Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My workspace

I guess it's time to take you behind the scenes at Three Steps Over Japan and lift the lid on how things work here. This is pretty much it. The little Luminix pocket camera, the bigger Canon Powershot, and my laptop. This is where all the TSOJ "magic" happens. Magic in that I go outside, take pictures, then come back and put them on the laptop prior to massaging the photos in Gimp and uploading them to mediafire. I write the blog entries using notepad, plug in the URLs in the textfile from mediafire, then run a short VBscript program I wrote to format the pictures and links the way I want them, and then put the blog entry on blogspot.

This is pretty much it, although things get a bit more time consuming if I shoot video. In that case, I edit the raw files using Microsoft Movie Maker, create title cards in Gimp, and type up the closing credits. This part generally takes 1-2 hours per 5 minutes of video, and then another hour to upload the finished file to youtube (it's not a FAST laptop). Add another 1-2 hours if I'm translating Japanese dialog and adding subtitles.

Editing the photos can take 3-5 minutes each, depending on what specifically I have to massage, and it's another few minutes to put them on Mediafire. I often spend 1-2 hours writing up the blog entries themselves, and then proofreading them. I mention all this because everything revolves getting those photos, first. Often, I can get 20-30 photos at a time, which I then split up into individual blog entries, one entry per day. Depending on what's happening any given weekend, I can have a backlog of up to 1 month of blog entries, that I then upload to blogspot, one at a time, in the morning when I wake up.

Lately, though, my backlog has dropped down to almost nothing. This has been due to a combination of things, including really lousy weather, my having taken on a translation clean-up job that's been about 6 hours a day for the entire month of July (the next half of the project starts in mid-August), and the fact that I just haven't been getting outside and walking around the city all that much lately.

Worse, when I went to the Yukata Matsuri on Sunday, Aug. 2nd, the little camera overheated (I think the high for the day was 96 degrees) and stopped turning on or off. That is, the screen would turn on, the lens would extend part way, and then power would die. When I tried pushing the power switch again, the lens wouldn't retract and the camera would die again. A day later, it looks like it's not 100% recovered, and now I'm not sure I'll be able to use it for the rest of the summer. Granted, I'd shot 1 hour of video almost nonstop, and the entire camera body felt like it was over 100 degrees. Maybe it will be ok if I just take a few photos at a time, and leave the video to the Powershot.

Anyway, what I'm going to do is a little bit of a cheat, and I apologize for this. First, I'm writing this up and using it as the first entry of a series. Second, I'm going to take the photos and videos I shot at the Tenmonkan yukata matsuri over Aug. 1st and 2nd, and spread them out over several days, rather than posting all of them in one blog entry, like I've done in the past. Part of this is because I shot 2 hours worth of video, and it took three days just to edit and upload it all to youtube. Part is because I'm running out of things to write about right now. I hope you'll find at least some of this worth watching.

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