Joe Urbz Media & Photography

Rim of the World High School

The Past is still Alive

It is wonderful to see how an idea has grown from 2001 into something that has helped so many students. I appreciate Michael Puglisi posting his experience about Rim Today (Season 2). We sure had a lot of growing pains back then! Check out his website. He just needs to learn how to spell my last name!


e15m Production

Know what I have been up to over the past months? Working on an epic “Every 15 Minutes” movie for our high school. My TV-Video students worked incredibly well with each other. Please take a look.



Mrs. Halquist’s 3D Animation and my Advanced AV courses were invited to the 2011 Lake Arrowhead Film Festival. As we entered the building, Mr. Larry Parker met us at the door and had a “campfire” discussion about the festival and Film Schools. He invited us to visit his studio in Hollywood. We were blown away. So, Mrs. Halquist and Mrs. Phillips expedited a way for our classes to go on a field trip.

We were welcomed at Mole-Richardson Studios with warmth and energy. We learned about lighting, production, history of film, and so much more. Below are short videos in Vimeo we produced from an on-the-fly hands-on exercise: The “Making Of” and “One Halloween Night.” We still have 5 hours of footage left for editing lighting lessons. Be sure to click on the best quality when viewing them. The original web page from our school is here.

One Halloween Night

One Halloween Night HD from Joe Urbz on Vimeo.

The Making Of:

Making Of "One Halloween Night" from Joe Urbz on Vimeo.


X & Rim Today

Our classroom has used FCPX for finishing the past five episodes of Rim Today, plus four other major projects. We used a Core i5, 8 RAM, 2TB iMac to test a lot of these projects. FCPX has done quite well. I will say that the most often cause of “unexpected quits” happens during the editing of titles -- if you save your attributes and use copy & paste from TextEdit, it works much better. We have found some bugs that are consistent, but the workarounds are minimal. Over the past two weeks, we have installed X, Motion 5, and Compressor on additional iMacs for other students to work with. Giving them small exercises and concise training seems to be the best practice in learning this new system. Stating that, many students from my regular TV-Video classes use iMovie already, so the transition of Events and Projects is easier than teaching those who love their Final Cut Pro 7 workflow. We have NOT abandoned Final Cut Studio 3 and supporting software. I want to be clear about that. However, there is a good, solid underlying excitement in trying something new. We have been pretty pleased so far.

I have posted some new help articles in our Forum. Check them out. In addition, I have been watching all the discussion from Walter Murch’s views on FCPX from the Boston Supermeet and subsequent follow-up interviews. Some other excellent resources for more FCPX and Motion 5 effects (many of them free) are here. I know Red Giant posted some news about Magic Bullet Looks, and GenArts Sapphire Edge is out.

Any thoughts on the new Canon dSLR C-300 camera for $20K? or the new RED Scarlet?

Last comment: I have setup a Google+ page for this website. Give us a visit!

Go Chicago Bears tonight on Monday Night Football!

Advanced AV

Back in June of this year, my classroom was visited by a production team that was creating informational videos for the Alliance for Education, which serves schools and business in San Bernardino County. Click on their link for more specific information. I finally found the videos in which my class was featured. They are long and informative. Do check them out. We are in three of them: Project Based Learning, School Based Enterprise, and Work Experience. Leave some feedback, please.


It has been awhile since I posted. This is due to the chaotic return to the new school year, which is still under serious construction. Stress levels have been very high. Getting students in my classes organized, motivated, and within a creative groove has been extremely challenging; probably more so this year than most. I could go on and on, but I do not want to be too negative here. It would be overwhelming.

So, let me share some experiences with FCPX in the classroom with Rim Today. We have used FCPX to finish our last two episodes of Season Xi. The students still use FCP7, AE5, PS5, and a little bit of iMovie’11 for their segments, while using Blue USB mic’s for voiceovers, make adjustments for color and audio as best they can. Then they place their quicktime exports onto the class Xserve. That’s when I use some of the good parts of FCPX to create the final edit of our episodes.

What good parts? LOL. Ok, well, importing right off the server into the Event Manager. While I still prefer the bin-style organization of FCP/Premiere, the case of this workflow proves that we save some time with FCPX’s background ingest and transcoding to ProRes. We do not always have to use ProRes, but the quality and speed is so much nicer to work with. Our workflow on these shows do not have strict timecode restrictions for placement. The final flow of Rim Today comes with the segments being added; part of the creativity. Another timesaver is the background rendering and trying effects (audio and video) on the fly as the storyline plays. Oh my, does that save time. The audio tools within FCPX are a great boon after getting used to them. Teaching students video graphics is a challenge. We use FCP7, Motion 4, LiveType, and Keynote (animated slides work well in a jiffy). FCPX offers some nice quick templates for lower thirds. Motion 5 looks fun to mess with. FCPX also loves our Canon T2i video footage. We used the Retiming and Optical Flow options and students picked it up quickly.

Now the bad. FCPX has frozen a few times, as expected. We have lost some changes in editing when re-opening the project. PLEASE Apple, add a Save option. We do watch for the “UNDO” issue of working or not. When it stops UNDO-ing, we know FCPX is not saving. File sizes and renders are also HUGE. I do delete unused render files often. Another bad point, FCPX will work on a MacBook Pro from 2006 but not on a 2007 Mac Pro due to a video card issue. Makes me crazy, so I am stuck with a Core i5 iMac. Good machine, but the Mac Pro has serious RAM and CPU cores. This does blow my mind. On the 2006 MBP, it makes that CPU burn up. Do not use FCPX to edit off a battery; it will get so hot, the machine will shut itself down after 20 minutes. I was flummoxed over this; brand new battery, too.

In summary, FCPX has brought some positive and time-saving elements to the Rim Today workflow. We will not abandon FCP7 by any stretch. We do not use XML exports or EDL. In the near future, we will need Multi-cam and other stability fixes. If Apple will ever update FCPX, we would be more excited. Now, do not get me started on Lion. Sad

School Starts

Students returned today to a school that is still under major construction, no internet, no network for the computer labs, and changing schedules. I tried to keep things in perspective with a good smile. Hopefully, tomorrow brings more productivity. Before classes started, I took this sunrise photo with my iPhone. The UFO-like clouds were cool. And tonight, the Chicago teams are losing: Bears, Cubs, and the White Sox play the Angels later. Must be a Monday, eh?

UFO Sunrise

Last Few Days

Looking backwards from now... I went to visit my classroom today amidst the major school construction. I wanted to get started on organizing and updating all of the computers and servers. Apparently there was no electricity. Then I found the door to my room wide open and dark as midnight. Luckily, I had a “flashlight” app on my iPhone, and saw this:
Room 300-81511
I will visit tomorrow and see the room (and school) improves over the week. Oh, what fun for me. LOL.


Yesterday, we went to San Diego on a whim and explored the Art Fair and MOPA: Museum of Photographic Arts. Some very interesting things I learned. While looking for a rare parking space, we observed a photo walk in session -- people who have cameras that never pay attention to traffic, people, or anything else for that matter as they wander from their group. It was a beautiful day to walk around.

And I took this shot on the way home driving the Narrows.

And here are some shots from the day before.




Over the past two weeks, Rim High has reached the end of the year. We are now finishing Final Exams, Grading, Graduation, and other projects. Last Thursday, June 9th, my advanced class was taped and interviewed for a San Bernardino County (SBCSS) project-- the Alliance for Education. Soon, there will be two videos based on categories describing my ROP classroom in how it works. Keep an eye out. Also, we have started our 11th season of Rim Today, which is amazing. Congratulations to Rim High’s class of 2011, and especially my seniors! Summer begins soon, where I can finish my personal projects. Looking forward to FCP X, Lion, and iOS5. My little princess at home finished 1st grade with some wonderful awards AND Happy Birthdays to my wife, dad, and brother this month. Got the wife an refurb’d iPhone 4. She does not feel all that old this week. LOL.