We’re back from our first trip since COVID hit! We flew out to Indiana for a week in the sun at Dad and Mom’s house. It was a little weird being in the middle of so many people in the airport but I’m glad we went when we did. I think we have a long way to go before we’re really “post pandemic”.
On our first day, we drove up to the Grand Rapids, MI area to see Luke, Rachel, and David’s new home. After that we spent most of our days swimming in the pool or in the yard playing croquet. The temps were in the mid to upper 80s with plenty of humidity (the dew point was 74 one day!) so the water felt great!
I took my drone along on the trip and had fun exploring the area around the house. It was neat to grow up thinking about what it would be like to fly around our house and then actual get to do it.
As always, a big thanks goes to Dad and Mom for hosting us all. It’s a lot of work having that many people in your house!
I hadn’t planned to make a video, but then I thought about how much we enjoy looking back at the older ones so I collected everyone’s footage and put something quick together. It’s not anything super special right now, but I’m sure I’ll be glad I did it down the road.
Three weeks ago, we decided to try a “socially distant group hymn” with church members. The idea isn’t unique, but it felt like a fun way to join together virtually. It was tough to convince people to send me videos of themselves singing, but eventually we had 28 people who participated. Editing it was more of a challenge than I expected as even my beefy new PC had trouble rendering all of those video streams at the same time. But I was able to render out each row by itself and then combine those rows into the final video. We used it in our online service last Sunday and then posted it by itself as well. Enjoy!
One of the big reasons I built a new PC recently was to make it easier to edit 4k video footage as more and more of my devices are able to record it. I’ve been using various versions of Adobe Premiere Elements for 10 years, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve outgrown it. The problem is that the next level of video editors is the same stuff the pros use which means it’s complicated and expensive. The main contenders are Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro from Apple. Thankfully there’s a third option: Davinci Resolve.
Resolve initially started as a color correction tool but evolved to include a full editor and special effects tool. The best part is that it is FREE. That’s right. Free! Or at least it’s free until you start editing the next Marvel movie and then you’ll want to shell out a few hundred bucks for the Studio version of Resolve. But there’s no way a mere mortal at home is ever going to get that far.
One downside to Resolve is that it has a very steep learning curve. Thankfully I’m not totally new to editing and our library also includes a free subscription to Lynda.com. I took a ~5 hour course, learned the basics, and then plunged into my first video: a full church service.
Because we’re staying home, we decided to publish as much of a normal church service online as we could. Pastor spent many hours at church recording the various segments and DaveK recorded some organ pieces from home. I was able to get it all pieced together and posted. You can find it on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel.
Other than having to do some searches to find a few very basic things, the experience was good and it didn’t add a huge amount of time to the way I did things before. As I get better I’m confident that I’ll be able to make them look even nicer and do it faster than before. Specific things I’m already enjoying:
It has a feature that syncs separate audio and video tracks with a single click! This was a constant source of pain for me before because even if I got them synced up, at some point they might start to drift by a couple frames.
The titles are done through their full-blown effects system so the sky is the limit. I stuck with the built-in titles for this first video but I thought even those looked very nice.
Rendering is FAST. This software uses both my CPU and video card to get the rendering done as quickly as possible.
The three of us put in a huge amount of time getting this one service done, but it looks like we’ll have a lot more chances to optimize our workflow. The biggest hiccup was transfering ~12GB of files around but it turns out that just dumping them on the PC at church and letting Backblaze put back them up was the easiest and most reliable solution. The upload speed there is very slow (2Mbps) but reliability proved more helpful than raw speed.
It was also really tempting to try to use the special effects to light the candles, but I resisted. We’ll get those lit in real life and made some other small tweaks for next time, but if you’re using these videos and there’s anything we can do to improve your experience, please share them with us!
The other day, Ken mentioned the old Jordan vs Bird trick shot commercials. That reminded me of when Greg and I made our version of those commercials. I was going to edit the video to remove all the mistakes but what fun would that be?
I’ve set a time-consuming precedent by making a montage video for every year of Elijah’s life. I got a very late start this time and there were over 1200 videos to dig through and cut down. You can find the 6th year video embedded below or head over to YouTube to see a playlist of all the videos. Happy birthday big man!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Best Of YouTube post, but, as usual, a lot of great content has been flowing into my eyeballs. First up this time is from the Flite Test guys. They are doing some full scale flight content in addition to their normal RC content. They went to Oshkosh for the big airshow and posted a good wrap-up video. Fun fact: They talk a lot about Sean Tucker in the beginning. He was the only signed photo I had in my room for much of my childhood.
If you pay attention to video shot with your cell phone or most other consumer cameras, you may have noticed a jello effect where straight lines of things moving quickly through the frame aren’t straight. It’s caused by something called “rolling shutter.” Whether you already know about that or not, this video is still incredible. The special effects do a fantastic job at explaining the subject matter.
Modern Rogue is pumping out good content. Some of it is a bit too long for my tastes, but overall, I’m excited when they put out a new video. They’ve had a couple martial arts/self-defense videos. The latest one is about choking someone quickly. While you’d need to practice to get good at it, it’s not super complicated and it seems pretty easy to remember.
Elijah has gone to Little Gym for most of his life. Toward the end of each session, they have “Show Week.” I couldn’t make it to this one, but Tyla took a bunch of video and I edited it together. The older man who is a teacher is the founder of the whole corporation. It’s pretty neat to have him as one of Elijah’s teachers!