The QiRanger Adventures

Archive for the ‘How-To’ Category

Typing in Korean

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So you’ve made it to Korea. You’re here, enjoying the sights and sounds of the country you’ll be living and working in, and have even taken the next step and taken up learning Korean. But you keep running into problems when trying to type on your western-style keyboard.

If you have a Mac, you actually have a few options that will make it easier for you to type in Korean (not only for vocabulary practice, but when searching).

To activate the Korean language inputs on your computer, head up to the menu bar on your Mac. You’ll see the current language set. As you can see in this picture, my current language is set to English (US). I’ve also a few other languages.

If you don’t have anything, but English selected (or your native language), hit the Open International option to bring up the menu.

This brings up a preference menu that allows you to toggle which languages you’d like to be able to type in on the computer. As you can see, there are several options for different kinds of input for Korean. I recommend selecting two: 2-Set Korean and HNC Romanja.

Simply close this window and go back the menu bar, and you’ll find your two new additions. The 2-Set Korean transforms your keyboard into the standard Korean input (that you see on every computer in Korea). This is great for learning touch-typing, but for Western computers with Latin characters, it doesn’t do us any good, since we don’t have the characters on our keyboard. Thankfully, there’s a virtual keyboard available. Just click on the Show Keyboard Viewer and it will pop up on your screen.

There it is!

However, since this can be quite slow, I usually opt for the HNC Romanja. This allows you to input Latin letters and the computer changes them into Hanguel. Check it out:

  • ng = ㅇ
  • ss = ㅆ
  • ai = ㅐ
  • ngue = 워
  • gamsamhabnida = 감사합니다
  • ngannyenghaseingyo = 안녕하세요

It does take a little time getting used to (especially when writing the more complicated sequences), but when trying to translate something or enter data, it is quite handy!


Written by Steve Miller

September 2, 2010 at 8:36 am

Travel Videos: Editing

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Here we are… the final entry in the series. This is where it all comes together: Editing.

Believe it or not, this is the most fun and challenging part of the process. Once you have all your footage sorted and music chosen, it’s now time to package it. When I first started making videos, chronicling my travels, I used to use every bit of footage.

I mean, if I took an hour of footage at a palace, I would end up using most of it. The result was a good video, but very long. This might be great if you’re making a long video for television or a short movie, but since my broadcast medium is YouTube, videos longer than 5 minutes usually don’t do well.

That’s the reason this past year, I’ve really had to make some tough calls when editing. I might have a great scene, but it doesn’t fit in the time I’ve allotted for the project. For example, in my Bataan video, I have a great clip of the clouds rolling past a window from atop the Shrine of Valor (Mt. Samat), but it didn’t fit within the video scheme, so I cut it. It was a tough call, but something that had to be done. Doing this is key, since it really places you in the chair of your potential viewer. When the entire process is over, you should not only be proud of your video, but be excited to watch it (time and time again). So only pick the very best of your clips to tell the story. If the clip is great, but doesn’t tell the story… it needs to be cut!

Once you’ve completed your edits and you have your project rendered, watch it a few times to make sure it flows like you want it to. If it doesn’t, go back and make some changes to get it to where you want it to be. The final step is to de-interlace the video.

THIS IS KEY and a personal pet-peeve of mine. While videos shot in 720p or 1080p are by default de-interlaced, some titles and sped-up or slowed-down footage may not be. The end result is a distracting experience to the viewer. I see this all the time on YouTube and it instantly makes me want to click off. What still surprises me is when I’ve seen it in professional circles.

I hope this short series was helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Written by Steve Miller

August 7, 2010 at 4:23 am

Travel Videos: Filming

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We’ve got our camera and conducted research out our trip… now let’s go out and film!

I will admit this is my favorite part of the process. I just love getting out of the apartment and going someplace new. Exploring every nook and cranny and seeing what I can discover.

When filming, my personal belief is to go hog-wild, but that’s because I have a lot of memory in my camera to record images with. I say this, because having too much footage is always better than not having enough. So when I’m exploring, I’m hitting the record button quite often. Most of the clips are only 10-30 seconds, but over time, they add up.

This makes things easier in the editing process. It’s during this time, that you can start filming yourself at the location. this is important, because people do really want to see you at the location. This is also a great way to introduce the location on film. I usually use a combination of on-camera appearances and voice-overs to narrate my films. It makes for a great mix. When filming yourself, I recommend bringing a friend or a tripod, so that you can get longer shots. It helps to create a size and scope of your special destination.

Also, change things up a little and shoot the same scene from various angles. This will allow more choices when putting the video together. You might even want to include parts of one scene several times. As I said, more is always better.

I was debating on whether or not to have a separate topic about microphones, but thought I’d include it here. Most cameras have crap microphones. A few of the consumer levels do have good ones (and I think the HFS11 does have a good one). But they all fall short when you start moving back away from the camera. This can really limit what you do in terms of setting up shots, but by no way, limiting what you can achieve. Just keep the following in mind:

1) When standing back from the camera, you’ll need to project your voice. Don’t shout, but speak loudly so the mic can pic you up.

2) Anything more than 6 feet is probably too far from the camera.

If you want to get an external mic, there are several options. Some are boom that go on the camera’s hotshoe. Others are wireless or hand-held options.  My recommendation is really do some research and get something that meets most, if not all of your needs, that won’t break your bank.

Written by Steve Miller

July 31, 2010 at 4:27 am

Travel Videos: Research

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I’m going to be brutally honest. Most people don’t care about your trip. You have to make them want to care about the trip. When preparing to produce your travel video, you’ll need to do research ahead of time to know what you’re going to see in order to capture the most spectacular images. This also helps you when it comes to editing the final version, since you already know what kind of story you’d like to tell.

For me, I use a wide variety of resources when researching my topics. I use Wikipedia, travel blogs, tour books, and the materials published by the actual location. This assists me in getting the big picture of my destination. From here, I can pick and choose what I want to focus on. Doing this ahead of time also helps you write your copy for the video (speaking parts). It also makes it easier to type up descriptions and blog entries.

But the most important aspect of research, is that it helps you craft an engaging and interesting story. Here’s an example: On our trip to Indonesia, we visited several places. A travel video showing Jo and I walking around Indonesia may be entertaining to our families, but not to a large audience. Picking out interesting things to go see and do ahead of time allowed us to have a better vacation, but also assisted me in choosing how to string together all the clips to tell the story about Indonesia that will inspire people to get out of their homes and book flights.

The more information you have, the easier it makes things… but in my opinion, you don’t have to use it all. Viewers want to be engaged… not lectured.

Next week: Filming

Written by Steve Miller

July 24, 2010 at 4:18 am

Travel Videos: Music

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There are several things that go into making a good travel video, and one of them is music. I’m not a musician and have very little talent in this area, but I do know that adding a layer of music to the finished project enhances the experience to the viewer. But using music in videos is quite tricky.

If you’re making something for home use, you can pretty much do what you’d like, since no one will see the final project. However, if you’re like me, and want to put the video up on YouTube (or in public), there are several things to consider.

First, you need to pick music that fits the subject matter. Second, you must have the rights to use the music. It’s the latter where many get into trouble. As a content provider on YouTube, one can pretty much use any music you find, since YouTube has made agreements with the major record labels. But as was seen with BMG, these deals can cause some headaches down the road. You see, for a while, BMG allowed songs to be used on YouTube. Then they stopped. So if your video used one of their songs, then all of a sudden, it was pulled. It created a huge headache for content providers.

A better road to travel down is using Creative Commons licensed music. But here, there is also a problem. Many artists will allow you to use their music for free, provided it’s not for commercial purposes. This is great most of the time, but I make some money on my videos by using AdSense, which is a commercial endeavor. As such, I can’t use Creative Commons licensed tracks without extra permission.

What I end up doing is using Royalty Free music. iMovie comes loaded with a ton of tracks and I can create my own in Garage Band. Don’t have a Mac? Don’t worry! Most of the time I use music from Kevin MacLeod or Jason Shaw. Both have hundreds of songs you can use and they only ask that you credit them. There are also other options, like using Sonic Fire from SmartSound, too.

In short, use your music to accent the final piece. Make sure it fits and complements the project. Overall, you’ll end up with a great product.

Next week: Research

Written by Steve Miller

July 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Travel Videos: The Camera

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The Canon HFS11

Back in the US, there’s a little thing taking place this weekend called VidCon. It’s a conference, unlike any other YouTube gathering in the past, because it isn’t a gathering. It’s a professional development conference designed to help YouTubers make it big online. While I’m not big by any means, I do get a lot of questions regarding how I make my travel videos. So I thought I’d begin a new weekly series explaining the process.

The first in the series, as you can no doubt tell by the title, is about cameras.

I think of of the pitfalls people get into when they decide to make travel blogs or travel videos, is that they go out and spend a lot of money on a camera. I cannot more strongly disagree with that line of thinking. Sure, the better the camera, the more features and better the images will be. However, that doesn’t translate to having better content.

Really spend the time getting to know your camera. Changing the white balance, shooting settings, and other features may take time to learn, but in the long run, can make a huge difference in the product you produce. I’ve shot videos with my Canon HFS11 and my point-and-shoot camera. Both produce great videos. Only invest in a high-end camera when you want to take your production “to the next level.” That means, you want to be semi-pro. If you’re shooting videos to chronicle your trip, there’s no need for a $1500 camera. A regular camera will do.

Probably one of the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a camera to shoot with is the filming rate. HD is all the rage these days, but isn’t a necessity. Choose a resolution that’s at least 640×480 and at least 30 frames per second (fps). This is key, since less than 30fps makes things a little hard to see when you’re moving the camera around. (Note: PAL is 25fps and Cinema is 24fps.)

If you do buy a regular camcorder, you may want to invest in a wide angle lens down the road. While these new HD cameras are great, sometimes shooting up close is quite difficult. for example, even with my long arms, it’s tough getting my face in-frame without a wide angle lens adapter.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comment section below and I’ll be happy to address them. I will not comment on brand recommendations, however. Most cameras will do the trick for everyday travel videos, and if you have specific questions about a model you’re interested in, I’m sure you this has the answer you’re looking for! That being said, if you have specific questions about the Canon HFS11, I’d be happy to discuss my experiences with it.

Next Week: Music

Written by Steve Miller

July 10, 2010 at 7:33 am

The process…

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The West Sights of Seoul video was posted yesterday. I have to say, that this was a great learning experience in video content creation. I say this for a number of reasons.

First, it marks the first time I’ve really used the features of my new camera. I’ve posted several blogs over the past month about me trying things out and getting used to the device. The thing that was really bugging me was playback in Final Cut. After doing the Busan Video, I found that I needed to make some changes.

You see in that video, I had the camera set to 7mp recording mode. While it creates great images, it’s only a third of the possible recording power. It really bugged me that I couldn’t use the full potential of the camera. So I went to the net and did some research on Final Cut and improving playback performance. What I found was quite illuminating.

By changing the playback settings to unlimited, I was able to playback the 24mp recorded videos without any problems. It also allowed me to work on the film without having to render each section as often as I used to do. Figuring all this out made a huge difference in splicing this video together.

Another question that often comes up is how I put these videos together. The first step in the process is figuring out where to go. Jo and I love going out and exploring new places, so that’s usually no problem. Once we pick a destination, we’ll also see what’s in the area and if we can hit that as well. Then we’ll sit down with our travel books and computers to pull up information about the sites and compare notes. Sometimes we even bounce back ideas and compare resources. For example, the sources I was using for this project didn’t have information about the museums, but Jo’s did. If we hadn’t been working together, I would have missed out on a great place to visit.

Next, we go out and shoot. I’ll have my notes with me and try to get everything in one take. Sometimes it works well… other times it doesn’t. With this camera, I can shoot a lot more video on each outing and then pick and choose when I edit it in post. When using a tape, I usually would record about 30-40 minutes of video. Now, I’m averaging over an hour… maybe two on each occasion.

I try to keep all my notes when I edit the video and put the topic in an order that makes sense. I’ll use transitions and lower thirds if needed. The latter is proving to be a real pain, as I usually find a few mistakes well after the video is complete and live. Since these things take a long time to correct, I don’t have the discipline to go back and fix them (re-rendering takes a few hours). I know I should… and it is something I’m going to be better about.

I’ve also recently found the best way to export as well. The West Sights video was an experiment, and while I’m pleased with the overall quality, it’s nowhere near the resolution that my other samples have been. So I’ll be reverting to that export process. In short, this video was exported using the “1290 x 1080 HD” setting rather than “HD 1290 x 1080”. The latter really pushes up the quality.

I hope you enjoy the video and this little explanation of my process.

Written by Steve Miller

January 27, 2010 at 9:50 am