Woodgnomes World Ep1

In the first of a new series called ‘Woodgnomes World’ I share some of my exploits that are not quite so relevant to our lives aboard Hannah the Narrowboat, kind of like our online diary if you like. As some of you may know by now in May this year (2018) we are going to be aboard Hannah indefinitely as we are moving out of our house in Luton and our daughter and boyfriend will be moving in as they need more space as they are having a baby in August. The lady of the boat (Lee) and I will move aboard the boat for a bit and see how things go but one thing is for certain, we will not be moving back to Luton any time soon.

With all that in mind I am sure you can imagine that it’s mayhem at our house at the moment as we have 25 years of possessions to sort out as we can’t take it all aboard Hannah! Poor old Lee is the one doing most of the sorting (I think us men are more of a hindrance when it comes to sorting stuff out!) but I also face the mammoth task of sorting out what I need to have on board so that I can continue my work as a graphic designer as well as having enough recording gear to carry on making my music.

As I covered in the introduction this series of posts won’t be so focused on boating per se so without further ado here’s what we have been up to over the last couple of weeks.

Birds of Prey Experience

Last year I bought the good lady a ‘Birds of Prey Experience’ and as her next birthday was getting close and the voucher was soon to expire we thought we had better book it before she lost it. Luckily we got in on 10th Feb at the Imperial Birds of Prey Academy at Barleylands Farm in Billaricay, Essex which is an amazing place, especially if you like arts and crafts. Once we arrived I equipped Lee with a chest camera to capture some of the action as you can see in the video below.

Camera Fetish

There are three things I spend (waste) any spare money I may be fortunate enough to have and they are Apple products , camera’s and anything that makes noise! Most recently I spent my Christmas money on my first 360 camera which captures the whole world around you with a couple of spherical lenses which I thought would be fantastic for our boating videos. I did not want to spend silly money exploring this new way of filming and taking pictures so plumbed for the Nikon Keymission 360. I must admit I really did like the concept but I was not so pleased with the quality of footage as it looked a bit ‘soft’ and dull without much punch that you get with GoPro action cameras (which I love). One of the major plus points was that this little gadget stitched all the footage on the fly (joined the front and back camera footage together) so there was no fuss using the footage on my Mac.

After a week or two I started seeing footage online from the newly released GoPro Fusion and was blown away as it was clearly the best quality footage I had seen from a consumer 360 camera but it was not cheap. Me being me I thought bugger it, I am going to order one and worry about the money later (I don’t use credit cards so I dipped into the money from the sale of some of my studio gear I need to get rid of before moving aboard the boat).

Once I started using the GoPro Fusion I was impressed by the hardware but not amused by the software which is painfully slow. The GoPro does not stitch the footage on the fly as it actually has two separate cameras with 2 SD cards so it needs to be transferred to my Mac to process it. You can do it via your iPhone too but that is not a practical solution for me or anyone else!

As an example, the footage below, whilst it looks pretty mad actually took around 2 hours from camera to finished clip and the footage only lasts a minute or so! Yep, I’m going to have to use it selectively otherwise I am going to spending all my life sitting in front of a computer waiting for it to stitch the footage – and that’s before I even start editing it!

The YouTube Debacle

Google just got greedy. If you post videos to YouTube and have not been living under a rock you will have heard about the way YouTube as demonized the smaller channels like Hannah the Narrowboat because some idiots have been posting dodgy content. Basically us little fish are no longer allowed to share the advertising revenue created by our films unless we have a minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of viewing over the past 12 months. Now, don’t get me wrong here as we never made any significant money with YouTube, perhaps £100 a year or so but it was an incentive for us to grow the channel, especially as we will be aboard Hannah much more now. The incentive is now gone and I am buggered if I am going to enrich YouTube’s business with my contribution, it’s a principle thing for me.

Are we going to continue making little films and Vlogs? Hell yeh, of course we are as we have a lot of fun doing it! After a lot of research we were initially going to use Vimeo as our video platform but unfortunately you have to pay a subscription if you want to post regularly (they only allow 500mb a week for free and many of our single videos are bigger than that so we could not upload them). I then decided to look instead at viewing figures on all video platforms and it turns out the the second biggest platform for video creators is Dailymotion.com so I thought I would give it a try.

The initial set-up was quite confusing but I got past it in the end (I think their sign-up process was actually playing up that day) and once I had verified my email address etc I was able to create a channel and upload my fist video. You know what? I prefer the clean layout and no fuss interface over YouTube which always seemed cluttered to me anyway. I am not just saying that because we have moved to dailymotion, I actually truly mean it. It’s nicer, simple as that.

Now what I did not expect was an email to come through after my first upload telling me I can monetize the channel in a similar way to how we used to do it with YouTube except we did not have to have a set number of views or subscribers, we could do it straight away. Now that’s how it should be done. I will reserve judgement of how good the set-up is until I have used it for a few weeks as I can’t help wondering why it’s not bigger than YouTube as initial thoughts are that it’s a better platform – maybe there is a catch somewhere that I will find later?

Ypres – Belgium

Those that follow us on social media will know that last year we took a trip to Bayeux to visit the WW2 memorial sites and the famous landings beaches which we found both fantastic and sad at the same time (for those that missed it you can watch the video below). This year we are heading to Yres in Belgium to see the battle fields of WW1. We will be making another epic movie of our experiences and adventures so stay tuned in for that one in mid March 2018.

That’s about all for this one folks, have fun out there as we are only here once!

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