In this week’s project, I’m upgrading a vintage lamp with voice control using an Amazon Echo and ESP8266 microcontroller. Full tutorial with wiring diagram and code on Instructables.
I am asked frequently what equipment I use to capture and edit my DIY projects, tutorials, and videos. Here’s a comprehensive list of my current arsenal for 2017. I maintain the opinion that you can always take great photos and videos with whatever camera you have (so long as you’ve got good lighting), which has lead to some scrappy choices over the years. My goal has always been to keep my equipment within my own personal operating abilities to keep productions as lean as possible, but to be honest these days I don’t want for much. These are the carefully selected tools I’ve come to incorporate into my professional photography/videography practice. All of the practical tips in my 2014 MAKE article about making great build videos still apply, even if the equipment is different.
Panasonic GH4 – Love this camera, more than any camera I’ve ever owned! This mirrorless micro four thirds interchangeable lens camera was designed to be a video powerhouse, and has literally never let me down. The screen flips all the way around, the battery life is incredible, the programmable buttons let you customize the controls to the things you use most often, and because I still edit video in 1080 but shoot in 4K, I can crop in on my shots in the edit to improve composition and clarity. For streaming, which I do significantly less of than I used to, the GH4 outputs clean HDMI video with the option of no menu overlays (try and name another prosumer level camera that does this). The newer GH5 doesn’t crop the sensor in video mode, but for me that’s the only feature that would make a difference in my day-to-day (the improved OIS wouldn’t give much benefit to my tripod-tabletop shots). At some point I did think about getting the Sony A7Sii (performs much better in low light), but upon trying out a friend’s, it became evident that the lack of screen flexibility was a dealbreaker in my workflow, which routinely puts the camera facing straight down.
1pm PT/4pm ET broadcast of my Instructables Infinity Mirror webinar on Facebook Live! Show is pretaped but I’ll be answering questions live in the chat.
When cherries go on sale, I always whip up at least one batch of brandied cocktail cherries. Find the complete tutorial on Instructables. The recipe is super simple:
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brandy
Whole spices like cinnamon, star anise (optional)
These cherries will keep in the fridge for several weeks, and only get better as they soak up the alcohol-sugar mixture, and besides cocktail garnishes, they make a great ice cream topping along with the liquid from the jar.
I made a complete writeup about my bullet journal on Instructables.
I created this sign for the DJ booth at the 8th annual Interactive Show at my local hackerspace, NYC Resistor. The theme this year was The Running Man, the chintzy 1987 sci-fi movie, which takes place in the year 2017. The sign is built from foamcore board and the pixel strip inside is diffused with plain printer paper. The sign’s colors and animations can be controlled with a phone/tablet app over bluetooth.
This Instructable details the construction, programming, and use of this simple sign using Arduino and the Adafruit Feather Bluefruit 32u4 microcontroller and its companion Bluefruit LE Connect app for iOS/Android. You could easily scale back the wireless control aspect and use an Arduino Uno and a physical switch to change the animation, as in my free introductory Arduino Class, or control the sign from the internet by switching the microcontroller for a wifi board like the Feather Huzzah ESP8266, which you can learn to do in my free Internet of Things Class.
I use a variety of cutting tools around the studio and home, for all kinds of materials from fabric to metal, and everywhere in between. Here’s a roundup of my favorite cutting tools, in no particular order.