Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Test Shot, With Trains

This afternoon Lisa worked on making sure the lens on the Panasonic camera was properly adjusted. travelswithkuma earned his fish as Assistant Videographer by holding the focus card while I read the instructions for adjusting the lens flange back. Once that was done, Lisa set up to do a test shot. Amtrak #6, running almost two hours late, came along at a convenient time. I went across the street to wave as it went past. As you will be able to hear in the video over the wind that came up just before the train arrived, they were sounding the horn multiple times as they approached. Even over the wind, the microphone picked up the sound of the horn at least 1 km away.

As the train approached, I could see the train was slowing. Also, there was something hanging off the forward locomotive's fuel tank. You'll see me watching the train head east. What you can't see is that it looks like the train stopped down at the east end of Fernley. Lisa and I quickly put the gear away and drove down to see what was going on, but by the time we got there, the train had left. We assume that the engineer got off the train, removed whatever was fouling the fuel tank, determined that no harm had been done, and got going again before we could get there.

Another interesting bit about today's version of the California Zephyr was that there were two coaches from the Capitol Corridor service trailing behind the train. We're not sure why that is. Maybe the cars need work at Amtrak's Beech Grove shops.

This evening, I pulled the video off the P2 card, converted the MXF files in TEncoder, then merged one of the two audio tracks (I can't see how to add both of them) in MovieMaker, and saved the result as a MP4 with YouTube recommended settings. That's what you see here. The video was shot in SD. Lisa does intend to do some shooting in HD because she's concerned that she still doesn't have the lens focus adjusted correctly and she wants to compare the two.

Lisa is aware that this is not the fanciest video, but remember that our aim is to get serviceable video with sound where you can hear everyone. There won't be wind blowing around us because we'll be in a ballroom section, and in the best-case scenario we will get a tap from the room's sound system so that we're getting what's going to the room microphones.
Tags: amtrak, camera, fernley, lisa, trains

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