Sunset #2

I started to work on a small movie project this week. I’ve not done much work on any of my other, higher priority, projects, but I thought this one might get the ball rolling.

Recently I’ve watched a lot of the relaxation / autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos on YouTube. They helped me cope when my wife was sick.

I also noticed that they are quite popular; some have millions of views. So I thought I’d like to make my own.

One thing that I noticed about some of the ASMR videos, after my brother pointed it out, was that while it appears to be a “live” video, it is actually a still photo. They’ve added in some animated bits to make it seem more real. My brother pointed out that the clouds in one video didn’t move, even after a couple of hours. I’ve seen several 4 hour video where the angle of the Sun doesn’t change. I’d like to do one where things do change.

I tried twice to do a video of the sunset from my office window. The second one turned out better, so I decided to work with it. I got about 1 hour and 50 minutes of usable video. Unfortunately, as it gets darker outside, the image starts to get noisy. I’ve noticed that other cameras do the same thing when I shoot in low light conditions. Maybe I should do videos where it doesn’t get dark out.

I used a Kodak video camera I got for our visit to China in 2009. It was a simple fixed focus, auto exposure camera with only 4 buttons to control it. Not exactly a professional camera. I was worried that pointing the camera at the sun would destroy the image sensor, which is why I decided to use my old camera. While I didn’t want to emulate Alan Bean, if it did get damaged, that would give me an excuse to buy a new camera. As it turned out, the image sensor seems to be just fine. All the same, I think I should look into newer cameras to see if it makes sense to get one.

The camera will only record for an hour or so and then stop. That is a bit of a hassle, but checked on the camera every 10 minutes or so, then stop and restart the recording just before the hour was up. The camera shut down completely after a little over 2 hours. I think it over heated.

I ended up with three segments of video. There was a slight jar each time I stopped and restarted the camera, which I needed to cut out. With the stuff I had to cut out and the time it took to stop and restart the camera, there is a slight gap in the time line. Although the gap is only a second or so, it produced a noticeable jump. I used a cross fade and it looks much better. The movement seems to speed up for a second or two. I could likely fix that too, but I am not sure it is really necessary.

Another problem, which I should have caught when I set up to record, was that you can see the reflection of the camera in the window in the corner of the screen. I got around that with a zoom in. That isn’t an ideal solution. I will need to avoid that problem the next time.

To finish it off, I added some simple titles. I’ve played the video on my TV several times and I think it looks OK.

What I still need to do is develop the soundscape. In a proper ASMR video, you need to have some sort of white noise run through out the video. This is usually wind or rain or water falls. None of those sounds make sense in my video. While I did record sound, because the camera was inside, the sound is very quiet. You can hear me walking around. There is also a slight hum. I think that is the computer. That really won’t do. I will need to record some typical outdoors sounds in my neighbor hood: people walking, people walking down the gravel lane, some wind, some birds, dogs, cats, and maybe the occasional car or bus passing in the distance.

This is a good first try, and I do plan to finish it up. However, I want to try it again. I know we get some much more beautiful sunsets now and then and would like to catch one of those. I also would like to get some day time videos at other locations, like along the river or maybe in the woods or mountains.

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