When I decided to go looking for stories and recording them with my GoPro, I decided to mount the camera to my chest and use my phone to monitor the image composition. I was also carrying a Roland digital stereo audio recorder outfitted with a windscreen to capture a better audio track. I don't have a windscreen for the GoPro and I would be spending some time outdoors on a breezy day.
The 2016 Texas Route 66 Festival was held on June 11, 2016, in the Route 66 Historic District of Amarillo, Texas. The area is about 3/4s of a mile long on SW 6th Ave. (locals pronounce it street. ha!) so I knew there would be a lot of walking, wind noise and background noise. I thought using the chest harness mount for the camera would be a pretty stable platform to reduce camera jitter. At least it would be more stable than mounted on the bill of my cap, wouldn't it? Haha!!
I am sharing the results of my experiment below along with comments below.
My first interview was with Stephanie Daggett and the first thing I noticed when looking at the footage later, was that the camera is too low when doing interviews. She is looking at me quite a bit during the interview but that angle is not viewer friendly. The second thing I noticed was how unstable the camera is. Way too much movement to be comfortable to the eye. When doing "man on the street" interviews like this, that camera will need to be higher and a lot more stable. I hate to have to resort to carrying a tripod with me but I would like to find a lighter and less bulky alternative if possible.
My second interview also took place indoors and really brought out the fact that I need to add a lavalier mike for my Roland digital audio recorder. There were several people talking close by which created a lot of background noise. A mike on the subject will make a lot of difference and will free my hands up from having to hold the recorder. Plus, I think it will have a positive psychological effect on the subject because the encounter becomes a bit less formal when they get wired up for an interview.
The third interview was also done inside at the same location and at a closer range to the subject. Note how the camera towers over the subject. The GoPro has a fish eye effect when shooting 16:9 at 1080p and the fish eye perspective made things much worse in this case. When flattened out using the GoPro Studio video editing software, part of the original video is lost on all four sides of the frame. Even though I was trying to leave enough margin in the original composition by monitoring in real time on my phone, this exercise was an almost complete fail.
All of the above situations only used natural lighting and did not turn out too bad using full auto mode on the GoPro Hero4 Silver. A local news station ran a story on Bob "Crocodile" Lile and his cadilight creations a while back. You can see their version of the story here - Cadillac Ranch paint chips transformed into accessories
I do have one other major problem to consider when wearing the GoPro on a chest harness. A walking gait is clearly evident in the recorded footage and it is not pleasing to look at! The Route 66 Historic district covers about 3/4 of a mile and I walked the whole length and back recording sights along the way. Take a look at the video below and you will see I am not likely to resort to using a chest harness again while walking.
If you have made it this far on this post, I thank you for your interest! If you have not subscribed to the Story Channel on YouTube I hope you do so you can see some of the improvements I make in future video clips.
Now that winter is over and the majority of development is done on two new mobile apps, I am ready to get outdoors and start having some fun. The two new apps are focused on travel featuring places to go and things to do. That means content has to be created for display in the apps.
I have already begun researching the histories of some of the older buildings in Maimi, Texas as part of a Miami Walking History Tour. This tour will be available for free in the iTour Go app. The app will also be available for free in the Google Play Store and at this time, I do not plan to include display ads in the app.
Some field testing of the app has been done at Wildcat Bluff Nature Center in Amarillo, Texas and Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Canyon, Texas. Some work has been done to identify some points of interest for two hiking tours at WBNC and a driving tour of Palo Duro Canyon but a lot more work needs to be done before those paid tours are ready to publish.
Of course, that means I will need to spend quite a bit of time at these two locations gathering information, GPS coordinates and shooting photos and potentially videos as well for each point of interest. Some of the photos and info will be available for display in the iTour Go app with much more detailed info, photos and videos will be available on mobile friendly web page.
Video production will start ramping up again in June and I will be on the hunt for storytellers. People who have interesting stories to tell from their own experiences and people who like to tell entertaining stories and are very good at it. Some of the focus will be on recording the life stories of older folks preserving their memories for family and community heritage. Many of these interviews will be recorded at local county museums and I will publish when and where these sessions will be as they are booked.
I already know several entertaining storytellers and some of them are willing to appear on camera. If you know of someone who can tell some real whoppers, funny, scary or otherwise entertaining, please let me know about them and how they may be contacted.
Summer and Fall are great times of the year for public outdoor events and I plan to attend some of them in the area and attempt to document some of the people and activities they engage in. Previous experience has shown these are great opportunities to gather some impromptu stories and document contemporary events.
So lots of work, planning and travel are in store for the rest of the year. It will be fun to have you along for the ride!