Thursday, December 16, 2010

Couple of Sing to Win notes...

Now that Youtube has ditched the time limit, I re-uploaded all of the PLJ and Simon Malls sing to win moments.

Now when the contest happens again this year, not only will we have a two camera shoot to make it more visually interesting, no more separating it into 5 files....
Also, the Youtube Version of 'History of Brad Blanks', is also up...and with that, it'll be the end of the video year for us....

We will leave you with this video from the personal channel. When you try and do a new tutorial for an SNES video game, make sure your cartridge is in working order. I guess there is no way to fix this? :)

Happy New Year and Holidays!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Peoples Corner: New York Comic Con

In order to get a more interactive element going here at Packing Protons, here is a new topic.

This year, New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival merged into one gigantic convention held at New York City's Jacob Javitz Center.
From what I've been hearing, reviews about staff, and organization have not been good. Most people are starting to think that it will become way too huge and loose it's small, fun factor and become more like the San Diego Comic Convention which gets easily 50,000 people per year in attendance.

So, share you stories about the experience this year, and let the folks at REED know what you think of their latest move. I for one, did not attend either this year, as I felt there was nothing worth going into the city for a day to see...so I can't comment :)..

Saturday, September 11, 2010

PLJ summer blast Off

For the past 13 years, Scott and Todd have been kicking off the summer in style, with live, free concerts at the Jenkinsons Pavillion in Point Pleasant NJ. Having been going since the first event, the crowds have been staying longer and getting bigger year after year, and now it's become a tradition to wait outside as early as 7PM the night before in order to get a good 'standing spot' in the mosh pit near the band..

Having worked with these guys for the past four years, that is only the half of it. The night before, is a huge party with everyone from the big show, a few listeners, and loads of PLJ clients enjoying a night of free food, drinks, and music at the White Sands Hotel. Not being much of a social talker at events like this, I just enjoy the ambience and talk to whoever wants to chatter, but you haven't lived until you see Joe Nolan entertain the entourage at his table..People line up all night to get the chance to talk to the man...it really is quite a sight.

With the party over, it's time to get the show on the road! For the past ten years, I used to get up at 2AM and go wait in line. At this point in the night, you can usually get up pretty close near the giant clown head and in front of the Martell's store. When you are this near, you're guaranteed a good view of everything from the mosh pit....but good luck trying to get out once in. It's a mob of people behind you, so only people with a lot of concert experience will have any luck getting to the back.

This year, however, I get to bypass the line and just watch the festivities from the inside. You get to see the band doing their warm up checks, technicians setting up the equipment S and T use, Monkey Boy the producer making sure everything is in perfect working order, and the interns setting up all the free grab bags the listeners get as they walk in.

At about 5:30, the boys arrive and walk the line. Every year, the line gets longer, and this year, it was estimated that 5,000 people where there to see Kris Allen and the other lead band perform. Once the line is walked, the crowd gets to wait another half hour, and are ushered in around showtime at 5:50...the energy in the room is electrifying by this point.

The boys do their thing for the first few breaks, the first act goes on at around 6:40, the second act around 7:30, and then the man himself Joe Nolan kicks off the Summer with Bruce Springsteen in the background at 8. Finally, the main act comes on and rocks the joint out till showtime ends at 10AM. Everybody files out, and makes plans for next year, which comes faster than you might think! If you have not attended one before, it's time to start...you won't regret it!

The Weird and the Wild: Youtube Edition


There can only be one reaction to having a Superman Musical. What the hell where they smoking when they thought this up?

Near as I can tell, the main villain is Dr.Sedgewick. He wants to destroy Superman, rule the world, and blow up Sweden. Why, you may ask? Because he's been turned down 12 times for the nobel prize. Along the way, he meets a reporter who works at the Daily Planet....someone who also hates Superman. Seems Superman is stealing the attention of Lois lane away from him and giving her all the scoops! Along the way, these two villains meet up, have an incredibly fruity dance sequence that has to be watched to be believed, and commence with their plan.

The Dr. has his university dedicate, get this....a laundromat in Superman's name. While at the same time, his henchman blow up city hall with.....one giant bowling bowl of a bomb. The Dr. gets the crowd to turn against superman, blaming him for basking in the crowds adulation, rather than going of to save city hall. This, apparently, drives superman into a depression, even more so after that doc discovers his secret identity using a super computer. After the evil doctor tries to 'help' superman with a free psychosis session, Supes decides to end it all because nothing makes sense anymore and the people of Metropolis have turned against him.

So, rather than stabbing himself with some kryptonite, he ties a giant anchor to his person and throws himself off a bridge. Naturally, he survives. What turns him around? Two hippy kids explain that they love him because he's a freaky alien and point out that all the great people in history where a little freaky themselves! So after the two hemp brothers boost superman's ego, off and away he goes to save the day. Lois, meanwhile, has been caught by the evil duo, who then turn on each other, with the 3 henchman they hired coming out on top. After a rediculous battle where superman sings as he fights, Lois is saved, and the bad guys get blown into the air from their own explosive device.

how does this masterpeice theater end? The explosion and landing erased the 'bad memories' of the men and turned them good! The evil reporter is now a saint, and the scientist works as the 'scientific advisor' for the Daily planet.

For all of you hoping that Spiderman musical actually DOES see the light of day sometime this decade, just know that it could be as bad as Superman:The Musical!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Scott and Todd Charity Golf Classic

Wow, what a day! Left for the course around 10, actually arrived relatively on time, and only got confused at the end of the car trip.....If you pass the over hanging bridge, you know you've gone past oak street!

first order of business was to film the Longest Drive guy Mat...he was doing a few neat trick shots for a good sized crowd of early bird golfers, and there on behalf of The Blythdale Childrens Hospital....Not bad for a guy who can hit a golf ball a whopping 200+ mph, faster than most guys do on Pro TV Tournaments, including Tiger woods!

After this demonstration, Scott Shannon was supposed to make his customary speech, but one thing got in the way. Monk, Harry, Coop and Scott all got lost. So, Todd did the honor for him, and off the tournament went! TP's group was the first one to be filmed, with a much improved Harry Kapsalis, and Monkey Boy. for a Beginner, Jonathon Cooper didn't do too badly, except for the fact that he thought the putter was a claw to retrieve the golf ball from the hole! Shannon's group was next...and apart from Nolan's group, probably has the most well rounded golfers there. Pretty much all the balls I saw where hit first time. I had to follow Scott around for a few holes, in the hopes we could find a good spot for the customary intro. .. with no luck, it was off to find either Race, Evans, or Nolan. Nolan was found next.

Nolan's group could be qualified as Three Stooges lite. The infamous Bob from Cancune didn't seem to be all that bad a golfer, either... Just don't stand next to any tree's when Nolan swings! At this point, I decided to have my try at golf itself, and took out my 4 clubs, joining Todd's group. If they where slow before, they where even slower with me around....I whiffed 4 times, almost let the golf club go on another, but did manage to play two holes, and have two good shots....unfortunately, both went in the wrong direction of the whole...

Next up was Wrong Way Bill Evans, who seems to have just as much confusion with the carts as I do! His group consisted of mostly ringers, including one Suzy and Mr.Lichter. Mr.Evans himself is a rather qualified golfer in his own right! After a bit of technical difficulties trying to film his introduction, it was off to find the last remaining person, Race. Race proved elusive....either I didn't notice him in the groups I passed, or I turned left at a fork and he was right! Either way, Race eluded the camera's this time around!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Super Mario Galaxay - final thoughts....

There is something about video games that gives you a sense of adventure.....Back in the 8 bit days we had simple ones. Pac-Man, Popeye, BattleZone, Circus Atari. The characters consisted of Dots and the controls where a button and a joystick. most games only required you to move the character around and jump, or fire. But the games where simple, addictive, and fun.

Games have evolved since then...and have now entered the realm of 3D. Some have been succesful at the conversion. Others, like Sega's Sonic series, continue to struggle.

With Mario, it's been a mixed bag. I found Super Mario 64 rather boring, to be honest. Getting used to the 3D world and controls took a lot of the fun out of the game. So when Super Mario Sunshine came along a few years later, I was a bit iffy on giving it a chance. But, they improved...Mario had a fun new gadget, and graphics got a boost. While I found the game to be more fun than the original, it still didn't get a single replay from me.

So, you can imagine how I felt picking up Mario Galaxy. If 3D worlds where tough to navigate before, having a small tiny planet to circumnavigate would make you almost dizzy in confusion, right?

Yes, and no....

The game starts off simple enough in what could almost be considered the first theatrical mini movie for a Mario game. During the Star Festival, Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser when he takes the whole castle into another part of the galaxy...Mario gets blasted off into a tiny planet that King Kai might find homely, and his adventure begins...

One of the best things about this mario game, and for any kid who grew up in the 80's, is that it contains platform elements. something the last few where missing. Platform provides an annoying, but otherwise fun challenge that is easily defeatable with a bit of practice....something most 3D games forget about in their rush to impress you with a fully epxlor-able, but otherwise useless 3D world (looking at you Zelda). sometimes the game even goes into a 2.5D screen view, and it's almost like an update of the original super mario brothers from the NES days.

As whole, the controls leave a little bit to be desired. Sometimes if you go 'underneath' a planet, Mario will go the wrong way. You continue to point down, he'll circle around and go back up. There are also new elements that use the Wii remote, like a Star Ball that Mario has to balance on in order to move through a treacherous course...this can be frustrating, since there really seems to be no center of balance for the ball controls on the physical wii remote...a slight twist one way, and off the cliff you go. Other annoyances concern the joystick....Mine might be a bit faulty, but I find Mario will go off a cliff into a lava pit and die instantly, despite the stick being pointed in another direction.

But, if you can master, or work around these problems, you'll have the most fun in a 3D mario game to boot. All in all, Mario Galaxy is a welcome, well thought out addition to the Mario World, despite the fact that once again, Luigi is a useless character, only playable until the very end. This game is well worth $45's, I will be picking up the sequal.....along with what I hope will be Luigi's Mansion 2 being announced soon :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Proton Pack Prop Construction

This is one of those dream threads. Everyone wishes they could own a light saber, or a DeLorean, or even a KITT conversion. But this is one of those props that you can actually make a reality, thanks to the wonderful Ghostbusters community who put their time and money into developing and researching all of the main props from the first two Ghostbusters movies.....

On one dreary November day, my journey started. I opened up my package and bam, there was step one. My $150 Proton Pack, Vacuum Formed Shell... Now, lets run down the types of shells you can buy. Vacuum Formed: all plastic shell, usually with minimal details...with this type of shell, you have to put together allot more pieces of the puzzle. fiberglass: Usually an orange y colored shell. All minor details are usually included. Fiberglass shells take allot more effort and dedication and are usually more expensive in the $200 + range. And of course, Wood Shells: Mostly scratch built, glues and screwed in from scratch. Most stable of all, but also far more heavy to carry around.

for the purposes of this pack, I chose a Vacuum Formed model, as it will mostly be used as a learning process and display model. Unfortunately, this is where the pack build leaves off for a few months. It was such a daunting process, as I do not have much experience with tool use, that I decided to start with something that seemed far simpler at the time...

Thanks to Multimediamayhem.net, the Proton Gun Kit would soon arrive. At $150's, this unique kit has everything you need to build your own proton gun. And it includes a batch of stickers for both pack and gun. This is where part 2 will kick off with construction pics.....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Live from Bon Jovi


This is going to be more a review of the actual experience, than of the concert itself, as this was my first time attending one, and I am not much of a music guy. So, here goes!

The first thing to do was set an arrival time. Since I wanted to ge some shots of the Race Taylor broadcast, we arrived around 3:30. Unfortunately, they were broadcasting inside, and even with my semi un-official PLJ status, would not be able to get into the stadium. So, back to the car it was to kill an hour and a half of time.

But first, we had to find our ticket lady. The PLJ guys had sent an intern out to give us our tickets, and at first we were supposed to meet her at a loading area. We found the loading area, but no intern.....only a bunch of busy security guys probably wondering what we where doing waiting around their area. So, we walked almost around the entire stadium, and no one in a PLJ shirt. We did, however, run into a nice lady and her son who were equally as clueless as to what was going on...After a few minutes of waiting, they wandered off, we did a 180, and finally found our intern....Tickets acquired!

5:30 rolled around and the gates opened. Made sure to be first in line to be patted down. In an OCD generation, do not want to be last after the gloved guys and gals decide to do a few strip searches on people before you arrive! It was pretty funny watching the reactions the works had when listening to the announcements over the loudspeaker. He was nodding his head over and over as he has already heard these things ad nauseum!

Gates open, crowd files in. Ask half a dozen people on where we are supposed to be going, wound up on an escalator, down a few flights of stairs, and found Race on the first floor. He had a decent crowd during the live breaks, went off to do an interview with Richie Sambora, and after an hour, we went to find our seats.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Now, as for the actual concert experience...Our section didn't fill up until well around the time Kid Rock Showed up, so we had ample time to eat our fries (not bad) and get comfy... About 30 minutes late, a lady from I Think Q 104 came on stage, introduced the house band. Must be a thrill for them, but the lead singer knew full well that he was only a warm up for the main act, and played on that fact with the smattering of applause they received after each song with the small crowd there. They lasted on stage for an hour, then a recording of a Kid Rock song came on. The music was recorded, but as it turned out, the vocals where live. after the first few verses, the music stopped, and out came Kid Rock from underneath the stage.

Now, here is the problem I have with concerts. Especially in a bowl-shaped stadium like this. The music is sound is so loud in such a confined space, that It's really tough to understand the lyrics of certain songs. Add to that crowd reaction, and it makes it almost impossible to hear anything other than music. So, that's what I focused on. I had no idea what he was saying for most of the songs, but the music was enjoyable. Kid spent most of the show on a little walk out platform that put him behind in front of a small 'orchestra pit' of concert goers and right into the main crowd.

Kid Rock also lasted an hour or so, and by that time the sun had set and it was time for the main act. Also around this time, the PLJ listeners had filled up our seats, and we where all watching the daredevil stage hands pulling themselves up wires to reach the top of the stage area, where the lights were housed. Most probably to take down the huge glowing Kid Rock sign for Bon Jovi's arrival.

After about 30 minutes, the sun was gone, the lights turned off, and the screen displayed four guys walking 'toward us' in silhouette. Needless to say the crowd went wild, and when the decibel reached their peak, out came Bon Jovi. If the lyrics where tough to hear during Kid Rock, even the music got drowned out when bon Jovi played.

By this time, it was nearing 10:30. We stayed for four Bon Jovi songs (Much more enjoyable sitting down, than standing out in a parking lot. We attended the kick off of the stadium last October), and left when he was playing Superman Tonight.
Somehow, we found our way out of the stadium, avoided a potential police scuffle with a lady so drunk, she not only couldn't walk straight, but was bawlling her eyes out over the fact that three policeman where shadowing her out of the stadium.

So all in all a succesful night out....might do it again, but as stated before, not a concert guy :)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Next big radio star.

Live from Manhattan mall.
-the next big radio star auditions at Manhattan mall started out weak with an unusual personality, think silent bob, but soon got off to a roaring start with Duncan, an Australian native who was apparently an auctioneer back home before marrying a USer and heading west.

Once Duncan hit things off, we had a bunch of people from all over the world and US get up on stage with Scott and Todd for their chance at stardom. Check out the video but for a quick recap, here are a few of the highlights........

- Rachel, the out of work 27-year-old flight attendant.....

- the Return of Chuckles the Clown...this time without the makeup

- John, the guy with no talent and totally useless - I hear ya brother!

- Christine, defying the rules of tradition

-Marie, the hat lady with style....

- and Jonathon.. the Guy who auditioned for another job, may have gotten it, but isn't sure. So he's hedging his bets by auditioning...

Meanwhile, check out the video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saZK-baKAgE
We will be covering the remainder of these auditions in studio as time permits. Or as I'm able to finagle rides from friends at 6 am into the city. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The History of Brad Blanks

There is one word that describes this mans career...Inspirational. Either that, or really, REALLY lucky!

The legend has it that this young man, then around his mid 20's, walked into PLJ studios while on vacation, and asked for a job. He had no experience in radio, TV, or the media, but the boys liked his attitude and boom, he was covering the Australian Olympics for them next year. Low and behold, little did they know that they just embarked on the biggest experiment in radio history.

Below is a two hour project covering the long ten year history of Bradley P Blanks. From the Kentucky Derby, too the first Man on the Street Reports, and the big, ever popular Elmo Marathon. Follow brad as he goes from an inexperience single guy, to a well versed, married man and father of one. This, is the History of Brad Blanks...

The History of Brad Blanks from Packing Protons on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The PLJ Casting Call -Next Big Radio Star Search

The first Casting Call to replace Brad Blanks has come and gone. If you missed the fun, here is a bit of a run down.

Amazingly enough, people started lining up at the mall gates around 1AM. Naturally, security had to turn them away, but there is no doubt they came right back as soon as they where able. At 7:30, 50 people had lined up, and where put on air with Scott and Todd for a brief second....it was announced that 800 people had downloaded the application form. All told, about 100 people where heard and seen as promised.
Here is a bit of a quick run down of my favorites....

John from NJ. The most unique sounding voice for radio at the auditions. He sounded like Joe Pesci on Helium!

This guy is either a chef, or a musician...we are not quite sure!

This lady wants to bring more Ovaries too the show and less Testosterone

This guy got hosed on Beauty and the Geek, but he isn't quite sure what HOSED even means!

This Guy wants too bring a NY/NJ Attitude to the show....

These Two somehow crashed the auditions. We are not sure ohw they got past security..

Friday, March 26, 2010

Giants Stadium Tour = Meadowlands Stadium Tour...

Whatever the hell you want too call it, we took a tour of the new stadium last Saturday.

First thing you notice when you walk in the worker door, is that the entire stadium smells like a brand new car.. or 'new stadium smell'. This is before thousands upon thousands come to visit every football season and muck the place up ;).

Our first stop was the field. One of the cool things about it, is that you knew it was big. But oddly enough, it looks booth bigger and smaller when you are on the actual field itself. I guess it's all in the perspective. The Field was pretty much complete except for the giant hole in the middle of it, where I am guessing the NFL logo, or stadium name might be placed. You can only imagine how it would feel if 80,000 fans where either cheering you on, or booing you as you entered.

We saw the Generator room next, wich has the loudest, constant hum you've ever heard. IF the thing was poorly built, no doubt your hair would constantly stand on end due to all the electricity pumping through there.

Next stop was the locker rooms. We didn't see the Giants, but we did see the Jets and Visitors. The Jets have their name emblazoned on the ceiling. The lockers are made too look like would, but I'm not sure what the actual material is. The Floor is carpeted, but it's designed to be picked up piece by piece, should any one section get too dirty due to over use, or a muddy football field. Next to the Jets room was the Coach's Area with what looked like a full cabinet of stuff for the coach to store all his crap :).

The Visitors Coach wasn't so lucky, as we didn't see any area for him to drop his stuff. The players in that locker room will feel like they are back in high school, as it's all very, very basic. Just much larger than a normal high school locker room. They do, however, have a bunch of wide screen TV's on the wall to watch whatever pre-game coverage they choose to have on.

After that, we went to the commissioners club. I think we where told that each seat outside is about $20,000 per game. Directly outside the commissioners club are about 20 'booths' where folks can take their food and just sit and relax. This area is at a pretty good viewing level as well, with no binoc's required. Equally expensive, was the Suite area. Each one had it's own Giant TV....why that is needed when the field is directly outside, I'm not sure...and it's own sink and cabinet area. It basically looked like a mini hotel at a super expensive Super 8. The 'cheaper' suite's had the seats outside the glass door, and the more expensive one had leather looking seats inside the room itself. Pony up the extra money if you don't want to freeze to death during a December game :).

After that, was the scaffolding tour. This was one area I choose to go too, because I don't care much for heights. But the lights go all around the entire stadium, and I guess if any of them ever blew a very expensive fuse, they'd have to have a way to fix 'em easily. Little known design fact 2. The outside of the stadium is supposed to light up with colors when a touch down is had, or various events take place. Apparently when the lights inside light up, it's supposed to give the effect that the outside is all a glow. It'll be pretty cool to see if that is in fact the case and not just a rumor.

Finally, we hit the Press quarters. This is where ESPN Radio, or the Stadium announcer is. Next to the press quarters was a giant electronics hub where everything electrical in the stadium is controlled. Should something go wrong during a half time show, this is where the guy will be shitting his pants trying to fix it ;).

And that's the stadium tour in a nut shell. Hope you enjoyed the video!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Mission and History

In 2006, I had an idea. When a local radio station mentioned they where having problems getting video online, I knew that with my computer skills and software/hardware, I could fill that job position far better than any intern, and do it far faster as well. So, we started covering their events. First the Iron Elmo Triathalon, then others. 4 years later, we are friends with everyone at the station, and have gained years experience shooting live on air events.

With that little venture completed, it's now time to see if we can expand it to other companies and venues. What we bring to the table:

A Sony XR520V Full HD Camcorder
News Quality Microphone
3 years experience shooting radio media events
An interviewer experienced at making people look good while on camera.

If say Regis and Kelly wanted to start doing a behind the scenes blog to help promote a guest or segment, we'd come in, film it, edit it on the spot, and have it on youtube, or raw footage in your producers hand ready to go. We usually have an idea of how things are to be edited, but if you have your own vision and materials, we will use those instead. IF you had a cast signing that you wanted to cover for your website, We'd be glad to cover it and interview the stars and fans while there. If you have a new broadway stage show like 'Stuffed and Unstrung', we'll cover a few plays worth so you can have a copy for your company archive.

You'll also get a copy of all raw material shot on a data disc, the edited project file done in Vegas Pro, and a Blu-Ray copy of the finished project as well.

We work for cheap, or free...but would obviously prefer a pay check in this day and age :) So if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at neilt1978@gmail.com with any questions

Hope to work with you!
Neil Vitale

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Big Joe Henry Polar Bear Plunge 2010 edition


The Big Joe Henry Polar bear Plunge is turning into an annual event. I first checked out the madness in 2007, went with an upgraded video camera to get some better footage in 2009, and now back again in 2010.

This time around, a friend wanted me to film his first time plunging into the waters, but unfortunately they wouldn't allow me on with an orange wristband. finding him in the crowd area this late in the game would be impossible, so I wound up going to the Big Joe Henry broadcast area.

The space was kind of confined. Lots of people cramped in for a great view of the action. Hence why you see some shaky shots. Unfortunetly from our vantage point, it looked like NO ONE was going into the water at all! That's why Big Joe is kind of confused, and everyone else is shouting and almost jeering the plungers for not going in!

According to stats, almost $1,000,000 was raised, with 4,000 plungers and a estimated crowd of 20,000 people. Probably half of which may have come to see the Jersey Shore house just down the block. Next year I may just interview some of the crazy folks in costumes to get their story...like the group we saw following us to the event, the Numb Nuts. Wonder how long it took to think up that name? :)