Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Sunday, 16 August 2015

putting the 'spice' back into my GoPro video films

I have a growing anxiety that the short video films I make of my sailing trips are becoming too boring and mundane. Initially, I did them merely as a visual record of our voyages together and because, lets face it, I am slightly geeky and like playing about with simple video editing tech.
But, having been a fan of GoPro video of the week for some time, I am coming to the dawning realisation that my films are much the same as always.......boring, predictable, mundane, unimaginative. And I don't want them to be that....I want to look back when I am old and frail on some good quality films and memories.

Part of the issue is that I cannot get GoPro Studio 2 to work on my laptop despite several re-installments. It just continually freezes and then you lose everything you have edited thus far, necessitating the need to start all over again. 'Frustrated' does not do justice to how I feel when this happens! But it also means I lose some rather good editing tricks and tools.

Time pressures are another issue, especially if a sail has taken place during a term time. Weekends become precious, especially with the certain knowledge that much of each Sunday will be taken up in school work preparation and marking and so I rush the filming, giving little thought to a storyline; ditto with the editing.

Then there is my lack of filming knowledge. Oh I wish I had the creative talents of Dylan Winter (strangely enough, his cousin is one of my closest friends.....a claim to fame....sort of......) or of 'Eye in the Hand', someone else who makes his films so simple and classy. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I actually scripted, filmed and directed a 40 minute programme which almost made the BBC schedules but it was alas a long, long time ago and clearly I have forgotten whatever knowledge and skills I had then.

Anyway, enough is enough and I have to put this right. Only I don't know how!

Don't get me wrong - I sort of understand the mechanics of good film clips. The Missus calls me '20 second Steve'......a reference to my need to film segments of 20 second length everywhere I go....she isn't referring to anything else I hasten to add! At least I'd rather hope not!

Anyway, swiftly moving on, getting a variety of shots, narrow and wide, slow panning and not zooming; letting the action unfold; linking shots in someway for easier edits later - all of that I get, even if I don't practice it well. Can't believe I am going to confess to this but I actually have a simple proforma which lists all the different shots I can from various activities on a day's sail - a sort of checklist, an aide memoire.

But it is the story line which is tripping me up. Getting a good storyline to glue all these shots together is critical and I don't know what story lines to go with. ' A summer sail' is getting boring! So I need ideas for simple story lines; I also need to better understand what potential viewers might want to see in a short 5 minute video of a sailing dinghy called 'Arwen'. I can't provide 'seat of your pants' scares, thrills and spill - leave that to Laser 1 sailors. I have the glimmer of a story about searching out the best Latte in the world......its slowly taking shape in the recesses of my mind.......but I need inspiration.

So dear blog readers, over to you ........what would you like simple dinghy cruising videos to be like; what do you think makes a worthwhile video you would give up five minutes to watch? Have you any suggestions for simple storylines? You can find my videos on this blog page or on my YouTube channel - search 'Plymouthwelshboy' all one word.

All suggestions, as long as they are clean, good humoured and fit for human reading, are welcome



Steve-the-Wargamer said...

5 minutes is too long... sorry, you did ask.. :o)

I would save the time by having shorter same topic clips... no need to have minutes and minutes of the same sailing angle, cut it shorter...

Bursledon Blogger said...

Steve, I've stayed away from video as I know the success is all in the editing and that takes time lots of time which I don't have.

You have hit the nail on the head with your point about story line - what would make a good story for me? - setting off , arriving at the launch site and some background where your sailing from, setting up , launching, sailing, navigation, context and views, destination and some background, maybe some sail trim before and after, weather conditions, recovery, apres sail etc -

Clearly each video doesn't have to have all those, but any of those elements seems to me to make for an informative film, useful reference and keeps the attention.

Look forward to seeing your next clips


steve said...

Steve, max
Good helpful points
Well made
Thanks for the advice and tips