I’ve fallen behind slightly with my writing, or perhaps more than slightly. It has been a busy few weeks and I haven’t had the same free time, between filmmaking and filming events (event, in truth).
I should also add that I have just passed 10,000 views!
The newest short film we produced last Saturday was a tongue-in-cheek play on the camcorder club’s expectations of me as a filmmaker, and my productions. It was fun to make, and didn’t take too long, though the structure needed some work. I always struggle with the endings of films, but this one had a natural enough direction. I couldn’t end it the way most of mine end, with everyone dying, so I drew inspiration from the Breakfast Club.
Filming the International Women’s Day event
On Wednesday, Medsin QUB in conjunction with the Irish Forum for Global Health put on an event entitled Putting Equality on the Gender Agenda: A Global Perspective. It was held on the Lanyon, to coincide with International Women’s Day, and I had the privilege to film it. The plan was to stream it live, through Google+ Hangouts On Air, which also automatically saves a copy on YouTube for future viewing. This system made perfect sense for an event like this, saving the hassle of editing and just putting out the raw footage. There was a lot of raw footage. But I was skeptical from the word go, because streaming, in my mind, is a disaster waiting to happen. The sheer amount of bandwidth required to stream a decent quality video is one thing, but when your computer refuses to connect to Queen’s WiFi at all, then that’s a whole other issue. I had ran test streams, but even with a solid connection in my house here in Belfast (~30 Mbps, though not so much recently) it was still struggling to stream at DV quality. I didn’t even attempt HD, partly because Google+ didn’t like the HDV setting on my Canon HV20 and HV30.
The streaming plan was abandoned, though I should have thrown it out sooner, and given myself more time to prepare for the actual filming. Live events are a minefield in filming terms. First off, the lighting was terrible in the Great Hall. It was that sort of dull, ambient light that sets the mood for an evening lecture or talk, but is not nearly enough to get decent quality shots. And with no control over the lighting either, it was not going to fix itself. Sound was another issue. I was using a Sennheiser shotgun mic, but a wireless lapel mic would have been perfect, as I could not move the mic independently of the camera and had to keep adjusting the levels on the fly (harder than you may think, because any background noise and the voices of the speakers did drown out everything else). And then stupid things cropped up, like water bottles obscuring shots, or weird podium appendages placed strategically to block someones face. Of course you want to move the camera as little as possible, as it is on a tripod, but it was frustrating when people refused to stand and talk into the microphone, and instead danced around the podium. Being unable to direct is annoying, but it just comes as part of the live event experience.
System Shock 2
An old classic, but one I’ve started to revisit. I have never completed System Shock 2, but always felt as though I should, as it is the spiritual predecessor of Bioshock, and a generally great game. It fulfills all the usual RPG requirements with a bunch of different skills to level up, and not enough time or cyber modules to do it. It forces you to choose your path; whether you use brute force and firepower or psionics, kill every living thing or be conservative. One aspect I am not a fan of is the weapon maintenance system. While it is more realistic that weapons are not indestructible, they shouldn’t break after cycling through a few clips. It does force you to avoid running in guns blazing, and the choice of different ammunition types means you have to choose the best best ammo for the situation. I shall have more to write when I get further on.
More on this when I get some free time. It’s on Botanic, and specialises in Nepalese cuisine, and does a rather fine job of it.
One word, awesome. Lazer tag in the Ozone Leisure Centre is definitely worth checking out, and the most fun I’ve ever had playing lazer tag.
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