The Gopro Hero 5 karma advert is aspirational

I love sports and I love the outdoors. I really like snowboarding when the conditions are good and when there are few people. I love to climb, to hike and to do via ferrata. Last year during a film festival I was invited to try Paragliding for free and the flight lasted 45 minutes.

In light of this you can see why the Gopro Hero 5+ karma above is so fun for me to watch. It’s not that I want a gopro camera. I’ve had at least two of their devices and except for filming two or three dives and two or three via ferrata the cameras have stayed in drawers or boxes. GoPro show adventures and experiencers that I aspire to. For this reason we want to watch these edits. We enjoy these edits.

Modern film making does away with cranes, jibs and tripods replacing them with drones and devices like the Karma Grip. If you look at the adverts you see that video production has shifted from being a profession to a pass time. At the time of writing the Grip costs about 350 CHF and the drone has not been priced. GoPro is competing directly with DJI and their product line.

With systems like GoPro and DJI are providing the term prosumer evolves. Thrill seekers and adventurers get to play with technology that they can afford to buy and use during their trips or weekend adventures. With this technology fixed cameras are a thing of the past. The camera moves with the action. In practice the camera operator doesn’t need to be an athlete to get in position to get the shot. Assistants are no longer required to carry heavy gear. You carry everything in a bag on your back and it’s ready to use within a short amount of time.

 

The Tiny House movement and travel

The Tiny House Movement and travel combine well together. In this video a Czech couple bought a fan and transformed it into a self contained home to live in for a year. They chose it because they wanted room for the surfboards, wet suits and more. It has space for cooking lamb shanks, socialising and sleeping. You can enter the van both from the front and the back.

I really like the idea of this van. It would be fun to travel for a few months from place to place, do what there is to do, see what there is to see and then move on. This would adapt well to hiking, climbing, via ferrata and other sports. It allows you to live comfortably without spending money on hotels, villas or other places.

The project cost them around 10,000 dollars to build so if you work and save up for a few months you could easily take a gap year and afford to do such a project. Working on such a project does require some skills in wood working. He said that it took hundreds, if not thousands of hours to prepare the van. If you’re travelling then a few steps a day for a few weeks would get to this final result.

At one moment they speak about the herb garden that they have in the glove box. As they had the space they planted some mint and other herbs for cooking. As a result of this herb garden they said that when driving on rough roads the Mint plant gets shaken about and in the process the van smells of mint. It’s a natural air freshener.

In a month they will move on and sell the van to continue travelling. If I was travelling to New Zealand I’d like to try living in a van like this and use it as a base to go hiking, climbing and enjoying other sports. This seems like a pleasant way of travelling.

 

Steep – A Snowboarding, skiing, Parapente and Base Jumping game

Winter is coming and snow has fallen on the local peaks and then melted again. The temptation to go snowboarding in real life is back. While waiting to go and do sports in the real world Ubisoft give us the opportunity to simulate the experiences of snowboarding, skiing, base jumping and paragldiding.

I know three of these sports. I ski, I snowboard and I recently tasted my first paragliding flight.As I watched the trailer above and Jack Septiceye’s video of the game it reminded me of so many of the extreme sports videos I have watched. It also reminded me of the FIFAD event as well as the Montagne En Scène events. It pays a nice tribute to the culture of snowboarding and extreme sports that many of us have grown up with. It also harkens back to the days when I would edit the events that are mentioned in the trailer to this game.

This would be a good game to have in the chalet while waiting for the snow to fall or the conditions to improve.

I understand why the game filled me with passion. I liked seeing places that we know. It’s because the game developers are in Annecy so they’re playing in the same landscape as us. They’re snowboarders and skiers so they understand the sensations and they’re trying to emulate them in the game. When watching the paragliding sequences I like that we hear the flight computer’s beep as you ascend at different rates. It’s one aspect that you really notice the first time you try paragliding. That’s a nice touch for the game.

From the videos I have watched so far it looks as though they have managed to capture all of these sensations in the game. This looks like a really enjoyable game to play. The game should provide people with a nice amount of escapism. As they get used to the controls and as the community for this game grows so the ties that bind this community will grow. It looks excellent.

Attack on Titan – The Jack Septic eye play-throughs

One of my favourite play through series at the moment is Attack on Titan by Jack Septic Eye. I haven’t watched the manga series so I don’t know the context of the series. I like this series because I find the story okay and I like the idea of swinging around between buildings and through an entire city.

When I hear of Titans I think of Greek mythology rather than Japanese Mangas. I would expect it to be about Greek gods, Titans and of course humans. In this case we’re transported to a city that has three layers of walls around it. When the Titans are hungry they break through the walls and eat the humans. The Humans were forced to retreat from the outer wall and part of the city to the inner walls.

Some people are trained to fight. They have grappling hooks, boosters and swords. Using the grappling hooks they can move from one part of the city to the other quickly. With their blades they can attack the titans and subjugate them. The game starts with a training session in some woods. When they are qualified they can protect their part of the city. They can attack the titans by amputating their legs and arms before getting the nape of the neck of these titans. When the titans are killed they vanish. There are small, medium and large titans.

I find the episodes fun to watch because I like the idea of flying across a city using grappling hooks. It reminds me of Assassin’s Creed but with greek mythology and manga lore. This isn’t the type of game that I would play but it is fun to watch. It provides for a nice moment of escapism, to forget about reality and daydream. Jack has produced five episodes so far. Two and a half million out of twelve million subscribers have watched at least the first episode. Will you be one more viewer?

A 360° cooking Show would be interesting to watch.

For a few weeks now I have been thinking about how you could make a 360° cooking show. For this video I would like to be able to see the process from an angle where I see the person cooking. I would also like to see all of the ingredients and the preparation of various stages of the recipe. For this you would need an open plan kitchen where preparation takes place in the middle of the room.

If it was to be filmed with just one camera then the camera should be lower than eye level but not by much. I would want to look straight ahead in to the eyes of the person preparing the meal and talking. As the person speaks about ingredients I would like to be able to look down and see all of the ingredients. You would need enough room for chopping and marinating. I would think about having a camera above the cooking surfaces so that we can see how the textures change from the start of cooking to when the mix becomes “saucy”. That’s how they describe it in recipes.

I want the 360 approach to be justified. I want to make it so that the viewer has a reason to wear VR goggles. The video above justifies a 360° video whereas the video below does not. The camera needs to be placed as close to the action as possible. It should be designed so that the viewer has to turn his head to see what is happening.

This video does not justify the 360 approach because the action happens in front of the camera and although you can look around the background is not relevant. The action is too small on screen. You can’t see what they are doing.

The camera operator and the producer should learn the recipe and identify what the stages of preparation are. They should have a shot list of every thing that is relevant and place the camera accordingly. Is an oven or a grill used? is sauce prepared? Is something timelapse friendly?

A few years ago we were up in a swiss chalet with a friend and we decided to cook a pizza with a log fire rather than an oven. We started the log fire and then we placed the pizza next to the fire. As the fire was only on one side we rotated the pizza to get it to cook in full. In watching the playback you see the pizza cook as well as the logs go from being logs to embers and “melt” downwards as they burn. If the camera can safely be placed close enough to the fire then you could look down at the pizza as the ingredients change appearance and look up to see the logs decrease in size.

I believe that 360° cooking shows have a future. In theory you need just one well placed camera and editing is cut down to a minimum. Instead of editing and vision mixing from two or three cameras you need just one. I believe that the programme should not be more than 5-10 minutes. People, for now, are still getting used to VR headsets and may find extended periods of time more tiring to watch.

How long will it take before someone like Jamie Oliver uses VR cooking simulations to teach people to cook in the real world. With enough time they could emulate real cooking times at different heats so that when you transition from VR to reality you have the right intuition to successfully cook for yourself and others.

The Selfie Stick cutter

In some cities you see a strange set of creatures and the selfie stick cutter is there to resolve this issue. People carry long poles at the end of which they stick their camera. They look at the phone held at a safe distance and smile, do victory symbols and other such gestures. These sticks would be really interesting if they were used to provide people with interesting images. Instead they are used to take pictures in interesting places with ordinary people in front. As a camera operator I photograph landscapes or monuments. It is an old fashioned habit.

The selfie stick is so endemic to some parts of the world by now that pranksters run around and cut people’s selfie sticks with the phone still attached. You can watch as dozens of phones fall to the ground in this video. Mobile phone repair shops must really enjoy watching this video. Look at all the work they will soon have.

I think that this video is meant to be seen as a joke but can you imagine how much anger such an action would generate. Can you imagine how fast you would have to run away from some of these people. You see these people look surprised and in some cases betrayed.

They have a quarter of a million views so far and it will grow from tomorrow onwards, as people in offices share the video with their friends and colleagues. Maybe by next week it will have more than a million views. Selfie sticks are popular and so are pranks. With the money they could make from monetising this video they could compensate the people whose screens they broke.

The story is not viral yet
The story is not viral yet

Selfie sticks do have one practical purpose. You can fix 360 cameras to them and take pictures without the giant index finger getting in the way. That is how I use one. You can get them for cheap from certain types of shops. You do not need to spend 29 euros.

Negotiating Overhangs

Negotiating overhangs is physical, fun and sometimes scary. It is for this reason that the Via Ferrata de Thônes via ferrata section is such fun. It gets your adrenaline pumping as you fight to keep hold and clip and unclip in the relevant sections. It forces you to overcome your fear of being over the void. The third section of the Via Ferrata de Saillon is a challenge for the very same reason.

The video above shows rock climbers at the IFSC World cup negotiating an overhanging wall and trying various techniques to get further than other people. We see how they use heel hooks and go for it before losing their grip and falling. This footage is fun because we see them work to solve the problem in a number of ways and then fall. When they fall the belayer slows down but does not stop the fall so it looks as if they are falling towards the ground. Imagine an ordinary person getting that sensation. It would scare them.

Fear is good because it keeps us safe. It means that we’re thinking of the consequences and we are aware of the dangers. It means that we will only progress within our comfort level. If we have doubt we can climb down to the nearest quick draw and rest. If we ignore that fear then we may fall. By staying in our comfort zone we are safer.

When you’re climbing you know when you have good foot holds and hand holds. You also know how long you will be able to stay in that position. The more afraid you are the more energy you burn. That’s why positioning is important. In the video above we see that one person decided to climb feet first through the overhanging section. Our leg and feet muscles are much stronger than our arm muscles so they allow us more time to think of a solution. With time all of these climbers could have negotiated that section.

 

Thoughts on Youtube Backstage

Youtube backstage is a consequence of Youtube comments not playing nicely within Google+. Google+ is a pleasant social network where people who want to have conversations and share pictures can meet and broaden their horizons. It is a place where you can write comments that are as long or as short as you want. Misunderstandings, as a result are less common.

The idea of youtube backstage is to expand youtube channels so that content creators can share images, polls and more. In so doing Youtube would provide people with a one stop shop. The need for twitter, instagram and facebook would be reduced.

Some youtube content creators have from two hundred thousand to ten million followers. With such a big audience youtube pages would become self contained communities. If you’re watching No Man Sky videos rather than commenting on episode videos you will comment on the game. Would this encourage people to move away from Reddit?

One of the most interesting benefits of youtube implementing text, images and polls is that it would create an environment in which for advertisers to be seen without distracting people from the content. When you watch youtube videos you see pre-roll videos and banners. When videos are longer an advert is shown after a certain number of minutes. With text, images and polls adverts could be shown for longer. As channels are themed adverts will be relevant to the channel rather than a person’s browsing history.

I spent a few weeks watching content created by youtubers. In that time I have watched “series” and “episodes”. If youtube finds a way to monetise the niches that content creators have built up over time then Google and Youtube will benefit. People will go from passive viewing and occasional commenting to active conversations. Conversations make social networks sticky. A sticky social network provides value for advertisers. Advertisers provide funding to content creators and this provides content creators with a higher income, providing them with the incentive to do more of the same.

A Climbing Two year Old

A Climbing two year old is ordinary. They try to climb on to chairs, they climb to stand up. They climb up the stairs and the swings. What is less ordinary is for a two year old to rock climb like a grown up. As I watch the video below what inspires me the most is to see such a young human climb like a grown up. She learned by watching others and by being given the opportunity to practice at home and in climbing gyms.

This video makes me happy because it is nice to see such a young person learn to climb. If I had been given the support and opportunity, and if the sport had been more evolved, then I too would have started climbing at a young age. I used to climb trees, climb on to garage roofs and occasionally climb rocks from which I could eventually get down. I had to wait until I was more than 20 years old before I could climb my first “dalle”. This child was given access to that world from a very young age. Her first memory will surely be of climbing.

To make this story news worthy they had to add conflict of course. They had to speak about how some people who watch this think that it is dangerous to allow a child to climb. As the mother said “When she climbs in the gym we are watching her and she has 19 inch thick matts to fall on. The playground and the street are more dangerous”. They go on to say that she face planted on a street. Every single child does that. That’s the beauty of being a child. You’re bound to fall, cry, be picked up by your parents, and then a few minutes later start playing again. Climbing when you’re with the right people is no different. When and if I have children I will teach them about snowboarding and rock climbing and snorkelling. I want to pass on my passions. I want them to be the next generation of sports enthusiasts.

Prison Architect Game Play videos fill a niche.

I sometimes envy people who produce gameplay videos because the barrier to entry is so low. In theory all you need is a microphone, a gaming PC or console, a capture card and the ability to talk without being asked questions. In essence you are providing an interior monologue whilst staring at a screen and playing a game. Prison Architect Game Play are an example of this trend.

The purpose of this game is to plan and then build a prison. You make sure that you stick within the budget, that the prison is clean and that you make enough money to survive and possibly even thrive. As you build one prison you can then sell it and keep the money to build a new prison.

Some game play videos are interesting because you discover a story at the same time as the person whom you are watching play the game. In other cases you watch people build parks or prisons and you get to live their experiences through the video. It brings us back to our youth when we watched our siblings play computer games. In this case though, the game player can have from two hundred thousand to four million people watch their videos.

On youtube these videos are monetised but I have not researched how much they make but view. I also noticed that if you watch these videos via Chromecast you do not see any of the adverts so I question how they monetise these videos when they are viewed on a television.