I’m getting pretty good with my camera. I’ve managed to take some good photos of scenes and portraits recently. Summer’s almost over and I think I’ve shot over 1000 and uploaded only under 50. I personally learned a few things just by shooting. More importantly I learned to shoot the same scene about three times using different settings. I usually find a better shot through the three photos; better in a way of how it looks and the colours I’ve captured.
Ever since I got my computer (almost a decade ago now), I downloaded a nifty image editor called paint.net to replace Microsoft Paint. Out of the box, the program is an improvement on MS Paint and feels has more control familiar to Photoshop. Recently I’ve jumped into the forums to find plugins for the open-source application, trying to find stuff I can use for editing photos. The community did deliver, I managed to find a package of plugins which focused on photography. After installing the files, I’ve been experimenting with a few of the effects. On some photos I used more effects than some I tweaked the white balance and the histogram.
While tweaking and playing around with the photos, I’ve noticed a few things about my photos. The problem I have is I can’t take pictures of the sky without having shaded objects look dark and vice versa. So for me to take pictures of sunsets, the foreground would appear dark while I get white out if I focus on a subject that is darker than the sky. Even with this, I’ve managed to snap a few photos. In the future I might try and take pictures using Canon’s .cr2 format which is a RAW format. Hopefully my system with an upgraded GPU can handle it.
Oh yeah, I bought a 950 GTX. But that’s a post for another time.
This week since work has been a bit slow, I’ve been working on learning to use Lightworks. Though a new version has released, I thought I would give it a chance to see how it differs from Movie Maker.
At first I found the interface to be simple. However going from MM to Lightworks, I realized I might have to pick up the user manual and read through a few things before I start editing. The terminology is different and the techniques were a bit hard to pick up at first. There was hardly any simple drag and drop method. I use to splice clips, not I have to focus on moving a pointer on a timeline then marking two points to be added to a storyboard. This was the first thing I learned from the program.
Next I had to learn about the intricate bits of Lightworks since I noticed there was a large blank space at the end of the video. Apparently I can add blank spaces wherever I choose however the program will start with about 20 minutes of blank and would slowly empty out as you fill it.
Lastly saving is now exporting the storyboard, this is where the features drop off immensely. As a basic free user, I have access to one option; YouTube (as of 12.6, they have Vimeo as a second available option). Unlike Window’s video editor, I have no control of the sound and video quality. I’m stuck one setting and a few smaller settings to change resolution to a maximum of 720p. As my first video saved, I looked through these export settings and found a lot of these locked out settings to add a variety of formats available only to paying users. As a person who just needs YouTube, I didn’t mind having the one setting. However in the sub sections, even the resolution is capped out to 720p even though the settings include resolutions beyond.
Curious, I began to experiment with using both in conjunction and found my old settings in Movie Maker is more space friendly than Lightworks. The quality is about the same but I could drop a 1 GB file down to about 700 MB.
The upper hand I can see from using Lightworks at the moment is I can simultaneously export multiple videos as well as have more precise editing of all my videos. Though I hardly have space for files on my hard drive, the software does seem to catalogue and save each file it encounters so I can easily switch between raw files of my gameplay.
As well as helping me edit videos, it does also include some effects I can use. Most are much like MM but I have more control to each effect. Example is having effects on top of videos, transitions and wipes. Most I doubt I will use regularly. While I wait for my batch of edits to finish, there is no harm in experimenting.
I’ve taken the next step into the voyage into YouTube. At the start, I didn’t want to turn it into something bigger than just to moderate my time.
Though my prowess in visual art is lacklustre, I find it fairly productive. The whole process of editing my videos have been kind of therapeutic in a weird way. Mostly indescribable the way it’s a bit calming to just go through and edit everything. After all the artwork and stuff added to the edited gameplay, I must admit it’s pretty beneficial. For time, I put away about 2 hours per video to recording and editing and about 5-10 hours on uploading. So turn around is about 12 hours for a video. Since I like to record en masse, that would come in handy since I can edit and upload at the same time. As long as can put out videos as fast as I can edit them, it’s not a problem. However throwing a wrench in the works has already taught me a few things.
Before the last couple parts of my Defiance let’s plays (part 60 and 61), OBS was the one program that required tweaking and adjusting. For most of the series, I’ve been secretly adding and subtracting numbers to find the best settings for me. Though these little additions and fixes are sparse, they have been helping me push back the file size. From a 1 GB file to just under 900 MB, not much of a reduction but it saves some space in case I need to do anything which ironically is not the case.
At the budget of “I wish I had money”, Windows Movie Maker seems to be the route to take for editing at the moment. I feel like I only scratched the surface of editing. Cutting has been pretty easy, but with all my efforts the couple tests I’ve done have only cut down maybe 5 minutes off of a 20 minute video and less depending on the size of the video. Most of the time, I cut a lot of driving and small bits of the combat in game to push through it than watching these drawn out battle scenes.
So far it’s been slow learning about visual art and video editing. It has it’s challenges and rewards. It’s definitely something that I can grow into but my interest in creating art is more or less reserved to writing than to a canvas of colour. For now, my maxim of “whatever works” has taken me this far. Until next time, let’s see how far I can really take this.