Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Embrace Destiny: My New Video Project

Hello everyone! Welcome! Today, I talk about a new project I've been working on, called Embrace Destiny, and some of the things I've learned along the way.

First things first, I must say that this medium, writing, is a far easier one through which to communicate than video. Here, I can go back, revise, take breaks, and yet you read through it seamlessly. A live, or even recorded performance, is more challenging.

I'm no stranger to the spoken word, I've been doing presentations and public speaking for almost a decade now, and I even have a slow-growing podcast over at Ad Absurdum, but speaking alone, narrating something, that posed some new challenges for me.

But, before I get there, let's talk about technical details...yay! I follow a couple of YouTubers who stream coverage of the video game Destiny, complete with audio commentary. I love the game, and the videos, and I decided this was something I wanted to try.

The first issue I ran into was in recording gameplay longer than 5 minutes. The Xbox comes with a built-in screen capture software, but it has a maximum recording limit. All of my research indicated that a capture card was needed to do more. I didn't really want to buy anything, since I wasn't really sure how committed I would be to making videos.

I realized that the Xbox could be streamed to a Windows 10 PC, and that the recording feature there could capture up to 2 hours in length at a time! Perfect! I tried it out and began testing the audio and the video.

And immediately ran into problems. The streaming feature captures the in-game audio and video perfectly, but not my voice. No matter what I tried, my voice was either barely audible, or non-existent. I tried everything. I tried using the Kinect, an Xbox controller headset, my computer's built-in microphone, even a set of earbuds with a microphone on it which I know works, since I use it for phone calls all the time.

Nothing worked, or at least, nothing worked the way I wanted it to. The other bad thing was that, while my Xbox was streaming, no one could hear me in party chat. Again, tried everything, but as long as I was streaming my Xbox to my tablet, no one could hear me on the other side.


So, I looked some more and found Twitch! Well, I circled back around to Twitch. I was hesitant to sign up for a new service, again trying to find the easiest way to do this without "committing" to anything. 

Twitch was easy to sign up for and seems easy to use. All I have to do is say "Xbox Broadcast" and "Xbox Stop Broadcast" and Twitch does the rest, uploading my video immediately.

However, the video quality is less than ideal, and I'm not sure why yet. It seems to lag in weird places, at weird times, so I'm going to have to look into that.

Now, it would have been the easiest had I been able to narrate while I played, Twitch would then capture everything and stream it to my channel. Except, despite being quite confident most of the time, I had a tough time trying to do that.

Sometimes I sounded too robotic, sometimes I would lose my way and leave an odd gap, sometimes I would say a word a certain way and immediately regret it. I am too much of a perfectionist, and it will take me some time to find the right balance here, so for now, I decided to narrate the commentary later.

Of course, it took me about 30 times to get it right, but that's okay. Then, it was a quick combination of audio and video, making a new YouTube channel, posting it, writing this article, and boom, done.

So, for anyone interested in something new, there you go. It's a definite work in progress, and I do apologize for any of the amateur mistakes apparent in the work, but I am also happy to have made it this far.

I have a lot of learning to do, and I hope to only improve the process and the product over time. I will continue to make these videos as long as I have something interesting to show and/or tell. It's a nice project to combine two things that I love (Destiny and analyzing things) all while developing a new skill.

Addendum: I made my channel, and my first video, over a week ago and immediately lost confidence in my work. There are already several Destiny channels, made by people who have worked hard, for years, generating weekly content so great that they are able to support themselves entirely. My first video is choppy, my narration is slightly robotic, and my production value is low. As I say in the video, I'm not sure who would be interested enough to watch since the videos pertain to a very specific game, thus likely losing interest for those closest to me who don't play, and not interesting to a fan base of players who have seen more and better videos made for the past 3 years. I have no interest in fame, so why then should I put time and effort into this project?

After thinking about it, I realized that it is perfectly fine if my videos receive few views. The channel is purely recreational, the only serious aspect pertains to my intention to improve my video-making skills over time. 

So, after much ado, my channel is live! Thanks for reading, watching, and supporting my efforts. At the end of it all, this post is here not only to introduce my efforts, but to remind you all of a few simple things:

The success of others should not diminish your own attempts. Find the heart of your project and let that motivate you, no matter the odds.

I hope you enjoy. If you have any comments, or advice to offer, let me know. Thanks for reading (and watching)!

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