I often ask myself, why did I start this video malarkey?
I ask this mostly when I am struggling to complete an edit, when things are just not going to plan, often accompanied by various expletives that best remain untyped on here!!
We just happen to have this YouTube channel you see, think of it as a place for Out There to share our paranormal adventures with a wider audience, and, to be honest, I'm really rather proud of it
Over the years we have downloaded a selection of videos, some have stayed there, others have failed the test of time, and been consigned to the trash
Its not overloaded with stunning content for you to all enjoy, and I'm very conscious of this fact. There are so many subjects I want to make videos about, so many investigations I would love to film, but sadly it takes time to put together a video to the level I want to work to.
Stick with this folks, as I may ramble a bit to begin with, as always!!
To be perfectly frank, when you start to look at the viewing statistics and the number of subscribers we have, I do begin to ask myself "why do I bother? again
We have 284 subscribers, 284 people that are interested enough to press on that little red button on our channel.
There is something I should mention here, the number of subscribers is quite important on YouTube if we climb to the dizzy heights of having 1000 subscribers, we can do extra stuff on YouTube, like going live...very handy indeed
I started the Out There Paranormal TV channel way back in 2010, and over the last 11 years or so, we have had this many views
that looks quite impressive, big numbers there you may be thinking..sadly not.
Lets have a look at a popular paranormal channel, the figures shared here, are for one video, just one video folks!!
245,000 views, now thats big figures!.
Of course we are not Most Haunted, so its a bit of an unfair comparison. It does show however just how popular videos about paranormal investigation can be.
Surprisingly they only have 71500 subscribers, and you often find that people will happily watch your content, but not subscribe to your channel, which for a little channel like ours, is just so frustrating.
Of course its not all about numbers, I did not start the channel to see how many people would watch, I started the channel to share what Out There was up to, and because I actually enjoy making the videos, even if I do complain about them sometimes, make that a lot of the time!!.
I think what most people don't realise, is the amount of time and effort that goes into making a video for the channel, so I am going to share the process with you, in all of its gory detail, plus give you a little potted history of where I began on my video editing journey
Have a little watch of our latest production , to see how the videos generally look, and yes, I know that I'm shamelessly plugging again, but in this context I hope its acceptable, as the visuals will help with understanding this post 😊
There you go, the most recent video that I edited together, would you be surprised to hear that this 32 minute epic, took the grand total of 54 hours to put together, and edit!!!
Seriously thats how long it can take, sometimes the video can take even longer to complete.
The journey from idea to finished product, is a bit of a process, well it is to me, because I want our videos to have a certain quality to them, so I take a bit longer than most to edit them together. This approach has paid dividends, because we now have our first ever video featured on Amazon Prime, an achievement I could never have imagined all those years ago, when I switched on my clunky old iMac desktop, and started messing about with iMovie.
Where do I begin, to explain the whole process?
As a certain song goes, we shall start at the very beginning, and take a look at the all the items I am currently using to produce the videos.
Of course to actually have some footage to edit, you are going to need a device to film it with! Over the years I have used a varied selection of cameras to film whilst out on an investigation, its ok, I will not be naming them all, or giving in-depth explanations about all of them.
The current filming weapon of choice, is a Sony AX33, which was used to film some of the footage in the "Return to Station 142" video above.
Yes it's a camcorder, nothing more technical than that, of course it's not a cheap one. I got this little beauty 2nd hand, I simply cannot afford to buy anything new, as decent kit is damn expensive.
Its a great camera, not too heavy to handle, incredibly easy to use, shoots in 4k resolution, which results in some lovely looking video, and it has dedicated Super Nightshot, which is just ace for filming the night time bits of investigations, coupled up with an IR illuminator, you can get some very clear night vision footage. All the night vision footage in the "Return to Station 142" video was shot with this particular camera
The other camera we use quite a lot is, believe it or not, is the camera built into your standard iPhone!!
Yes its true, you are armed with perfectly useable camera, just sitting there waiting to be used, and if your smartphone is relatively modern, then the camera is capable of shooting some very high quality footage for using in your videos.
We used the camera in Juliette's iPhone 8 to stream live footage onto our faceBook page,
and some of that footage found its way into the finished video. Juliette also used the phone to take a selection of very good still images and B-Roll footage, to be used in the video too.
Just remember though, if you are filming with a smartphone, whilst your team member is using a K2 meter, the smartphone will set the K2 off
! would love to go into the techniques of using cameras, about shot compositions and framing, I could also go into great depths about the importance of B-Roll footage, but that would most likely bore you even more than you may be already😂 Perhaps if this post proves popular, I can go into more depth about these things.
Right then folks, we have filmed our footage, where do we go now?
Hang on, missed a bit, quick rewind required, as usual I have got over excited, and forgotten something!!
I need to talk a little around storyboarding your video, so you can make sure you get the footage you need.
Whats a Storyboard? Ok, they are a technique used by filmmakers to, well basically, plan the format of their video, and how its going to run through.
The board can be as simple, or as complicated as you want..Hollywood movies have very elaborate boards to map out sections of footage
Guess what famous movie scene this board depicts?
My own storyboards look a lot more like this one, just some simple sketches, with notes , and they really only cover the parts of the video that explain things like the history of the site, or the equipment, and experiments we are using..I make notes of other things I would like to try and capture too.
Its impossible to storyboard the investigation itself, because we generally have no idea of what will happen, until we start.
So you have to think on your feet a little bit, if an event happens, try to capture it, and then do a piece to camera to explain what happened, it can make for some great footage if you do. There are plenty of ready made storyboard templates available on the net, or you can make one of your own, its a good practise to get into using the boards, if you can.
Right, lets assume we have our investigation footage filmed, we have a good selection of B-Roll in the can, have a number stills to use , our own , plus suitable images gathered from the internet,, so what happens next?
Its Editing Time
Editing video is an awful lot easier now, than it was years ago. There is no actual film strip to cut, and stick together, but the process is still very similar.
To start your editing journey, you are going to need a suitable computer.
I use a MacBook Pro laptop to edit my videos, of course I would love a bigger set up, with multiple screens, and a much more power computer, but as I don't have masses of cash to throw at my projects, I use what tools are available...The MacBook is perfectly good for what I am doing, and can handle the file sizes without lagging too much. I don't use the onboard memory to store the footage, as the files will take up way too much memory, instead I use an external SSD drive, and store the footage on there.
Of course if you are using a computer, you are going to need a suitable software package, or app as I believe programs are referred to these days!
Now being a dedicated Mac fanboi, I currently use FCPX (Final Cut Pro X) and it works really well. Prior to this I was using iMovie, which is a great introduction app to use, and its also bundled free on most Apple devices, including phones and pads
Of course there are any number of combinations you can use to edit, what suits me, may nor suit you. Plenty of advice on the net, just search for the app you are interested in, and see what folks have to say about it.
Ok, Final Cut Pro X, so whats that like then?
It looks like this when you open it up import your media, and start editing, and yes it all looks a bit daunting, but its surprising how easy it is once you get started. Now I'm not going to teach you how to use the software, it would take an age to explain all the doodahs on the screen. When I first opened it up, I took a sharp intake of breath, and then hit YouTube big time!!
I have no formal training in using cameras, direction, production or editing video, I learnt everything I know from YouTube, seriously, I did not have a bloody Scooby when I started out on my video making journey, all I had was some media, a clunky old iMac desktop, a software program called iMovie, and a little GoogleFu, and off `I went, merrily bunging things together, without a care in the world, thinking to myself "wow I am really good at this"
I'm still learning too, I am constantly on the look out for new techniques, to include in my videos, and unravelling the myriad of tasks that you can perform using FCPX.
This of course leads me to torture you with my first ever fully edited video.
A little background is required, before you dive headfirst into the shambling mess.
I was investigating with my first ever group, Great Yarmouth Paranormal Investigators (G.Y.P.I), we had somehow managed to get a foot in the door of a local school, something to do with one of the team member's daughter wanting us to do a presentation about what the group got up to, and to explain a little about the paranormal
I could not make it on the day, so I decided to make a video to try and help the rest of the team to explain a few things, and they could play it at the presentation, though the schools projector.
I had some footage of the group already, and with a completely stupid plan in my head, I gathered together a whole load of images, and got to work.
I had no idea what I was doing, so I taught myself how to use the iMovie software that was bundled in my desktop iMac, by watching a couple of YouTube videos, and below is the finished product!!
So, here we go, watch and errrrrr "enjoy!!"😂
It's a whole world away from the "Return to Station 142" video featured earlier in this post, and hopefully you can see how far I have come since my first, somewhat muddled attempt at video making.
The curious thing about my first video, was that it ended up being the catalyst for me to leave G.Y.P.I.
By all accounts the presentation at the school did not go so well, they played the video, but the teacher could not work the projector properly, so bits of it were not played. The group members tasked with doing the talking bit, were not so entertaining, so we ended up looking just a little bit errrrrr shit!!😂 Unfortunately I may have said so out loud, which did not go down well!!
As a trade off for the presentation, we were due to do an investigation at the school, the night was set, but I could not make it, so I asked for the group to try and change the night, only to be told they were perfectly capable of managing without me, and did not need me to be there..so I decided to not be there permanently, and I left the group!! I went on after this, to form my own team...Out There Paranormal being the end result.
Back to the start of this post, I was lamenting the lack of subscribers, moaning about making the videos, and generally whining about how many views the videos were getting.
You see, after spending the best part of 54 hours slaving over my MacBook Pro, editing together a video, the reward of no one bothering to watch the finished product, does wear me down, but every so often we get comments like this
and all those hours are worth it
Will I continue to produce the videos?
Yes indeed, we have added more kit to our arsenal, to make the videos even better, we have radio mics to improve the audio, we have gimbal mounts to steady the camera, and make the footage really smooth, and we have a whole load of mad ideas whirling around our heads, that are just dying to come out
Keep watching folks, there's more of this madness to come..