I’ve spent most of my model railroad free time working on another video and slowly (very slowly!) I’m getting up to speed on the differences between motion and still photography. For the latest video I wanted to have scanner chatter in the background. Tracking it down has been a challenge but I’ve made some progress. Scott Jordan was very generous in allowing me to use his YouTube audio of “Switching a Rail Yard”. I know that many of my blog followers enjoy slow speed switching. I think you’ll love Scott’s highly creative piece where he clips the camera to his vest as he goes about his job in the field. You can see it HERE.
I also appreciate the suggestion from my readers that I download a scanner app. that allows you to record audio. To that end I’ve been experimenting with “Police Scanner 5-0 Radio Pro” which has a record feature that works well. It’s sort of like hunting chipmunks though, you have to develop a knack for knowing when to hit the record button ahead of the transmission which can be tricky.
I’m having a lot of luck with using my iPhone as a camera. The small sensor and physics of the camera give you a little more depth of field than traditional cameras. Following the advice of the producers of a Sundance breakout film, I use the app FiLMic Pro to make the iPhone more user friendly. The app has been an absolute godsend and gives you a tremendous amount of control. You can set focus and exposure independently, have white balance control, and have a “wheel” to give infinite focus control.
A few posts back I wrote a post about producing for “An Audience of One”. I’d never really thought about it but I do think it’s important to take a step back and consider the end game. Who is this video for? Does it serve a commercial or public service end? Do we want to entertain our friends? Are we sub-consciously looking for pats on the back (which is human nature for all of us I believe). The point of the post was that for me personally, the videos are solely for my own enjoyment. There is no commercial purpose whatsoever. They aren’t produced to entertain the hobby as a whole. At a few points in the production process I found myself drifting towards altering the content in a way that might appeal to a broader audience. Doing so can be a slippery path where you end up with more people sorta liking it versus a smaller group really liking it. Altering content to avoid negative feedback results in a more watered down, homogenized, “muzac” style production. On a small scale it’s the Indie movie vs. Blockbuster situation. The broader model railroad audience as a whole prefers the formulaic template of fast pace, fast cuts, flashing lights, and high angles. I enjoy lower angles, longer clips, and more of a scale pace that is closer to what I’m used to seeing when I rail fan. The reality is that’s human nature to have others enjoy what we’ve done but in this case it’s crazy to let that alter my course when in the end I’m the only one in the audience I’m trying to entertain.