Welcome to Retro Game On!

Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Friendly, Warm and Enlightening Tour of My "Film Set"

Hello! Welcome! Sit down, make yourself comfortable. Please no, I insist, drink the last beer in my fridge.
Feeling all dinky-dory now? Great. Last post in my reveal of the video review for Top Gear Rally, I promised I'd do a tour of my filming setup. I briefly talked about it in a Facebook post, but since this is my blog and it's where I apparently sometimes write things, I thought I would do some more extensive coverage.

The Tripod
I thought I would start with my tripod, since it's really the most important thing; holding stuff up and all. Important business. Currently I'm using a Manfrotto MKC3-H01, which is nicely priced and sits in the mid-range of quality. I've actually been using it since my first DSLR, so it isn't actually that new. However, I felt no need to upgrade it along with everything else since its purpose doesn't become outdated.
It goes nearly as high as me when fully extended (I'm over 6 feet tall), and is quite the sturdy servant. Thanks tripod, you're the best.

The CameraOriginally I was using a Canon EOS 1100D, which was great for learning the core concepts of manual photography, but was really quite sucky when it came to video. For a start its top quality was only 720p, but the real kicker was the fact that you couldn't control the settings for video; it was all automatic. In my opinion, the 1100D sucked at metering. This was all well and fine when it came to photos, but having no control of the video really pissed me off.
Luckily tax returns are a thing, so this year I was able to afford a new camera: the god-like Canon EOS 7D. As well as improvements all over the board, what really matters for this blog is the fact I can shoot video manually, and in full HD. Not only do I get to learn a new skill, but the video quality is vastly improved.

The LensSince I was buying a new DSLR that was going to be used for video quite a bit, I decided to buy a new lens as well. My primary lens is a 15-55mm, which is great, but the aperture only goes as high as f/3.5. That isn't too bad, but for video you really want it as high as possible. This means more light naturally, as opposed to cranking the ISO which will make the video more grainy.
I decided to go for a fixed 50mm lens which has an aperture of f/1.8. It wasn't too pricey either, being under $150. Not only is the lens great for the lighting, but since it is fixed at 50mm, it does a great job of focusing on me and blurring out the background, which gives the videos a nice professional touch.

The Microphone
The number one complaint in the reviews for the 7D was the inbuilt mic. Now my standard of sound isn't that high, so I didn't think it was too terrible. In fact, I used it for my last review, and all my other reviews have used the inbuilt mic of the camera (although my old, old videos using a point and shoot were pretty piss-poor). Since I was going the full nine for everything else though, I thought I mind as well invest in a mic. Why not? This one didn't cost that much. I bought it from a Chinese Ebay store for $25.
I bet there were a few audiophiles who shuddered as they read that, but keep in mind that when you compare it to the inbuilt mic, it's miles better. One day I might buy an awesome microphone, but considering my viewer base and the amount I release videos, I think this one will do me fine for now.

The Lighting
Obviously I've put a lot of money and learning into technical equipment, but what about the basics? The number one thing I hated about the quality of my videos was the lighting. My bedroom isn't that big, so there is really only one place I can sit and talk to my camera comfortable. Unfortunately, this is right under the rooms light. This meant that an ugly shadow was cast over my face as I was talking, so it was time for an upgrade.
Well, kinda. I haven't actually spent any money on this, just now when I film I have a 3 point lighting setup. I use a floor lamp on my right which usually goes in my gym, and an old desk lamp sits at about the same hight to my left on a bookcase. These evenly light up my face while the normal room light acts as an ambient light source. Watch this video compared to this one to see the major difference. Although next time I'm closing my curtains, as the clouds moving outside kept making the window go dark, and then light over and over.

The Controller
One thing about making these videos, is that it's always a one man show. No one else helps out, so I have to come up with ways to make the process efficient. When I was using my 1100D, I would plug it in via video-out into one of my computer monitors. This way I could see if it was focused properly, while using my remote release to actually control the focus points. It kinda worked, but was a bit of a mess around with cables and I had to actually get up to hit the record button.
With my 7D though, I can actually hook it up to my laptop via USB, and completely control it from there. It came with a program called EOS Utility which includes all the manual controls, plus Live View. I can just have my laptop facing me on my bed, as I control it with a wireless mouse on my lap. I don't even have to get up!

The full shibang (except the mic)
If you've reached this far, thank you for reading. At the moment I'm quite happy with the setup, and I'm having a ball creating the videos. Stay tuned for more of those soon!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Video: Top Gear Rally Review for the N64

Another dollar, another video review? Wait? What?
Last video review, I commented on my goal of reaching two videos a month which was slightly hampered by the fact that my Nintendo AV cable died. I say slightly hampered, because I've actually reached that goal!
For one thing, the videos are getting easier to create as my process of going about them is getting way more streamlined. Secondly, I recently upgraded my camera and bought a new lens, which I was just itching to use for video. I talked about this new set-up in a recent Facebook post, so check that out if you're interested (I'll be doing a post on that here soon as well).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Bought This For No Real Reason

For the hobby? To play? For the collection? These are questions I ask myself every time I buy an item that relates to retro gaming. I am spending my hard earned dollars (and sometimes Euros) you know.
But for this? This is the first time I've bought something and double-take'd the purchase as I was buying it, driving home, cleaning the dirty-ass contacts, testing it and as I type these words right now.
GoldenEye 007 is a great game, don't get me wrong. That isn't what I'm debating about with myself right now though. I should probably give a bit of back-story.

Even though I never owned a N64 during my childhood, the first time I ever played this game was when I was about seven or eight years old. My Dad and I use to rent out a Nintendo 64 from the local Civic Video as well as this game, and since I didn't even have a PSone at that stage, I played it to death in the weekend or week that I had it.
It wasn't the only time we rented out the console either, so I got to play GoldenEye multiple times as well as a few other N64 games. I can't remember which ones exactly that well, except for a distinctly horrifying memory of Superman 64.

From there you would think; "You played it in your childhood, so it's worth it to play again, right?"
Well yeah, except I've played it since. Long before this blog and my collection, I was really into emulators. I would play emulators of all the old consoles I could find. In fact, the reason I bought a Dreamcast (the start of my collection) was because I couldn't find a DC emulator that worked properly.
I was especially into the N64 emulator though, so much so that I bought a cheap Chinese N64 controller knock-off, and an adapter so I could plug it into a USB port on my computer.

It was during this time that I played through the whole of GoldenEye. Considering this was only a few years ago, and I rarely come back to play games so soon, I essentially just bought this game to put on my shelf. I'm not going to play it, not for years anyway. This is exactly the kind of thing I don't want to be doing; buying games just for the sake of it.

Ah well, it's done now. Maybe one day I'll create a video review for it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Video: Banjo Kazooie for the N64 Review

I know that last time, when just under a month ago I posted my video review for Virtua Tennis, I said I wanted to up the game and release two videos a month. Sadly, just as I was in the full swing of capturing footage for this review, my Nintendo AV cable topped its self.
Not wanting to start again on something else while I was still working on this, I waited for the replacement to come. I know that if I got into the full swing of another video, this one just wouldn't get done.

Last night I did finally finish it though, and now it's here for your viewing pleasure. I know it's the best video I've ever made, because I'm wearing a Retro Game On branded shirt.