Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

FruityGamer: Behind the Scenes


Precisely none of you may be wondering how we make FruityGamer here at Freyburg Media. Well, I’m here to tell you the thinking, process and methodology I used. My methods and tools may differ from what’s available to you, but you’ll at least get a general idea as to how to pull of your own video podcasts.

When myself and my business partner made “This is Yaletown” we did so thinking the internet would soon push up its production values to the levels of television, and that we’d better be ahead of the curve. But in fact this has not proven to be the case. People watch internet shows for many reasons, but slick production values (to a point) doesn’t seem to be a necessary part of the equation.

I figured that given my experience creating Radio Free Skaro there was no reason I couldn’t create similar podcasts on video and in audio form, and do so in such a way that they’re quick and easy to make.

But in order to do so, I had to work past a few mental hurdles of my own. Through much effort I’ve taught myself Final Cut and quite a few other high-end post production programs, and I didn’t really want to leave my comfort zone to create video podcasts. So for Fruitygamer 11, I actually recorded my video, Todd’s video and our audio sperately, then after converting the video into DV files used the multiclip tool in Final Cut Pro. That approach worked, but it chewed up hard drive space and meant doing the show once then doing it again, and slower.

So for episode 12 I decided to once and for all tame BoinxTV and make it do my bidding. BoinxTV turns your Mac into a powerful video switcher, but it has a really unfortunate interface that is at once confusing, overwhelming and obtuse. However it’s a better set up than Wirecast, Ustream Producer Pro or Procaster, with much more flexibility.

The biggest challenge was to get individual lower thirds underneath different camera shots.I managed to do so by assigning the same keyboard shortcut to the lower third and a camera angle in the Interview layer, which lets you go to Camera A, Camera B and a “two shot”. I also piped the Skype audio for Todd in through Soundflower and my own audio came from a cheap USB headset I picked up at Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara. Normally the iSight camera on my Macbook Pro doesn’t like to share its image across applications, but by using the excellent and free Manycam application I was able to get both my sot and Todd into the interview layer.

From there it was a simple matter of hitting “record”. I save the file using Apple Intermediate Codec and then throw it into Final Cut Pro, where I add pre built opening and closing credits and b-roll where appropriate. I master the file at its native resolution (640 X 480) then convert that file into an .mp4. I strip the audio to an AIFF file, convert it in iTunes to mp3 and upload and post the audio podcast via the Powerpress plugin on Fruitygamer.com. I upoad the video to Blip.TV, though I will in future expand the reach of the podcast by putting it on as many video sites as possible. As of right now it isn’t possible to put the video podcast on Youtube because the site has a strict 15 minute limit which I regularly break.

So that’s it! Hope that’s of some help to those of you out there looking to create your own video shows on the cheap, and don’t hesitate to ask me questions or add comments if you want more information.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

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