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Friday, June 20, 2014

Working on it

This is just a short update on what's been going on behind the scenes at Machine Zealots. We recently got a power supply for our electronics projects. We purchased it online for around $60 shipped, which is actually a really good price if you do some research. It has all the features that we would pretty much ever use; able to simulate a car battery so that many of our future electronics mods can be thoroughly tested before installing. I don't think everyone needs a power supply, but you definitely get more overall control with one. I am really enjoying the power supply so far, and it is seemingly a worthy investment for our applications.

Our brand new power supply, power testing the BlackVue dash camera.

With the power supply, I can put many of my ideas to the test. Whether I'm wiring switches, or other devices, it helps me visualize my wiring diagram without actually having to draw one out. Perhaps in the future I'll go through more of the specific features of this particular power supply.

As mentioned in the previous post, we have a lot of footage, and a lot of episodes to hammer out. While I was getting into the groove, I decided it was time for a new intro. With the new DSLR ending the previous season, I thought it would be nice to add nicer DSLR footage to a brand new intro sequence. Below is just a sneak peek at a work in progress.

A new intro sequence for the new season.

To be honest, I wish I had started Season 4 a couple of months earlier. I forgot how much fun it was to work on the cars and make these videos. We'll try not to delay as much when it comes to Season 5.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ironmen Show & Shine, and some other stuff

It's been a couple of hectic weeks, but I finally have some time to update you guys again. Puyang and I went to a Show & Shine car show on June 7, 2014. It was held at our local Church, and it was a fantastic day of cars, food, and fun. I took this opportunity to volunteer as a photographer and shot an episode while I was at it, which I will be editing soon. Before I show you guys the photos, I'll just briefly update you guys on some Machine Zealot's news.

If you guys follow us on Facebook, I've mentioned that we have four episodes currently in the making. Puyang is a good help when I need an extra hand around the car, or shooting some videos, but I am usually the only person editing the episodes; this is why I can not finish all four videos at the same time. We have all the necessary shots to complete an entire episode, but I still need to trim, colorize, and treat the footage, as well as sync all necessary sounds and background music. It takes roughly thirty to forty hours to finish one episode in the editing phase, so it's a lot of work. Even though I work a full time job, and have other pursuits, I still want to make these videos. To be honest, I have a lot of fun working on cars and making videos, I just wish I had more time!

Here are some pictures from one shot of each upcoming episode:

I'm not going to reveal exactly what each episode will be about, but I think some of the pictures explain themselves very well. Either way, I seem to have some free time in the upcoming week, so I will be getting straight to the episodes. I already have another two episodes lined up for filming. Both Puyang and I are determined to use as many sunny days as possible for shooting during this season. That way, we can have content to work on during the rainy days, or even the fast approaching autumn season.

Well, that's pretty much it for updates. Below are some of our favorite cars from the Ironmen Show & Shine.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby Steps

As mentioned in a previous post, we have started off this season a bit late due to circumstances in life. We have picked up the pace quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, and the ball should be rolling a bit faster now. With the weather finally getting warmer, we are prepping our tools and necessary components to tackle these upcoming mods and episodes.

An STI Episode.

A GTI Episode.

We've got another batch of tools coming in soon for other episodes, but we took some time this week to get two episodes done. They aren't heavily technical episodes, but they have been something both Puyang and I wanted to do in our cars for a while. If you follow us on Facebook, you'll see some of these mini updates as they happen, so be sure to check out the MZ Facebook Page.

Again, because of life circumstances, we are keeping our budget as low as possible on our modifications. However, it would seem that Puyang has a higher budget on the GTI than I do for the STI this year.

In keeping with budget restraints, I decided to create a camera dolly for sliding shots. Some of you may have seen it on our Facebook feeds, but here is the picture of the prototype:

K'nex slider dolly Mk I. (KSD for short)

KSD Mk I with automated sliding feature. (Battery powered motor attached. Working prototype.)

This was an idea that came into my mind about a month ago. I never really sat down and planned this out, but it occurred to me that I needed some tools to help with my film making. However, instead of paying upwards of $200 for a good slider dolly, I thought of building one myself. I'm not great at working with metal, nor wood, so I thought about these K'nex pieces. When Puyang and I were little kids, we got whole boxes of these K'nex building toys. I would create tons of my own stuff, and got relatively good at it. These toys had been sitting in boxes for years, so I'm glad I got another chance to use them. Cost? Well, these were gifts, so it really didn't cost me anything to make this. I spent about six hours on this so far, and I'm not done with it yet. It's sturdy, stable, and makes pretty great shots actually. (You'll see in future episodes.)

This is actually a pretty fun little project, so I am going to continue to do updates on this; we are called Machine Zealots after all, not completely limited to just cars you know. I won't be making YouTube videos on these things though, but will definitely be updating you guys via this Blog, and the Facebook page.

More information to come soon.