Monday, February 24, 2020

GoPro Clusterffffffail!!!

You'll learn in the video that I have been mired in a video-and-blog-production-free zone since July of last year.

Finally, I can see clearly now (sad 2020 joke). Yet I truly do think that I have found a path back to creativity and production.

The kind of bond you can build with YouTube is really odd.

It is simultaneously insanely public, yet paradoxically intimate. It's like my audience is a massive intimidating horse, but I have learned to whisper in its ear, and it listens patiently and intently. My studio is like the horse's ear.

Well, that's certainly not the most poetic description of YouTube as an artistic platform for mankind, but you get the drift.

This is episode 40 of the vlog.

As I grew progressively sidelined by the course of events, the horse wandered out of its stall, out the proverbial barn door, to become a random distant dot grazing in the meadow. The thought of slipping on a bridle, coaxing it back, and climbing back into the saddle became daunting. It was no longer the horse I knew, the one I whispered to. I began to doubt if I even remembered how to ride, or what its name was.

I can now safely say, if there are others who have lost track of their steeds, that it's akin to riding a bicycle.

My new reality is that I have two purpose-built production facilities, two mounts willing to let me ride shoeless and bareback, lean into their manes, and whisper confidently in their ears.

A studio that you see in the video (actually you can't see behind the scene at all, but it's a dedicated iPod tied to a bunch of other cool stuff), and a new Go Pro designed for roaming (with some special bullet-proof ingenious add-ons protecting the disastrously frail ill-conceived external microphone sub-system).

It all sounds so dry, nerdy, and boring, not at all like thoroughbreds who prance in their stalls and swing their heads out to greet me. And yet there they are, and they are mine.

A source of comfort.

There is still so much to learn, there always is, but I am back in the paddock, at least for now.

It's great to smell the hay.


RichardM said...

Have you considered using a separate device to record tha audio? I’ve given up on the GoPro audio and I usually lower the level to just above background noise when editing the video. The last time I recorded a workshop session, I had video from three cameras and had four channels of audio being recorded through a portable mixer. The mixer was USB connected to my laptop and each of the audio tracks were independently recorded in addition to the output of the mixer. Having the separate audio being recorded really helps in post as you can easily make adjustments. After all, audio is the most important part of a vlog. Viewers can put up with dropped video frames but poor audio will make them go away. They have Lighting port dongles for audio including ones with multiple inputs.

Good luck on your endeavor!

David Masse said...

Thanks Richard,

I find managing audio to be the most complex aspect of vlogging. Every source (studio vs open air, vs music tracks, vs different cameeras) comes with a different tone and level. I use Final Cut Pro, and it gives me a lot of options. Often I just split the audio track from the video. Once I get one track from one source right, but it's been cut and spliced all of the final video, I can easily copy the 'effects' I applied (volume in DB, equalization (loudness, etc.) and paste them onto similar tracks. Otherwise, when the source audio has unwanted features (echo, background noise, etc.) I am powerless to make improvements. An example is chatter on that steel pan loop. I was so proud of myself for extracting a usable loop. The chatter just kind of added a touch of uncertainty and chaos that I felt underscored the whole experience I was trying to convey.

The other consideration that is foremost in my mind is trying to keep the two rigs as simple as possible so that I can record studio stuff at the drop of a hat, and field stuff also at a moment's notice while lugging next to no gear. The things I like about the GoPro (love actually) are:
1) amazing stabilization;
2) fantastic audio (when it is working - knocks on wood)
3) wide range of aspects including 'linear' that eliminates the signature fisheye framing
4) wide range of resolutions all the way to 4K
5) wide range of frame rates up to 60 frames
6) slow motion
7) timelapse, hyperlapse, etc.

bocutter ed said...

So, what is the state of the videos from "Brunch with Steph" & "DGR"?

Good to see that you're back at it.

David Masse said...

Hi Ed,

Every time all the snow melts off our balcony and in the garden out front I think that the next step has to be spring springing. That's why it's snowing as I write this. No luck yet.

The video footage is stowed away and all it needs is some editing. Now that I got the logjam issues straightened out, and the practice is semi-under control, it's only a question of days before those pending videos land.

bocutter ed said...

Yeah, that '*no*'(aka fluffy rain) is back ... so I mounted a pair of K57 M&S SnowTex ...

Looking forward to flying pancakes

Steve Williams said...

It's a great video David. I left a long comment on YouTube so I won't repeat it here.

Regarding Vlogging... I admire your commitment to it. The technical challenges are daunting, but the real challenge in my mind is the content. Whenever I consider producing a video for Scooter in the Sticks I'm always left feeling whatever ideas I have will be forced. Like I have nothing to say. Could be that writing is where I belong. But still, whenever I watch another episode of yours, I think about video.

I have an old GoPro Hero Silver. It is a pain to use. I suspect the new ones are much, much more functional and reliable. The images you are producing with it are of high quality. It's been a long time since I've used mine but I don't think it's anywhere near where you are.

Lastly, sound. Sound is so important and mixing the audio tracks an art in itself. When I used to shoot double-system film, and video, I was always monitoring the recorded sound with headphones as it was being recorded. Not sure that's possible with your setup but if it is it will prevent a lot of sadness down the road. As I write that, if I was making video, I would probably not get that involved but I know the pros do.

Anyways, glad to see you're back. Looking forward to more life on two-wheels!

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