Gavin Greig (ggreig) wrote,
Gavin Greig

Monterey Bay Aquarium

While I was in California recently, I visited Monterey Bay Aquarium. I’m not sure that there’s an awful lot to say about the aquarium itself – you know what an aquarium is, right? – apart from a couple of quite interesting nerdy facts. The money to set up and run the aquarium was largely supplied by David and Lucille Packard, also of Hewlett-Packard-founding fame; and although it’s here that they filmed the aquarium bits for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, there have never been any whales here. The tanks aren’t big enough, for a start, as is obvious when you visit.

I tried taking photos, but as very few of the beasties were willing to cooperate in behaving predictably for the camera – especially the otters – it quickly became obvious that video was the only way I was going to get anything half-decent; so here’s my inaugural YouTube video for your delectation. It’s available in resolutions up to 1080p (full HD).

Camera shake is all my fault, as is jerky zooming. Video quality is not great when the lighting is low, though it improves noticeably when the lighting is good; it's a stills camera that does video, not a dedicated video camera. I'm quite pleased with how it copes. If the video is at all sticky I blame Windows Live Movie Maker. I found it quite nice on the whole for editing my first video, but it is a bit buggy. The most noticeable flaw to you may be some slight stickiness on scene changes; the most noticeable flaw to me is that you’re not seeing all the scenes I wanted you to. When you select a clip from the middle of a longer video, Movie Maker sometimes seems to randomly start playing from the start of the video file, rather than the start of the clip. Needless to say, this is very annoying, but as I wasn’t able to figure out why it was picking particular clips to do this on, I eventually settled for the output you see above, which contains a very low number of unwanted substitutions that don’t affect my vision too badly.

Camera shake in particular is something I might have done better on. I had in my backpack a commercially produced version of The Poor Man’s Steadicam, which I chose not to use. This was mostly due to embarrassment (it’s taken me ages to get used to just using a camera when there are people around), but shhh! That’s just between us. I intend to claim it was really an altruistic move, to avoid clouting small kids around the head with the weight on the end.

Tags: california, information technology, natural history, photography, science, travel, video

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