natural science exhibitions and educational programs geared towards understanding, appreciation, and natural history preservation of the planet’s wildlife, ecosystems, and cultures.

Liberace Museum
1775 E. Tropicana Ave. Las Vegas, Nevada; 702-798-5595

The Liberace Museum features collections of jewelry, pianos, rare cars, costumes, antiques, customized automobiles, and elaborate costumes from Liberace’s million-dollar wardrobe. The entertainer and pianist Liberace was a mainstay of Las Vegas for many decades. His diamond-studded gold piano, fabulous capes, million-dollar furs, a Louis XV desk owned by Czar Nicholas II of Russia, an authentic uniform from Czar Nicholas, a piano played by Frederic Francois Chopin, and a concert grand owned by George Gershwin can all be seen in the museum. It also displays the world’s largest collection of rhinestones and other memorabilia.

Lied Discovery Children’s Museum
833 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89101; 702-382-3445

One of the largest children’s museums in the U.S., the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum features over 100 hands-on exhibits about science, arts, and humanities. There is an everyday living section where children can pretend to pick a job, earn a paycheck, conduct bank transactions, go shopping, and do the groceries for them to experience the tasks typically available for adults. There is also a section where children can simulate what it is like to be physically impaired. They can also explore a science tower with fiber optics and a weather station.

Nevada State Museum and Historical Society
700 Twin Lakes Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107; 702-486-5205

The Nevada State Museum and Historical Society is a state agency and an educational institution that serves as a museum for the advancement and understanding of the natural history of Nevada, with emphasis in Southern Nevada and its relationship with its surrounding areas. Aside from hosting national and international traveling exhibits in many of its gallery spaces, it has the three permanent exhibits Biological Sciences, Regional History, and Earth Sciences. This museum continues to grow as it continuously collects, researches, interprets, and preserves the state’s past and present heritage.

Marjorie Barrick Natural History Museum
University of Las Vegas Campus, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada; 702- 895-3381

The Marjorie Barrick Natural History Museum offers a dedicated collection about native cultures in the Southwest and Central Americas. It carefully illustrates the natural history of Southern Nevada and its bordering regions and also serves as a valuable learning facility for students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). This regional center for natural history features survival arts and native artistry of the Southern Paiute, dramatic weavings of the Navajo, beautiful carvings of the Hopi, dance masks of Mexico, and huipils of Guatemala. Guests can explore the earlier periods of Las Vegas, the building of the Hoover Dam, and the pre-Columbian cultures. Many of its exhibits also showcase diverse and fascinating wildlife and fragile ecosystems.

Best Museums in Las Vegas, Nevada
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As an occasion of ethnic pride celebrated throughout Mexico and the U.S., the Cinco de Mayo festivities in the Las Vegas area offer a lot of great food and drinks, fun events, and themed contests around the valley.

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at The Chef’s Table

Star and Will’s Residence 10029 Artistic Walk Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89149

Keeping up with the Mexican tradition of eating, drinking, dancing and celebrating during the occasion, the Chef’s Table invites guests to celebrate with them the annual observance of the Mexicans’ historic day of unity and patriotism on May 1, 2010, 5:00 p.m. Guests are expected to enjoy festival food including Barbacoa, Carnitas, Arroz, Frijoles, Pico De Gallo, Tortillas, Chips and Salsa, Pan Dulce, and Margaritas. There will also be a salsa contest for those who can whip-up the best homemade salsa. Those who are interested should bring their labeled entries during the celebration.

There is a $10 per person fee to be collected at the door. Reservations should be made on or before Apr. 29, 6:00 p.m. There is an option not to pay the $10 fee by bringing a bottle of tequila. Interestingly, there is a welterweight boxing match on the same night: Mosley vs. Mayweather. And if there’s enough interest and donations, guests can enjoy watching the pay-per-view fight while enjoying the rest of the festivities. The event will be hosted by Star M and Vernalisa, The Party Chef.

Lindo – Centennial’s The Gringo and Me ‘Cantina’

7870 W. Tropical Parkway Las Vegas, NV 89149

The Lindo Michoacan Gourmet Mexican Cuisine invites everyone for the 2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Lindo Centennial. On May 5, 2010, guests will enjoy festivities all day long with food, beer, and margarita specials, the featuring of the Karma Tequila (a top shelf 100% blue agave tequila); the live Mariachi Band “Mariachi Franco” performing from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the Lindo T-shirt Giveaway, the FUZE Jamis Mountain Bike and Coleman Roadtrip Grill Giveaway, and the featuring of the Karma Tequila Girls to further spice up the occasion.

Pre-Cinco de Mayo Celebrations at the Rio Hotel

3700 W. Flamingo Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89103

A two-day event intended to kick off a weekend before Cinco de Mayo 2010, the Pre-Cinco de Mayo at the Rio Hotel and Casino will feature the most popular Tejano bands including popular groups and folk and regional performers at the hotel’s pavilion.

The Friday event will feature: David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Roberto Pulido Y Los Clasicos, Chente Barrera, Tobias Rene and Gabe Nieto and Jalapeno Express. The Saturday event will feature: Little Joe Y La Familia, Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers and Charlie Rich, Jr.

Comedian Rick Martinez at Harrah’s The Improv

3475 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89109

May 3, 2010 shall mark an early celebration of Cinco de Mayo at the Harrah’s Hotel and Casino by sharing a few margaritas and laughs with Latin comedy sensation Rick Martinez. Bringing his style of hilarity to The Improv stage by 8:30 p.m., this special one-night-only performance by the Mr. “Spicy Latino Nights” himself will offer Latino music and stand-up comedy performances for guests to enjoy.

Tickets are sold at $19.75 (plus applicable taxes) for general admission and $27.45 (plus applicable taxes) for VIP tickets. The VIP treat includes special seating, meet and greet with Rick Martinez, and a complimentary T-shirt. Tickets can be purchased at the Harrah’s Box Office (702-369-5223) and online at www.harrahs.com.

Erik Estrada at the Tacos & Tequila’s 12-Hour Cinco De Mayo Fiesta

3900 Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89109

Erik Estrada will host the tribute to Tacos and Tequila’s (T&T) most beloved holiday on the second annual 12-hour celebration of Cinco de Mayo on May 5, 2010 (starting at 11:00 a.m.). T&T at the Luxor Hotel and Casino will provide sizzling Cinco de Mayo food and drink specials, a Mariachi happy hour from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., “Cock-a-Doodle Duel” competitions, and an action-packed fiesta hosted by former “CHiPs” star and Cinco de Mayo celebrity favorite Erik Estrada.

Estrada and surprise guest judges will also host the Tacos & Tequila’s “Miss T&T Hot Tamale” pageant. Guests will expect a stunning lineup of Vegas’ hottest muchachas to go head-to-head in a competition of brains, beauty, and brawn. The winner will receive $5,000 in cash and will become a spokesmodel for T&T and Hennessey Black.

2010 Cinco De Mayo Celebrations in Las Vegas
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How to Use the JVC GR-SV3 Camcorder

Photo by eBay selle shirtmaniacali

 

In the early 90’s came the first prototypes of LCD screens for video cameras. One of JVC’s pioneer offers, the JVC GR-SV3 Infocam Camcorder, was released during that time. Back those days of the Viewcam bandwagon, the market for cameras like the JVC GR-SV3 was quite comparable to the inkling for the latest consumer HD cameras of the 2000’s. But this doesn’t mean that the “in” gizmo then which is the “outdated” gadget now is of no good use anymore.

So, for those who want to start using their old camera models again such as the SV3, there is still a very good chance to keep things up and running.

How to Use the JVC GR-SV3

Load the battery and check the power. Make sure the charged battery is properly attached to the camera. Find the power/mode selector knob on top of the JVC GR-SV3 Infocam. Turn the power on and check if the battery jumpstarts it. If everything is generally functional, time to test drive further.

Under a little flap, you can find the tape transport, various secondary controls, and a small LCD information panel. Make sure you have your compatible VHS-C tape loaded into the camera. Follow the signs in loading the tape accordingly.

The good thing about older video cameras is that their features and functions are very basic and considerably easier to explore and discover. So ideally, if you can scrutinize the functions of the latest computers, mobile phones, and HD cameras these days, you can definitely go over this camera and find your way through.

Familiarize yourself with the screen/monitor and the buttons. Check the screen in front of the camera. This screen displays the moving image and you can actually record yourself and readily see the footage on the screen. You can opt to switch off this feature.

At the back panel, there is a main start-stop button. It doesn’t have a safety latch, but it is recessed to avoid accidental pressing.

Behind the tape loading hatch at the back, you can find another set of buttons for selecting recording speed, setting the clock, among other features.

Do a test recording. Record within the best range of this JVC camcorder’s fixed auto-focus and auto-exposure capabilities.

On the front, just below the lens, there is a pair of buttons for the zoom. The camera has a simple 3x zoom lens, along with features like time/date recording, message recording, self-timer, auto indexing, and 5-second record mode. The mono linear soundtrack and the built-in mic record the best sound from subjects up to three or four meters away.

When done recording, press the same button again to end. The machine goes on standby mode.

View the recorded footage. The screen acts both as a viewfinder (the SV3 has an optical viewfinder for normal use) and a playback screen. It is mounted on a hinge that allows it to swing up. It is visible from behind the machine. The screen can be used for playback in either position. The image inverts accordingly for you to get the right perspective. It also has a small built-in speaker for the sound.

As it uses the VHS-C format for recording, it is easy to take some footage with you and play them on a full-size VCR using the supplied cassette adapter. Maximum recording time is 90 minutes on a 45-minute tape, and 2 hours for a 60-minute tape — when using the LP recording mode.

Tips

The video resolution for this camera is just over 240 lines. The LCD screen struggles to resolve much more than a couple of hundred lines than when recordings are played on a TV monitor. The screen itself isn’t very bright and is easily washed out in daylight. Recording color fidelity is generally fine for its range. However, like most older camera models, indoor shooting with minimal lighting does not provide good enough recordings.

The 0.25-inch image sensor and the small lens offer low-light performance when shooting. As expected, noise and grain are more evident in low-light conditions. So, it is best to make sure that the area where you plan to shoot is well-lit. At its best, in good lighting conditions as with exterior day shots, noise levels are considerably low and the picture looks crisp and bright enough for its range.

Make sure the camera, along with its accessories, is cleaned with a camera cleaning cloth. The lens and LCD screen are extra-sensitive parts and should be cleaned with the right material, which are generally available in camera and gadget stores).

Warnings

Be extra careful when using a tripod, especially the small and consumer-type ones. The tripod mount is located way over towards the camera’s side. This design is most likely to protect the internal deck mechanism. However, the downside of it is that it makes the camera quite unstable with smaller tripods.

Rick Maybury. Video Camera 1993. Rick Maybury Ltd.

How to Use the JVC GR-SV3 Camcorder
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