World of Warships Videos

So I’ve been playing World of Warships for a while now, and it’s recently encouraged me to make some videos.

It’s not that I haven’t made videos before: J and myself have shot plenty of footage of LEGO models and various other projects, but the corresponding videos have just been clips spliced together with some transitions. The WoWS videos range from slightly to somewhat more complicated.

Since I started WoWS I’ve been taking screencaps of the results when I play a really good game – something I never did in TF2 or Starcraft or anything before. I couldn’t say exactly why, but it’s just more rewarding to have a good game in Warships, and I want to keep a record of those games.

Well it got to the point where I have these screenshots of game results from long time ago, and I was wishing that I could see how a certain game actually went down. WoWS does have a replay system, but it’s very immature at the moment, and you can only watch replays on the client version from which the replay was made. If had a replay from patch 0.5.0, I can only play it on an 0.5.0 client. Practically this means I would need to make a copy of each client version to play old replays. As each client copy is about 25GB and WG updates the client every two to three weeks, this just isn’t that practical – I don’t want to store hundreds if not thousands of GBs of old clients to watch replays, though there are definitely people who do.

So videos.

There’s a variety of things I can do when making video content: the most basic video would be a straight up recording of an actual game or a running replay, and there’s a lot of these basic recordings floating around on Youtube. The software most people use seems to be Open Broadcaster Software, which for the most part works great and has a ton of features I don’t know how to use. OBS can also stream.

But at least for some games I wanted to kick it up a notch and add commentary, typically in the form of me talking over the replay. Most of the popular WoWS Youtubers do this, and it’s harder than it looks. I’m not skilled enough to make commentary on the fly, so I have so far had to record it while watching  the replay. Even then I usually can’t do it all in one take, and I have to splice together multiple recordings for a ten to fifteen minute game… I think I’m getting better though.

A completed production in this style looks like this:

Now I think the sound in this one is pretty good quality, but it took me a while to get there. Some content creators go on about how they have some problem with their sound, and I never really understood what a pain it could get to a clear, steady recording. I originally thought I could get away with a headset, and it was terrible. Then I tried an actual microphone, but it needed a ton of software boost to get any volume, and that introduced a ton of background noise. Finally I borrowed the mic J was using for playing WoWS with comms, and that’s the one that finally seemed to be okay, and even then there were still teething problems with static.

In light of those complications I’ve also tried doing text commentary, which is… different, but I think overall not as good. Though I haven’t played with it enough:

Finally, there’s a flavor of video I’ve been wanting to make since the very beginning of this dabbling, and that’s the montage. Oftentimes you have silly games or silly moments in games where the entire game isn’t worth recording, so people make funny or epic montages out of many smaller clips.

This has proven to be even more difficult than getting the recordings right, mainly because of the limitations of various free video editing softwares.

For all of the video editing I’ve done up until now, I’ve been using Windows Movie Maker*, which is great because it’s free and easy to use. The issue is that it’s not particularly feature-rich, and I don’t expect it to be. At least for the montage I wanted to make, the main additional feature I wanted was image overlays, so I went around trying various other free video editors looking for said functionality.

To make a long story short, I tried OpenShot and Avidemux, but while these programs could do some things that WMM couldn’t, they made it too much more tedious or unintuitive to do things that WMM could do. Eventually I spliced together clips and added text and music in WMM, exported the video, and then added images in OpenShot. I also tried using iMovie on my work machine to add the images, but it had issues processing my exported video from WMM. I don’t know why.

Here is my one and only finished montage:

One thing I discovered – or maybe confirmed – while making the montage is that I really don’t like browsing sounds, whether it be effects or music. When I’m looking for images – like for this video – I can look at pages and pages of Google images or imageboard images really fast and single out the ones I think have promise.  On the other hand I can’t listen to multiple sounds at the same time with any sort of clarity, and on top of that I can’t listen to individual sounds quickly because I’m limited by how long the sound is, and so it’s just a very tedious and annoying process.

And that’s it for now save for an aside on Windows Movie Maker:

*This is really a rant about “online” installers. This is really an insidiously heinous way of wresting control of software away from the end user even when the software is “free”, and I absolutely can’t stand this kind of BS. Microsoft stopped supporting – and offering – Windows Movie Maker at the beginning of this year, which meant that if you had one of these online installers, and they shut down the corresponding servers, you could never install it again. That really pisses me off, and that’s why I always try to find an offline installer or a standalone version for any software package so people can’t pull this crap. Luckily for me and too bad for Microsoft, they did offer an offline installer for WMM and I did happen to save a copy.

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