Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Weekly Update - March 2nd, 2016 - Part Two: Video Production

The game lounge and room, looking north to south;
new track lights in place
The game room itself;
more new track lights

The game lounge - overview
The game lounge - more new lighting

And now, a comment:

Evan Darrow - February 23, 2016 at 8:05 PM
Are there any plans to do more of the gameplay videos like the four-part series you posted on youtube? It was awesome to watch and they dont seem like they'd be all that much more work beyond the game itself (and rendering the videos).

Yes, I would certainly like to do more of these! I enjoy doing them, and people seem to have fun playing in my games - something about the old style of play that I use seems to amuse people.

Production on these is pretty straightforward; we use a Sony 'Bloggie' camera in a one-camera shoot, and let the camera do as much of the work as possible. We don't edit or modify any of the videos; the Bloggie records to digital, and we simply upload the half-hour segments - the Bloggie only records in half-hour chunks - to the YouTube channel. We think that the half-hour segments make the programs a little more 'digestible' for viewers. Audio seems fine, too.

The problem is staffing; I really can't run both the camera and the game at the same time, so I'm planning on having a dedicated technician to the latter to let me focus on the former.

It also makes a huge difference that I've had some twenty years of video production work under my belt; one of the big things that make these little videos work well is that I've put a lot of effort and resources into making the game room both the very best game room that I can provide for my players, and to make it the most efficient video production studio possible so that I can forget about the technical details and get on with the game.

I've put a lot of work into the new(ish) track lights; I formerly had two IKEA three-lamp fixtures in the game room, and this did work - but was very inflexible. So, I did some swapping of gear from all around our little house; I moved two set of track lights down from our second floor library and bed- / sitting-room, and moved the IKEA fixtures upstairs to replace them. All of the track lights are individually switchable, individually moveable, and on dimmers - two for the room, one for the game table. I usually spend some time setting the lighting before the game, looking through the camera ( the camera 'sees' differently then the human eye does) and getting all the lighting levels set up for the best possible video.

Once that's done, then it's more or less a normal game day.

So, all I need to do is get some players in, and we'll be off! :)

(Historical footnote: The track lights over the game table were from my days at Adventure Games, working for Dave Arneson; they are from the old AGI trade show booth, and were a way to have a little bit of Dave in the game room... )