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

 

Why do you write?

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I was asked the question, why do you write, the other day. It came point blank and out of nowhere. I could have made an off the cuff remark, something like, I write because I write, I write because I have always read a lot and well the obvious one, because I like to. I’m a thinker though, so I have gone away and reflected upon it. I mean you could think yourself into knots, I probably do at times. But this is what I have come up with at this point in time. There are various reasons, why I write and why writing resonates with me, so without further wait, here we go.

Firstly, I would say and this is the closest I probably have to an altruistic reason. I want to share with the world, a love and passion for reading and inspire it. To bestow the joy of the imagination, of thinking, characters and other worlds. I always think reading is amazing, not only does it provide an endless source of entertainment, but it challenges our ideas, teaches us and makes us grow as human beings. They say walk a mile in another person’s shoes, well a book plunges you in to other lives. You experience, infinite experiences, endless worlds, a different point of view and in many ways and drawn to empathise within characters whose ideas aren’t your own. I think reading, transfers and cultivates empathy to your everyday life. Yet of course even with all this exposure to experiences, there is just the sheer entertainment side, in which books are very much able to stand on their own two feet for.

Secondly, I have grown up with a love of reading. Writing is not as easy, as reading, in fact at times it can be damn hard, but I love experiencing these different worlds, getting to know different characters, the imagination and exploring. There is this aspect of why I write, because of the way I write. When I write, I am on the same journey as when a reader looks at my manuscript. I just write, it comes out and I end up in my imagination, where ever my imagination takes me. It is an amazing adventure, even when characters don’t cooperate with what you want them to do.

People ask me what am I writing about, the answer is usually, I’m keeping it a secret or if I am honest, I don’t know. The reality is usually, I don’t know until it is written. Sure sometimes there is an idea, but who know were the path will lead. I therefore like to wait till the end, when I have the big picture before I give a proper answer. The fact I am just as much in the dark, really is part of it. I must admit, I think if I the author were omniscient, I wouldn’t pick up a pen or put fingers to keyboard. I’d get bored.

Why do I write science fiction? Well to be honest, I grew up on Star Trek. I was absolutely captivated. The Star Trek Universe asks a lot of the big questions, it explores an endless amount of themes. Growing older, the thing that has stood out has always been the sheer optimism for the future, the goodness of humanity and things we can aspire for. Patrick Stewart as Picard and the morals, the society established really resonates. What Star Trek to me is like a beacon of hope. I think that if there was something I would like to capture for my writing it is this optimism for the future, it is this innate goodness in humanity and of course it is the awe of space. The need to reach out and explore that final frontier. It is heart breaking to see all this dystopia fiction, played out as the main thing for science fiction. The future is a lot brighter than that, there is a lot more to science fiction and I have an unwavering faith in Humanity to see us to a future that is amazing.

So with Star trek as the start for my love of science fiction, I got to watching, and reading, a lot of science fiction over the years. I really migrated to science fiction from fantasy, but generally drift between the two. What sort of books did I read that inspire me in the genre, well it is more authors, Neal Asher’s, Jack Campbell (John G. Hemry)  and Ian M Banks for a start. Charles Stross.  My love of science fiction naturally, made it became a home genre for me. I probably won’t ever write hard/high science fiction, because sadly I am not a theoretical physicist and it really is characters that captivate me rather than numbers. That said that doesn’t erase the need for diligent research and reasonable speculation!

Why do I write fantasy? I write fantasy, principally for the magic and just like science fiction, there are an endless amount of interesting worlds you come across. This is my other genre I grew up with. Think of books like, Forgotten Realms books, The Black Magician trilogy, Rift War Saga and many others. There is a very immense amount of freedoms given to writers in the genre and well you can explore lots of themes and ideas. It is also an incredible amount of fun to write.

I guess this at the moment is why I write. My reasons probably will change and grow, as I change as a person over the years. So I will say, this is why I write at this point in time. I hope that when I do get published, you as the reader are able to get the same amount of enjoyment, as I have writing and go on to read widely.

So let me pass the question along to other writers and authors. Why do you write? Feel free to comment below or on social media.

Have a great day where ever you are in the world.

 

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.

Writing Update – Sharing is not publishing – A sunken ship

Time for a writing update.

I have wanted to share my work with you guys for sometime. It always feels to me like here I am blogging away and tweeting. Making grandiose claims to word count or amount of writing work I am doing, without anything to back it up. So, as I said I would, I investigated with the outlets I intended to publish at, if there was a limit to what I could share with you guys.

Sadly, I got a very gentle tap on the wrist so to speak. It appears for purpose of sharing my work on here, that even extracts or voice works of the extracts count as prior publication. Which means there is no look in to being published at an already small amount of outlets to get short stories published and from what I can tell, the big publishers are pretty much the same policy. If I think about it fair enough, they need something that nobody has seen, so people will pay money to read it. I mean why pay money, if it is already free somewhere on the web.

DSC_0189.JPG
(Naturally, yet unexpectedly, my front doorstep provided a sunken ship)

It does not mean, that I won’t in the end share with you guys. It just means that the only things that I am going to share are from work that has been knocked back by everywhere conceivable. I am working on a checklist and there might just be a few stories, I am willing to chuck up extracts from, in a few months time.

A man with a plan, as they say. I am going to in the final act, end up creating an anthology of all the works that didn’t quite make it into places of publication and probably E-Publish. Which kind of makes me feel just that little bit sad, because I don’t feel that it is the achievement of truly getting published then. Before I reach that stage, I am going to get a bit more beta reader feed back.

Anyway that’s were publishing extracts goes for me. It is off the table for now.

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.