John Lagomarsino

Video · Photography · Music · Motion Graphics

September 27, 2014

A Colon with Heart

This August, I had the opportunity to travel to a small town called Colon, Michigan, which calls itself the Magic Capital of the World. It’s a town of 1,000 people, and home to three magic factories. Each summer, magicians from all over the world converge on Colon for Abbott’s Magic Get-Together, which many describe as more of a family reunion than a trade convention.


Along with Nathan Cykiert, Ryan Manning, and Kyle Chayka, I got to shoot this short documentary, and more importantly, meet all the wonderful magicians and residents of Colon. I’m so grateful to these people for being so warm and candid, and for allowing us into their world for a week.


This town is special; there’s a particular energy and small-town spirit that evokes a strong sense that there’s still a place for joy, kindness, and wonder in the world. During Magic Week, it seems like everywhere you turn there are doves, jugglers, card throwers, coin tricks, and balloon animals. It’s strange and wonderful.


Make sure you also read Kyle’s full written piece on the Verge. It’s a great counterpoint to the film, and hey, you can never have enough magic.

June 27, 2014

My Grandfather and the 1964 World’s Fair

World's Fair

According to my mom, my grandfather, Platt Ketcham, spent almost every weekend for a year at the World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens. He was an avid photographer, so the fair gave him the opportunity to hone his skills in a colorful and controlled environment.

He was obsessive and meticulous about his photos. When my dad went to scan them, he found a small spiral-bound notebook my grandfather had kept. On the left side of each page, he had written everything technical about the photo: film, aperture, shutter speed, date, and location. On the right side was a description of the scene.

World's Fair satellite

Looking into our future in space

My dad was the one who scanned these slides, and they came out looking terrific. The scanner works like a modified projector: it progresses through a batch of slides one at a time, and collects not just RGB information, but infrared as well. The scanner’s software can use that IR information to remove dust and scratches automatically. We used Lightroom to do the color and exposure adjustments, and these scans held up incredibly well through the whole process.

New York State Pavilion

The New York State Pavilion at night

I’m so glad these amazing photos are online and looking so good now. Take a look at the whole album; they’re some of the best photos from the fair that I’ve ever seen.

December 26, 2013

CES 2014

Just got back from Las Vegas, where CES 2014 was a blast. An insane, fast, long, confusing blast. Here’s a taste of what it was like to be involved.

August 26, 2013

Camp Shelf

On this week’s episode of Top Shelf, we went camping! David looks at how to camp with a few more creature comforts than usual. This episode was a ton of fun to work on, and also my first time camping, ever.

March 16, 2012

How To Hack Push onto Sparrow for (Jailbroken) iPhone

[EDIT: Well, that was quick. There’s now a Cydia extension built exactly for this purpose. It apparently will even restart Sparrow if it crashes, or you restart your phone!]

[EDIT AGAIN: I tried out that extension, and it doesn’t work quite as well as the Backgrounder hack below. For one thing, it seems to break background audio APIs (which I assume will be fixed), but it also doesn’t allow Sparrow to download the contents of messages, like the Bacgrounder hack does. I’m sticking with my method for now.]

Sparrow for iPhone is an awesome new email client for iPhone. It’s clean, sleek, and information-dense. However, as Sparrow explains here, push alerts are conspicuously absent from the app, mostly because of Apple’s limitations. I won’t get into why this is so stupid, but I have found a fairly involved way of making Sparrow behave exactly like the native Mail app, including offline cacheing (which is actually more than any app is allowed to do through normal push). You have to be Jailbroken in order for this to work, which is kind of a drag, but alas, it’s all we’ve got right now.

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March 12, 2012

Sony a65 as Video Camera: Impressions and Some Test Video

I recently upgraded my DSLR to Sony’s new a65 (Alpha 65) translucent mirror camera (which technically makes it not a DSLR, but I’ll refer to it as one here). I’m coming from my old a300, so this is a pretty big step up. When I got the a300, I didn’t put much stock in the DSLR-as-video-camera option, since the 5D hadn’t yet come along to make anyone think of these as video cameras. This time around, though, I find myself making a lot more video and understanding more about how a DSLR works. I’ve been waiting for Sony to make a camera like this one for a while, since I’ve already invested in some Sony/Minolta glass, and I’d like to stay in the family. Until now, their cameras were lacking a few crucial features (24p comes to mind), but the a65 is pretty much the camera I was hoping they’d make.

I’m writing this coming from a video-centric perspective, since that’s what I expect to do most on this camera. I may do a follow-up on the stills this bad boy takes, but for now, let’s look at the video aspect.

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January 28, 2012

Diner Idiot

While I was having dinner tonight at the local diner, I had the pleasure of sitting behind a group of four people who are either in a community college philosophy course, a cult, or a self-help group. Whatever the scenario, the group “discussion” was being led by a 20-something deadbeat with an iPad (a white one, too). I’m not sure what he does for a living, because he “doesn’t put labels on himself,” but I was able to – for free – glean these gems of wisdom over the course of my meal:

  • You only have to smile for a micro-minute for someone to know you smiled.
  • Communication is only abstract so much as it is scientific.
  • WordPress is computer code that makes websites.
  • When criticizing someone, leave a long pause afterwards in order to impart the value of revelation.
  • The field of Graphic Designs is evolving.
  • Communication Skills dictate that you explain your thesis for 5-10 minutes.

Seriously, this was like reading spambot comments aloud for an hour. I hope these four people aren’t the voting kind, because this just shattered my faith in humanity.

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