And available :-)

November 25, 2006

And now available for sale on the main website


The Video production is done!

November 25, 2006

Well, the video rendering is complete, the audio is noise-reduced and normalised, and the DVD menus are written (though, to be fair, I will almost certainly re-do them in the next week or so to allow individual chapters to be selected.)

Next thing is to design the DVD printing and the cover art for the box. Fortunately, I produce so many CDs that I have a bunch of templates handy 🙂

Video editing – step one complete

November 25, 2006

Well, the “long slog” of the video editing is now complete. The different takes are stitched together, with the videos of the screen captures, and some appropriate “bullet point” slides to stop jump edits.

Jump edits are what happens when you try to cut together two bits of footage from the same angle – you can never get it quite right, and the subject seems to jump slightly. What television companies do is take footage from many different angles, so you’d have a completely different shot, but on this kind of DVD that wasn’t sensible. Hence the combination of screen videos (using CamStudio), and bullet point slides.
Next thing is to export the audio, tidy it up a bit (noise reduction and normalisation), then add it back to the vide…

OK – that’s the hour’s material recorded

November 24, 2006

We recorded the last two-thirds of the material in about the same time it took to record the first third.

Clearly, I was out of practice at talking to camera, but it’s come back to me this afternoon 🙂

Anyway – next step is to integrate the screen captures with the video/audio at the appropriate places (and then cut it into chapters for the DVD menus.)

Three hours work – Twenty Two minutes usable material

November 24, 2006

Videoing stuff is far more time-intensive than recording audio.

It took about an hour to get my office set up suitably for filming, mainly playing around with the lighting. We’ve used a set of construction site lights instead of theatrical lights, because in a small office (about 13′ x 10′) they are plenty hot enough, wheras theatrical lights are way hotter.

It’s also true that site lights are a fraction of the price – £25ish instead of £500ish.

Anyway, once the office was set up, it was time to start filming. The big difference between audio-only work and filming is that in audio-only, it’s possible to look at your notes as you are speaking, and the mike doesn’t tell. When you’re on film, you can’t constantly be looking away from the camera, so I’ve had to learn my scripts far better so I can keep “eye-contact” with the lens.

Net result – three hours work, twenty-two minutes usable material. To be fair, this is about a 1/3 of the DVD, so not too bad.

Changed the colours, sidebars and blogroll

November 24, 2006

I’ve just “filmed” the sections of the DVD where I make a number of changes to the blog.

  • The colour scheme
  • The sidebar widgets
  • A blogroll

I used CamStudio (which is free) to take the screenshots. The one thing I don’t know yet is how they’re going to appear on TV, since a PC screen is a much higher resolution than a standard-def telly.

There’s no point yet in making HD-DVDs, because while some people have HD-ready tellys, very few have HD-DVD players, and the HD-ready cameras are wildly expensive.

I’ve written some bullet points

November 23, 2006

I’ve decided the approach authoring the DVD in the way I normally plan a speech, which is as follows:

Firstly, I think about the subject and do some research.

In this case, I’ve been blogging for a few years, and really stepped things up a gear in 2006.

Secondly, I tell myself that I’m going to need a speech, so over a week or two, I think about the points I want to make, and try out a few lines in conversation.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks. On Monday, I tried the “what’s a blog” explanation on a few people, and pretty much worked out what I’m going to say.

Next, I write a few bullet-points to prompt my thoughts, and then get them into some kind of useful order. I find that Powerpoint isn’t bad for doing this.

This is the step I’ve just spent a while going through. Taking the thoughts and putting them into a coherent structure.

Then I go away overnight, so I can re-visit fresh, and see whether I still like the structure.

This is pretty much what I plan to do now. Vegetate over some mindless movie, I hope 🙂

What I already had

November 23, 2006

When I started this project this evening, I already had a number of things in place:

  • A high-end laptop, with video editing software
  • A mini-DV camera
  • A firewire cable to tie the two together
  • A broadband connection
  • An account with WordPress
  • Experience with blogging, and an idea of the kinds of things I wanted to say on the DVD

The cost of these wasn’t high, and indeed, the vast majority of the cost was the stuff needed to make the DVD, not to set up the blog.

Starting the project

November 23, 2006

This evening, I launched a new project. The intention is to create a DVD product that shows people a number of things.

  • What a blog is
  • Why blogging can help their business
  • How to create a blog
  • How to promote a blog