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  1. Over the course of the past week, I have started to notice that I tend to drop everything. Anything from hair ties to binders to my phone. I am honestly surprised that most of the things that I have dropped have not broken. When we started learning about drag forces and air resistance, I began to notice how long the items take to fall. My math homework definitely seems to take longer to reach the floor compared to a small hair tie that seems to fly right to the ground. Even though we just took the test in class yesterday, I definitely need to focus a little bit more on actually learning the derivation for problems and making sure that I really know and understand it before I take the next test. I have been confused on the math of it since I read about it in the textbook but I hope that I can focus the next few days on getting it down pat.

    Until next time, 


  2. kIq6vyagCc3zDet9rfminOzSER30FKU9bCYEi6TyPJRlECTxaFijyQvjxuMBj86l9hUiuyek2ktJeyAdc69I9XmtW_AMNziCYWIrloUey6mLc-KW2oSwhZy-KUy8QisXCWGaBxFH

    What is this?

    Over the summer I participated in Photon Camp at  the University of Rochester with a few classmates. It was an awesome experience by the way! The main reason I’m here is to talk about the project I worked on in a group of 4. Each student had a different project. So, if you need an idea for a blog post, there you go.

    My group was studying photolithography which is the process of creating patterns using light. We worked with Professor Bryan McIntire and were able to go into the clean room and actually perform the process on a series of silicon wafers coated in the photoresist. The first step was to coat the plate in primer, which applied via spin adhesion, so that a layer 1.4 micrometers thick was evenly spread across the surface. Then it was time to perform the actual process.

    The main component which allows this process to work is the photoresist. There are two kinds: positive, which breaks down when exposed to light, and negative, which polymerizes when exposed to light. We used a negative photoresist when exposing our wafers to light.

    We performed two different processes when exposing them. In the first, UV light can be run through a mask, projecting the image of the mask onto the surface coated in the photoresist.  The other option was to laser-write, by placing the wafer under a 405 nanometer laser, exposing the wafer in a designated pattern. The chemical structure of the photoresist is changed, becoming soluble and then is washed away, revealing the Silicon Dioxide layer underneath. The etching process is next, using Hydrofluoric acid to wash away the Silicon Dioxide. Afterwards, the wafer is washed with Acetone, removing the protective layer, and showing the true colors of the wafer. If the piece is multiple layers, then Hydrofluoric Acid would be withheld and another layer of  Silicon Dioxide can be placed over the first layer to act as a base layer for photoresist to be applied onto. In the final step, the Silicon Dioxide between layers is removed, leaving only silicon, creating the final product.


    So why is this important?


    Large amounts of energy and money go into cooling the information systems we use on a daily basis. As internet usage increases so will the amount of facilities and power needed to support this. It is theorized this system will not be viable in the future without breakthroughs in energy production, but photonics may promise another solution. Using photonics to transmit information does not create nearly as much heat, causing many scientists to look to it as a way to alleviate the dependence on energy used to cool electronics.


    The process of making technology more compact is hindered greatly by the amount of transistors which would be located on an integrated circuit. A concept referred to as Moore's Law states that the amount of transistors on a given area for the same price doubles every two years. The process of photolithography is the next step in this process as the resolution achieved using smaller wavelengths allows for a dramatic increase in the concentration in the amount of transistors placed. The resolution achieved by EUV radiation can be 18nm. Looking further past this, in order to get an even better resolution, a process using an electron beam would be needed.  Photonics may hold the solution to the problem it has created.


    Equation for resolution (how small the patterns can be) R~ (Wavelength)/(Numerical Aperture)  


    Here are some pictures of the wafers we made:


    This is the first plate which we made light channels on.


    This image shows two waveguides(light tunnels) converging.  Each waveguide measures 2 microns across. Some professors use this to study how light rays behave as they get close to one another.


    This is the second plate that had a series of patterns etched onto it in order to create different types of diffraction gratings.


    These dots were made by drawing lines 5 microns wide and are the same ones shown in the first image of this blog.



    This picture shows the edge of a horizontal diffraction grating.


    And finally this is the third plate which the universities crest was etched on.



    Thanks for reading, and if you have any younger siblings interested in the camp I highly recommend it!



  3. As I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post by Nasa that said today, October 14th, 2017, is the 70th anniversary of supersonic flight. Supersonic flight is when something is traveling faster than the speed of sound, which is 343 m/s. Of course for the past 70 years this has only been done by noncommercial planes. Well, Nasa is currently working on making supersonic flight a reality for commercial planes. That would mean that you can travel from New York to Los Angeles in 2 hours. Now it takes over 6 hours. Nasa has been researching shock waves, cruise efficiency, and the effect of sonic booms on the environment. Sonic booms are loud boom sounds caused by the waves of sound. It occurs when an object travels at supersonic speed. If Nasa is able to make this a reality in will revolutionize modern travel.

  4. Last week in physics, we completed what was called the Newton's second Law Lab in groups, in which we were to determine the mass of a cart without using any scales or balances.  The procedure was only meant to take us one, maybe two, class periods.  However, our group went into a third period.  We kept trying to collect new data because we had a larger percent error than we would have liked and assumed we were doing something wrong.  We ended up spending a lot more time trying to get better results than we should have, and then learned that our results were fine to begin with and that we had done nothing wrong except waste time trying to get better ones.  Because of this, we have now lost some class time to get other things done.  We now know that sometimes results may not look exactly the way you want them to in a lab, even when you're doing everything right.  In the future, we won't let results that aren't perfect hold us back when we know what we did was correct.

  5. HegelBot153
    Latest Entry

    So by now most, if not everyone has completed a proper LaTex lab report for a basic measuring circles experience. I cannot know but all the more suspect that people may have had problems with LaTex. I for one had a bit of trouble last-minute getting my PDF printed so maybe I'm awkward with this tool or inexperienced with LaTex. What I could have used before was a helpful bit of information concerning the ins and outs of LaTex which I am certain a few overzealous students are well versed in. Anyways I found an important aid for students that may want to learn more about this newfangled tool since it will be pivotal through out the year. I will include the URL below and wish everyone the best of luck with this new tool.



  6. Recently, I've been replaying one of my favorite sci-fi video games, and came across a pretty amusing conversation.

    For some quick context before I post the video, the game is in the future when humanity has advanced enough to have efficient space travel, allowing them to colonize other planets. They also advanced enough to have giant spaceships with giant guns on them. How fun. In the exact scene in the video, there's a drill sergeant yelling at 2 cadets about firing nuclear-grade armaments at other ships.

    Warning: The following video contains graphic language, even though chances are you don't really care.



    I just like to think of what events had to happen for this drill sergeant to have to chew out these cadets. Did this Serviceman Chung fire out multiple nukes into space while guessing his aim? It's a pretty amusing scenario, and not that unlikely either. I suppose that if we do manage to advance technology far enough, this would become an issue. We couldn't just fire willy-nilly out into space, because it might eventually hit someone. This is why when I go target shooting at my uncle's house, we shoot towards the bottom of a hill so that any missed shots don't go flying through somebody's window, they just land in the dirt.

    It also makes me wonder about how much stuff is just floating around the Earth right now. We don't have rings like Saturn, but there's still plenty orbiting our planet. There's got to be paint chips off of spacecraft we've sent up, maybe a tool that an astronaut accidentally let go of while doing an EVA, and just bits of dust from comets or asteroids. Even something as small as a pebble, when flying through space at multiple kilometers per second can do quite a lot of damage to a satellite.

    Well, that's just my train of thought. If you have anything to add, put it in the comments.

  7. This week on Wednesday, I had to get an MRI for my knee to make sure everything was ok after I injured myself playing soccer a couple weeks earlier. While I was there, I was very curious about how the whole process worked and how it relates to physics so I did some research and here is what I found.

    In an article from medicalnewstoday.com titled MRI Scans: All You Need To Know by Peter Lam, I learned that "an MRI scanner contains two powerful magnets" and "upon entering an MRI scanner, the first magnet causes the body's water molecules to align in one direction, either north or south." So this is why I had to take off my earrings before going into the scanner because otherwise it would've been attracted to the magnet and cause problems. 

    I then learned that "the second magnetic field is then turned on and off in a series of quick pulses, causing each hydrogen atom to alter its alignment and then quickly switch back to its original relaxed state when switched off. The magnetic field is created by passing electricity  through gradient coils, which also cause the coils to vibrate, resulting in a knocking sound inside the scanner." This would explain why the machine was so loud and I had to wear headphones to block out the noise. But luckily, I got to listen to some country music to block out the sound of the banging. 

    The scanner then detects these changes "and, in conjunction with a computer, cman create a detailed cross-sectional image for the radiologist to interpret." Lucky for me, my MRI showed that my knee looked very good and my injury was most likely a bone bruise. 

    MRI's are very helpful tools for diagnosing patients and getting a better look inside the human body and I can appreciate knowing a little bit more about how they work!

    Visit: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146309.php to read the full article. 

  8. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a very competitive person and I love to play ping pong. I have a ping pong table in my basement and my friends and I used to have tournaments and we even had a rule where if one person got a shutout against someone else, the person that lost would have to pay them $5 (this never actually happened because we would never go along with the rule if it did, it was just a joke we had). It also amazes me to watch table tennis on TV during the Olympics because they hit the ball so hard that I never knew how the person returning it doesn’t hit it off the table every time.

    Well, it turns out that this has to do with Newton’s first law, an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by an external force, and Newton’s third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When the person serving hits the ball, the applied force is so great that the returner doesn’t have to add any force to the ball (neglecting air resistance) since the ball hits the paddle with the same force it started with and the action of the ball hitting the paddle causes the ball to change direction. However, air resistance is an external force acting on the ball causing it to slow down, so the player should plan to hit the ball with a small amount of force each time. The force of gravity causes the ball to hit the table on the opposing player’s side, therefore keeping the game in play until one player adds too much force, too little force, or misdirects the ball so that the ball goes off the table or into the net.

    Here's a cool video of the best table tennis point ever:


  9. BrandyBoy72
    Latest Entry

    On Saturday it was very wavy out on lake, like 6 ft waves out there. It was pretty scary being out there thinking that your boat could be capsized by some monster waves. And I was thinking, why was it so wavy? It must have had something to do with the sudden change of the weather, right? Well, waves, as we know, are not the traveling of matter, but energy through a medium. So, the water is not being transferred, but energy is being transferred though the water. This energy actually, like most things on the Earth, comes from the sun. This sounds pretty weird, at least it did to me, but waves start from wind and wind is created by the uneven heating of the Earth by the sun, so waves are just... solar energy? Yeah that makes sense. The amount of energy put into a wave is determined the same way the amount of energy put into any object would be determined. The speed of the force on the water, and the duration of that force. The faster the wind is moving and the longer it is acting on the water, the bigger the wave will be. This makes sense because it was also very windy on Saturday. So, the air was moving from an area of low energy (the cold air over the lake), to an area of higher energy, probably because of that heat wave that just left us. And that energy from the wind was transferred into the water, creating the giant waves, pretty cool.

  10. It has all happened to us, even the professionals face this problem: The 7-10 split. When we are faced with the 7-10 split situation, the most common action to take is to aim for one pin and accept that you will only score 9 in that frame. After all, one pin is better than no pin!

    But what if you want to get both of the pins? The feeling would be extremely awesome! If you do not feel extremely awesome after you successfully get a spare in that situation, then you must be an extremely humble person because even among the professionals, there is only a 0.7% chance that a bowler will achieve a spare in the 7-10 split situation.

    However! The 7-10 split is not the hardest situation that could be presented to even professional bowlers. There are actually two more pin configurations that provide an even smaller success rate than the 7-10 split:


    Clearly, the "Greek Church" and the 4-6-7 split are harder shots, with a 0.3% and a 0.6% spare rate respectively. Chances are, however, that somebody who does not bowl very often will most likely never get a spare on nearly any of the configurations in the picture.

    How does this relate to physics? Well, bowling has many variables in it that relate to physics. These include the type of ball that one uses, the speed of the ball by the time it strikes the pins, the amount of spin put on the ball as it is thrown, and the list goes on. It is simply interesting to see that due to the variables in the physics of bowling, that some spares are harder to make than others even when it would seem otherwise. Generally, somebody may assume that because the two pins are lined up on exact opposite corners of the lane that it is the hardest shot, but that is not true. In reality, there shots with which the physics of bowling provides an even greater challenge than that of the 7-10 split that do not seem like they would be harder. It is all up to chance... and maybe a little bit of skill.

    If you would like to read more about the hardest shots in bowling: http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2015/02/hardest_shot_in_bowling_it_s_not_the_7_10_split_it_s_the_greek_church.html

  11. A partial derivative uses this nice formula. (f)/(x), where f:R^2->R is lim h->0 (f(x+h,y)-f(x,y))/h. Physics is everywhere, waiting, watching. 

  12. Hey y'all,

    Chris, a student at Cornell, wakes up at 8:59am for his 9:05 class. If the class is 1.5 km away, at what constant velocity does he need to travel in order to make it to class at 9:05? Neglect air resistance.

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    Recently in an MLB game a fan was struck by a foul ball. This person was severely injured from the baseball. My initial question was why didn't this person just move out of the way. Well, easier said than done. An official league baseball has a mass of .145 kg, and the average velocity of a major league fastball is 40.3 m/s. this means that when the ball hits the bat, if the batter perfectly squares up the baseball, the ball can leave the bat at approximately 49 m/s which is equivalent to 110 mph. The individual that was hit by the ball was on the third base side, first row. This means that there was a distance of 50 meters between the batter and the person hit. The time it took for the ball to reach the fan was 0.92 seconds. Would you be able to react that fast?


  13. madyrice419
    Latest Entry

    I was scrolling through Instagram and found this hilarious meme of someone's Tinder profile. It reminded me of earlier this week when Mr. Fullerton said that if a girl had the quadratic formula tattooed on her forehead, she wouldn't get a date. I guess nerds don't need love. Anyways, I entitled this blog "Dying" because, first of all, that meme made me die of laughter and, second of all, the first AP Physics C test killed me. With reflection I realized that this year is going to be a lot harder than I even first anticipated. I am not the smartest student on Earth, but I have an ambition and unwavering optimism in everything I do. Seeing that I "failed" a test really killed my spirits, and I am hoping that this class will not be the death of me. But deep down I know I can do it. AND YOU CAN TOO. We've just got to keep up with the work and keep trying. I learned that if I get slapped in the face by physics problems, I need to slap them back twice as hard. 


  14. So, in economics, we read this thing about someone who took all  the mints from a restaurant cashier. He was subtle at first, but eventually he just shoved them all in his pocket and left. So that was pretty funny, I'd like to dare one of my friends to try it some time.

    So I just finished that, and then I remembered I had to do a blog post (whoa, bye fourth wall), and it got me thinking about something I learned not to long ago. It's about napkin rings - more technically, spherical rings. I thought about them because, well, mints are toruses, as are napkin rings. That's about it.

    A napkin ring is an object that's the result of taking a solid sphere, and cutting out a cylinder from the center of it, all the way through the sphere. They look like, well, napkin rings. Now, there's a pretty interesting property of napkin rings, that is kinda physics-y, but it's more just mathematical. Although I'm sure there's some interesting physics going along with these, maybe some cool rotational inertia properties. Anyway, the property I'm talking about has to do with the volume of the ring. You see, if you have two napkin rings that are the same height - that being measure one the same axis along which the cylindrical hole was cut - they will always have the exact same volume. Isn't that kinda cool? You could take an orange (well, a spherically perfect orange, in the shape of a perfect sphere), and the Earth (again, a spherically perfect Earth - ours is actually fairly eccentric) and you cut them into napkin rings of the same exact height, they will have the same exact volume.

    Here's a video Vsauce made on the topic (I'll admit, it's not a very exciting video, it's just him going through some basic algebra, and proving this equal-volume property):

    So yeah, there. Something kinda (probably not really for most people, but whatever, I think it's cool) cool about a physical object. See what I did there? It's totally physics related.

    Hey! The first legitimate post, on what's sure to become a pretty cringey blog. See you next week!


    Video 1:

    A 1. Learning is fast

    2. Knowledge is composed of isolated facts

    3. Being good at a subject is a matter of talent

    4. “I’m good at multitasking”


    B Personally, I know I can sometimes have a bit of a defeatist attitude when it comes to math and science because subjects like English and history come way easier to me. It's good for me to keep in mind that a large part of academics is studying and practicing, not just giving up if it doesn't come easily.


    C Metacognition is how aware you are that you understand the material so that you can study as much as you know you need.


    Video 2:

    A The most important factor in successful learning is how you think about what you’re studying.


    B Deep processing is thinking about the significance behind a concept, not just thinking about the concept itself.


    C Maximizing focus: I need to avoid switching between social media and other tabs while I’m on my computer doing homework or watching videos (and I especially need to avoid looking at my phone).


    Using accurate metacognition: Reading the textbook doesn’t necessarily mean comprehending the concepts; I should be productive and work through things I don’t understand rather than just going through the motions.


    Deep processing of important concepts: Knowing an equation relating to kinematics doesn’t mean I understand how to apply it to different situations or what they mean. Memorizing equations and definitions isn’t a productive use of my time.


    Practicing retrieval and application: I should be able to figure out how to apply the concepts I’ve learned to diverse situations, which I can learn to do by practicing examples.


    Video 3

    Elaboration: I can make associations between two types of motion or examples that have similar properties.


    Distinctiveness: I can distinguish different topics from each other by comprehending how two concepts are different from each other because otherwise I could mistake one concept for another.


    Personal connection: Significant events that I can relate to a physics concept will make it more likely that I remember that concept.


    Appropriate retrieval and application: Practicing applying knowledge to different problems will help me learn how to successfully apply different concepts to different situations.


    Automaticity: Instead of getting work done just to do it, as I usually do with my other homework, I need to aim at creating a new studying system that will actually help me to comprehend the material.  


    Overlearning: I should aim to have the material understood days before I take the test so that I have time to review even more.


    Video 4:

    A What is “shallow processing”?

    How do concept maps help deeply reinforce information?

    How can practice problems be used to practice recalling knowledge?

    Why is taking notes by hand preferable to notes on a computer?

    How is taking quick, brief notes different from trying to record the whole lecture in terms of levels of processing?

    Give an example of a time when practice tests have helped you improve your metacognition.


    B Notes taken on video lessons should be brief, not just a recording of the entire video, and you should be thinking about what is being said instead of just mindlessly recording it. Concentration is important, and so you shouldn’t be pausing and switching between computer tabs. The video format is beneficial in that you can pause and record important information you missed immediately and don’t have to write so quickly that you focus on writing instead of understanding the material.


    Video 5:

    A If an exam goes poorly, avoid panicking or doing into denial.


    B Positive steps to take after failing an exam include identifying how you prepared for the test and acknowledging your mistakes, going over the exam to see what you did wrong, analyze your weak area(s), check you missed in your notes, and improve your study strategies.


    C Put in the time you need, have as few distractions during studying as possible, attend classes, set yourself realistic goals, don’t “slide” by dedicating time to one class over another, and be attentive of details that would be easy to lose points over.

  16. Dr. Chew was very helpful in giving me strategies for studying. I have turned in my questions to the videos on a separate sheet of paper in class. 

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    Video 1:

    1)    Learning is fast

    2)    Knowledge is a compilation of isolated facts

    3)    Success is not based on effort

    4)    Humans can successfully multitask

    These are the beliefs that if held by a student will simple prevent learning and make people dumb. Many of us today are too attached to the minicomputer in our pockets and are unwilling to let it go. However, learning and studying with distractions isn’t successful studying at all.


    Video 2:

                            The most important part of studying is what you think about while doing it. Are you focused on the material and making connections between topics, or are you thinking about playing a game or replying to a message on your phone? Studying is most effective when done to allow for deep processing of material (AKA: making connects, marking differences, and using personal experience to understand material).

    Helpful Tips:

    1)    Minimize distractions

    2)    Have accurate metacognition

    3)    Deep processing of material

    4)    Practicing material retrieval as it will be required on a test

    Video 3:

    1)    Elaborate- relating topics to one another

    2)    Distinction- recognize differences in material

    3)    Personal- relate information to your own experience

    4)    Retrieval- practice recalling information as it will be asked

    5)    Automaticity- practice beyond basic understanding

    6)    Overlearning- study till the material is known as if second nature

    Video 4:

                            Notes should be taken by hand to limit useless material copying and online distractions. Only make notes of key material and connections to other material as well as make them engaging to study multiple times.

                            Create a study group with a common goal to move not only a few to better understanding but the group as a whole. Set requirements to keep the group working and focused as well as reducing slackers. Lastly make sure everyone shares the same understanding as the group, any member should be able to answer for the group as a whole.

    Video 5:

                            If you fail a test, don’t panic on deny it happened. Review the test and compare its questions with your notes and preparation. If there is material you don’t understand talk with the teacher and add detail to your notes. Being willing and accepting to getting help and clarify what you don’t understand. Then learn from the test and continue working with a new understanding.


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    Latest Entry

        I like cookies and chicken. Two Cs. Just like AP Physics C. I also enjoy playing guitar in my free time and long walks on the beach. I am also an avid fan of the series Game of Thrones. As a varsity setter on the volleyball team, I have to take in each unique play and react based on the situations on the court. This relates to physics in which every problem is a new situation and I like a challenge. I hope to get a real sense of what careers in this field I may be interested in. I'm most excited about teaching ourselves. Not because it sounds like a blast, but because I can use the skills I develop to help me succeed in college. However, I'm super anxious about the tests and workload because I know how difficult they can get. Thanks for tuning in on my first blogventure. Catch ya next time.  

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    Latest Entry

    I am a student at IHS. As I dive into my senior year I hope to discover new opportunities and interests. I play baseball in the spring and summer. During my free time I like to watch sports or read; however, one of my greatest interests has always been science. I am taking AP physics C this year to further my understanding of the universe. I always knew I liked science, but taking AP physics 1 last year helped me find out that I have a specific passion for physics. In the future I would like to continue my interest in physics by taking it in college and having a career in the engineering field. This year in physics I would like to become more skillful in becoming self taught. This will give me opportunities to become a more innovative person. This year I am most excited about the independence that comes with being a senior. I am anxious for my college research process to come to an end so I can finally apply to the schools and decide where I want to go.

  17. So, it’s been a few years since I’ve detailed how I make my screencasts, and my workflow and equipment have evolved as I’ve added a few bells and whistles in an attempt to make the screencasts look a touch more professional (and more fun).  Some things have stayed the same, and others, well, not so much.  Here’s the basic workflow.

    The Computer

    27" iMac27″ iMac

    I’m still working on a Mac platform, doing most of my work on a 27-inch 2013-vintage iMac.  I try to keep up to date with the latest version of the operating system, which is currently OS X Sierra.  The iMac includes the higher-end graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB), has an i7 processor, and I’ve installed 32 GB of RAM.  Typically when I purchase a computer I shoot for a five to six year productive life span, at which point I’ll upgrade to a newer model.  This has worked pretty well for me with respect to my Mac laptops (a MacBook Pro), as the last one was in service for about six years, but I’m anticipating this iMac may continue well past that mark.  It still looks beautiful, runs quickly, and with the amount of RAM and the built-in Fusion Drive, its performance doesn’t appear to be in any danger of slowing down in the near future.

    Pen Displays

    Wacom Cintiq 22HDWacom Cintiq 22HD

    Attached to the iMac I have a Wacom Cintiq 22HD pen display unit, which is basically an external monitor that I can “write on” with a special pen, allowing me to annotate the screen as I talk through the video.  I’ve previously used a Wacom DTU-1631, and am looking forward to trying out the newly-released Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 with a USB-C enabled MacBook Pro.  Though the Wacom pen displays are a very significant investment, I’ve been very impressed with their quality and longevity.  The DTU-1631 has lasted five years in the classroom with heavy daily use, and the Cintiq 22HD is just shy of five years of service (though a much lighter workload) and could easily pass for brand new.  These monitors also hold their value extremely well over time.

    Audio & Video

    Blue Yeti MicrophoneBlue Yeti Microphone

    I’ve gotten a ton of mileage out of my Blue Yeti USB microphone… I’ve tried a number of other mics, including lapel mics, and microphones that cost more than three or four Blue Yeti’s, but I haven’t found anything that compares to the quality of the Blue Yeti, especially at its very reasonable price point.  If you want to upgrade your audio from the built-in microphones, this is a very solid choice, and another piece of electronics that has held up well for more than five years of service.

    Canon Vixia HF G20Canon Vixia HF G20

    I’ve put together a small office in my basement to allow for a fairly quick and seamless transition to video creation mode, which includes a foam green screen (and stand).  Especially if you’re just getting started, something as simple as a green flannel blanket can work, though I have to admit, the foam green screen has held up extremely well these past few years (even with the dog sleeping on the portion that sits on the floor at least daily).  They sell rather expensive lighting clips to hold the green screen to the stand, but I found quality clips at a much more reasonable price at the local hardware store.

    Genaray SpectroLEDGenaray SpectroLED

    For illumination, I use a couple of super-cheap reflector work lights coupled with a Utilitech Pro floor LED and a Genaray SpectroLED SP-E-240D mounted on the ceiling.  With a little bit of playing, I can obtain pretty reasonable uniform green screen illumination.  I also use a couple of desktop clip-on lamps to illuminate the foreground (i.e. — my face) in the videos.

    To record my face in the videos, I’m using a Canon Vixia HF G20, saving the digital video file onto an SD card.  Most any digital camcorder or webcam can do the job, however.  While the Canon is recording my face, I’m separately using the iMac and Telestream’s Screenflow 6 (Telestream JUST released Screenflow 7, but I haven’t tried it out yet) to record the Wacom Cintiq screen, as well as recording the input from the Blue Yeti microphone.


    Prior to any recording, however, I create my “slides” for the screencasts using Apple’s Keynote software, and export those slides as a PDF.  I then open the PDF using Zengobi’s Curio software, which is the software actively running on the Wacom screen that I use to annotate the slides.  If you haven’t tried it out, Curio is a pretty amazing piece of software that allows you to do so much more than just write on PDF slides…  if you have a Mac, it’s worth checking out for a variety of purposes!

    So, the workflow.  With everything set up, I have Screenflow 6 start recording the Wacom screen while recording the Blue Yeti mic, and simultaneously I start up the Canon video camera.  Once I’ve gone through the lesson, I stop Screenflow from recording and stop the Canon video camera.  I should now have an SD card that contains the digital video file of my face (with sound recorded from the Canon’s rather poor microphone), and a Screenflow 6 file that has video from the Wacom screen coupled with the Blue Yeti-recorded sound.

    Now it’s time to put the video all together.  First I export the digital video file from Screenflow 6, taking care to export at 29.97 fps and not 30 fps so that it will match up to the Canon digital video file.  Then, using Final Cut Pro on the Mac (coupled with the Motion and Compressor add-ons), I create a project and import both the recorded screen video file and the video camera file.  Using Final Cut, I create a combined clip from these two files and have Final Cut Pro sync them up based on the audio (although the sound from the Canon camera is poor, it’s good enough to sync the clips together).  Next, I mute the sound from the Canon camera, so that I now have my recorded screen video below my “live action” video, but using only the sound from the recorded video screen, which was recorded with the Blue Yeti mic.


    Chroma Key EffectChroma Key Effect

    Next it’s time to edit.  First step is to take care of the green screen effect (formally known as chroma key), which Final Cut Pro does quite easily.  I remove the green color from the “live action” file using the “Keyer” effect, and tweak it as needed to get the desired result.  I then shrink the clip down and position it where I want, so that I have the live video taking up just a small portion of the screen, the background green from the video shows as transparent, and what shows through from underneath is the recorded video from the Wacom screen.

    The hard part’s done.  Final steps now involve fixing any audio issues, clip editing if necessary, adding any titles, and appending on the opening and closing video sequences, which were created using Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Audition from Adobe Creative Cloud.  Once I have the video looking the way I want in Final Cut Pro, I use Compressor to export it in multiple formats — high definition video for YouTube, and an APlusPhysics-specific size and quality for viewing directly from the APlusPhysics site.

    Next Steps

    Moving forward, I would really like to spend some time working with my old iPad to see if I can re-purpose it for use as a teleprompter.  I tend to spend a lot of time up front planning my videos, but still have yet to come up with a slick, efficient way of presenting notes to myself while I’m making a video.  I have to believe there’s a reasonable way to have my notes show up on my iPad and use some sort of remote (perhaps my phone?) to scroll through PDF notes on my iPad as necessary.  Currently I tend to tape my paper notes to the bottom of the camera, which is chock-full of problems, messiness, and opportunity for improvement.

    Back to Reality

    If it sounds like there’s quite a bit of work involved, you’re not wrong, but don’t think you have to go to anywhere near this level of complexity or expense to make quality screencasts.  My workflow has evolved over the years as I’ve tinkered and gone through a length set of try/fail sequences to learn what works for me and provides the level of quality I’m after.  Much of what I do can be accomplished in a similar manner using fairly basic tools — Techsmith’s Camtasia software coupled with a Webcam, a USB lapel mic, and most any digitizing tablet will get you pretty solid results without a huge investment.

    Even though this article is a technical how-to / what do I use, I’d still like to end with two bits of advice I’ve learned from doing things the hard way more times than I can count.

    • First, and foremost, a flipped classroom is NOT about the videos, it is about building more in-class time for active learning strategies such as hands-on activities, group problem solving, deep-dives into a topic, discussions, etc.  The videos themselves are such a tiny part of the whole equation, and are primarily a means to create more available class time.
    • Second, though it can be fun to doctor-up your videos and add all sorts of bells and whistles, realize that these embellishments and investments of time and resources have extremely minimal payback in the form of student learning and performance.  If you’re interested in doing these things, make sure you’re doing them because you want to and think it’s going to be fun, but don’t expect to see any sort of substantial learning improvement with higher quality videos (which brings me back to item one… it’s not about the videos!)

    Useful References

    The post Creating Screencasts (Mac) – 2017 Update #edtech #flipclass appeared first on Physics In Flux.


  18. Hey Mr. Fullerton and anyone whos reading this, its been a pleasure grinding this year. Hope you enjoy this great video and maybe even chuckle a bit. 


  19. Launch Time: 10:37 am

    Team Members Present: Jason Stack, Marcus Nicholas and Michael Kennedy were all present for this launch.

    Play-by-Play: Initially the rocket was created using the parts listed in the pre-flight briefing. The rocket was launched from Kerbin and angled in order to successfully travel outside of Kerbin's atmosphere. The rocket was then directed into orbit around Kerbin. Kerbin was orbited a few times. The rocket was then returned back to Kerbin by using a maneuver that brought the rocket back into Kerbin's atmosphere. The bottom engines were released, then the second engines, leaving only the pod left. The pod descended to 1,000 meters above Kerbin and then the parachute was deployed. The pod landed safely on Kerbin. 

    Photographs: dsd.pngdsds.pngscreenshot0.pngscreenshot11.pngscreenshot12.pngscreenshot2.pngscreenshot3.pngscreenshot4.pngscreenshot5.pngscreenshot6.pngscreenshot8.pngscreenshot9.png

    Time-of-Flight: 4 hours and 5 minutes

    Summary: Our flight was a great success. We planned to accomplish all initial milestones, including a successful manned orbit and a successful Kerbal EVA. All of these desired milestones were accomplished. Our spaceship and Kerbal manning the ship returned safely to Kerbin after successfully reaching orbit around Kerbin. By reaching a manned orbit around Kerbin, all the initial milestones were accomplished by this launch. 

    Opportunities / Learnings: Establishing what the launch goals are and designing the rocket accordingly is very important. Failure to do so will result in an inability to accomplish any milestones.

    Strategies / Project Timeline: After this accomplishment, our next goal is to reach orbit around the moon and land on the moon. 

    Milestone Awards Presented: 

    • Launch to 10 km - $10,000
    • Manned launch to 10 km - $20,000
    • Manned launch to 50 km - $30,000
    • Achieving stable orbit - $40,000
    • Achieving stable manned orbit - $50,000
    • First Kerbal EVA - $60,000

    Available Funds: $257,818

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