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I thought it'd be easy, boy was I wrong.

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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:13 AM
Original message
I thought it'd be easy, boy was I wrong.
After two years of unemployment and a completely stagnant semi-aerial photography (still photography) biz. I decided once more to check out the possibility of doing affordable, semi-aerial videography. Previously, even if I'd wanted to spend $5000+ on a professional cam corder, they couldn't do what I needed them to do, which is be controlled from 50 feet overhead. Just couldn't do, and until about a six months ago, neither could consumer cams. I've looked into this before and it just wasn't doable.

This time round, I found a reasonably priced cam that would produce 1080p HD and could record for over 12 hours. Since I want to record events, this is a very important aspect. So after choosing the cam (but not buying one until I could solve what I thought were all of the problems), I went about finding ways to control it from afar. I had to get so many connections and extensions, and realizing that my laptop, the cam, and all the little helper pieces all needed remote electrical because their rechargables wouldn't last for more than a half hour or so, and some of what I've done this summer have lasted upwards of five hours. Fortunately the guys at the place I bought the cam were very patient as I came in day after day, testing things on their cam until I found everything that would work.

I chose the camera around the 25th of June. It took till the 18th of July to figure out what would work for distance control, and recorded some youth sports on the 19th. At this point, it became obvious that the programs that came with the cam were not sufficient to do post production, so another week of testing probably 15-20 Video Editors. Great, I found one of the those that I'm very pleased. Went back out on the 23rd, a windy day, and oh shit, 50ft up on a windy day... and the wind reduction feature is useless up there, and no auxillary plug-in spot for audio. Well, another education and I put some foam and fake fur on the mic openings. Go back out on the 24th and it helped but only about 50%, not good enough. So I went through my fabric stores and found a better choice, glued three layers over the mic, and that got me to about 75% solution. Well, actually as far as the mic is concerned it's 100%, but I found out that the wind blowing against the cam chassis is actually being recorded. Three nights ago, I pulled out the fabric stores again and made a cosy for the whole camcorder with holes for all the necessary plug-ins. Took it out two evenings ago, but alas, I could still here a hum when I recorded. So I brought it inside, went into the quietest closet, and lo and behold, the hum is the cam working. So I've been up for two days trying to solve that, only interrupted by my frig dying which I took apart to find the offending part and get it ordered. Lots of thawed veggies and such, but the new part should be in by next Monday, I can manage till then. More about the hum in a minute.

Back a few weeks when I thought I had all the wind/hum issue resolved, good news, the youth sporters were hearing about me and coming over curious, and emails arrive to please do some recording and I get my first client committed to purchasing the videos. GREAT! So I go to the tournament, dash home, process the vid and pop out an AVI file, a file that's supposed to work in nearly any device... except it doesn't. The guy has both DVD players and BluRay, and nope, won't play in either. Deep sigh, back to the education of me, and after about a week, I realize I'm going to have to offer at least three types of videos depending on what device a client has.

I had to completely re-do the biz website during all of this, and re-do it again and again as every little problem came up and was addressed that would of course change what I had to say on the site. Which I'm actually pretty pleased with now that it's mostly done.

Oh, and let's not forget that since I can't drive into the sports complexes, everything, including the electrical source, has to be mobile, all in one fell swoop, back and forth across two or three blocks won't do because there's no way to secure the bits and pieces while I trounce back and forth, and in some of what I hope to be involved with, we could be talking about miles of hiking. So 150# of equipment now has to be comfortably mobile for a 5'5" 100# old lady (50yo). When I did only stills, it was only about 75#s, so I doubled it with all the new stuff.

I'm the type that once I start something, I don't stop till it's resolved, so I've had many sleepless days and even weeks, trying to get everything to work out and be of a quality I can truly be proud of.

Well, now I'm back to the hum issue. Thought it'd be easy, hell I thought once the right cam was on the market it'd all be easy, silly me. Once again I download dozens of free to try and freeware audio editors, thinking no problem, noise reduction should work...nope. Anytime I got the noise reduction to remove the hum, it also made the crowd noises stutter and not make any sense. But, hey, I'm determined so I keep trying and keep reading (there are terms I've never seen before and had no idea what they meant, much less what they were supposed to do to the sound, meaning a whole 'nother education).

AND I'M HAPPY TO SAY THIS MORNING THAT I HAVE DONE IT. THE HUM IS GONE as of about 5:30am! Unfortunately, once the hum was resolved, I found that one of my more minor but still necessary piece of equipment, that has a small little fan in it, is being picked up by the cam mic because it is so much closer than anything else. Fortunately, though the fan is a good idea, I think I've seen these pieces available without the cooling fan, so I think I can solve that too.

I should be heading to bed, but I'm so pleased with myself, I had to tell someone, or as is the case at DU many someones. Thanks for "listening," I almost feel tired and ready for bed. I'd post a link to the site so you'd have an idea of what I'm doing, but in this red state I dare not let my clients, or potential clients, connect me with what I post on here. I'd be shunned to say the least. If anyone is interested I will send a link in a PM. And yes, I know that makes me a chicken shit, but it's hard enough around here being a woman, sexism is still rampant, to add being a liberal would be the death of any chance of making money.

Well I hope your hump day is wonderful!

Better Today.

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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. cool.
good luck.
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marzipanni Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. Persistence...the Number One Secret Of Being Successful
:thumbsup:
I bet you'll have a successful business after all your problem-solving ingenuity!
So how are you moving all of your equipment around?
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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Well I have put adjustable straps on everything and I rig it up
to a sturdy hand truck. Oh, and I bored holes in the bottom of the mast and inserted an axle assembly so it has it's own wheels. Since even in it's un-telescoped length, it is 8 ft, the wheels help assure that when it wants to drag the ground a touch, instead of dragging, it rolls.

I have been persistent through out my life, and actually it has cost me a few jobs, as my persistence has often exposed some pretty 'interesting' stuff that I wasn't supposed to find. Hopefully you're right and this time it will work. If not, at least I'll be having a blast as I go down in flames.
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