Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Haiti video: Is it journalism?

Khalid Mohtaseb shot this beautiful video in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake:

Mohtaseb's account of the shoot is well worth reading for more. Mohtaseb went to Haiti to cover the disaster for two international TV networks, and this was his first real journalistic project other than a documentary.

He clearly comes at the project from the point of view of a filmmaker, showing a strong visual sense. Mohtaseb used a portable dolly to create the smooth motion in the photos, noting "I strongly believe that a dolly shot is far more powerful than a static shot so I tried using it any chance I could."

If you look at the comments, it sparked an interesting debate about whether this qualifies as "journalism," or if it's just a glorified art project. He drew criticism for a variety of aspects of the project, ranging from the lack of context for these images to his use of extensive color correction. When you look at the before and after shots in his account, it's quite striking to see the difference from the original images.


'Glee' flash mobs

Glee's marketing team gets a gold star, as they've been doing all they can to promote the return of Glee after a winter hiatus. Fox has dubbed this "GLEEk Week," and is doing all they can to make the show feel like an event. What's interesting is that they're moving beyond online marketing and taking that into a variety of real world events.

For those of us here in the Los Angeles area, Fox is holding a free outdoor screening at the Grove this Saturday night from 7 to 10 p.m. While I'm a bit skeptical about attending an event with that many people in an area not designed for massive events, it sounds like it could be fun. They're also inviting fans to hold Glee parties, giving away Glee party kits, and are holding a variety of charity benefit screenings this week.

Glee also made an appearance at KROQ's April Foolishness event, with a Glee photo booth. You can check out the results here.


Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Game

This video hit my geek sweet spot today. It combines two things I love: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and 8-bit video games.

It's sadly not a real video game, but it's an entertaining video for anyone else who loves these two things. Check it out below:

You can even download the soundtrack.

As long as we're talking about Dr. Horrible related geekiness, a brief look at what Dr. Horrible costar and the dream girl of every geek in America Felicia Day is working on:

She writes and costars in the Guild, a Web series about people who play a World of Warcraft-like game. You can check out the first episode of season three here:

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&amp;fg=Xbox_Channel_guild_player_final&amp;vid=6f31eb66-4360-439a-ad62-f2bdf28f550e" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time">Video: Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time</a>

A Guild comic book just launched; you can check out the first seven pages here, or read a review here.

(via io9)


Weakening resistance to the iPad

Before the iPad came out, I was skeptical. Now that it's out and I've read reviews, heard from friends who bought one and seen some of what the thing can do, I am now immensely jealous of everyone who has one. I am currently busy summoning all my willpower to not go click "Buy Now" on Apple.com immediately.

As a comic geek, the first item to pop out to me was the Marvel Comics iPad app. There's been a lot of talk online about the potential for comic books on the iPad (including right here), but I actually didn't expect Marvel to make such a quick impact. It's one of the top featured apps on Apple.com, including this demonstration video:

Boing Boing did a review, including this video look at the app:

Still, I've got my concerns that continue holding me back. In general, I'm a fan of waiting until the second generation for all the kinks to be worked out of a new technology; I also think there are some philosophical concerns with the way Apple is inviting users into this world. Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow did an excellent job explaining this, with hundreds of comments (786 as of this writing) full of debate both pro and con.


Twitter vs. earthquake in a footrace - who wins?

If you're about 100 kilometers out or more, Twitter! Webcomic xkcd points out how posts about earthquakes can start hitting the Internet within 20 to 30 seconds of the quake, and despite that lag, it's possible for people to be reading about a strong quake before it hits their area.

Check out the comic strip below:

The USGS also has an automatic earthquake notification system that you can set up to tell you about any earthquakes you may be interested in, though there's some delay between the quake and the notification. I found a series of these in my e-mail caused by yesterday's initial quake and the subsequent aftershocks, and just received information on another aftershock from last night in my e-mail as I was writing this.