This is the Academy of the IKV Melota.
This is where you will find useful information on HOW TO to many of the things that we assume are regular processes for our ship.
Most of this page shall be new information about the practical application of video creation. This shall take a person from filming to a final product when this page is ultimately finished. Since I shall be including tips on filming various aspects of Ceremonies, this page shall recap a lot of material in the Ceremonies Concepts Page.
This page shall be divided into 4 primary studies:
Section (A) equipment
Section (B) filming the action
Section (C) editing the video
Section (D) publishing the video
2011 update: Pain of all pain. The original, 1998 IKV Melota camcorder which I bought when the ship purchased a replacement in 2005 has died. Well, sort of died. It will not record, though it can read cartridges. Thus, I am out of the movie business when I finish clearing the cartridges.
(A)(1) The Processing Device:
Ideally, you will use your fastest computer. For most Warriors, it is probably their only computer. However, given that the main bottleneck in processing is the hard drive(s), using a slower system with multiple drives may be faster.
We really want to use ramdrives. Solid state. No head latency. No rotational latency.
After that, we want to use multiple RAID5 sets. At least using a single RAID5 is still faster than two hard drives, usually.
Finally, we want to use two hard drives.
The object is to minimize head and rotational latency by reading from one drive (or RAID) and writing to a target drive (or RAID). This allows the heads to remain in the same cylinder. Head latency is minimized. Rotational latency is all that is left. OK, I'm ignoring bus issues here.
For those who have one drive only, and no ram drive, well, you are about to thrash the crap out of your heads. It will work. It will just be slower than any of the prior options.
The CPU type does not really matter a gob lot given that the bottleneck is the hard drives. Having a dual core or quad core means nothing since most editing software is a port from the Apple/Motorola architecture which does not support multithreading.
(A)(2) The Input Device:
Let's examine the camcorder as an input device.
The LAST thing that you want to do is to put the camcorder on a tripod, set for wide angle, and running unattended. This gives you:
Wide angle footage where your Warriors are stick figures miles away,
and, a ton of footage for some poor slob to have to edit. You also have no idea of when the cartridge or battery runs out and you miss an incredible beheading move.
(A)(3) Cameramen as an input device augment:
What you really want are cameramen* (plural) who are trained on photography, videography, or who at least have "The Gift". They need to be able to anticipate action. Follow and block the movement within focus and telephoto/wideangle parameters appropriate to that action.
They will know to start the recording at the fight signal and to continue running for 2 seconds after the break signal.    batleth combat    They will know when to start the filming of the action at an event.    bowling, paintball, whatever    They will know how to block the Ceremonies and when to call for "commercial breaks".     "commercial breaks" are useful filming Ceremonies
They know that sometimes, there is action that happens after "break" is called and they need to be ready to get that combatant rolling out of the ring or that swing already in play before "break" was called. They also know that they need to stop the camcorder to save battery power and to save wasted footage, which saves editing time. They are prepared to hand off the camcorder between them as camermen are called into the ring to fight, on to the stage for Ceremonies, or simply get tired of holding the camera.
They likewise understand that with bowling, paintball or other action events, that similar planning is necessary.
These cameramen are aware of the judges and their bodies, the combatants and their bodies. They know to avoid eclipsing the action with the judges. They know to avoid getting butt shots of judges or combatants. They are after side shots showing both combatants faces in the fight. They are ready to run sideways circling the action to film knowing where people and objects are so that they don't blindly sidewind themselves into something.
They know how to block the Ceremonies to get good action on stage. They know to be aware that the camcorder will pick up any sound that we don't want starting with the breathing or comments of the camerman. They shall avoid too much inappropriate commentary from the audience.
These cameramen are concerned amateuers capable of learning high skill levels if they are not trained professionals already.
*I'm not into political correctness. I'll say cameraman knowing damn well that my lovely parmachi is my partner in the videography process. Political correctness is for Terran weenies.
(B)(1) Filming Batleth Combat:
My earlier description of the proper cameraman pretty much included the main points about filming a Batleth Tournament. The cameraman should be competent and capable to "feel" the action and be ready with the telephoto and wide angle to follow the action. The cameraman should physically follow the action orbiting the action as necessary to keep the blades in view. The cameraman should also be very much aware of the judges and what they shall be doing. Yes, predicting the judges movement. Because the cameraman is second tier in importance to the judges and their need to see the action. Thus, the cameraman wants to get the action and not have it eclipsed by the judges.
As will be better explained in the editing section, the cameraman needs to start at the "start" command and video to at least two seconds after the "break" command. As basketball understands the "ball in play". There are times that events are physically in motion that just cannot be stopped when a judge calls "break". To run the recorder for at least two seconds allows the cameraman to cut cleanly or to follow action that happens after the "break" command.
The cameraman is also responsible for protecting the equipment and should also consider the weapons and environment in which the filming is done. We have not yet had a camcorder whacked by a weapon. We have had terrible reflections of sunlight, direct sunlight, and *rain*. Oh, yes. Lots of rain. Examine BoB8 and how wet that day was. The cameraman needs to plan ahead to do the videography in whatever condition that shall present itself.
The cameramen need to plan on spelling each other to avoid fatigue. If one or both are combatants, then they also must play tag-team to fight as well as film.
The camcorder itself gets "tired". The cameramen must husband the battery power carefully so that it is available as needed to film all day and possibly into the night without a recharge.
All of these items must be considered by the cameramen and the command that "hires" them for the job of videography.
(B)(2) Filming Paintball:
There are probably many different types of videography here.
I am experienced with and can only advise for three:
(1) Wooded, real-life combat
(2) Wooded, real-life bunker/fortress combat
(3) flat terrain speedball
In a wooded scenario such as Venom Wars, there is always action that can be heard, but is never near the camera. One just has to plan, plan, plan and stick to that plan. Camp near a bunker because you know that there must be some combat action to neutralize the bunker. Camp at the other bunker to get the other side. Follow a combat group through the bush to get some action in between the bunkers. The biggest problems that you will face are two-fold with one being the fact that unlike Batleth competition, you can anticipate a long time before action starts. That is battery burn and wasted editing time. The second is that with stereo vision, you can follow a Warrior through the woods with your eyes, but on film, you have nothing but bush. The camera just does not show the sniper crawling through the woods the way that we can see him with both eyes. Avoid the bush shots.
In a fortress, real-life scenario such as Deliverance Wars, hopefully, the cameraman can pick a good viewpoint to catch nearly all of the action. At Deliverance, the camera lands in one of the two fortress machine gun towers with a commanding view. Here, the issue is that there is 360 degrees of action and the camera can only face one way. But, at least the camera can pretty much see any action any where from this tower.
In a speedball scenario, such as at Venom Wars, the camera picks an elevated viewpoint commanding the whole field. There is the issue that being in the middle, only one side of the fight at a time is visible. The camera can alternate by going offside to catch both combatants in the same frame. This of course means that the camera is now in the line of fire by intent. It does give good action, though.
Now, think about what we are now discussing. We are talking about taking a multi hundred dollar camcorder into harms way.
As the writer of this page, I shall not be in any manner held responsible for your decisions or your actions with your equipment. If you are not (wo)man enough to accept the responsibility of your own actions, then you should not be breathing the air of those of us who do.
I would recommend building armor for your equipment.
(B)(3) Filming Ceremonies:
As mentioned earlier, a lot of this shall be a recap of the Ceremonies Concepts Page which is included herein by reference. Information on scripts, "how to" and other Ceremonies information is on that page.
Keep in mind that a videocamera with its organic microphone placed in or near the audience will pick up the audience talking and you will lose the actual Ceremonies dialogue. It is nigh unto impossible to keep the audience quiet. It is very important to keep the Ceremonies short as the audience will get louder as time grows, and discipline wanes.
You should consider keeping a microphone near or on the stage attached to some recording device. During the video editing stage, the cleaner sound can be edited in. On the other hand, do not put it on the stage itself or the footsteps and movement upon the stage will overpower the soundtrack.
Also, don't forget that Video/photo Waiver as mentioned on the Websites Commentary page.
There are at least two ways to approach doing the Ceremonies:
(1) Record the Ceremonies as presented,
(2) Record the Ceremonies as a production.
Recording the Ceremonies as presented was how the IKV Melota has done all of our Ceremonies from square1 through today (2010). You script and run the Ceremonies as a show and simply video the event. This provides a more natural flow. The problem is that any mistakes that occur in the Ceremonies are caught on film for all to see. Did somebody miss their que? Did K'Frank forget his line? All of the mistakes of one-shot live videography shall show up. That is the down side. The up-side is that with a larger audience you get the Ceremonies overwith faster which is important from a noise discipline point of view.
While working with the IKV Bayou Serpent, we started accepting that the Ceremonies were being videographed for a reason, and the local audience was smaller so we were really catering to an Internet audience. With this in mind, we develped more commercial type videography. We would script in breaks where the camera would be turned off for something to occur that was hard to choreograph live.
Downside, the audience does not get a good, flowing Ceremonies. The up-side, the final Internet video shall have fewer mistakes. Grethor, if a major actor flubs a line, we can just do another take.
Look at some of the IKV Bayou Serpent Ceremonies videos to note how some of the firepots miraculously light after the Bloodwine dipping. Oh, the Bloodwine elements disappear in a poof, too.
In this video about filming Ceremonies (right click / save as), we see in one staged event both ways of performing the Ceremonies. In some cases, there were scripted "commercial breaks" and thus the final video is cleaner. In other cases, neither the MC, nor myself as videographer thought to stop the action and refilm items that just happened and thus were not planned for.
(B)(4) Filming a "general" video:
(C)(0) Editing the video:
Disclaimer: I did not originally write this next observation about amateuers. I have read about it in multiple magazine and Internet articles. This is not by any means original by me. However, I do see the other's writing as vindicated in the Real World.
When making the video product itself, you can tell an amateuer videographer from somebody with a little bit of background. The amateuer will try to read the manual and use all of the cool features of the software and/or camcorder. The amateuer will make lots of transitions and cool sfx. Lots of title pages that are not necessarily needed. You will spend too much time watching the transitions and software sfx for there shall be a lot.
The more professional will use few to no transitions, one maybe. The built in sfx will be used little to none. These are items that don't require skill to make or use. They are organic to the software or camera. At this point consider the awesome "Apocolypse Now". The opening titles happened as the movie was ending. The more professional may farm out graphics, or build his own, but these shall be worth watching in and of themselves. The more professional will time sound and music events to match the action.
As to timing the events with the music, this is by no means required. Look at many of the BBC Masterpiece Theatre productions where they simply put a classical piece in the back ground without timing or writing scene specific music. We see this use of classical in the original work of "Rollerball Murders" which became an awesome movie in 1974. The 1999 re-make was just that, a remake. It did not offer much more than nudity upon the mind bending 1974 original.
The video will have some nearly required items. It needs to have a title page to establish what it is. It will need to have a "made by" page that points back to the person that put in the effort as well as the ship that is the effective sponsor for which the video was made. I also submit that giving bragging rights to your guests has a two fold benefit, it shows how large your event is, and it gives your guests bragging rights. Toot their horn for coming to your event. That is why you see all of the banners and symbols in my videos. I submit that these elements are a near minimum to include besides the payload itself.
(C)(1) Editing a Batleth Video:
When making a Batleth Combat Video, consider the following concepts...
You should alternate the weapons classes. If you only do Batleth, this is easy. Batleth, Batleth, Batleth. However with multiple classes, the scenes should rotate. Batleth, Mekleth, DaqTag, Free Style. Batleth, Mekleth, DaqTag, Free Style. Batleth, Mekleth, DaqTag, Free Style.
This keeps the variety and excitement going and does not show any one weapon as being a "lower class" weapon.
You should rotate the combatants. You don't want to show Kahless in six scenes in a row. Rotate amongst the combatants within the above constraint. (rotating weapons) Avalona, Amoreth, Salek, Gizmo, K'bang, Avalona, Amoreth, Salek, Gizmo, K'bang, Avalona, Amoreth, Salek, Gizmo, K'bang,
This way, you are not favoring a specific person and his style.
With this in mind that means that weaker combatants are showcased and real winners are literally not given their due. The weaker combatant that is out after one bout needs to have more of his footage used to give him a video presence. You may have guests that don't have the skill to survive the bout. You want to give your guests the chance to be seen at your event. Give them their bragging rights! Also, you want your video to show that your event is not just IKV XXXX specific. Let the guests be shown. Show those weaker fighters a lot to give them "face time". Besides the marketing issues involved, you want to encourage those weaker fighters to come back much stronger next time.
Likewise, your Ship's Champion and other stronger combatants must be shorted their due. If a Champion survives to win each round, he will have a LOT of footage. If you don't short that footage in the final product, you now have the "Lt Badass" video instead of the "IKV Tournament" video. Pick out the best scenes from the stronger combatants and weed out the rest. Your Champion will by necessity already be favored in the video. Weaken that stress by bringing in only the best scenes and using more shots from the rest of the Tournament.
This is done within the prior two constraints. (rotating weapons, rotating Warriors)
OK, let's be real. This is YOUR video and you can and should do it the way that you want to do it.
I offer the above suggested pattern for the reasons mentioned. If you want to do a video using a different pattern, then as Nike says, "Just Do It!". It is your video after all. I don't have the "right" way. Kapra, Lucas, Cupolla, DeMilles may all claim that they do or don't have the "right" way. The bottom line is that you are the producer. Do as you damn well please! I sure do. It is my cost in computer hardware, my effort and my time involved to make the videos that I produce.
In 1999, the IKV Melota voted to purchase a videocamcorder for the express purpose of making Internet videos to get ourselves noticed out on the Internet. I built a machine capable of processing that video so that the IKV Melota's camcorder was not a vain expense. The IKV Melota paid $300 for a camcorder. I paid $1200 to build Zen. I have kept up by upgrading over the years and making sure that my systems would process video for K.A.G. and the IKV Melota. In the last 12 years I have built a few machines just for video editing. This is money spent for K.A.G. and the IKV Melota that does not show up on any books as it is a personal expense. An expense of honor.
As the Waco Kid said in "Blazing Saddles", "I must have killed more men than Cecille B DeMilles."
As a Texas citizen, I know where Waco is and live just two hours north of it.
Remember that you are the producer as I continue this treatise. I continue to say "you should". That is my opinion for marketing purposes. That is my opinion for videography. However, we have already established that you are the producer. Do as you damn well please.
Remember that odd "2 second rule"?
I have had a novice camera operator on more than one occasion. My first time with a novice, I made the mistake of telling the novice to stop the camera at the "break" command. I lost a great scene where an impressive Warrior rolled out of the ring after "break" was called. It was a "ball in motion" type situation. I learned the hard way to tell the cameraman-on-deck to film at least two seconds after the "break" in case there was some action in play that physics would not allow to stop.
I recommend ripping the footage by viewing it with the hand on the rewind button. As you see a movement/contact on the screen, you must decide, "is this worth keeping"? If the action is worthy, then one hits the rewind while preparing to capture that scene with the capture software. Some fights just don't have awesome moves. Others do. You need to make sure that even if the fight has less violence, you need to get segments of the actors according to the prior formula (rotating weapons, rotating Warriors). Sometimes, you just have to use lame footage to get "face time" for every body involved.
Then, there are decisions in the editing process that must be made.
"Do I want a fast action video?"
"Do I want to show the skill of the Warrior?"
These are nearly mutually exclusive goals. A fast action video with really short segments is very exciting. Look at BoB 2.
To show how a person has the skill to really survive and fight requires longer segments. This slows the action. Look at BoB 8 in particular.
If you make a fast action video, you have a difficult time giving the Warriors their just due showing their skill levels. If you make a "skill" video, you are now slowing the action such that a viewer may become bored.
You are Frank Capra. You are George Lucas, Tim Russ, Leonard Nimoy. You must decide how you want the video to look.
After you have folders on your hard drive for Batleth, Mekleth, Daqtag and Freestyle. You should then go through all of them in order and list them on paper or a file. Once written down, you then view all of them in sequence to decide the big question... "Is this scene worthy?"
You strike out the less worthy scenes for deletion to free hard drive space and reduce the clutter. Those that just don't have the "umph" go bye-bye. BUT, keep in mind the above requirement to give everybody their "15 seconds" of fame. "This hit was lame, but I need to show Lt. Hemmeroid because he drove a long way to attend."
I do this culling process organizing by weapon, then by the stronger Warrior.
I list, then I cull within the mentioned constraints to get the files/folders down to a manageable size. This may appear to be too much work or culling, but think about it. If your segments are 15 seconds on average, it only takes 40 segments to hit Youtube's 10 minute upload limit. This does not include opening title and closing credits. Remember these are where you give your Ship, guest Ships, Houses their 15 seconds of fame.
With a nod to my earlier re-print of the issue about amateuers using toooooo many sfx and features, one can then decide on whether or not to use more artistic elements such as slow motion or fast motion. These can affect timing. A 15 second segment slow-moed to 30 seconds is now equal to two segments in your assumed ten minute Youtube time allotment.
I do not have analog slo-mo software. Therefore, BoB9 was as close as I can come to replicating the action in the awesome movie "300". I wanted to be able to move between realtime and slo-mo. I expect that somebody with access to the appropriate software shall put BoB9 to shame in the analog movement category. I look forward to seeing it.
(C)(2) Editing a paintball video:
(C)(3) Editing a Ceremonies video:
For a videographic version of this commentary, you can download a video about the making of the Ceremonies to Venom Wars VIII.
I cannot stress enough the fact that I have covered a lot of the Ceremonies issues in the Ceremonies Concepts Page. I also stress the need for a Video/photo Waiver. Consider ultimately your overall plan with your website and marketing plan.
Do keep in mind the square of the distance rule. With the camera in the crowd, you will pick up a lot of noise from the crowd. If you can, have a microphone placed on or near the stage that is kinetically isolated from the stage. The object is to have a microphone near the speakers that does not get overwhelmed by the footsteps on the stage.
There are two video theories here:
One can video the entire Ceremonies as an event. This avoids disruptions to the audience or participants. However, you must live with the mistakes that happen.
One can plan "commercial breaks" that anybody may call. These stop the camera and allow changes or corrections to be made off of the camera. A "time in" restarts the camera. The drawback is that for the audience and the participants, things take longer and are jerky in motion. However, to the experienced videographer, the commercial breaks allow for changes to be made in the editing phase that become much cleaner and leave fewer videographic "rough edges".
Choose your videographic approach and work with the Master (Mistress) of Ceremonies to arrange either video approach to maximize the video content.
(C)(3) Editing a general video:
Of course, your video is your video. Do as you wish. I just submit these concepts for your consideration.
Who am I? What are my credentials?
I'm glad that you asked.
My Father was building radio stations before I was born.
He owned his first photography shop when I was ten.
He owned his first TV station when I was ten.
My Mother was working for radio stations before I can remember. (3 years old?)
My Father's Father owned KZOT. He also ran two movie theatres until his death.
Basically, I grew up in the media.
I cut my first commercial at seven.
I was developing film and prints at ten along with learning photography.
I was a paid assistant developing film at eleven. Dad would shoot the roll, I would develop it.
I was a cameraman at Channel 3 at ten.
I also "ran the board" and loaded the VTRs (notice, not VCR) at Channel 3 at ten.
I produced and sold my first radio commercial at 18.
I got my SLR at 21 and shot my first wedding that year as my Father's understudy.
I will admit that my last time on TV, I performed poorly, but that event was somewhat strange anyway.
I'm mainly used to being on the shop side of the camera. I did not do well this time on the actor side of the camera.
Hom Salek, Sutai
Commo Officer, IKV Melota
Video downloads Page
The IKV Melota is a non-profit organization supporting Mr. Roddenberry's vision of the future. We find it very distressing that Viacom and Paramount do not share his visions. We recognize all trademarks and copyrights as belonging to their owners and hope that the owners have sense enough to realize that we fans pay the bills. There is no need outside of testosterone and rectal attitudes to pursue fan sites.
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