YouTube – The Channel Launch

Well here goes nothing! I made an intro for the channel. Pressing public across the board!

(Well that auto embedded, nifty)

I don’t think it is as concise as I would like it, but you know that is alright. I chucked in a few game recordings in the background for a jist of what games I am going to be covering. You get the general idea of what my YouTube experiment is about.

Surprisingly, the Europa IV clip lagged at some points in the recording, so that required a bit of extracting. I was deep into the Thirty Year war when I recorded, so I guess it kind of makes sense. A gazillion tiny nations in the Holy Roman Empire and outside all going each others throats, is bound to make the CPU cry a tiny bit. Especially when everything is being effectively generated twice and when you think about it EUIV is an intensive number crunching game. Not that I experienced any in game lag, it was purely in the video feed.

It is kind of ironic, because Star Citizen is more intensive on resources. If anything was going to have video lag, it should have been it.  In many ways that is the problem with recording, you could have amazing content, only to find it has lagged on the cutting room floor. It will probably see me eventually change to my server pc, sooner than later.

The main thing stopping me is:
A. Wrestling with it on my TV
B. The keyboard and mouse setup is a bit of a lame duck, as it was originally meant for Netflix/YouTube and running a server (Albeit it is a beast, 32g ram, 8 core processor and a damn good graphics card in it).
C. Buying a monitor for my standing desk and decent wireless keyboard to alleviate A and B.

Overall, making the welcome video was rather relaxing. Especially the Cities Skylines part. I was like, right, lets just jump on one of the trains and roll around a city. I might actually do some city tour videos, after they are constructed, mainly from the perspective of a citizen or vehicle. The most annoying part about the camera, though is it bobs every time you hit a power line or a traffic light. As you can imagine, hit a city street full of intersections or a part of your train track filled with road bridges. Bump bump bump bump, teeth rattling.

Anyway, that wraps it up for now. I am going to go back to my morning writing, I have almost finished another short story. Amidst the pile of work and many other interruptions.

I hope you all have a lovely Friday and an amazing weekend!!!! Hahaha, I know I will. I’m yet another year older. Feel free to comment below or on my videos, happy to chit chat or discuss things and constructive feedback is a gift. Will see you around.

 

YouTube Channel – The Final Stage – Editing

Hello,

This is a retrospective piece today. I am kind of excited I have actually got my YouTube channel going. But let’s not jump the gun, editing I Lightworks has been easy and smooth. I find it like Adobe Premier, albeit better because it is free. The free version however is not as friendly as the paid version. There are a lot of easy efficient interface bits and all the tutorials are only for the paid version (But I might look into buying it, because face it. It’s a one off payment rather than a constant burn on money).

If you wanted to jump the gun, here is a link to my now established YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTly8mpNh_Z3oJ7gKMs9m9A/featured.

Lightworks, is all pretty straight forward from my understanding.

log

Here is your Log screen. It appears to be the easiest to navigate your computer and import video and sound files for your project.

edit

Here we have the cutting room floor. Chop change and fiddle with your clips  and audio on your timeline. You have your little box of imported items to use above and to the right the preview window. Little blue marks to mark out points in your video. Everything can be broken up by hitting c which cuts from the point your seeker bar (red diamond) is at.

audio

Audio is self explanatory. Here you alter all your audio files. Something too loud, click in your little points and then drag the sections volume down. Want to stretch the audio or put in audio fade ins and outs. This is your section. You can also easily turn your audio channels on an off. Plenty of audio alterations, like equaliser, cross fade and other such things up in the top left hand side. It really reminds me of Audacity and that after practice was a very useful piece of software.

vfx

Here is the VFX screen. Things like dissolve handle your transitions. I spent ages on trying to work out how the hell to make such transitions so for a note, you remember those blue markers I was tell you about. Well this is were they shine. You put in an in mark and an out mark and then you can click the effect and tell it to apply on the marks. Can’t remember all the crazy stuff I was trying before but nothing work until I found dissolve tucked away, in a section that isn’t apparent in the tutorials for the paid version.

An issue I faced in my first video recording involving Star Citizen and the Constellation Andromeda tour, required editing my voice in. I recorded on OBS, but my voice had cut out funny at the end, so I never go to say goodbye properly. Right say I, well I have an Olympus  DM-720, I was using for a journalism major a couple of years back. This would be easy. So dumpty dum, di da, wham! I hit another wall.

The voice recording quality of my recorder was a gazillion times better than the mic on my laptop. It was very very apparent. Makes sense though, it’s designed for fighting amongst a marauding pack of journalists in a press conference. If you are the person that gets stuck at the back, this recorder saves your bacon.

I overcame the issue, by first cutting out the bad audio, putting my new recording in a separate channel set. From there I took a slice of background noise of the game out of the video and repeated placed a copy of it underneath the recording of my voice. I dropped my voice volume and in theory I patched it up enough that it isn’t extremely noticeable. You can tell me if you like, here is a link to my now operational youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO3dTSf5ry4.

It’s been a week or a month building this channel and this editing is the final piece. I mean you don’t think as an author doing the writing thing, you are going to be doing a gazillion other things. I mean stuff like learning how to build a website, how to create picture and graphics content. YouTube and video editing, wasn’t even on the map, until tadaa, look what’s on the to do list for an adventure. I think if anything from this experience so far, I have learnt a lot of skills and polished old ones. Haha you can never say the life of an author is boring!

Anyway that wraps it up for now. I hope you have an amazing Thursday. Feel free to comment below. If you are using Lightworks and you need help, I’ll do my best to see if I can give you a hand. Please note though I am a beginner myself, but I dare say I have the basics under wraps.

See you next time.

Seb

 

YouTube – The Next Mountain

mountains

Thank god, I don’t have to climb that mountain. I’m only going to be talking about figurative mountains. On my side quest, constructing a YouTube channel, I hit this mountain like an express train. What’s the issue? Well I thought I had my OBS settings perfect, but it appears this isn’t the case. The recordings are experiencing visual feed lag, even though the audio is coming out fine,

The scuttle butt is that if you are recording, you are using double the CPU and GPU power. The frame rate itself drops off astronomically on the recorded feed, unless you have a really powerful rig. So you could be getting 60fps in game, but the recording could come out the other end at 20fps as it generates the next screen.

I am using my laptop and not my desktop/server for recording, I just prefer using it, but that comes with its own price. Even though it has an I-7 4 core processor, 8g ram and a NVidia 650m. I had a chat with a few guys at my Star Citizen organisation and they were very helpful in chipping in some ideas on what to do.

A sudden idea had occurred to me after there advice had filtered through (takes a day cause of time zones). It was to force OBS to use my Nvidia card out of the Nvidia card manager, but this resulted in a black screen. I did this because normally my laptop fights over using the weaker intel card to save battery with fullscreen programs, rather than the Nvida. Whatever the reason, OBS chucked a wobbly. So I let it have its way and returned it to the intel card in the Nvida manager and just let it use the Nvidia from OBS’ own internal settings.

Anyway the recommendations were to drop the bit rate from 30,000 to 12,000-16,000, drop frame rate to lock in at 30fps output (Because at 60fps it just keeps demanding resources regardless of them being there) and also dropped the output to 720p HD. In addition, since I was using my laptop to use less intensive games like Battlefield 4. Well I am an optimist. So I kept with Star Citizen (Since its the most intensive game I have apart from DOOM), then tried each setting one at a time in the recording

Sure enough after this trial and error, it brought the video feed into alignment with what I was actually getting onscreen in game. OBS suddenly became quite smooth in its recording. So I think I am laughing now. All setup for the recording side in game. Here are my current video settings in OBS if you are curious. Hopefully that is of some use to you:

settings 1settings 2

Anyway that wraps it up for this segment, next time we are going to look at editing software. Have you used OBS, how are you finding it? Feel free to comment below or o my social media. Hope you have a great day wherever you are in the world.

YouTube Channel Update – Best laid plans…

Alright folks, as the saying goes, ‘the best laid plays go astray.’ I hit a minor hurdle with the banner, well not a super hurdle, but an annoying one. YouTube tells you its recommended banner size is 2560 X 1440 pixels. What it doesn’t alert you to, is the fact this is the banner size for all mediums, specifically it has TV’s in mind. So when it comes to looking at the banner on a laptop, you miss pretty much everything, but the centre. I tested out that first nebula field background experimentally and I only got blue and some stars. I am not saying it’s terrible, but considering the hard work that went into making planets happen, it was a little bit annoying.

That’s easy fixed though, just means moving in the planets, adjusting the background here and there. She’ll be right again before we know it. Onwards and upwards, I did a little bit of research into recording software and tried out FRAPS and OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). FRAPS doesn’t seem to like windows ten or at least doesn’t like my laptop. I jumped straight into a game of Stellaris, hit record and all I got after I had finished up, was sound and a black screen. It’s highly likely it could be my knowledge of the program, but it seemed to be working perfectly fine.

So back to the drawing board after FRAPS (It was the main one I knew). I had a hunt around, looked through forums and posted on the website for the organisation I am a part of for Star Citizen. I even managed to get into contact with ‘BoredGamer,’ a YouTube veteran I’m subscribed to.

After a few really helpful people chucked in their two cents, I did some more research, ummed and ahhed, then tried out a few more recording software. I am currently on OBS or Open Broadcaster Software, freebie and open source.

OBS

I’m no video techie, but I managed to get it recording, utilising different sources e.g. my display, video camera and Stellaris. The quality out the other end was brilliant. Most of the hard yards was done by a setup wizard which is in beta, but I had a bit of a looksee in the settings.

Stating the obvious, you don’t want to change your file format to one with any compression for recording, lose quality (Think lossless image format like PNG then going to JPEG or something) and if it’s like any video software I used back in 2006….. Very bad things happen.

Here is a link to OBS if you are interested: https://obsproject.com/

Anyway, when plans go astray, just come up with a new idea. At present OBS is it, my placeholder draft banner can be modified and the next stage is finding some video editing software.  I will probably start by looking at Adobe Premiere, cause that’s what I know, but I will most likely do research and throw my net wide to find the best thing for me. Most likely a free open source alternative to begin the experiment.

If you have any thoughts on good video software, free or otherwise, feel free to comment or tweet me.  Happy also for any advice, video editing, banner creation etc etc.

Take care now.

Seb

 

 

YouTube Banner – A human needs a ship

There is of course the most important feature missing from my universe designs. That is a spaceship. What sort of spaceship? Well I am thinking of maybe trying to create a spaceship for one of my races in my sci fi universe from my stories. Going with sleek and elegant with a very advanced tech feel that outpaces humanity by a crazy long time.

What inspires me for ships currently well at the moment one of my favourite ships is a Romulan D’Deridex Warbird out of Star Trek the Next Generation onwards. I love the profile and the sleekness of the vessel and whilst it is sleek it is also intimidating in appearance. I mean look at them wings and profile. See that decloak and you sure as hell are not going to hang around for long.

Here is a picture of a model I own:
warbird
You can see a much cooler picture, which Memory Beta have used here: https://goo.gl/images/bBVPAS

My next inspiration is Star Trek Voyager, I mean Voyager is a real smart looking ship that also gives it an air of speed. The slight ovoid primary section and streamline nature of the vessel just is cool.

If you haven’t see Voyager before, here is a link to Memory Alpha’s picture of it: https://goo.gl/images/bgDygZ

Ok ok, so from that info we know I’m a fan of Star Trek (My childhood), but I also have inspirations from outside that.

Turning to Star Citizen, the Endeavour class science ship. I love the fact she is big, sleek for a big ship and still manages to pull off a science look. Even with out bio domes attached, it looks pretty damn nifty. Gives me the feel, of older science fiction. Big lumbering behemoths, ploughing through space. Very very cool.
Image with bio domes: https://goo.gl/images/1UFtE4
Image without: https://goo.gl/images/dt4sED

I really like the reliant from Star Lancer, for similar heavy set old school feel that isn’t too old school sci fi. It of course like that D’Deridex is more military focused.
Image: https://goo.gl/images/DwQyvf

So these inspirations, what does that bring to the table? Well it brings me sitting at the table, trying to remember how to sketch and draw, another skill I haven’t used since the dawn of time.
DSC_0175

Let’s just say work in progress. I also need to devise how to turn an end product sketch into a fully blown 3Dish ship for the banner. But you know, I’m sure I will either figure it out or find a tutorial for that. I think it extends a bit beyond my grade 8 or 9, digital production skills.

I really want that advanced exploration feel, without dipping into old school or completely retro sci fi ship concepts/hard sci fi (E.g. no big rings for gravity or super bubble ships).  But we shall just have to see were my imagination takes me on this one.
Anyway, I am all up for tips, any thoughts or advice, feel free to comment.

A YouTube Banner – Designing Begins

On to banner design for the YouTube Channel. Time to dust of the old skills, unused since 2005 or was it 2004. I don’t quite remember, that’s how long ago it has been since I have done digital imagery things. I guess somethings you learn in school do stay with you, even if they are lost in back half of the filing cabinet of the mind.

So this will take a bit longer I think. I’m not sure were I want to take it yet, so it will involve playing around and experimenting. So let’s start with what I think I want shall we. That would have to be, to make the banner, science fiction to the max. There needs to be stars, endless universe, maybe nebulas, a few planets and well what’s not more space opera than having a starship!

Let’s begin and see what GIMP and my rusty skills can do.

Here is me playing around with a few design ideas:

I wasn’t sure about this first design. That primary star and planet looked a bit odd and the scene looked a bit overcrowded with the nebula. I was going to put in a moon as well, but it isn’t in there for the same reason. I think it will fit a starship coming in from the right hand side though. Would really enjoy putting in a few more planets and make it a larger star system. What do you guys think? I feel like its a not bad effort first effort, got a long way to come but we are getting there.

Space background 1

My second design:

I think the stars are a bit dull. You kind of need to zoom in to see them. I am loving the blue gas giant though. I found a really useful texture website https://www.textures.com/. It essentially gives you x amount of free credits to download textures usable in anyway you choose, pretty much, except reselling them as textures (Their website has a full FAQ on what they will and won’t let you do with it). I completely forgot about using textures to be honest and used some internal gimp effects on the previous planet. I’m loving what the texture pulled off. Bit of Gausian Blur and some motion blur really altered the ice texture to look like layers of gas.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make planetary rings in GIMP, everything was coming out a bit like lines, but you know the internet provides (http://www.scottphotographics.com/creating-planets-and-planetary-rings-in-gimp/). That link takes you to Michael Scott’s website and step 6 is were I learnt how to do the whole planetary ring thing.

Part of me is not liking that I seem to keep these planets to that lower left hand corner, but I guess it is as good as any.

attempt with rings

Third design so far:

So here is my third design so far and I am loving the ice planets. Main issues in this one really are the overcrowding. I was going to try and fix up the spacing so I can put in a star with GIMPS supernova effect and the use lighting effects to have the shadows across the planets, but then I won’t be able to fit a space ship in. Once again the background stars seem to be a problem. Too dim.

A new attempt

Overall that is my first three designs, I am not sure were I will take the next design. I might try and go for a multi-planet view with better spacing. Experiment more with nebulas. Do I want asteroid belts? Naaah I probably don’t want asteroid belts. Most importantly, I need to design and stick in a spaceship.

On a side note on the software I used:  GIMP is a free open source editing tool. Pretty much download and off you go. If you need more scripts or bits and bobs just add em in there. It appears to have a huge crowd of people around it. So far I am really satisfied with the program, considering A. my rusty skills B. Macromedia Fireworks is extinct. It is a close enough substitute for my skills and knowledge so I can’t complain. In all honesty in this case, it’s not a case of you get what you pay for. It’s a pretty damn good program and I am a happy chap. If this experiment is a success, I may move to photo shop or something else later.

Anyway, here there be planets. Feel free to offer any tips, thoughts and advice in the comments section. Have a great day!

P.S. This is actually surprisingly a really fun challenge. I mean I know stories will be my thing, but this has definitely been a fun adventure so far.