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For awhile now I’ve considered getting into and doing more video content. Rest assured I will not be going over to an all video format. I have many reasons for this but lets just say I prefer writing and I’m very happy with how this blog has turned out and evolved. That said YouTube video’s seem to be all the rage with the kiddies and I do agree some things are just better conveyed via a video. To that end I will be attempting to include more “Supplemental Video” content to my posts. These will largely be quick and fast unscripted video reviews of whatever machine I covered in the article and probably won’t nearly be as in depth as my written article. I may do some game reviews in video only format but that has yet to be seen. Currently I’m going to be going back and adding these videos to my older posts and hopefully the videos will encourage people to visit the blog and read some of the content as I’m not going to be producing a video for every article but only those I deem worth the effort and that could meaningfully add something.

What do you guys think of this? good idea or a waste of time?

To give you guys an example I’ve made one of these videos for one of my earliest articles “Anatomy of a Pentium based DOS PC ” so this would be an example of what to expect. please keep in mind I threw this together in one go and spent less then $100 on its production. Professional YouTubers have quite a bit of experience with video’s and in some instances spend thousands of dollars on equipment. Good quality HD cameras can run an excess of $800, mine was $50. I had a bit of fun making it even if the production value was lacking but if the idea sticks expect the videos to improve in quality.

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5 Comments

  1. I had an Am586 with a PCI S3 Trio64V+ and the linear frame buffer modes were the slower than the others.

  2. Cool, I’ve been considering doing some videos myself, but I’ve not worked out how it would fit in with what I already do. That and I’m not really equipped to do videos! I thought maybe I could do some short sections of gameplay for some games? Maybe a video tour of an old Sun machine?

    So far your video looks pretty good for a first go, but there’s a few small things that would make it better without spending anything/much.

    Writing a script will make it easier to get the wording right before shooting. Or you could re-shoot and edit stuff that didn’t quite turn out right.

    When shooting a screen turn the auto focus off on your camera and focus manually before starting, that way it won’t stuff up the visual when the screen changes. I think some camera’s have some option for eliminating CRT flicker as well but I forget what it is. You could use an LCD to avoid the flicker, or a VGA capture device.

    I’ve found with static photography that good lighting is key to getting the most out of your camera. Basic lights in a room aren’t bright enough. I put a bright globe in my desk lamp to try to help. You have to be careful of reflections/shiny surfaces though. I used a nearby surface to reflect the light from the lamp and that worked well, but there are probably other things you could do to. With proper lighting I’ve found it’s possible to get nice photos even with a basic camera.

    Sound is probably one of the more important aspects of a video, and I thought it was pretty good here, but a better microphone always seems to be a good move.

    Keep up the good work.
    Sparcie

    • thanks for the tips. I bought a 500 watt halogen utility light for $12 at Walmart to help with lighting. it is a bit harsh though and the thing gets super hot. unfortunately my camera doesn’t seem to have any ability to add a mic to it but I guess that’s expected for a $50 camera. I’m keeping an eye out for a reasonably priced camera with a microphone input so at least I can add a shotgun mic.The camera I have will do 1080P though I’ve been shooting in 720P for memory reasons.

      your right about manual focus for my next video I’m going to switch off Auto.

      I actually have a decent USB mic (me and a friend have started podcasts (hopefully I can do some segments on games) but as for scripts I may still freestyle the PC reviews but if I do game stuff I think i’ll probably do scripted stuff on top of game footage.

      I have yet to find any kind of VGA capture device that works well in DOS. my issues is I want to show the games as they are playing on the PC I’m presenting with the video card I’m using so all real hardware and via VGA. That means I can’t do DOSBOX or convert the signal to another format. for instance I know I could throw a Geforce into a DOS machine and split the video so I could play on VGA monitor and record via the S-video out but then I’m not using the card that I was actually talking about previously. I dunno, I need to put more thought into it all. I have an Elgato capture card that does everything from composite to HDMI but not VGA. perhaps I can get a VGA splitter + a converter allowing me to run the VGA to my playing monitor and then route the other signal to a VGA to component or HDMI converter and to the Elgato capture card. The problem i’m seeing with this though is all the converter boxes I see only support down to VGA 640×480 but i’m guessing many of the older DOS games are going to need to be in 320×200

      • Wow that’s quite a powerful light! You could try something like reflecting the light off a diffuse white surface to soften it, or I’ve heard you can use paper or thin cloth to soften a light. Check out what some photographers do for more ideas. Just make sure nothing contacts anything hot in the light! Myself I’m using a 20W Phillips compact fluorescent bulb (equivalent of about 100W basic incandescent) in a desk lamp, I’m thinking of using a second one to avoid shadows in my photos. This seems to give fairly good results.

        If you’ve got a good USB mic perhaps you could record the footage and audio separately and edit them together?

        I think it’s the shutter speed adjustment that can reduce CRT flicker? I suspect slower is better for flicker, but try a few settings. LCDs don’t flicker so that’s another option, although they don’t look the same as a CRT.

        Cheers
        Sparcie

  3. fortunately I’ve found a good “poor mans” solution to DOS game capture, the VGA variety anyways. I already own a Elgato capture device that captures just about every standard BUT VGA. thinking a bit I remembered I had picked up some Avermedia VGA to S-video thing at a thrift for about $5 some months back. Found it in my closet and tried it up and low and behold it works. The nice thing is it has a VGA pass through so I can still play the games on my monitor. On the side there is a jack that outputs S-video so it converts the VGA to S-video and I send that to my capture device along with the audio. The results are less then wonderful but its far better in my opinion to pointing the cam at a CRT screen. Apparently the converter can convert VGA to RGB as well so I may end up getting the correct cable and a RGB to component converter which should give me a better image. I’m leery of how well it will do with real low resolution stuff though and in those cases I may need to resort back to the camera but it seems to work fine for most games.


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