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#PersonOfInterest Windows APP is now available

It took some time, but my Person of Interest GUIDE app is now available for Windows 8.1. Already working on an update to fix the splash screen issue and the major character BIO text is not showing up correctly.

I appreciate everyone’s support and ideas and helping a sole independent developer.

Apple Users: I know I know, you want an IOS app. I had one, no one dowloaded it so I took it off the store. To be honest it was my first attempt and a poor product, so I take the blame. I am am iPhone/ MAC user myself, the problem is that all of my training and schooling was based off of Windows products, so I am doing what i am stronger in. The Windows app environment for both phones and OS is growing and I feel I am on the uptick, whereas the IOS market is flooded with product. I would really want this product ported to IOS, and until I learn how to do that (meaning spending $$$ on classes, assistance and lots of time), I am spending energy on these right now.

#PersonOfInterest Inaction is sometimes worse than action (and the missed thumbs up by a lot of viewers)

Death Benefit S03E20

After what I think is the top episode so far of the third season, there were many questions and none of which I have answers to.

First off, the show started as almost a Season 1 show with the number of the week. I enjoyed the banter of Reese and Shaw working together and solving an immediate situation of drug dealers that were planning to off each other for the extra cash (mention of handing them off to Fusco to deal with). Then Root rides in a motorcycle, as impractical as that is in the middle of winter and knowingly needing a passenger, it doesn’t stop it from being awesome and having Amy Acker in the scene is almost as powerful as having Jim Caviezel in any scene. Greatness is amplified when he is in the scene and this episode is one of his best of the series.

Things started to fall apart, or come together depending on how you look at it, for what was shaping to be a psychology thriller.

Does Finch not trust the machine?

I do not think I have been more enthralled in any part of the series so far than by the conversation of Finch and Reese about whether or not to kill the Senator. Finch makes the point that they are their to save lives, not take them. Reese questions whether the machine would even send such a number to them and Finch confirms that it would in only a severe case, which is where they find themselves battling. Reese is quick to point out that killing the Senator will save a lot of lives in the end, and that really was the sole purpose of the machine in beginning. Failure to do so will result in a catastrophic event.

Which brings me to my first major concern. Finch has made this mistake previously of not taking action and it has come back to haunt the team. There was plenty of opportunity to take out Simmons and they did not, and Carter was killed. For those with a moral/ethical reasoning why he didnt, I could understand that argument. But their moral compass is not any less wavered knowing that Simmons was eventually killed and they did nothing to stop that killing. In the end, Simmons died because of the Machine and awareness of the team, regardless of who did the handy work.

Did Reese kill the Senator?

I honestly believed that Reese was going to kill the Senator with his reaction to get right back in Finch’s face and re-educate him of the past (see above, for those that don’t want to go back, Simmons/Carter), which I believe that someone of Reese’s mental breakdown of dealing with Carter’s loss would have really done. Hell, even Shaw was understanding of it despite her character growth. This banter was my favorite part and Caviezel played it perfectly. I cant say enough about this scene other than to re-watch it a few times to see the emotional toll that Reese felt. This is why I think he should and would have killed the POI of the week. Anyone that has dealt with a loss like that of Carter due to their inaction would never allow that to happen again.

The thumbs up missed.

After we are left wondering if Reese did in fact kill the Senator, it appears so as he is laying there, but a quick thumbs up from the searching SWAT member makes us aware that he is just knocked out, but alive.

Music invokes energy into scenes, but the music chosen for the ending injected sadness and couldn’t have been a more perfect song for the occasion. The somber piano with echoed lyrics rang over the team running for their lives into darkness.

“you could go home.

Escape it all.

It’s just irrelevant.”

Those lyrics (Machine “Daughter”)- could not have been more perfect. Finch’s inaction to the Machines dealing of a number to the team wasn’t to save the number, but to kill the number and prevent their lives and the machines well-being from being in jeopardy. Of course if they killed the Senator, we could pack it all up for the summer hiatus. 

Wheres Finch? Why did he leave?

He left for the same reason he left Grace behind. Finch had to leave in order to protect those he cares about. Reese, Shaw and even Root in some form.

I am not sure what it will take for Finch to realize that killing someone is going to come into play (this is at least the second time it should have been done) in order to save others, including themselves. SPOILER: We know that Grace (Finch’s Ex) will be found to draw out Finch out of hiding, so that leaves a few possibilities. 

Will they tell her about Finch? And know that its open will they be together normally (that would be bad for series)

Will they tell her nothing to just draw Finch out? Most likely. That way she can still be involved later in the show

If they do tell her, will they then kill her so she is one less person that knows who and what everything is? (another likely scenario that would once again put the team in turmoil)

One of the series best episodes was “Death Benefit” and the best part is, we have three more episodes to analyze and get answers to some of these questions.

Coming Soon… #PersonOfInterest Windows App Sneak Peak #WinDEV

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So you want a Person of Interest Windows 8 APP? Well, its coming.

Currently the app is available to WIndows 8 Phone users (I know there is not that many fans with them), so most people are using Microsoft Windows and this is a way to get the same experience to them on devices they use daily.

The app will be a total resource guide to all the loyal fans out there, featuring YouTube content, Character backgrounds, behind the scenes photos, RSS feed from this page! There is some more neat items coming soon. I will keep everyone posted when it gets pushed to the Windows store.

It is already currently in the Windows Phone Store here. I am still working on an IOS version that was better than my previous one.

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Person Of Interest - Decima exploits Harolds love for his former fiancee

FINCH’S GREATEST FEARS ARE REALIZED AS DECIMA THREATENS THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE IN ORDER TO LURE HIM OUT OF HIDING, ON “PERSON OF INTEREST,” TUESDAY, APRIL 29

“Beta” – As Decima uses Samaritan’s feeds to hunt Reese and Shaw, Greer exploits Finch’s greatest weakness in an attempt to lure him out of hiding: his love for his former fiancée, Grace Hendricks, on PERSON OF INTEREST, Tuesday, April 29 (10:01-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

CHEAT TWEET: Will Finch’s love become a casualty in Decima’s hunt 4 Team Machine? @ Carrie_Preston returns! New #PersonOfInterest 4/29 @ 10:01pm http://bit.ly/1iCqgGS 

SERIES REGULARS:

Jim Caviezel (John Reese)
Michael Emerson (Harold Finch)
Kevin Chapman (Detective Lionel Fusco)
Sarah Shahi (Sameen Shaw)
Amy Acker (Root)

RECURRING CAST:

Carrie Preston (Grace Hendricks)
John Nolan (Greer)
John Doman (Garrison)

GUEST CAST:

John Herrera (Bodega Owner)
Rayniel Rufino (Bodega Gunman)
John Horton (Priest)
Daniel K. Kim (Virgil)
Matt Walton (Maybank)
Joey Sorge (Uniform)
David Michael Garry (Dock Worker)
Robert Manning, Jr. (Zachary)
Tyler Bunch (Homeless Guy)
Kristoffer Cusick (Terry)
Ross Ruben (Umarov)

WRITTEN BY: Dan Dietz and Sean Hennen
DIRECTED BY: Fred Toye

Preview for next weeks Person of Interest seems a little somber. It appears that Shaw is shot and that Reese/Finch may think she is killed, Finch explains that they are there to save lives, Reese explains the old verbiage of losing one to save more. The writers love their misdirection!

We know form BTS photos that she is not killed (she appears to be shot again in an EP23 BTS photo, or at least laying down with NYPD drawing weapons on her).

9 Questions with Motion Designer/VFX Artist Tom Firestone

Many Person of Interest fans pay close attention and analyze all of the custom graphics, animations and video effects that are used throughout each episode. Whether its the Machine spitting out probabilities, computer monitors or cell phone hacking, we all look for clues and hints that may come out of a graphic that people work so hard on. Tom Firestone, who has worked on shows such as “Person of Interest”, the “Blacklist” and many well known films, sat down and answered some questions that inquiring fans may have about the process of video effects (VFX) and the background of creating such items.

"Person of Interest" - Screen GFX Reel from Tom Firestone on Vimeo.

JK: You have a pretty impressive resume, notably some big projects such as Star Wars I, The Blacklist and my personal favorite Person of Interest. What are you currently working on and which project stands out the most for you and why?

TF: I am juggling a few things right now.  Currently I am freelancing as a motion designer for A&E Networks in Manhattan where I create title cards, lower thirds and any number of graphics needed for show promos such as “Bates Motel,” “Duck Dynasty,” “Swamp People” and “Vikings.”  It’s a great place to work; I’m surrounded by a talented and friendly graphics team, and our day-to-day assignments are always changing, keeping it fun and interesting.  I’m also doing VFX work at home for a couple feature films being shot in Los Angeles. 

As far as a current project that stands out the most for me is a personal pet project.  I am creating an animated eBook based on a cautionary tale I wrote back in 2004.

JK: How did you get started and what drove you to do what you do today?

TF: The initial bug came from when I was 7, when I saw “Star Wars” in 1977.  I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.  I started making stop-motion movies with my mother’s 8mm camera using my Kenner Star Wars figures.  I still have these little films.  After “Empire” I couldn’t wait three years for the next film - for them to rescue Han - so I made my own “Revenge of the Jedi.”

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Photo from 1979/Tom Firestone

Following high school I enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York to study film, but more specifically visual effects.  I soon found out that there weren’t any visual effects courses, but one, during my four years at the school.  This was back in 1988-1992.  In order to get into the field, I became a model maker (traditional miniatures for effects photography).  Even so, I found this type of work in Manhattan was slim pickins’ and moved out to Los Angeles for more feature film jobs.  Fortunately, soon after moving to North Hollywood, I landed a job on “Dante’s Peak” which turned out to be one of the most praised films for using quarter-scale miniatures, known these days as “Bigatures.”  We had over 120 model makers on that film and took over three hangers at the Van Nuys Airport.

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This was a little feather in my hat and I went on to work as a model maker for a few years.  All the while, computer graphic visual effects were getting better and better.  I knew I wanted to be more on the CGI end of things, but I didn’t have the skills and couldn’t afford to go back to school.  Miniatures are great, but I loved the idea of being able to create anything you want from within a box, or a workstation.  Plus at this time physical effects like models were beginning to dry up – you could practically hear the shuffle of model makers jockeying from one gig to the next, desperately hanging on, fighting for work.  Finding it harder and harder to secure that type of work I transitioned to set building, and on occasion, production designing short films and some low budget features, all the while knowing it wasn’t for me, and yearning to be on the CGI end of the spectrum we call filmmaking. 

It wasn’t until 2010 that I was able to take a crack at becoming a digital artist.  There were a few factors that all came together at the same time for this to happen.  The first was that I was between jobs at the time, and fortunately I had unemployment to stay afloat.  The second was that I noticed that great artists like Andrew Kramer (www.videocopilot.net) and Nick Campbell (www.greyscalegorilla.com) were posting tutorials on their websites on how to do exactly what I been wanting to learn – there was no need to go back to school (which I didn’t have the time or resources for anyway).  And lastly, computers were getting cheaper and cheaper so I bought myself a nice Mac to train on.  I bucked down and taught myself what I need to know - what I’ve been eager to learn for over two decades. 

I began picking up freelance work and eventually it took off.  This is when I joined the union here in New York, providing me the opportunity to work on projects such as “Person of Interest” and “The Blacklist.”

JK: I recently viewed your Person of Interest graphics reel, pretty impressive and recognizable to fans of the series. How many custom graphics are typically used for one episode of a show, because it appears to be a lot?

TF: There are a lot of graphics per episode.  A LOT.  Immediately after a new script is issued the graphics coordinator and on-set playback person breakdown the script to determine which actual graphics will need to be created for that episode.  It’s usually between 40 and 60.  Then there’s a video conference between our team in New York and the team on the West Coast to discuss what the graphics might look like and whether we have existing graphics from previous episodes that can be reused or adjusted to fit the needs of the current episode.  Afterward we divide the workload to the graphics team, which consists of three artists including myself; two motion artists and one print graphics person (who is responsible for things like signage and props).

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Photo showing the process used to create the casino scenes in “Person of Interest” Season 2, Episode 18.

 JK: Person of Interest has a lot of fans that pay close attention to all the custom graphics made for the show, including phones, computers and book covers. It is amazing how much work goes into some items that may just be background or a quick shot of it. Is it frustrating to see some stuff people like yourself that have taken hours to create not be used or used for a longer period of time?

TF: Frankly it’s not – for me personally.  It’s the name of the game.  I’ve spent days on a given graphic – with pages of notes from writers/producers that might result in a total of two seconds of screen time in the end.  To me, it’s not whether it makes it to air, or how long it will be on screen, but rather to better my skillset while creating it, and then to have something worth putting on my site that I can be proud of.

JK: When designing items such as phones or computer graphics, is it standard practice to stay away from Windows based or MAC based operating system due to licensing?

TF: Well it depends on the graphic.  For graphics such as phones we try to mimic what an actual iOS or Android phone might look and operate like, but tweaking it some to be a bit different.  The team in LA wants the graphics to feel as real as possible - so it’s believable to the viewers.  However there are some graphics that need to look entirely different due to licensing and any possible misrepresentation of a said brand.  For instance, for episode 302 I had to create a dashboard display for an SUV.  The scene called for someone hacking into the electrical system of the vehicle and making it steer off course and crash.  To avoid making a particular car company’s vehicles look vulnerable to such an act I created a display entirely unique from the picture vehicle used for principal photography. 

JK: For the phone graphics, it appears to always be a custom type of phone OS, is that done on purpose to make it more unique and how much leeway do they give you to come up with your own version of something?

TF: As I’m sure you are aware; there are lots of phone graphics per episode.  Some phone screens we create as close to the actual phone used on set as possible, while others - that may have a “Finch app” running on them such as a “Force Pair” or a “Tracker” - we create from scratch and run it up the ladder for feedback.  Typically the feedback comes back positive with minor adjustments related to how it animates on, or to ditch the animation completely and keep it a static/flat piece of art due to time constraints.

JK:  What is your personal workflow when creating and designing custom graphics and videos?

TF: I use Adobe After Effects for all my animation.  To build the assets I animate I use Adobe Illustrator and on occasion Photoshop for textures and image manipulation.  When a graphic requires 3D assets, I use Maxon’s Cinema 4D or Video Copilot’s Element 3D plugin.  I’ve put together something to illustrate my workflow for creating one of the video gambling screens from episode 218 of season two.

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More from “Dante’s Peak”

JK: What do you recommend for people that want to get into your line of expertise, maybe tricks or things you have learned that would help students or people on a limited budget?

TF: I would recommend doing lots of tutorials online, the way I taught myself.  There are so many great resources today that range from YouTube, to Lynda.com to artists’ personal sites.  People are so eager and open to sharing their own techniques and workflows.  Frankly, I’m still amazed and grateful for this.  But keep in mind; after you do the tutorial once or twice and you “get it,” you must come up with a unique idea of your own to demonstrate what you’ve just learned.  No one wants to see your render of a tutorial that’s all over the net.  They want to see what you can do with the technique.  That will get you work.  Believe me, it’s how I got started. 

JK: What is one project that may be coming up (show/movie) that you would really like to work on?

TF: I would love to work on Star Wars again, obviously.  But now I am back on the East Coast…  However there is time and plenty of Star Wars projects to work on in the coming years, so you never know ;)

To learn more about Tom and his projects, check out his IMDB Page (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1601486/) or his web page  http://tomfirestone.com/ which includes videos and complete descriptions of all of his impressive work.

Presumed dead [other details redacted ] - #personofinterest 4d 65 73 73 61 67 65 3a 20 69 74 20 61 70 70 65 61 72 73 20 61 67 65 6e 74 20 48 65 72 73 68 20 69 73 20 61 6c 69 76 65 20 61 6e 64 20 77 69 6c 6c 20 62 65 20 77 6f 72 6b 69 6e 67 20 77 69 74 68 20 54 65 61 6d 20 4d 61 63 68 69 6e 65 20 69 6e 20 53 65 61 73 6f 6e 20 74 68 72 65 65 20 66 69 6e 61 6c 65 2e 20 44 61 76 69 64 20 53 6c 61 63 6b 20 79 6f 75 20 63 6c 65 76 65 72 20 62 61 73 74 61 72 64 2e 20

[photo by J.Knowlton]

#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.
That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.
I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.
Zoom Info
#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.
That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.
I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.
Zoom Info
#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.
That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.
I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.
Zoom Info
#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.
That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.
I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.
Zoom Info
#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.
That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.
I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.
Zoom Info
#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.
That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.
I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.
Zoom Info

#PersonOfInterest filming down on Fulton St today, here is some of my pics.

That flashlight looks like the most annoying thing to carry ever and not practical, I am interested to see why they chose that over a SureFire tactical flashlight.

I was able to catch them filming two different scenes in the Fulton St area. Please ask before using my pics for other things besides basic reposting.

Blu-Ray playback is easy with the Pioneer external drive

Pioneer BDR-XD05W Slim Portable 6X USB 3.0 BD/DVD burner

Pioneer was the first company to ship portable blu ray burners to handle the newer BDXL format (100GB disc), but that is not what this article is about.

After building up my blu ray collection, I wanted a way to play them on the go either on my Macbook Pro or Windows based system. But I also wanted to be able to rip high quality versions for my NAS streaming setup. Pioneer made my choice simple. With the BDR-XD05W, the white design goes well with any computer and is slim and the best part is that is uses one USB 3.0 (or 2.0) connection of for both data and power.

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Another bonus is that both Windows (Win7 and Win8.1 tested) and MAC OS do not need additional drivers to use the drive, but blu-ray (BD) playback does require a program in order to watch BD movies.

Leawo makes a great player for both WIN/MAC simply called Leawo Blu-Ray Player. The price isn’t too bad at $39.95, but is often featured in giveaways by the company. 

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Most MAC users are familiar with MACGO’s Blu-Ray player offering. It was the first and well known player for the MAC platform. It also priced at $39.95 right now.

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Both Leawo and MACGO tout about satifised customers and how easy the software is. My tests show that both are simple to use for either blu-rays, DVDs or CDs. Playback can be a little cumbersome of blu-rays as both pieces of software need internet connection in order to play back some blu-ray discs. And I found that Leawo takes a little longer to do that. I also found a few titles that one would not recognized but the other did. But I enjoy the Leawo user interface more. Leawo tech support is fast responding and informative and seemed really concerned about any issues I was having with their software.

Ripping/Copying Blu-Rays

Windows/MAC Most of the time I do all my ripping/burning needs on my Windows machine due to DVDFab. DVD Fab handles blu rays very smoothly and haven’t had any issues with titles that I have tried yet. Plenty of output options for all your needs (even condensing to a DVD for burning). DVDFab is now available on MAC but their costs are just too high so I stick with my Windows version that seems to outperform the MAC version. I have only tested a previous version of the MAC version and would be interested to see how that now lines up.

But I recently got a copy of Leawo’s BluRayRipper for MAC/WIN and I have to say I am impressed with their software (on both platforms). Ripping blu-rays takes time, and both pieces of software are pretty much the same time to rip them. Their software also handles bunch of output file types, pretty much all you can think of it has it (see below). Added bonus: You can take screenshots of blu-ray/dvd without ripping the movie first with this software.image

Leawo’s offering is currently at $44.95 for Windows or MAC, and performs very well to make you think twice about which software you should buy. Leawo runs a lot of promotions and has given this software away for free recently.

Both companies offer demos, download them both and see for yourself which you you like. If you are already using DVDFab, you will be well versed in their user interface. Leawo’s user interface seems more refined and is very simple, yet offers many if not more of the same features as DVDFab.

So if your looking for blu ray playback and/or ripping, I highly recommend the Pioneer BDX05-W and using any of the products mentioned above, you will be watching and ripping in no time.

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