A sound rig.

Although not in the way that you were expecting : think ‘forcandles’

This is the first post in a completely different direction for the blog and has nothing to do with masts and rigging .   Sound in this post refers to ‘noise’ but in the very positive aspect of actually recording it and using it as a medium in the blog and specifically within video clips.  My intention from now on is to embed at least a 10 minute video and sound clip into each new post and to achieve that i have had to invest in all new equipment for recording.   Last year i realised that i needed a better camera set-up for my blog work so i bought a secondhand Pentax DSLR which has been a great camera for stills photography but was a real mistake when it comes to video work.   What i hadn’t researched properly was that the camera doesn’t have an external microphone port so i can’t use a camera mounted ‘shotgun’ mic with a windsock or a mic that i can clip to me so that i can record a commentary as i sail and film.    What happens with the Pentax’s sound recording is that i just get huge amounts of wind noise so i haven’t been able to use any of the recorded sound in any of my early attempts at making video clips. There is now a problem with the Pentax in that it doesn’t seem to want to download images with anything except brand new batteries and the USB cable held in exactly the right position.

The second problem is that i then upgraded my sound recording kit at home to include a nice microphone to run with my computer and it’s video editing software.  What happens with that though is that when i speak into the microphone i hear my own voice with about half a second delay on my headphones and it completely puts me off….that and i sound terrible in the voice-overs.   Amazingly my sailing colleague at work told me that she used to be a video editor and that it can 10 takes or more just to get the sound/voice-over right when it’s done after the filming.    I thought about having a separate sound recording rig, this is where the ‘sound rig’ comes from in the form of a separate recording device and microphones.   Apparently what i would then need is something like a clapper board to mark the sound/video point to then synchronise the 2 separate recordings. That still might be a good idea and now that i have balanced up the buying of new kit with selling off old outdoors kit i can afford to think about a separate sound recording rig as well.

My video editing suite can have up to 4 different sound tracks going simultaneously so it could have music and ambient sounds as well.  I have played around with adding music to my own clips but have never been satisfied with the results and it’s one thing that i notice about other amateur video makers work when the music doesn’t fit or is too intrusive.  I have even started watching the better sailing video producers just to see how and where they use sound and music.  Dylan does a good job but there again he is a professional film maker and i like what Troy and Pascale do (Free range sailing) in that they often film themselves just talking about what they are doing and they both seem very natural on camera.

Now here’s something that might entertain you good people.   Many years ago when i was working in an intensive care unit in between ocean voyages i was trying to teach myself to be an advanced life support (ALS) instructor and to do that i would have to stand in front of a course of 30 people or more and ‘project’ my voice and material to those people….most of them much more senior than me.  Like nearly everyone else i  had a huge problem with under confidence and i spoke far too quietly.    What i learnt to do was to ‘talk’ my lecture material or any other teaching material out loud as i was cycling to and from work, which must have looked and sounded a bit odd ! because i tend to wave my arms around a bit as i talk.     Anyway one night when the anaesthetic registrar was doing his night round he asked me what i was talking about, and who to, when i was sat at the traffic lights on the way in…..he had walked past me without me realising it !    When i explained to him my purpose he told me that he learnt to do the same thing by doing it in an large empty room but by pretending he was having to talk to the back of the room.

Of course there are lots of other aspects of technique and delivery that make a good lecturer and it was only this year when i finally got to watch and listen to the best one that i have ever had the pleasure to witness….and that was the amazingly awesome Dr Petersen in London.  His technique, even with a large audience is to deliver one line, or several lines just to one person, as though he was talking one-to-one.  I can tell you that it’s an amazing experience to be on the receiving end of that , i was in the front row !    Now i don’t expect that would work in the same way in front of a camera so in a way i have got to try and imagine an audience behind the camera.   I do in fact spend quite a lot of time talking to myself but out loud when i am in the car : not only giving a running commentary on white-man-van and Audi-driver’s lack of driving skills but i often think and ‘talk’ my posts out before i write them.     When i was thinking about that for this project i also realised that it might still be a good idea to record myself as i am doing things so a separate sound recording device is still on the menu.

Anyway and today…..the first part of the new direction is taking a look at the first few pieces of my new filming and sound rig.   I did a lot more research about DSLR camera’s for video work and one in particular kept coming up in other video-makers recommendations so i waited and watched a few on EBay until a nice one came up.  I did miss a complete kit already set up with everything that i wanted just by not being next to the computer when the bidding ended and thus missed out by a few pounds.  So far , as i write i have got a low shutter count camera body, one lens and am waiting for the hard (peli) case to finish, after that i will need the microphones and a battery grip for the camera but lets begin with a classic youtube  un-boxing video.

Vlog 1…yay !

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