Monday, 24 December 2018

Captain Ahab goes to the movies

Introducing "Life at 2.3 miles an hour"
An experiment in the world of Vlogdom.

December 2018

The Captain Ahab Blog has been unusually quiet in the last few weeks, but that isn't for lack of activity on and around the canals. 

In between the manufacture of next season's chutneys I have been busy revisiting lots of lost canals attached to the original Birmingham Canal, which ran from central Birmingham to Balls Hill near West Brom.

You will all know of my passion for the BCN and a particular interest on the lost 60 miles.  I previously made an abortive start on a walking guide as a follow up to Richard Chester - Browne's book of the same name. However, none of these plans really inspired me till I got to talking with Kath and Anna who run the "Narrowboat Experience" Vlog channel on YouTube. They explained the mechanics behind the project and I realised that it could be a way of presenting The Other 60 miles in an entertaining and informative manner, showing what remains exist and at the same time cutting in archive pictures of how things used to look like plus maps of the old layouts.

The big issue was that the best software for the task is i-movie, and that meant moving to the dark side from PC to Mac. My trusty old laptop was dying so the moment was right for the change.

I have been on a bit  of a journey over the last 10 weeks, getting to grips with the Mac, learning to use Apple's "Photos" rather than Photoshop Elements and of course, getting to grips with shooting and producing DIY videos. The top tip offered by Kath and Anna was that if I was planning a series, to get then all completed before I start to upload them. 

I have now completed the first series of seven YouTube videos which range from 12 to 25 minutes and I will be uploading one episode each weekend for the next seven weeks. I attach a link to the first episode, which is an Introduction to the series of Canal Hunter. The Canal Hunter series will be one strand of a wider collection of waterway related videos under the banner of "Life at 2.3 miles and hour", which is our average speed of travel with the butty on the back.

I have to concede that making videos is a whole lot harder than I imagined so please overlook the fluffed lines and less than perfect edits, it is a learning process....

On a technical point I filmed almost all of the episodes on my i-phone 5, which is probably less than ideal, but it is good enough to test peoples appetite for the subject matter.

If I get positive feedback I plan to start work on season two which will cover the lost section attached to the rest of the old Brindley line from Spon Lane Junction to Wolverhampton.

If you like it please click the subscribe button and let me know what you think.


Dave Ward said...

A nice first effort, Andrew. I was fascinated by the "jack-up" bridge, and I think my late father (a Structural Engineer), would have been as well. I look forward to the next installment.

Tom and Jan said...

Hello Andy & Helen,

I enjoyed your first canal video finding it very interesting. I'll be looking for the subsequent videos.

One suggestion. would it be possible to see a map of the BCN which includes the missing 60 miles? That might give viewers like me an understanding of where you are with each segment.

I think we covered all the available BCN except for the Walsall Canal where I thought the bottom was too close to the top ;-) However I believe I'll learn more about the BCN following your series.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Tom & Jan
ex NB Waiouru

Unknown said...

Hi Andy,
Sorry to hear that you have succumbed to “Mac Hell”, luckily enough, you’ll be able to recoup a bit of your money when you sell your new paperweight on ebay in a few months,
All the best,

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Andy,

I'm not sure if my earlier comment was received so I'll repeat it.

Thoroughly enjoyed your video and could relate to some of it as Jan and I cruised almost all of the BCN when living on Waiouru. We did skip the Walsall Canal as the bottom appeared to be too close to the top.

I have one suggestion. Could you include a map showing the missing 60 miles and their locations? Then when you're covering a particular missing piece zoom in on that portion of the map. That way viewers will have a better idea of where you are on the BCN.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and Helen

Tom & Jan
ex NB Waiouru