The QiRanger Adventures

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment

The end of another month…

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September is over! It has been an awesome month, but the best thing about it has been the cessation of summer temperatures.

Fall is in full effect, bringing with it beautiful days and cool evenings. It’s also bringing with it several busy days. On the heels of SeoulTube, I stepped into several filming projects, most of which are not for my YouTube Channel. This is a breath of fresh air, as it lets me revisit some older topics and present them in a new, more stylistic manner.

Today, I went out to the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. It’s a great place, and a must-see (in my opinion) for anyone living in Korea. While out filming two projects, I was interviewed by KTV for an upcoming documentary they are working on in preparation for the G20 Summit later in October.

It was a fun experience, but for me very challenging. The interview portion was easy, but I constantly had to retrain myself not to look at the camera while talking. Shooting your own videos for YouTube, one must always look into the camera to engage the audience. However, this isn’t what you’re supposed to do in an interview… and after four years of trying to talk into the camera, looking past the camera was a stretch.

Here’s a quick little video I did at the pond while shooting:

I’ll post more about some of the other projects as they near completion.

Written by Steve Miller

September 30, 2010 at 7:25 pm

The Pick-up

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Today was the awards ceremony for the most recent Korea Brand UCC Contest. Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I was unable to fully participate; however, I did manage to make it out to Seoul for a while today and meet with the fine folks at the Presidential Council on Nation Branding.

At first I declined to attend the ceremony, not because I didn’t want to meet everyone, but because it takes about 90 minutes to get from their offices back to Dongtan. Since the ceremony was going to be at least an hour, it meant there was no way for me to be at their office and miss work. My solution was to go early (with their permission), and they agreed.

As this was my second award, both parties were eager to put faces with names. When I received my award certificate, it was also shared with all those in attendance that I was a repeat award winner.

It was great to finally be at their offices and mingle with other award winners. There’s an incredible amount of talent in Korea, and the contest brought out the best in everyone. They announced two more contests for the remainder of 2010, and I might enter them as well. For now, I we’ll see how my free times stacks up.

As mentioned on YouTube, I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions regarding my travel videos. I’m going to do that now, since I’ll be delivering my computer to UBASE on Friday for a hard disk upgrade, and I’m not sure when I’ll get it back. Couple that with SeoulTube 2010 and Chuseok (추석) next week and I think you’ll see that I’ll be away from the Internet for some time.

So here are those commonly asked questions:

How long does it take to make a travel video? On average, the 4-minute videos I produce on YouTube with a travel theme take a full day of editing. Meaning that it may take 8 or so hours to produce the 4-minute program.

How do I choose where to go? This is really more of a team effort on Jo and my part. We both love to travel and see as much as we can during the time allotted. This means researching our destinations and scouring over maps to see what may be interesting and off the beaten path. Once we have an idea of where we want to go, we set about researching the Internet and consulting tourism organizations and books for details.

Are my videos scripted? Not really. Based on my research, I know what bullet points I want to cover, but rarely do I actually write out each line.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting. If you’re in Korea, I hope you have a great Chuseok and I’ll see you soon!

Thanks!

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Since I’m opening the question gate over on YouTube, I thought I’d do it here as well. If you have a question about how I put together my travel videos, please let me know in the comments and I’ll craft them into a video response!

Written by Steve Miller

September 13, 2010 at 6:40 am

Monday… Monday

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From the media pole!

The past few days have been amazing, but alas it is Monday once more and time to focus and get ready for work.

This past weekend was a great little get-away for Jo and I since we had a lot on our to-do list. It entailed traveling all over Seoul, picking up items from Craig’s List, seeing movies, breaking bread with friends, and visiting historic sites.

Probably the best part about the weekend, is that we just kind of took things step-by-step, having a few ideas of what we wanted to do , but being open to other opportunities along the way.

For example, we had completed all of our shopping on Saturday and had a few hours to kill before meeting up with our friends for dinner. While on the bus to Sinchon (신촌), we passed by a Megabox movie theater and decided to see if something was playing. We opted for Killers with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl.

It looked like it was going to be a cute comedy, and there were moments, but in the long run, it fell flat and was predictable. But for Jo and I, it served its purpose and allowed us some down time and time to get out of the summer heat in Korea. (Seriously, when is it going to end?)

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing some video footage to put together a quick video about a normal weekend in Korea. I hope you’re downtime was fulfilling. What did you do?

Written by Steve Miller

September 6, 2010 at 6:43 am

Travel Videos: Editing

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PLEASE DE-INTERLACE!!!!!

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: 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: 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