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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall – Creating a V-Log

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For a number of years I have been consciously avoiding viewing my golf swing on video.  My swing is flawed but at 64+ years old, I am not sure I want to start a reclamation project.  Playing golf is a lot of fun and if my results are not particularly good, I am okay with that.

The first time I saw my swing on video dates back to the 1980’s when my wife and I went to “golf camp.”  The pro had a series of stop action photos of professional golfers and he would stop my swing video at various points and we could compare my position with Tom Weiskopf or Gary Player.  It was eye opening to see how flat footed I was at impact, among other flaws, and it convinced me to work harder at my game.

Fast forward 30 years and part of the application process for the 2017 Newport Cup involves a V-log.   There is no way to create a V-log without taping one’s swing. :facepalm

Of course the first hurdle was figuring out how to record all the action.  I own a digital camera and have recorded various activities (grand kids zip lining, making pesto in Italy, etc…).  I also own a “gorilla” tripod and have taken many photos using the timer.  So how hard could it be to record my 3-hole V-Log out on the golf course?  As I found out, it is not that hard … to make a terrible video.  If one is searching for a better quality presentation, as in all things, practice, practice, practice.

Having another person along makes the process infinitely easier.  No worries about cutting off your head or your feet and the ball.  Starting and stopping the action, too close or too far, are all solved with an assistant.

Of course, convincing someone to tag along on a windy 37 degree day is a challenge and my first efforts were done solo.  While I eventually learned how to properly frame the scene, the sound quality was all over the map.  The wind plays havoc with the audio.  Some segments are fine, others just sound like a wind tunnel.  It is still not clear to me how to obtain decent sound quality on a windy day so I may need to wait for a windless day.

In the past, I never felt the need to edit any of the videos I had recorded so that process was a mystery.  Fortunately, I discovered that the editing process is fairly simple; even I could figure it out.  Using my test videos, I managed to cobble together a viewable presentation.  True, my swing looks like I am fighting my way out of an invisible plastic bag but I am excited about my next trip to the course.  Martin Scorsese has nothing on me!

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45 minutes ago, sirhacksalot said:

Have you tried turning the sound off completely and just doing a voice over on the video to combat wind?

It's nice to hear the sound of impact, if nothing else. And a VLOG without sound just feels funny… You can put the mic by a headcover or otherwise shield it form the wind, and then the sound of impact still tends to make its way through.

For the Newport Cup, we're not looking for perfection. Just a way to see people a bit, get to know them a bit better.

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This isn't meant to sound like a brag, so if it does, I apologize ... but here are some things I learned when making mine.  I thought mine turned out pretty decent (for a first timer), even though I certainly had my share of issues.  A couple of shots were poorly framed , a couple were poorly lit, and I also had at least one segment that was ruined by wind.  (Since it was only one segment, I just ended up adding the "audio" as text into my post.  In retrospect, I think I should have "closed captioned" it like I did for the one line you can't hear after my second shot on the par 5)

So, by no means was it even close to perfect, however, it turned out decent and most importantly, it turned out that it was incredibly easy.  Based on this one attempt, here would be my simple beginner tips:

  • If you're alone, then obviously you need a tripod of some kind, whether it's a gorilla tripod that you can attach to your pull cart or a regular tripod that you setup at each shot.
  • Using your iPhone is fine, but I found it really easy to use my Canon dslr.  One benefit here is it's possible to frame the shot while in it because you can flip the preview screen around.  (I didn't do that this time, but if I was going for quality and wasn't in any kind of rush, I think I would)
  • Erik's suggestion about blocking the mic with a headcover if its windy is a great idea - I will try that next time too.
  • If it's early or late in the day, unless you are good with manually adjusting the metering, I suggest always putting the camera between you and the sun.  It's a vlog, not a swing video, so you can afford to be more "artsy" and less technical, so it's ok (probably even better) if the camera is at lots of different angles for each shot.
  • Use iMovie.  It's so incredibly easy to compile, edit, trim, add titles, audio, transitions, etc, to make your vlog look better.  Fiddle around with it a bit and you'll see what I mean.

Hopefully that helps some people.

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59 minutes ago, iacas said:

For the Newport Cup, we're not looking for perfection. Just a way to see people a bit, get to know them a bit better.

Understood! Rarely is anything I produce tagged with the word perfect.  Still, I have plenty of time before a decision has to be made on my application (8.4 index moves me down the totem) and it is fun fooling around with this project. If you had not made the decision to require this, I never would have learned how to use "Movie Maker."  So I have already won.  Thanks!

And thanks for the suggestion about using a headcover as a shield.  Something more with to experiment. 

9 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:
  • ...I suggest always putting the camera between you and the sun...

Yes!  I did that on every "shot" except one when I was sort of fooled into thinking the location of the sun did not matter because of a line of trees.  A single ray got through and pretty much "blinded" the camera.

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