Category: Vlog

The Interview Part 2 Post

The Sequel

which no one saw coming


Tada! Here is the second part of the interview post from last week. You had probably guessed that it would be a video – and it is. I’ll save you the trouble and put the video here before I explain all the things I learnt from it.

THIS WAS SO HARD.
This was filmed over two days – Saturday and Sunday. The fact that I wanted the beard on the older me and a clean shaven younger me made this as difficult as it turned out to be. Obviously, all the bearded shots had to be done first and I had to be satisfied with them before beginning any of the clean shaven shots. There was also an element of time pressure thrown in because I could only film in the afternoons and that meant risking the change in light caused by the setting sun messing with the shots. I actually had a really cool shot lined up with both me’s on opposite ends of the table but the lighting won that battle – so I’ll save it for another time.
On both of the days, I read out the lines in three different shots – bust, close up and over the shoulder. The point of doing that was to give me options on which shots to splice into the final version. Imagine if I had realised I wanted a different type of bearded shot on Sunday, after I had shaved. There’s no quick recovery from that, man.
But anyway, this was a fun exercise and there were a few lessons learnt here:
  • Plan for things going wrong. The whole filming every line in three different shots gave me a huge abundance of material to work with if necessary.
  • Mark the camera’s position. When shooting the same or similar scenes over a couple of days, you really need the camera to be in the same position all the time or else your audience will notice it. Then you’re just detracting from the experience by having your viewers notice your technical flaws.
  • If you’re going to be on camera, probably learn to act better. This one speaks for itself hahaha.
  • GET A MICROPHONE OMG. The audio sounds flat, doesn’t it? Yeah yeah okay I’ll see what I can do about it.

Also, Jacinda Ardern was basically all of this past week’s news.

Mkay, see ya!

The Interview Part 1 Post

Interview with a Vampire

More like with a night owl


This is a two-parter. Part one is a taster of a script. Part two is on the way.

Also I chose the photo of Kanye West and Zane Lowe because I love watching Zane interview Kanye. If you haven’t seen them (there are two), I recommend them man.


DASARSH
Hey hey sorry I’m late. I didn’t think it would take me so long to get here, but I don’t need to warm up or anything so we can just start.

Dasarsh looks up, uncertain.

VOICE (OFF SCREEN)
I’ve been expecting you…

PAN TO:

Man in chair, facing away from camera.

MAN IN CHAIR
Mister Dasarsh.

CUT TO:

Dasarsh bust, moving into the room taking a seat. Feeling a little unnerved by the voice.

DASARSH
Well I’m here now so we can begin with the interview. I’m ready when you are.

MAN IN CHAIR
Ah yes, the interview. I called you here to get you talking about your blog and your take on a few topics.

DASARSH (thinking)
This guy’s voice sounds familiar.

MAN IN CHAIR
I record the audio, have my interns type it up and then I edit it and send it to my manager to get it in our magazine.

DASARSH (thinking)
So so familiar…

MAN IN CHAIR
Didn’t it strike you as odd? Your blog is so new, how could you get someone call you up for something like this so easily?

DASARSH (thinking)
I did wonder about that.

MAN IN CHAIR
I’m sorry to say there is no magazine for you to be featured in. However, I didn’t go through all this trouble just to prank you. This interview will still take place.

DASARSH
Who are you? What do you want?

CUT TO:

Chair turns around. Zoomed in on face while turning. It is a younger Dasarsh.

YOUNG DASARSH
I’m you from the past and I’ve got questions.

Dasarsh is shocked, taken aback, sceptical.

SPONGEBOB TIME SKIP CARD

YOUNG DASARSH
And that’s how I travelled through time from 2009.

DASARSH
None of that made sense.

YOUNG DASARSH
Regardless, I have questions which need answering.

DASARSH
Uuggghh fine. Let’s get this over with.

YOUNG DASARSH
Does Ash ever win the Pokemon League?

DASARSH (deadpan)
Serious questions only.

YOUNG DASARSH
(Grunts) I take it we’re not professional football players, what with you being a software developer and having your own blog. What happened to all our ambition?

DASARSH (slightly defensive)
Okay firstly, what’s wrong with being a software developer? And secondly, I share the blog. And life happened to our ambition! It’s not even like it’s gone, it’s just focussed on a career which isn’t the dreamy sports one we once wanted. We’re not good enough to be pro, man. But I’m still better than you.

YOUNG DASARSH (mockingly)
Well I’ve never broken a bone.

DASARSH
Shut up. Next question.

YOUNG DASARSH
What should I do now to be better than you are right now? Like in general.

DASARSH
Stop being afraid of consequences. There’s nothing wrong with failing if you learn from it.

YOUNG DASARSH
You sound like an old man with many regrets.

DASARSH
You’re pretty arrogant, you know that?


There’s a teaser for what’s to come… It’s gonna be a fun one so stay tuned!

Catchya!

The Thai Street Post

Here’s one totally average review

Yup that’s the name of this segment now


This week, I figured I’d do somewhat of a review. Of course, the topic needed to be something which I am knowledgeable about. It needed to be something which I do often enough to call myself an expert in. It could only really be one thing.

Eating.

That said, my expertise is in the consumption of food as opposed to the description of it. So if you read food reviews often, you’ll probably have to put up with some sub-par recounts from someone ill-versed in the foodie lexicon. I’ll try my best for both our sake.

Another thing is that I don’t enjoy eating alone. It looks very sad, especially in a restaurant setting. So I hired someone to become my partner in crime when it comes to trying out food and chronicling thoughts on said food. Meet Jahnavi! She’s pretty cool.

We chose Thai Street because we had been there a few times before, in the hopes that it would make this review easier – surely we would just need to write down what we already know makes us return customers. Turns out it’s harder than that. We already had opinions on the place but the real struggle was articulating them. The difference between rating a place you’ve been to heaps and rating a place on your first visit is the level of subjectivity. If you’ve eaten somewhere several times, you will have already acquired experiences and opinions which give you reason to come back for more. But when you’re visiting a place for the first time, how you rate the place and whether you come back a second time depends on a far harsher set of criteria and potentially represents a more objective view.

But what’s really subjective and what’s really objective? That’s a can of worms I’d rather not open right now. Let’s get on with the totally average review.

I like to think I’m methodical so this is how I’m splitting this review up to paint a picture about this restaurant. Also here’s a quick little trailer of our visit there.

 

Thai Street
3/12 Jellicoe Street
Wynyard Quarter

Atmosphere/Theme

The feel that they’re going for is a street food kind of thing but to be honest, I’ve never really understood how one can emulate street food in a classy restaurant setting. I’m yet to see this done well, or even properly. You can see slivers of it in the rustic table setup with some wooden stools, a woven sort of table mat and steel glasses for your water however it doesn’t really exude anything which is obviously to do with street food.

Food

Gai Pad Kapao + Chicken Pad Thai + Dolce Vita

We got the classic staple, chicken pad thai, as a benchmark and a gai pad kapao to try something new. We finished with the dolce vita for dessert.

Variety

We don’t know much about Thai food, but this menu covered all the staples we were familiar with. There was a wide variety of options however you are somewhat limited by the fact there is no option to pick your meat for each dish like you normally can (e.g. the green curry is a chicken curry and the red curry is a duck curry – if you wanted another option, tough luck). Understandably the chefs have put considerable thought into these pairings therefore we do not think this was a big issue in our books.

Taste

Pad Kapao

It is a simple dish with only a few ingredients so there isn’t a whole lot going on on the plate. There is little room for any awesome flavor to arise but the same can be said for there being little room for error. That said, I tasted a lot more chilli than basil. I’ll also admit it was a bit oily but I’m yet to see mince which is not oily and not deathly dry.

We expected it to be served with rice but that wasn’t the case. But I’m a mince fanatic so the less non-mince food there is in a mince dish the happier I’ll be.

The portion size is good, even without rice.

I (Dasarsh) would definitely get this again, but I love all mince dishes intensely.

Pad Thai

The pad thai had a good balance of flavours. The familiar tanginess, sourness, earthiness and hint of spice where all there and I was not disappointed.

It was a good portion size and the meat to noodle ratio was also good.

The dish overall was a bit on oily side but considering pad thai is originally a street food dish I cannot fault them here.

Dolce Vita

We enjoyed the thin chocolate sponge cake layer at the bottom as it gave a much needed contrast to the texture of the ice cream. But alas the one thin layer was not enough in our opinion. Maybe more layers or a thicker layer would have solved this.

The flavour combination of chocolate, coffee and hazelnut has been done before which made it just an average dessert in the end.

Overall the dessert was enjoyable but not the spectacular end to the dinner we had hoped for.

Presentation

The dishes came out in rustic skillets which was exciting and added to the street food theme. The dishes we got were relatively simple with not much room for artistic flair.

The dessert was well presented but we aren’t quite sure why there were wifi symbols on the plate.

Service

Holy crap, we got some great service here! The waitstaff were very attentive and very polite. They always came over to make sure we were being looked after. This was despite all our filming shenanigans.

Pricing

The food is averagely priced but when you consider the portion sizes and locale, the pricing is quite good.

Zomato prices Thai Street as $50 for two people. We’d say it’s more like $60 for two mains and two drinks.

Final Remarks

Jahnavi: Guaranteed good food but not somewhere to go to sweep someone off their feet.

Dasarsh: Be prepared for some great hearty food. It’s definitely a place to go with a group for a casual lunch.

The Timelapse Post

So little time!

So much to do


Oh man, timelapses always look easy but there’s an actual science to them. No doubt about it. I spent the past week trying to get some good ones but I think I learnt more about what not to do and what makes a bad timelapse. I mean, it was a learning experience in the end and that’s what all this is really about so I’m not complaining.

Here’s what I’ve learnt.

  • Have clear subjects in your shot. This is pretty basic, you’re directing the viewer’s attention towards what you want them to notice. The subject should probably be static so that you can…
  • Ensure there is something happening in the shot which shows the passage of time. This can be things like clouds, cars, people. Anything and everything which can move shows the passage of time around your static subject.
  • Point your camera at the sun only if you have control over focus and exposure settings. I was using my cheap action camera which has neither of these and I kept pointing it at the sun and allowing glare to mess up my shots. If I had the ability to chose what the focus was on or play with my exposure, I could have had been able to show the different coloured clouds during the sunrise for example.
  • Just take a lot because they’re easy and enjoyable to watch. The reward you get for the amount of effort you put into timelapses is great. You’re literally setting up and waiting around until you’re done. Most of the time, you’ll end up with something which can be pretty soothing to watch.

You have to generally have an idea of what you’re doing haha.

One thing to note which detracts from that video is that I was using my phone camera for all the front-facing shots. Sometimes my phone freaks out when recording on the front-facing camera and the video ends up being out of sync with the audio. I did what I could to fix that up but it’s something I’d like to roughly correct so it’s not terribly ugly, and then forget about because I have my main camera back with me for next time. It’s definitely much better.

Seeeeee ya.

The Vlog Intro Post

Introducing…

Drum roll please


We had a break last week. No biggie. Life goes on.

One of the things I wanted to do with my vlog and this blog is to learn about video editing and document it in tandem . That’s what this blog post is about, so I’ll understand if you find it a little uninteresting. I’ll try to add some storytelling to make it a little more entertaining, but no promises.

What I want to make is an intro for the videos I make. A simple intro which I can add to the beginning of my videos will do. Nothing too fancy (not out of choice, but because I am a noob).

When you want to make something, you always need a plan. If you’re someone who doesn’t plan, you and your kind are called cowboys because you shoot from the hip. There’s chance of things going awry when you shoot from the hip.

With videos which have shots and frames, plans manifest as storyboards. Storyboarding is a way of portraying the different shots which need to be taken. It also shows how one shot will transition to the next one, be it a straight cut, a fade or a wipe. I’ve done some research and have learnt that people tend to storyboard in their own way – there is no standard template with a defined set of rules to follow. Instead, the focus is on making sure the shot and its intricacies are conveyed well.

In the end it’ll look like a nice little comic book of hand-drawn stills from your to-be video masterpiece. The next step is to make it happen.

Here’s what I have in mind for this intro. It’s supposed to be like the viewer is at their TV, bored and lost. They want something to watch but they don’t know what they want or where to find it. We’ve all been there before. This is the onset of channel-flicking with the hope that you’ll end up watching something you enjoy. The viewer takes in the current channel for a brief second, and then switches to the next channel before consuming it for another second and switching again. This continues until they reach my channel where the viewer decides that this is the channel they will watch. From there, the video can begin however it needs to.

Still following? Good. To me, that idea consists of four components.

The “channels”

These video clips are the channels that the viewer is flicking through on the TV. They need to be long enough for the viewer to register what is going on in the clip, but not so long that it dilutes the effect of channel-flicking. I intend for the clips I choose to be related to current events so that the experience of watching TV with live events and shows is preserved, as well to give the video some context in time.

The transition

The transition between the clips needs to feel like an authentic change of the channel on a TV. I know most TVs these days don’t do that old school flickering when you change the channel but having a straight cut from one channel to the next is a little boring. This is exaggerating an effect to make it really obvious that we’re trying to invoke the feeling of cycling through channels on an actual TV.

The channel numbers

This is another thing contributing to making it feel like real life channel-flicking. Channels are typically numbered so we’ll mirror that here. I’m arbitrarily starting with channel 12. The number has to be in the top right corner in that iconic lime green, computer-ey font. That’s another nod to simpler times along with the channel flickering when it’s being changed.

The transition into the actual video

When you reach a channel you’re willing to watch, the channel number lingers for a while and then disappears. We’re going to need that to happen, too. After the final change of the channel, the actual video will begin and the channel number will remain visible on screen for a short amount of time and then it will be gone. This ever so slight overlap between the intro and the actual video should be the final effect to cement the TV experience for the viewer.

So how’d it go?

Selection of the video clips was simple and easily attainable from YouTube. Since this is the template and more of a practice run, I didn’t care about the clips being about recent events. The clips can easily be replaced when it’s go time to use the intro for an actual video. I chose one second cuts from:

  • The classic BBC intro
  • The Kobe Bryant retirement advertisement
  • A Samurai Jack clip from season five
  • The iconic “Say My Name” scene from Breaking Bad
  • Part of the first few minutes of The Dark Knight Rises with Bane
  • A slice of an old BBC1 interview where Zane Lowe talks with Kanye West

The biggest issue I had was finding a transition which made it feel like switching channels. I have the option of importing transitions and that’s something I’m totally okay with doing if it meant I got the transition I needed. BUT I COULDN’T FIND ANYTHING. Well to be honest, I didn’t search incredibly hard for it, but it took long enough for me to give up and decide to try and hack it myself.

At the very least, a channel being switched means flickering. If I could make the video clips have a noticeable flicker before cutting to the next clip, then I have what I need. This turned out to be easier than I thought by using keyframes.

Keyframes are like changes in properties which you can pin to a certain time in a clip. For every one second clip I used, the last three milliseconds have one keyframes each. Each keyframe changes the y-coordinate of the picture. This meant the end of every clip had a sudden flicker (upward and downwards) which is exactly what we want – that’s our home-made channel switch transition done!

Positioning and colouring the channel numbers was easy. I want to note down for future reference that the font used was HoloLens MDL2 Assets.

Here’s the finished product. This is more or less how my intros will look from now on. Also I am a cowboy and I had no storyboard.

The Vlog Post

Memories

(not by David Guetta ft. Kid Cudi)


Long ago, we spun tales with words. An expansive vocabulary paired with undulating tones and pitches gave birth to storytelling. Since days of wordsmiths, we have evolved with our methods of storytelling. There are a myriad of mediums and a vast amount of techniques but the desire to tell a story well is the same, unchanging quality we still hold and honour.

Stories are reenactments, recounts and recordings of events. Your audience expects enlightenment. It’s all an experience.

I wanted to learn how to edit videos well, so I began vlogging. If you ask me, the quickest way to learn is to have a crash course, so I vlogged daily for a month. Each one was put up on YouTube, but none were made public. They were kind of dull and boring, but that was only at the beginning of my journey. I learnt a lot about editing. I learnt a lot about framing shots. I learnt not to be afraid to mess up. I learnt the importance of foresight.

For a while now, I’ve stopped daily vlogging – it took up a lot of time and effort. Nowadays I only vlog on occasion but when I do, I take it more seriously than the usual daily vlog. You could say there is a lot more pre- and post-production. It’s a stretch to call myself anything like a film maker, but all I want to be is a good storyteller.

This will be my first public video on YouTube. It’s a short collection of excerpts from past vlogs which I hope personify my content a little. Here is something I like doing and want to keep doing.

Errr… Like and subscribe?