Thursday, August 13, 2015

OWC Video Commercial Contest: Results Announced, Thanks for Your Support!

Well I never thought I had a chance to win this contest, so my hopes have been fully realized !!!
But it looks like your votes pushed us all the way up to #17 (of 67 total)!   Wow that is truly astonishing.  
This very amateur video placed in top 25%!

Actual vote counts were not released, but 67 entries can be viewed here:
OWC Video Commercial Competition - Enter to Win a Video Workstation!

How It Happened; What I've Learned:
  • Other World Computing had a beautiful product display at NAB 2015 in Las Vegas.  Someone handed me a postcard about OWC's upcoming "Viral Video Commercial Contest".  Interesting!  But I didn't have a story concept until about two weeks before the deadline.
  • It was incredible fun to produce my entry.  A real challenge to work on an assignment instead of my usual vacation videos.
  • The green screened footage was taken in my front yard, with camera on a tripod and green cloth covering a fence.
  • The oceanfront and cat footage was filmed several years ago, I had it stashed in a folder called "HENBC's Stock Footage"
  • The black and white footage is royalty-free from ArtBeats
  • The music is royalty-free from SmartSound
  • All video, title, and sound editing was done within Final Cut Pro X
  • If you liked my wardrobe design I’m willing to consult as your “personal shopper”!
  • I knew that there would be voting, however I didn't expect a Facebook-style event that would involve begging for votes.
  • Most contestants are more social-media-savvy than myself.  I didn't even have a FaceBook account until I submitted this entry.
  • I read the biographies of other contestants; most are either media professionals or film school students.
    [Patting myself on the back] it was great to see how well my "production quality" compared when measured against that sort of competition.
  • The two winning entries are well produced; stylistically they are very solid corporate-style advertisements. No disrespect intended toward the winners, but readers of this blog know that I prefer a more whacky and fun video.  (I'm retired!  Corporate days are behind me now!!!!)
  • Frankly, I never expected to win.  I even voted for some videos that were not my own.
  • The production experience was so enjoyable that I hope to enter more short-video challenges.  However I will avoid anything that is judged solely by social media.  My comfort zone probably lies with a judged competition.  Or perhaps a qualified jury could select finalists before conducting a public vote.
  • Finally, a takeaway that every cinematographer knows:  A good story overcomes minor production flaws.  That's why some contest submittals are easier to watch than others.

Upcoming on This Blog
We've got some fun vacation videos to discuss.  This time the setting is a 2005 Baltic Cruise.  Raw material included eleven hours of uninspired footage, plus thousands of still photos.
In 2012 I produced a DVD consisting of ten shorts that total 30 minutes.   Those ten chapters should prove fertile ground for discussion, critique, and learning of vacation video editing tricks.

Once again, thanks for reading (and voting)!
All the best,


Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 NAB (including SuperMeet) in Ninety Seconds

2015 NAB & SuperMeet (Las Vegas):

Broadcast Professionals come to Las Vegas every April for NAB.  The Creative Pro Users' Group holds their SuperMeet on Tuesday night.  So what's an amateur hobbyist like myself doing there?
It's all a blur, check it out here:

NAB 2015 & SuperMeet 2015

NAB fills the Convention Center space; it's awesome, educational, and overwhelming.  Every year I learn some new editing tricks at the SuperMeet, plus the event ends with the most amazing raffle you've ever seen.

My two days in Las Vegas each year are a sleepless blur.  I was learning to shoot my Panasonic G6 but the Lumix lens was a lot less fuzzy than my memory!

Hope to see you there in 2016!

Extra Bonus Video -- ELVIS Times Five:

I was on a bus northbound on Las Vegas Boulevard when I saw the ghost of Elvis.  Then another one.  And another .... total of FIVE UNDEAD ELVIS's.
Take a look:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #156 - Delightful Embarrassment

Embarrass Your Friends With Video?  Be Cautious!

Even if you're a senior citizen, it still feels good to poke fun at your friends.  

We were at our friends' home for a summer backyard party, when martini consumption somehow outpaced good judgement.  They're from Wisconsin, where Myron Floren is treated with god-like respect.  Maureen doesn't practice her accordion much anymore, and Steve is not much of a vocalist.  But they decided to entertain us with the Julida Polka.  

Luckily I had my iPhone.  Light was fading, but dark video is better than no video:

(For your information, here's a link to what Julida Polka is supposed to sound like.)

Well it's pretty obvious that Steve & Maureen love to party, and are not afraid to make fun of themselves.  When they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, I created a video presentation as a gift to them.  That show opened with this 30-second clip.  Everyone was rolling on the floor laughing -- many had actually seen this happen live!  The stage was set for everyone to have fun watching the rest of a half-hour movie.  And as you might guess, it was a killer anniversary party!

Titles:  I edited with an early version of Final Cut Pro X.  The animated opening and titles are nothing fancy -- Apple includes them stock with the software.  I used lower thirds captions for the lyrics since Steve was mangling them in a lovable but mostly unintelligible way.  (Patting myself on the back) I think the ending title is hilarious!
Light & Sound:  Front light was incredibly dim, provided by a gas fire pit.  I used FCPX's built-in tools to brighten the video; there is a spotlight effect that helped a lot.  The software's audio tools also helped to enhance weak sound picked up by the iPhone's microphone.

Lessons Learned:
The day after the party, I was on a mission.  Transferred the "awful" video onto my hard drive and tried to save it -- this was too precious to lose!
The success of this edit proves that content is more important than video "quality".  No one has ever complained that this video is "too dark" ... they are too busy laughing.

- Use your phone to capture unexpected special moments.
- Hard drives are cheap; moments like these happen only once!  Preserve them.
- Use good judgement.  Don't turn your friends into enemies with your "funny" video

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Daily Voting Continues: The OWC Video Contest


I entered the Other World Computing contest; this is your chance to vote for the video commercial that I created.  Thanks!  (Last day to vote: 07/31/2015)

Having trouble voting?  My suggestion:  please try voting from your computer instead of your iPhone.
Although you're supposed to be able to vote with just an email address, some of us have discovered Facebook advertising that blocks it harder for non-Facebook users' to click on the voting buttons .  Or maybe you've had a problem with the "captcha" software that verifies you are a person not a robot.  It seems that the problems happen mostly on smartphones.