Archive for February, 2012
This year’s Chachi Plays for Kids moved to the welcome walls of the Toonseum, where Chachi did a marathon to raise money for the Toonseum and Father Ryan Arts Center to help arts programs for kids.
While Chachi setup his gaming along with Brother Matt, I setup the command center where I’d live for the next 24 hours.
The setup should look familiar. It’s the same thing I used last month in our inaugural pro wrestling filmings. The same switcher, audio mixer, and miniDV cam interfacing this all into the laptop.
The difference is that we’re using WireCast to stream out to Justin.tv instead of recording for a DVD. The live switcher in hardware gives one less thing to go wrong, relieving the laptop of some duties. We simply setup a graphic for the website and imploring for donations and streamed. The Datavideo was great for doing the minimal picture in picture duties I did last year and we didn’t experience a single crash.
The setup was great for the shots on the Gameplay and Chachi too. As you can see in the shot to the right, there was a nice couch to the setup. Perfect for determining the mics. Once on each end of the couch to get all of the cursing when Chachi was beating Ginny at Mario Kart. Mics and cameras were pretty much out of the crowd’s way as
end caps to the players. Which is nice, since there was a good crowd for Friday night of about 25 people.
Last year, we tried to stream the event. I initially had this idea to have some content rolling as we went, but the setup was so exhausting, we were lucky to have a live camera on Chachi the entire time. This year, the setup was a breeze. And we had a plan. Chachi and I came up with some questions, and we developed a bit of an exit interview, and were presented with their shirts for participating. It was like an assembly line of awesome. The questions were pretty basic. Stuff about art, going 24 hours, and the game they played with Chachi. We had some great moments from it. Everybody had some great things to say, and it gave a great reason to still be on the feed as Chachi took his in between breaks.
It’s always something, isn’t it. While the setup was flying, I found something…interesting. I had the Wirecast going, and brought a spare laptop to check on the feed going out and the chat room. Well, the video worked fine. Then I attempted to sign into Justin.tv. And my account was suspended? Not exactly. It seems, according to the wiki I was sent to, WAY at the bottom of the page, Justin.tv doesn’t like open proxies. I didn’t inquire, but I presume it had something to do with Toonseum’s internet setup. No problem. Just pulled out the iPhone and loaded the app off wifi to make sure things were good!
So another year. Things go so much better, it was an amazing experience. We’re already looking at making it even better next year.
Keep an eye on ChachiPlays.com for videos as I cobble them together out of 24 hours, and Unsung 21 for a small feature.
I know I’ve been a little quiet lately, and that’s because for a bit of a ramp up that’s been happening the last month. At the beginning of the year, I had the opprutunitiy to take over video production and DVD distribution from Digital Horizons for local wrestling groups International Wrestling Cartel and Renegade Wrestling Alliance. I’ve had the fortune to shoot ringside through the prior rigime, and owe a lot of what I’ve grown from working with Tony F and his company. It’s also great to be working with two organizations that I have some great friends also working for in some capacity. So we recorded shows for both in the last two weeks, and a the growing pains are definitly there. We’re doing everything we can to get up to the level of quality that Digital Horizons was delivering, and hope to take it a bit further. But first, we have to get my tech, and Chachi behind camera, up to speed… A few things we’ve learned:
Manage your cables: One of the items of knowledge my new ringside camera protoge had to learn the wrong way was caring for the video cord. Our first shoot we lost two of them, and no more backups, thanks to this after two matches. Thankfully, our redundancies worked out. I let the ringside cam record his stuff untethered the rest of the night, only to take the monotonous task of post editing later. Ouch. It was salvageable, but I think we could have the new guy a bit more up to speed if I could watch his shots live the rest of the night.
Prior knowledge helps. I’ve been developing a system for producing these DVDs as swiftly as I can. Thankfully, I’ve had some experience at my old employer filling in on vacation days for the front office and duplicating my own music CD back in 2007. Great start, but higher volume thanks to the groups’ already existing catalogues and audience.
Communication is key: This has been a pretty steady problem. We had to get a new set of headsets to try to communicate from my live switching station to the camera men. The first night, no one could adequately talk to me, mostly the second, we lost one of the headsets to battery issues. Thankfully, we realized we just needed some AAA’s to pick it up. We couldn’t get the cams lined up color wise, but the shots were so much better (that, plus ringside’s time taken to critique his previous week’s work).
Attention to merchandise pays off: Wife of the Sorg took over the merchandise booth side of our operations. In the past, it was always sort of a neglected side of the night’s activities. Someone not associated with the company would man the DVD table, or be unattended as we setup and do our business shooting the show. Missy offered to take over, and I’ve let her run with it and my thoughts for it. We started taking credit cards at the show with Square, which meant over 50% of our sales at IWC were via plastic. How many of those sales would have been non-existant or less due to the lack of access? We also started taking pre-orders going into the show and for the next show to make sure people got what they were looking for. We also took orders of that same night’s show, to be sent out later that week as the DVD was completed. There were few requests, but people were enthusiastic and it should grow as people see we continue doing these plans. The booth looked tremendous with the last show playing back to get peoples’ attention. Plus the advantage of putting a vendor of the fairer sex behind a booth at a wrestling show is invaluable.
I’ll miss ringside shooting, but it’s still great to be a part of it, and I truly enjoy switching. The video guys are getting up to speed, and we can only improve. Our first month out and our redundancy systems held (3 cameras recording to MiniDV and one record to a MacBook Pro). If that’s as bad as it gets, it’s only up from here. And the IWC setup at Court Time is the toughest shooting we will have all year for six total shows. So how did they turn out? Here are teasers for our first DVD releases of 2012 from Sorgatron Media.