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How to get started?

About banners, you could go into Kinkos and pay $400 or $600 for a vinyl banner. Or you could go to a fabric store with somebody who knows fabric, buy the fabric and paint, and pay them to make it.

Our banner is 20′ wide by about 4′ high with a vertical sleeve at each end and one at the middle big enough to accommodate a 1″ diameter pole. This is how you will hold the banner up. Cut semi-circular slits in the banner about 4″ diameter to let the wind through.

How do you find somebody to make the banner for you? (Assuming you don’t know how to sew.) You’re looking for a seamstress, and your local fabric store may have a list of people that they will refer you to. Seamstresses leave their business cards and say to the store, have people call me if anybody needs some sewing. As I recall she made my banner for something like $150. The materials cost maybe $60 or $70. The nice thing is, it’s mine now and I can use it again and again.

I’ve heard that white letters on a dark background work really well. That’s what we did on the front. The back is dark blue letters on a white background.

We use plastic coated steel poles made by Woodstream Corp., 8′ high.

A word about photography; videotape as much of your freeway blogging as you like, making sure to get some shots from street level.

I will post a detailed analysis of the question, “Is it legal?” on this site soon. For now, make sure to videotape your entire encounter with any CHP or local police, start to finish. You only get one chance to catch what they say. It does affect their behavior. Two people videotaping are better than one, for redundancy, the psychological effect, and because one camera may catch the sound better than the other.

I made a few mistakes with the camera due to not being sufficiently familiar with it. If you can, use a camera with a hand held microphone. There is a lot of traffic noise up on the overpass and it makes it harder to clearly record conversations. I failed to set the light meter to automatic back in October and the video was way overexposed, washed out. Pocket size digital cameras can take videos, and these days there are 8 GB SD cards (that’s a lot of memory!) Some cameras even have a special “youTube” setting, so the format is compatible with youTube.

It helps to have several people so that you can take turns using the camera, and nobody has to hold the banner up and talk with CHP and run the camera at the same time.

A tripod can add immensely to the quality of your video.

And then when you’re all done please post your video on youTube. I have another whole section on how to edit your video, and the key part is to find a local public access TV station that has video editing software and a really really smart person to teach you how to use it.

Best of luck and have fun!

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