Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Month: May 2022 (Page 1 of 2)

GoPro at Bethany Lake Park

Feeling a primal need to get out of the apartment for a couple of hours, I took advantage of a break (more or less) in the inclement weather today for a photo & video making trip up to Bethany Lake Park, a green space located under several sets of power-transmission wires.

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Duckies Go Splash

I promised (repeatedly, ahem) that “next time” there’d be more ducks. Welp.

I almost left out the giant racing duck that my daughter gave me a few years ago. That would’ve been such a mistake.

I need to replace Hitfilm Express as my video editing software since it’s incapable of handling the codecs I normally use or the frame rates that the slo-mo work involves. Also, its “speed ramp” capability is the opposite of functional. Everything else about this shoot was a delight, at least.

Okay, maybe not the bees, but they weren’t that much of a bother either.

Anyway: Isn’t it a shame that the Bed Bath & Beyond ducks and the Bud ducks both can’t “right” themselves reliably after a splashdown? Bob, Dot, Skelly and the racing ducks had no problems. Good on them.

Next time… I’m not sure! We’ll see what tickles my fancy when the time comes.

To The Moderately Well-Known Man

Vangelis passed away earlier this week.

He was in his late 70s and the heyday of his widespread musical relevance is long past, so you’d be forgiven for asking, “Who?” If you did already know of him, it might probably be as “The Chariots Of Fire song guy” or maybe as “the Blade Runner soundtrack guy.” PBS viewers of a certain age might think of him as “the Cosmos theme song guy.” (Someone might possibly file him in their mental databank as “that wine commercial song guy” but I figure by the time someone knows that “Hymne” was used for a series of Gallo Wines commercials in the mid-1980s, that someone is probably moderately aware of Vangelis in general anyway.)

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Seven Hundred Frames Or So

I now know the limits of the Lumix FZ80’s battery capacity.

Over the course of two time-lapse tests this past couple of weeks I was able to get nice, zoomed-in time-lapse cloudscapes. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the battery only lasts around three hours because you can’t tell the camera to turn off the rear display. And since you can’t bypass the battery and run off of “wall power,” you’re stuck with the limitations of the battery.

This afternoon I set up a shoot intended to run five hours and only got about three. Since the battery ran out completely, I wasn’t able to “finish” the time lapse mode shoot with the usual “make a video” step… which means I ended up with 750 individual images that were to be used in the making of a video file by the camera itself.

I did that anyway once the battery had some juice again, yes, but that file is not what I uploaded to YouTube. Instead, I told HitFilm Express to load up those 750 big juicy still frames instead. That gave me the best possible quality source material to get a 4K video result. Also, I learned how to do a title card and dissolve transitions, because why not?

I’m not sure which I’m happier with, the title card & fade in/out or the time-lapse footage itself.

I probably won’t use the Lumix to do many more of these, which is a shame because I love having the ability to zoom in to the distance, thus removing all of the signs of being in an apartment complex (neighbors’ decks & windows, our deck’s railing, etc). I still want to see if I can get slightly better results, though, so if (when?) I try again anyway, I’ll use 5 second intervals instead of the 15 second intervals used to capture the above video. Hopefully that’ll give smoother-looking cloud action with details you can track better, instead of just an impression of “clouds go brrrr” like I ended up with today. Also, as much as I love having the treeline to provide a frame of reference, “trees go brrr” is definitely an unwanted result.

Lessons learned, further experimentation and practice warranted.

Next time… damn, I keep promising more ducks, don’t I? Huh. Where’s the GoPro…?


Always Be Catching Delightful Eevees.

That’s one mechanized toy up front, two snap-together kits (left center and far right), one Funko (those eyes give it away), and one Nanoblocks hiding on the far left. And yes, they’re on an Eevee blanket.

It’s been so long since I used the Lumix that the battery had completely drained and I had to tell it what time & date it is all over again. (Whoops.) I also had to go into “aperture priority” mode to get enough depth of field to prevent either the front Eevee or the Funko from showing up as fuzzier than they should be.

With that said, I’m glad to have taken the Lumix out of mothballs. While I really want to play with the GoPro some more, it wasn’t really a great choice for this particular shot.

Next time… more ducks…?

Strata Geez

Fire Emblem: Three Houses ruined me for strategy-ish games on the Switch. Since my two-year run of playing (and replaying, and replaying) that particular game, I’ve tried a few other options:

  • Trails of Cold Steel III – The combat system’s a bit weird, which I could deal with were it not for the fact that the abilities slotting system is a lot weird. If I have to have multiple wiki pages open every time I want to rework my gearing then I’m no longer having fun.
  • Valkyria Chronicles – It has a neat mixed overhead-plus-first-person combat style, great idea, but each mission basically has One Best Way To Complete and if you vary from that at all then you stand a good chance of failing, and you have a near certainty of getting low rewards. Sure, brilliant strategist players could probably dig in on this… I am not one. I’m a filthy casual, remember?
  • Triangle Strategy – The main thing driving me away is that I cannot get into the retro-pixel-art look. I know that sounds petty, and I’m not making a value judgement about the game or its fans, it’s just not for me. (Vyx is playing and enjoying it, and good on her.)

At this point I’m kind of giving up on doing anything on the Switch until the Warriors-like Three Houses spinoff/sequel/whatever arrives late next month. Sigh.

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