Thursday, April 24, 2014

The making of the videos

Over time, this website has evolved and evolved greatly. Indeed, the original concept probably dated back to 2006 where it was to be a vehicle to display my love of creativity and photography. With the advent of social media, the people element is back. Being a people person, it's much more fun when there's some form of interaction.

Having run the two blogs and some previous blogs over the years, recently the video element was added. Some people shoot only video and just don't bother with written blogs. This seems such a shame as both are equally pleasurable to complete. For the moment the aim is to have both video and written entries.

Over the course of the video making, various things have been pointed out such as the lack of lighting in the foreground. Currently the light source is a compact fluorescent desk lamp beside the camera. This was a later addition to the videos. These are, it should be emphasized, the first videos that have ever been produced as selfies. A professional video technician would most likely be able to point out all the flaws and leave me wondering if there's anything that's right.

The aim of the videos is not to achieve ultimate perfection; rather to achieve a modest degree of success and to support the general aim of the blog which is to inform, to educate, to entertain. It also showcases some of the things that I do however this is not a deadly serious affair. I do not strive in this blog for perfection. The videos are unscripted, unedited and filmed off the cuff. The blog entries are not themed - they are written off the cuff. Sometimes when time allows, several videos or blog entries will be composed at the same time then scheduled to appear after various time intervals.

Video presentation has clearly improved since the first video as have the blog entries. Nothing is ever proof read. There may well be the odd error that has slipped through. It is anticipated that improvements will continue over time.

The video equipment is a very old Canon S1 IS and an equally elderly Hakuba tripod. The limitations imposed by the equipment are few - the camera will record 11 minutes of AVI video file that have then to be converted to the MOV format before being uploaded to YouTube in order to reduce the size from 1,000mb down to 200MB. The DSL connection currently used still takes 30 minutes to upload even a 200MB file.

It would be very nice to upgrade from the S1 IS to a read video camera for the videos but short of a fairy depositing one in my lap, that's unlikely to happen while the S1 IS remains a viable option. Similarly, the lighting is unlikely to improve beyond a desklamp with a CFL bulb without investment. As this is purely a personal blog that investment is unlikely to happen. 

I'm currently looking into ways of reducing the echo in the videos from the walls. I'm not really sure quite what can be done though as the room is quite small. Again, this is an investment question. The original plan for the blogs specified no investment whatsoever. It's just too easy to rush off and buy a trinket to use for a photographic subject. That represents capital outlay and capital outlay is taken off income. 

One of the best bits of advice given to me by my father is: Never pay out money on the hope of it making a return. As I've said so many times, money paid out on arts never earns more than is spent. This reminds me of one of the great works of literature found scrawled on the doors of the latrines in my old university:
A chemistry graduate asks "What is it made of?"
A physics graduate asks "How is it made?"
A engineering graduate asks "How can it be made better?"
An accountancy graduate asks "How much does it cost?"
An arts graduate asks "Do you want sauce and fries with that?"

As can be seen - the video setup is not expensive at all. If that camera could still be purchased secondhand I'm sure it wouldn't be more than $15 and the desklamp was about $10 from Walmart. Even the CFL was only 68c from Walmart. I think I paid about $10 for the tripod about 10 years ago. I encourage anybody that wants to start doing videos just to get out there and do it. It's not expensive and it is a creative outlet.

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