04 September 2010

Video Tech: Learning to use effects

Now that I understand how to mount my cameras, I'm ready to work on "post production".  It was the RavenRider Carb Stuff video that made me realize 20 minutes of on road video can be boring.  Okay I already knew that, but now I'm learning to do something about it!

My last ride video was one of my better ones.  I worked on cutting out some of the really boring stuff.  I really wanted a different perspective but my second D005 camera didn't arrive until the day after the ride.  (The first D005 met a strange end when I tried to do something about the wind noise!)  Cruzman and I have been using these Chinese Mini Cams since the beginning of the year.  My first ride with one was the Cheeha ride and I had it clipped to the tail bag.

Software.  That rear facing video worked great combined with eFnJustRide's front video.  The sound was superb but the bouncing was annoying.  I can fix that with the open source program VirtualDub and a plugin called Deshaker.  I just need to learn how to do that.  My first attempt was rather comical so I'm still working on that.

There are effects that can add to the video experience when combined with judicious editing.  I experimented with effects on that first video, fading between the two different views.  It gave me an idea of what could be accomplished but I was limited by the two editing programs I've used -- Kino and Windows Movie Maker.  I want to combine still pics and video.  I tried that with the Dragon video, but could only put a slideshow in.  I've resisted buying a video editing program due to the expense and the time it takes to learn one.  I'd rather spend the money on the bike!

After my video last week, I saw this guy's video

and knew what I needed to do.  This is exactly the kind of thing I want to do.  A few searches later, I discovered I can use plugin with Windows Movie Maker!!  I downloaded Rehan's ShaderTFX and played a little.

The Cameras.  I've settled on the chinese mini dv's for now.  (I have the D005 (aka RD52), the D011 flahslight style mini DV, and the D001 (aka MD80) which are knockoffs of AEE or Ramos Cameras.)  At some point, I'll upgrade to full 1080p, but I'm happy with the 720p these produce.  Honestly, I could have one 1080p cam for the money I've spent on these when you include the 3 broken ones!  But I wouldn't have the options for different perspective I have now with three cameras; combined with my Fuji J10 for still photos, I think I can produce the types of videos I want.

Cruzman developed a "mic mod" that seemed to work well on our last ride, so I boldly cracked the cases on the D011 and D005 to try it on my cams.  I say boldly because the last time I cracked the cases to experiment with my own mic mod, I ended up with non functioning cameras!  His mic mod is simple; you just put earphone foam over the mic.  I glued mine in place with a drop of super gorilla glue.

Generic Fish Eye
The other thing I need to address with these cams is the limited field of view.  They all offer about 44° lens angle.  The commercial cams are around 170°.  There's a simple way to improve that using add on lenses. After looking around, I found a blog entry with a very good explanation of the different lenses for the D001.   Based on this, I have 3 on the way.  A generic fish eye and a 0.68x lens which both offer about 40% more viewing area.  Also a 0.28x or 180° lens, more like the commercial cams.  I bought a fisheye before but it flew off when Cruzman tried to use it.
0.68x and 0.28x

This fisheye is for the D011.  Since it is a flashlight style cam, you can unscrew the top to clean the lens.  I figure I'll unscrew the top to put the fish eye on.  The 0.68x lens comes with a telephoto lens for close up stuff and will go on whatever cam I have pointed at me.  The 0.28x will go on the front view cam.  At least, that's what I think now.  I'll know for sure once I get to test them.

My First Test Video.  I wanted to see how difficult using the new effects would be so on the way to getting my hair done, I strapped the two cameras in my possession on the bike.  I put the D005 on the rad cover to see how it would do there and the D011 on the seat case to see how much movement it did.

I used three of Rehan's effects, two pip's and one other to transitions between the pip views.  I gotta work on the transitions but I was pleased with my first efforts.  The sound in the second part of the video is compromised because of the D011 switching files.  The first 20 secs or so have some kind of issue.  I think I can cure this by dropping the volume on those clips or maybe using a faster card.

My next test will be trying to add photos in the mix!!  When I get the third camera, I'll have it facing me.  Let me know if you have a better editing solution, preferably free or open source.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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