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Insomnia 48, Day 2

I woke up at 7.30 from my alarm, which is surprising because I usually miss my alarm at home. Maybe subconsciously I knew that I would have to be awake! We met at the bus stop at about 8.30, and literally there was so so much snow. I have never been away from home/uni when the snow has come down so heavily it’d be impossible to pack up and go home. The mini-bus shuttle service was better this morning though, I don’t know why this was, new driver? Less snow on the road? Well either way I didn’t feel like a crash was around every corner this time.

(Jack wearing just his t-shirt to go and get some camera equipment..)

Upon arrival me and Jack set too on eating. I had last nights left over pizza (this was left in the hot sweaty main hall all night). I forgot to mention in my last post I had a pizza. Basically we got given 3 food tokens as we were members of staff, 1 token got you a chicken wrap, 2 tokes was the equivalent of a 9″ pizza, and 3 could get you a 12″ pizza. I decided to spend all of my food tokens on the very first night, as you do! Which meant I had to buy everything else I wanted to eat. Needless to say I didn’t eat much for the rest of my stay. (it’s expensive ok!).

9am hit and we were back at the FIFA area, watching Dave and Aubs set up the fifa area. I sat down on the streaming PC and turned it on. Where I was met with error after error in relation to everything working. It was working fine yesterday what on earth has gone wrong today? Apparently everything. But that was mostly because everything had been turned off at the switch.. one of the HDMI cables was faulty, and because there was a last minute cable alteration by the technicians to change the video output going out of the speakers which made FIFA and the casting sound awful. But this was fixed (not by me mind).

Eventually there was a massive rush to get the Canon 600d’s working through the PC so we could engage in interviews off those cameras. I tried downloading the software for the 600’d so we could use them as a webcam (i’d done this at home so I knew it worked) but alas the pc didn’t want to know anything about it. Rubbish piece of equipment I say / would happily have it as it was worth twice as much as mine, but let’s just ignore that small irrelevancy ! So Jack told Dave the interview situation, that there would be no live broadcast of interviews through the ‘nice’ cameras, instead the solution was to take players to one side after a game and give them a cheeky interview, then let them get back on there way. Did I mention this was 30 minutes before the days event was supposed to start? No? well it happened 30 minutes before the tournament was kicking off. Dave probably hated me and Jack by now as mostly everything which could’ve gone wrong did go wrong, the whole reason why we were there was to make sure it was as smooth as possible. It was going about as smoothly as a hedgehog.

After all though, me and Jack said from the beginning we were there to do some filming, that’s all we had planned to do before we had gotten to the event, so in our defence we were always going to be useless at the rest of the stuff. The filming though. Yes finally!

Ok the filming didn’t go great.

Here is a list of reasons why the filming didn’t go as smoothly / as brilliantly as possible. I have done a bullet pointed list for your eyes so it reads easier.

  • The lighting was poor: You would’ve thought that with the whole area designated to us we would’ve thought about getting some additional lighting. Say like the StarCraft 2 area. They knew they were filming, so had some massive lights hanging from the ceiling, and some free standing lights. Something which benefits the camera greatly is strong lighting. Yes the players are probably going to be annoyed by it, and if you go to a TV studio and sit facing the lights you’re literally blinded by them. Alas we had poor lighting, and everything we shot was semi-grainy and lacking in full colours and good quality. This is not to be confused with unusable footage. That brings me on to my next bullet point nicely though.
  • Unusable footage e.g Interviews: We had this new RODE microphone which was awesome and the sound was so much better than the in built microphone. Bearing in mind we are in the worlds most echoey hall ever, you can literally hear all the sounds bounce off the walls, the p.a system constantly blasting out from other. The RODE microphone performed really well. That was when we turned it on. It spent half of it’s life turned off, which is annoying because it’s such an easy thing to remember, but when everything Is battery powered, and you are using something for the first time, that on top of having to be ready really quickly for something, both me and Jack missed out a few interviews by having a no sound recording. Useless I know, but it’s just one of those things! The interviews we did have were decent, although the microphone was attached to the camera, so we were reliant on the player speaking louder than usual (which for camera shy FIFA players isn’t likely)

Key ways around this for future:

Have more batteries so we can just leave the microphone in the setting ON.

Buy an extension cable so the microphone can be used as more of a handheld thing. You know, like proper interviews.

Remember that we are film makers and that we have an obligation to film things correctly.

  • Possibly try and get better cameras.
  • Have some order to the filming, we ended up just filming random shots of everything, some files were 6 seconds, some were 4 minutes. This makes for really difficult editing situations.
  • variety of shots limited, although this was due to un-invasive camera work.

So yeah, that’s what went not 100% to plan.

That being said we had great fun on the Saturday afternoon. Literally loads of fun, we were chatting with all of the players, following the live bracket, helping with the stream, helping with the administrative tasks set for us, helping choose which games should be shown live. Adjusting audio levels on the sound board, and for the stream. Literally think of a job and me and Jack helped with it.

We were finished by about 6pm and were able to go back to our seats, eat and do some editing. This sounds great, and an early night is surely to ensue you’d think! Well think again, this is Insomnia after all!

On our way to get some pizza some guy approached us wearing a big rucksack and carrying a keyboard. He looked me in the eye and started speaking to me. ‘Either of you two interesting in buying some gaming equipment?’ – Funnily enough I was, I hadn’t had a new keyboard since I started playing Counter Strike Source, and I got it for Christmas when I was 15. I thought at the time it was an average keyboard, but it had since lasted me ages and it was something I didn’t really want to part ways with, although for the last 2 years i’d been looking for something new, something which could take my many hours of gaming and many hours of typing! Everything was like £100+ though, and it was something I didn’t really feel comfortable buying for 3 figures. ‘Yes I am, i’m after a new keyboard though’, I replied. He took the keyboard(which was boxed so that’s why I didn’t realise it was a keyboard straight away) and held it out in front of me. ‘Here we go, it’s a brand new Razor one my team won, but want me to sell because they want the money, it’s worth £90 but i’m selling it for £60.’ Hmmmm what’s the catch I thought, who just sells a brand new keyboard, not faulty, with £30 off.. GEEKS OF COURSE! I instantly bought it and have not looked back since. It shines up all kinds of colours and looks wonderful. Right place at the right time!

We put all of the footage on to the computer, and used Jacks massive external hard-drive. I would’ve used my new (specifically bought for the event) portable 1TB hard-drive for everything which would’ve made everything so much easier, but I had left it at the University accommodation… Standard. But yeah, we uploaded everything off the SD cards, and proceeded to download all of the live stream footage from twitch.tv/sweetpatchtv using keepvid.com. We didn’t realise however that the footage would be saved as .flv files. Which, even though we were using Adobe software with the Premiere Pro, it apparently doesn’t recognise flash files. It doesn’t recognise it in media converter either which is useless. So that meant finding a .flv->mp4 (or a recognisable file type) converter, which appeared to take forever, and once everything had finally been converted it was 9pm. Then the editing was finally allowed to begin!

the editing itself was fun because it was nice to use in-game footage and interlace that with the footage we had done. It’s something i’d not really played about with before, using game footage before and I found it really interesting. Me and Jack switched positions regularly, deciding we would do a linear edit of the streamed games, inter-cut with funky cool shots throughout the day in the main gaming area. We used the cut tool on the EA sports logo throughout which we found to look extremely helpful between transitions.

By the time we had done it was 1am, we uploaded it to the SweetpatchTV Youtube channel and this is what the final result was.

For once I am extremely proud of this video. Not only was it an extremely fast turnaround the quality is great and it has increased my experience with Adobe Premiere. The more times you use something the better you get at it. Apparently if you spend over 10,000 hours doing something you become a master at it! I have not spent 10,000 hours using Premiere Pro.

We were unlucky with our timing waiting for the shuttle mini-bus this time and we were out in the cold at 2am for about 35 minutes before one arrived. Which meant less sleep, so when that 7.30 alarm sounds it will not be a welcome one at all !

Saturday was fantastic, and although i’m used to being a part of the massive pub quiz, gaming all the time and hanging around with my friends, it felt as though I was doing something just as fun. It was at this moment I realised that Insomnia is only possible for me to have such a great time when I attend thanks to the hard work and effort by the staff and volunteers at every stall which makes it such a fantastic event, and for me to be a part of that silent un-thanked group of people is satisfying enough in itself.

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