As part of my plan to put together a video for every Wednesday in December, I decided to finish of a project I’ve been working on to tie all various bits of video from various trips I’ve been on into one montage.
Here you have “Welcome To My World“. If you can, I strongly recommend watching fullscreen in 1080p HD.
When we get to the end of November, after (hopefully) managing to write every blog post a day for an entire month, I’m keen push the boundaries and push on forward.
For the month of December I’m going to try and put out a video clip every week – this is also partly reflective of the number of half-finished projects I have lying around and a desire to get them finished with a self-set deadline, and also to do with a desire to try out new things in the land of video.
Hopefully there will be all sorts of things – montages, mini-documentaries, hopefully some drama or comedy.
The challenge will not just be “to put it out there” whilst avoiding fretting too much about perfection, but also putting it in the context of a compelling story that makes the viewer want to watch more.
Frequently, these days, I look at the gigabytes of video I took on my previous handheld camera and cringe at the shakiness – however, presented with a compelling story and compelling video, the viewer shouldn’t be distracted – indeed higher production values themselves wouldn’t carry the video if the rest of it was poorly done.
So the plan for December is
- publish (hopefully every Wednesday)
If you would like to help out in some way, feel free to leave a comment.
I recently went to Barcamp Blackpool – I’ve blogged a bit about that here, but right now I want to talk a little about the video I made.
The video was the first real footage I shot on my new camera and the first full thing edited using my new workflow.
First, have a look at the video:
So it was shot on a Canon mkII at 24mm/f4 with a Glidecam XR 2000. It’s worth understanding that I’ve not had any of those devices more than a week and so my threshold for success is set at “understand more than when I started” and “try not to upset anyone”, and with those criteria I think I’ve succeeded.
The Glidecam is a lot of fun, but also presents challenges – actually carrying the camera on a Glidecam is significantly heavy if you are a sysadmin like me and have no upper body strength. Balances the Glidecam correctly is an art that I’m learning, and using it – well I’m getting to grips with that! I do feel that, objectively, the video probably felt like “fly all the things” – however one of my objectives was to learn about the device more, an so learning when not to run around is valuable information.
Marek Isalski gave me some feedback on the camera setup and I think I largely agree – colour correction/white balance would have made a difference, and things like the auto-exposuring messed up a few shots. Once I get the feel of things a bit more, I suspect I can probably learn to judge some good manual settings for to put the camera in, or I can learn how to update those settings mid-shot, if that’s possible. The focal distance on the f4 is quite forgiving, but clearly, there are some clips where even a rough eye for that could make a big difference.
This was the first ‘good’ clip to take advantage of a small change in my workflow which has had a big impact on how I work.
I have a small laptop for web and stuff on the move, and a [rapidly ageing] “power desktop” for editing. My laptop doesn’t really play my DSLR footage very well and is really underpowered by most standards, it’s not ideal for video editing. However, a recent version of Kdenlive – my favourite video editor – recently added a “proxy clips” feature.
Essentially, when you turn this on for your project, it generates low resolution, low quality clips of your videos for you to edit with, and then, when you come to render your project, it uses the original footage. What this means in practice, is that, so long as you’re happy waiting for your project to render on your device, editing high quality footage on an under powered device is less of an issue.
What this meant for me was that I could sit in a hotel room with my ultra light X60S Thinkpad and throw together a little video before bed, without having to wait til I got home, sorted all the footage out, and got round to editing it all together. For me, this is a big difference.
Clearly, I’ve more to learn about many things, but I’m happy that this video has succeeded in showing me a few places to improve whilst also, hopefully, not upsetting too many people!
Some time ago, I was looking for new places to explore on Wikitravel and so I flew to Tallin, in Estonia, hired a bike from CityBike and spent two days visiting old soviet military bases, the Baltic sea, waterfalls and taking in the Estonian countryside.
As I travelled, I made video. This is that video. Have a watch.
Shot on a Sanyo CA100, edited in Kdenlive on Ubuntu
Licenced under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence.
Lullaby by Ghost (feat skoria and brad sucks) – CC-BY-NS 2.5
Sea of Something by i am this – CC-Sampling Plus 1.0
Computer by State Shirt (stateshirt.com) – CC-BY-NC-SA 2.5,
Kopeika by et_ – CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0
I recently came across this very entertaining TEDx talk.
Take a look:
As you can hear, being happy makes a massive difference. It’s possible to predict how successful 75% of people will be, not based on their IQ, but how happy they are.
Just think about that – all the time you were at school and they were telling you how important exam results were to be “successful”, to be “happy” – they were wrong. In fact, they were wrong twice. The were wrong that good grades (“IQ”) meant you’d be happy, and they were wrong that being successful had anything to do with good grades (“IQ”).
So whilst he explained, being happy isn’t really about getting into that prestigious school, or earning more than you can spend, he was very quick when he went over how we can be happy.
“How to be happy.” That sounds like such a strange and contrived thing to say – I mean either you are happy or you aren’t happy, right? How can you possibly teach yourself to be happy?
Well, as it happens I recently saw a post on reddit by What_The_Funk explaining one of the methods he briefly mentioned:
Writing down the 2 highlights of the day every day before I sleep. And every week/month/year, choose one from that period. Best thing I have ever done. Focused my thoughts on all the great things that happen. every morning I wake up thinking: what will I write on my highlight list today. and in the evening, it’s almost difficult to determine the highlights out of lots of positive things. and picking a highlight of the month/year… just makes you grateful.
Does that sound difficult? Hell yes!
Does it sound achievable? Absolutely.
Even if the highlight of your day is “took a five minute break from work and enjoyed every second of it” or “pressed snooze on my alarm, TWICE”, you’ll still, by the end of the week, have a list of the things that have made you happiest over the week.
After almost a month of doing this everyday, I bet you start to look at things a little bit differently.
Let’s start now, what were your two happiest moments of today?
Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of hiking, been to many places and see a great deal. To document it, I started editing together some of my clips several months ago. This is the result – thanks for stopping by for a look!
Switch it to HD, make it fullscreen, let it buffer, sit back and let it go!
Special Thanks to:
The University of Manchester Hiking Club
For the tolerant, friendly and down to earth approach to hiking which has enabled me to see so much and share so many great moments. Thank you all for some great times!
I also really appreciate the enthusiasm of Jonathan Heathcote, Josh R, Jonnie Balls, Polly Plowman, John Colvin and Marek Isalski for agreeing to be test audiences and helpfully offering constructive feedback during the final phases of editing.
Locations (in order of appearance):
- Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia.
- Stickle Tarn, Great Langdale, Lake District fade Stickle Tarn, Great Langdale, Lake District
- Near Boot, Eskdale, Lake District
- Glen Coe area, Western Scotland
- Loch Lomond, Scotland fade Loch Lomond, Scotland
- Nearish Avimore, Cairngorms, Scotland
- Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Lake District
- Buttermere – from in the lake itself, Lake District
- Stanley Ghyll or something, near Boot, Eskdale, Lake District
- Near Glen Coe, Western Scotland
- Goredale Scar, Yorkshire Dales
- Near Glen Coe, Western Scotland
- Ogwen Valley from 1/3 of the way up Tryfan, Snowdonia
- Great Gable/Scarfell/etc visible from the hill on the southern side of Wasdale that isn’t Scafell, Lake District
- Red Tarn and Striding edge from the summit of Helvellyn, Lake District
- Near Glen Coe, Western Scotland
- Sharp Edge, Blencathra, Lake District
- Jack’s Rake, with Stickle Tarn below, Great Langdale, Lake District
- Scrambling on Tryfan, Snowdonia
- Lyn Idwal, Australia Lake, Bristly Ridge, from the far side of Tryfan, Snowdonia
- Close up of my face, on Cairn Gorm
- Failing to practise Ixe Axe arrests and generally messing around in the snow, just before Charlemagne Gap, Caingorms, Scotland
- Near Glen Coe, Western Scotland
- Tryfan (ULGMC hut in foreground) from the Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia
- Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia
Last summer, I went on a week long cycle tour around Skye and Rasaay. In preparation of doing so, I figured it would make sense to test the new kit I’d bought for the expedition with two day “dry run” in the Lake District.
I got the train to Windemere with my Bike, cycled up to Langdale. Dropped all my kit into a rucksack, and, as it was getting towards dusk, I started up the hill and made camp by Stickle Tarn where I made this video:
The trip was actually very helpful. At the time I was using an all-in-one frayed pannier thing, held in the centre with what was essentially a large elastic band. On my cycle back to Manchester, this elastic band somehow managed to come undone and, whilst I was cycling, wrap itself around my back axle and gears. This lead to the rather unpleasant moment where my Bike started braking and I couldn’t work out what was wrong. It was on a section with double white lines and I had cars behind me so when I had to pull into the side and walk my bike (lifting the back wheel off the ground) to somewhere I could pull in, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience! Ultimately, I had to cut the rubber band off bit by bit as it was well and truly wrapped around the wheel.
This spurred me to go and buy some nice snap-on, snap-of Altura Orkney 85 panniers which turned out to be just what I needed!