When Darkness Calls

Let the hauntingly beautiful scenery of Loch Leven, Kinross, Scotland enchant you in this Microshort.

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Celebrating the New Video Unit with Panasonic !

Today I am celebrating the arrival of the new video unit to once again, start up video production in the Loch Leven area!  Last year after selling all my Canon video camera kit which used the miniDV digital tape format, I wasn’t sure where to go from there.  I spent over a year pondering this, wandering the video desert in search of enlightenment.

I still had my Canon 7D DSLR and although this camera is very capable of shooting video – it is still very much oriented to shooting still photos first, and video second.  For a start, there was no input jack for headphones to monitor sound while recording video.

Alas, the 7D was now considered to be an ‘older’ camera and I felt it was time to upgrade and keep up with the new technology of 4K cameras.  I decided that I really like being a ‘Hybrid Shooter’ I like using a camera that can take great stills and shoot great video too.

After spending many long nights going into the early mornings, I reviewed youtube video after video, trying to decipher which type of camera to buy and then what brand.

At first I was going to go for a traditional camcorder, but then viewed some videos entitled ‘the death of the Camcorder!!’  I wanted to invest in a camera that had a future, and I wanted to keep up with that future, never allowing myself to ever fall behind again.

I put my 7D on the tripod and started doing some trial vlogging videos and realised that I really liked the look of the 7D as a camera.  After visiting Calumet store in Edinburgh, the saleswoman advised me to upgrade to the Panasonic range of hybrid cameras.  While in the store I looked at a number of brands including Sony, Panasonic, and Canon.  I decided I wanted another Canon – the new 5D mark iv.  My mind was made up, although I knew the mark iv would cost a lot of money.  Perhaps I would wait another year until it came down in price.  Perhaps I would just keep the 7D.

That night I watched even more youtube reviews on the Panasonic range and realised that the saleswoman was right – Panasonic’s range was indeed more Video oriented than the competitor’s.  Suddenly I realised that the Panasonic was the camera for me after all!  I was so excited.

I am now the proud owner of a new Panasonic 4K camera and can’t wait to try it out.  It’s certainly lighter than the Canon 7D and has all the video functions a film maker could want.

Interestingly, I first used Panasonic’s video cameras back in the 90’s when SVHS was the analogue format used by wedding and corporate videographers.  So it gave me a warm feeling to make the switch from Canon to Panasonic for a change.

I look forward to testing out the new camera and producing some fantastic videos for clients in the future.

Happy New Year 2018 !

Happy New Year everyone!!  This new year I am excited as I have now found a new supplier of media production equipment – Calumet of Edinburgh.  I intend to visit Calumet shortly to invest in new lighting and sound recording to help improve the quality of productions for the coming new year.

Also I will be looking forward to networking in Edinburgh, Perth and Stirling to make new contacts and new clients who may be looking for a video production company to provide customer testimonial web video services!

More news to follow folks!

Out with the Old and in with the New

It’s been a long long while since I last blogged.  I’ve spent many a month meditating on which direction to proceed in.  With my last video camera becoming a tad obsolete I decided to sell it lock stock and barrel, leaving me with only my trustee Canon 7D camera kit.    I wandered the desert, still pondering for about a year before I recently came up with the decision to get back into producing more web video content.

So I face a new precipice and am excited about what the future may hold!   I intend to start the new year by investing in new sound recording and lighting equipment, improving the quality of video productions in future.

I am also looking at the possibility of combining my passion for scuba diving with film making, hence my researching of the latest GoPro action camera kit.

So, I will now have to find a suitable supplier to get the ball rolling……more to follow folks!

Cat Therapy

darcy-mind1Today 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues.  Depression and Anxiety are two of the commonly known conditions.  I’ve spent many months finding out the best way to deal with stress and anxiety as it can cause us to stop living life to the full.  There are commonly agreed ways of dealing with anxiety and depression.  I’ve found that getting out the house helps.

I’ve tried Going to yoga and sports classes with some walking each day.  Practising meditation each day is also a useful method of reducing stress.  The benefits are not instant but over time they start to manifest.

I decided that I wanted to do some voluntary work with my local cat shelter and offered to do some photography, to help their cats find new homes.  I find this work very rewarding and when I see these homeless cats, they make my problems seem totally insignificant in comparison.

As well as photographing the cats I decided that I’d also like to visit them and give them some attention.  I find this incredibly therapeutic – it’s almost magic the effect the cats have on me.  I leave the cat shelter after only an hour feeling much better.  I actually believe they will help improve my wellbeing.  Cats are great teachers, they teach me what life is about and to appreciate being alive – something I often forget.

So if you are someone suffering from anxiety or depression perhaps you might consider helping out at your local cat or dog shelter and see the benefits you’ll experience of getting involved.

Networking Event

I enjoyed attending the Let’s Networking Perth event yesterday and was inspired by talking with people who had left their jobs to try self employment.  Sometimes in life it is good to take a risk and see what happens.  Sometimes we don’t always get the result we want immediately, however with patience and faith, a positive can result in the end – then we can inspire others too.

Drysuits vs Semi Dry Suits

me angus wide2 - Version 2As a keen member of Perth SubAqua club I have spent most of my 23 dives to date in the cold Scottish Lochs on the west coast.  I have dived in Ballachulish, Loch Fyne, Skye, Oban, and Ullapool which is one of the top dive sites in the world (sea horses can be seen here.)

For the first year my diving was hampered due to starting off my training using what’s called a Drysuit that was several sizes too big.  The drysuit doesn’t let water in, so the diver stays dry(er) however, if the suit is too big it can fill with air pockets which cause the diver to shoot up to the surface – this can be dangerous by causing the ‘bends’ condition where nitrogen forms bubbles in the blood stream.

My diving started to improve when I had the opportunity to purchase one of my club member’s Scubapro Novascotia Semi Dry suit.  At the time I didn’t even know what a semi dry suit was, however the first time I tried it at the Farne Islands last September (2015) I saw a dramatic difference in my ability to stay under the water.

Semi Dry suits let water in much like a Wet suit does, however the semi dry keeps that water in via the seals on the neck, wrists and ankles.  This allows the body to heat up the water to retain a liquid layer of insulation.

The advantages of the semi dry are that it’s cheaper to buy than a drysuit.  The semi dry clings to your body, eliminating air pockets.  It’s also simpler to dive with as there’s no chest valve to inflate – you can only inflate your BCD / stab jacket – so less technical bits to worry about.

The disadvantages – WARNING – semi dry suits are not designed for diving in the Scottish Winter months!  Due to my passion for diving I have used the Novascotia in temperatures down as low as 7 degrees centigrade.  The feeling is quite unpleasant and often I am shivering, so that after 30 minutes, I don’t want to be in the water.  I think I am one of the few club members that still dives with a semi dry.  I later was given a handy tip from one of the more experienced club members and discovered that wearing a wool jumper underneath helps a little, to retain some warmth in a semi dry.

The other disadvantage of the semi dry is that it’s made of neoprene which tends to tear more easily on rocks.  The new Novascotia 7.5mm suit has much more protection on the knees than my older 6.5mm version.  However saying that, Scubapro kit is award winning, so it’s a very good standard of  dive suit.  Semi drys are much more suited to water temperatures of 12 degrees or above, as I discovered in the warmer Farne Islands dive.  If you’re not cold you’re going to enjoy the dive more.  No matter how hard you try, if you start shivering the dive becomes a chore and that’s a shame.

Here’s an excellent  video review by Jeff Goodman on the new N0vascotia 7.5mm Semi Dry Suit

 

Maintenance:  after a dive I can spend up to over an hour and a half rinsing and cleaning my diving kit.  I invested in a bottle of McNett suit shampoo which I use to wash over the Novascotia, my Stab Jacket and well, pretty much most of my kit.  I realised that I spend the same amount of time cleaning my diving kit as I did cleaning my motorbike.  (I decided to get rid of the bike as I much prefer my diving.)  It’s worth it though, to keep your kit nice and clean after being in the sea lochs.

It takes approximately 4 to 5 days for my semi dry to dry out, so at least in theory, I could use my suit every Sunday if I wanted to.  Last Sunday myself and two colleagues from the club set off from Perth to Furnace quarry near Inveraray on the Scottish west coast.  We always dive on the west as the water is usually warmer and calmer, getting some of that gulf stream flowing in.

This was my second dive at Furnace quarry – the first time was in December last year and I remember it was so cold that I was shivering when I still had my clothes and coat on!  This dive is a cold and dark one, although there’s enough visibility at 24 metres to see some Wolf fish that look like mini sharks.  One of our colleagues had a problem with his chest valve leaking so he was out the water before getting in.  It was then that I realised the advantage of the semi dry.

The temperature was COLD!  Eight degrees and after 15 minutes I was shivering and wanting to just get to the surface, however, I persevered to the end and felt much better after completing the dive safely with my dive buddy.  I often check the water temperature online and I think the sea temperature has now gone up by one degrees since the winter.

I look forward to the day when I will be able to go to Malta to dive in the warm water, just wearing my Scubapro Everflex wet suit.  Meantime, I will persevere and look forward to updating you with another blog on my next dive – and more often too!

For more information on semi dry suits available check out Simplyscuba’s website.