Saturday, March 14, 2020

Vlogging: iPod or GoPro, OR BOTH?? Welcome to my studio!

This is the episode where you get a better, more technical understanding of what went well, what was challenging, and what was disastrous, with the three vlogging rigs that I use in the production of the Life on two wheels vlog.

The unmentioned ironies in the whole production debacle are...
  • yesterday I had to return the brand new GoPro Hero7 Black that I received in a warranty replacement just a couple of weeks ago... because... there was another issue with the camera's USB-C port. This time it's not the audio, it's the computer interface. Nothing I could do could prompt the camera to connect with my computers and allow me to download clips.
  •   That means having to disassemble the metal cage, unplug the microphone adapter, open the camera, remove the micro-SD card (smaller than a small child's pinky fingernail - amazing that it holds up to 64 Gb of video), plug the micro-card into the standard-size SD card holder, plug that card into a USB SD card reader, plug the USB card reader into the applicable USB hub, then download the video. Way too much complexity, plus constantly fiddling with the temperamental USB-C port on the camera is a recipe for further disaster.
    After an hour or so on the phone with the GoPro support team (by the way, I have been very impressed with their product support) my camera has been shipped back to GoPro for replacement once more. I have been advised that they plan to test the new replacement before shipment to ensure that the port is working properly in every respect. 
  • I discovered to my great chagrin that my lavalier Rode mic broke. There is a break in one of the wires right at the plug. No big deal, I have two other lavaliers with long cords that I can use for future interviews, BUT... I had used that mic with my iPod to record a farewell get-together with Stephanie Yue last summer when she flew off from Toronto to Europe with her Vespa. You guessed it, the audio is buggered all to hell by that mic defect. Now I have to figure out
    • how to break that news to Ed; and
    • how to salvage what I have for an upcoming episode. 
While this video is yet another nerdy vlogging how-to video, with a (hopefully) click-bait-ish thumbnail and intro, I am genuinely enthused (in case it's not clear in the video) with the studio set up.

I love it because I think that using my iMac desktops as studio lighting is such a cool and efficient hack. So many bloggers have massive amounts of gear that turn their studios into virtually single-purpose spaces.

In my case, my studio is a secondary purpose for my home office, whose primary purpose is my law practice hence the books, the computers (MacBook, old iMac, new iMac), printer+scanner, desk lighting, shredder, back-up drives (nicely concealed I might add, I am sure you didn't notice). I actually have a green-screen in the closet that I have tested which can be set up behind my office chair and that allows me to completely eliminate the entire background with a mouse-click.

For an after-thought video production studio it works really, really well for me.

So that's it folks.

I'll be back with something on Stephany's adventure, and on the 2019 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride.

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Complicate Ya by Otis MacDonald and Minor blues for Booker by E's Jammy Jams, both tracks made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library. The ULANZI V3 Pro Aluminium Vlog Cage with cold shoe and protective housings for the GoPro USBC microphone adapter for Gopro Hero 7 6 and 5 cameras, the Saramonic SR-XM1 microphone, the Comica dead cat windscreen, and the Joby Telepod Pro are all available at, you guessed it, Amazon.


RichardM said...

I enjoyed the video. Too bad that GoPro doesn't support audio devices via BT. I still have the old GoPro 3 with its horrible audio. I have used the micro USB port with an RF microphone and that was a lot better. There was also a BT adapter that allows the use of the Sena microphone which I considered but didn't want to spend the $$.

I had to have the logic board in my MacBook Pro replaced due to a failed USB C port. Even though there are 4 ports, one gets the most use due to a docking adapter. That was the port that failed due to overheating. Now, I make a point of charging using one of the other ports.

bocutter ed said...

"how to break that news to Ed ..."

I think you just did dat. Could silent vlogging become a thing?

David Masse said...

@Richard, audio has never been a focus for GoPro, at least not until the later models. I am hoping that they will figure out how to get a Bluetooth circuit embedded inside the shell. With a little luck they'll make sure that it will accommodate AirPods. What a sweet set up that would be.

There are a bunch of creative Moto-bloggers who have managed to glom audio setups onto their helmets. Personally I find that too complicated and not worth the benefit. Besides, narrating a ride in a helpful and entertainingl way in addition to riding in a safe way is just too much of a challenge. I think I'd end up sucking at both tasks.

As for my ports, I have a constellation. Each of the 3 Mac computers' ports are presently employed, and they each have a USB hub resulting currently in 6 free ports. Knock on wood none of my ports have failed (so far). When I was on the phone with GoPro support we did a Mac OS USB port refresh/reboot, to no avail for connecting the GoPro. Hopefully that all gets sorted with the latest camera shows up.

David Masse said...

@ Ed, so glad you're taking this well. BTW I saw when I was doing a quick look at my clips that you were filming Stephanie on your phone. Do you still have that footage? If so, I could really use it. I could set up a shared DropBox folder you could upload to. One way or another, I will post a Stephanie video. Challenges like this just mean that more creativity is necessary. I hope to be up to the challenge.

David Masse said...

@everyone... actually there is Bluetooth connectivity in the Hero7 Black, but alas it doesn't allow AirPods to connect. I tried.

bocutter ed said...

@David, I have "stills" of Steph & Fred checking out Mr. Stinky (the Twingle), but no "footage".

David Masse said...

@Ed, thanks Ed, I will do my best with what I have.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.