poppy field

Having spent the best part of 40 years looking through a viewfinder of some sort, sitting in front of a computer editing photos or videos, producing websites and managing social media accounts, it’s a very strange feeling to now say when asked, “I’m retired".

Despite no longer taking on commercial paid work, it’s virtually impossible to suddenly stop what you’ve been doing for the best part of your working life so, for the past 24 months I’ve been taking on work on a ‘pro-bono’ basis for church, charity or voluntary organisations. I hope that my experience, skills and equipment can now be put to good use to those who perhaps, don’t have the budget or funding to produce what they want or need for their media requirements.

The following 'blog' items are a mixture, some from when I was working commercially and now, some new items that might be of interest.

An Autumn trip

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I supply the camera kit and video editing for a friend who then films his trips on his narrowboat, over the years he’s attracted quite a following on YouTube, FaceBook and his website (which I manage) with his films and exploits!
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A few days ago he mentioned he wanted to do a trip and film it so I assembled all the gear he normally takes, I checked it all and packed it for collection. Unfortunately his ‘first mate’ phoned him to say he was ill and couldn’t make the trip, Frank phoned me to call it off, I happened to mention I was free and could do the filming if he wanted so, Frank bought his narrowboat “Wye Invader Two” up to Gloucester Docks on his own where I met him at 07.00am on Monday.

After an excellent breakfast at Wetherspoons in Gloucester Docks, I setup the cameras on the the narrowboat, a JVC HM100 on a secured tripod in the bows, an Action-cam in the shoe mount on the HM100 and an Action-cam on the stern on a Manfrotto grip on the boat handrail facing backwards. I knew the batteries and 32Gb cards would do around 2 hours before they needed changing, that would get us from Gloucester to Saul Junction.
We set off in the glorious autumn sunshine, the colours of the trees were probably at their best before they lost their leaves and there was very little narrowboat traffic, I think we only saw two other boats moving before Saul Junction. I kept an eye on all the cameras and all seemed to be working OK, after an hour and 55 minutes we arrived at Saul Junction to fill up with fuel so I changed all the cards and batteries, one Action-cam battery had run out shortly before we arrived but I still had footage from the other two cameras. We then went on to Sharpness.

Back home and checking the footage, we had the whole trip covered, Frank wanted to put all four hours online, I considered that but felt a 4 hour video was too long so I decided to made it into two 2 hour videos for YouTube. The first thing to do was sync all 3 cameras in Apple FCPX, not quite as easy as it sounds as the Action-cams didn’t record usable sound so it had to be done visually, I then cut the different angles together, a bit of messing with the audio and with some wild track from a Zoom H1 overlaid I had an edit, a few short music tracks helped with the visuals where needed, I also added a title, lower thirds for the bridges and a real time clock in the top right to show the trip progress.
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I made a ProRes master from FCPX and then used ff.works to make an mp4 which took nearly 6 hours to encode! It was then 2 hours to upload a 30Gb mp4 to Youtube and, in less than 24 hours it had nearly 50 views. You can view it here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoyYJf6qtRo

Part 2 will have to wait a few days before I edit that one!
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