Armchair Arcade TV: Episode 3 - Satans Hollow

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Armchair Arcade TV is now in high definition (720p) and available at a wide range of locations, with a wide range of subscription options, and in a wide range of formats, including YouTube, iTunes, RSS, and many more via blip.tv!

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Matt Barton
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Amazing work, Bill! You

Amazing work, Bill! You really blew the lid off with this one. Love the jokes and cool special effects!

I loved playing Satan's Hollow on my C-64 back in the day, though it was too hard to get very far. I love its theme and design; quite bizarre and even unique even today. I've heard about a Miyamoto game called Devil World or some such, but not sure if that has any relation to this game (I'm guessing not).

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Bill Loguidice
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The devil is in the details
Matt Barton wrote:

Amazing work, Bill! You really blew the lid off with this one. Love the jokes and cool special effects!

Thanks. It's fun to experiment. I still have obvious audio issues, but towards the end Premiere Elements barred me from tweaking the levels and even adding a few final transitions I wanted. Imagine what we could do if we didn't have to wrestle with the software all the time!

Matt Barton wrote:

I loved playing Satan's Hollow on my C-64 back in the day, though it was too hard to get very far. I love its theme and design; quite bizarre and even unique even today. I've heard about a Miyamoto game called Devil World or some such, but not sure if that has any relation to this game (I'm guessing not).

Satans Hollow (I believe it actually is without the apostrophe, which is why I didn't include it, though to this point I've always written "Satan's") is a naturally difficult game, but the nice thing about the C-64 version is the "Easy" mode, which I activated for the video. That's the mode I was able to roll the game over in when I was a child (>1,000,000). Also, in doing this video, I couldn't believe how poor the Atari 8-bit version was (for the reasons we stated in the video, but still). Apparently Atari fans still like it, but it really doesn't give you the true flavor of the arcade experience. On the plus side, I was happy with how Camtasia Studio rendered out MAME, so I think we have another good option for the documentary outside of Mark's generous assistance.

Devil World is not related. I was going to mention other "devil/satan" games, like the classic pinball machine "Gorgon" and contemporary arcade game "Satan of Saturn", but there really wasn't a good place to do it (plus that whole 10 minute limit thing--in fact, if it wouldn't have pushed the file size past 2GB, I would have rendered this at 1080i instead of 720p). I also had to drop one other film clip that I thought would have been funny because I forgot to record that bit of narration and didn't feel like recording it!

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Chris Kennedy
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And...

Subscribed.

Looking forward to more episodes, Bill. It seems like you are headed down the same path as Matt. Matt started off in an experimental state and gradually found a rhythm. In fact, I just watched the first bit of Matt Chat 1 and then immediately (and quite randomly) jumped to Matt Chat 48. WHOA. What a difference. Here we have Armchair Arcade TV Ep 3, and it is already maturing.

You have stated that you are still having some issues with audio and the software, but I am sure those will work out over time.

Keep it up - I am looking forward to the next one.

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Bill Loguidice
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Hey, guys, now that I have

Hey, guys, now that I have what I believe all of the hardware I'll need to do this correctly in place (or will by next week), it's time to turn to the software. I have quality hardware to record the voice over stuff, but the software may not be the best answer. Right now I use Audacity, which is excellent, but perhaps there is something better that would be a little more automated for my needs. Any suggestions?

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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Hi, Bill. I don't usually

Hi, Bill. I don't usually use separate audio software since so much is built-in to Sony Vegas Platinum. You can adjust the volume in there as well as tweak EQ settings and the like.

For my "book case" audio, I use a cheap ass Radio Shack lapel mic hooked directly into my camera. I think this is it, but not quite sure...Anyway, it outputs in mono, so I just select "left channel only" in Vegas and that puts the audio on both channels (no need for an adapter that way). I find that if I just use my camera's mic, you hear a sort of "cavern" like sound in the audio.

For narration, I use a Sure SM58 with a little slip-on windscreen like thing. I went overkill with an M-audio Pre-USB thing that I certainly didn't need (I stupidly thought that "phantom power" meant it would boost the mic like a pre-amp, but was wrong about that. I'm not sure what I'd recommend over that, but ideally just a USB microphone with really nice quality. The headsets I've tried just lack in that department with a tinny sound. Something like this or this would probably be overkill, though you'd almost certainly get great quality. Here's one for $50 that looks good.

Not sure what you'd need another type of mic for unless you really hate seeing the clip-on or want to record sound effects or what have you.

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Bill Loguidice
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By next week, my

By next week, my configuration will be this: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Directional-50-Camcorders-Advanced/dp/B00005... , which is a shotgun mike designed to interface directly onto my Canon HG10's hotshoe (which both powers it and interfaces the audio), so I should have no need for a lapel mike (that was one option).

For voiceover recording, I have this: http://www.amazon.com/Samson-CO1U-USB-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B000AP1RE8... , which is a USB condensor mike. I also have something similar to this to avoid pops: http://www.amazon.com/Nady-MPF-6-6-Inch-Clamp-Microphone/dp/B0002CZW0Y/r... . I'm very happy with that hardware, and, outside of my reading personality, I think I can achieve quality results given the proper software tweaking.

I never thought of doing the voiceovers directly in Elements. That might not be a bad idea. My typical workflow involves gathering all of my elements together ahead of time in one folder, then, once everything is in there, starting the editing process.

I'm also looking into getting a cheap 10x20 green screen. As it is now, I have a small green screen and in fact I had to zoom in in the software in order for it not to be cut off. I want to be able to be further away from the camera and be able to see more of me (and other items) on screen while still having the option of things going on in the background.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Catatonic
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I have the Samson C01U.

I have the Samson C01U. Sounds pretty good. Came with a really long USB cable. I use it for anything from Skype calls to recording acoustic guitar. I think it's available in a bundle with a shock mounted stand, but I bought a cheaper desktop stand separately. You can use any standard mic stand. Also when you record with this mic you have to tell your software to only record the left channel or it sounds weird. Either that, or record in stereo and then throw away the right channel & convert to mono.

To make your voice sound good you do need to play around with EQ, add some compression... also helps to put the mic right up close to your mouth & use a pop filter (pantyhose clamped into an embroidery ring works!) You can also try "ducking" - lower the volume of the video track while you are talking & raise it back up while you are quiet. (I don't know if Vegas has a good way to do that automatically... Garageband has it)

Bill Loguidice
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My Samson C01U has a tripod

My Samson C01U has a tripod desk stand: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290395628213 (yes, that's the one I won--good deal at the time). I too was impressed both by the length and girth (ahem) of the USB cable. Nothing cheap about it. We use the wind screen I linked to in my previous comment and pretty much faced the Samson C01U towards our mouths with the green light parallel to the wall (so the green light would be facing our mouths). I assumed that was the best way to use it.

I definitely need to further tweak settings in Audacity to get the best mix. What it records is crystal clear, of course, it's just a matter of making sure the volume is really loud for use in Premiere Elements (assuming I don't just try to record directly in there, which may solve most of the leveling issues).

Can you explain a little more about "compression" and why I'd want to apply it?

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Bill Loguidice
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Hmm, it seems like our

Hmm, it seems like our comments all crossed paths. Here's my current setup (or what it will be completely by next week):

- Windows 7 64-bit system (newer HP TouchSmart with 4GB and unfortunately, onboard video)
- Adobe Premiere Elements 7 (I'd love to get the full Adobe Premiere, Chris, but this is just for fun and even the academic version is $330. My experience is that all the consumer video editing programs (read: the cheap ones, ~$100 or less) are about the same when it comes to pluses and minuses)
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 for image editing
- Samson C01UCW USB Condenser mike plus windscreen for voiceover stuff
- Audacity (for recording the voice overs)
- Canon HG10 (40GB) for live footage
- Canon DM-50 on-camera shotgun microphone for live footage audio
- Various free public domain footage and audio sites for extra content (like backdrops and music), as well as YouTube (via vDownloader)
- Pinnacle Green Screen sheet for Chromakey (hope to get a bigger, 10x20 one at some point)
- Scaffolding for green screen sheets
- Two studio umbrella lights, two work lights, plus other lights
- Camtasia Studio 6 with SnagIt for live computer captures (typically on my MAME arcade machine)
- Archos 7 (6700) 160GB with DVR Station for capturing output from most older computers and all videogame consoles (sometimes using an old VCR as a go between)
- Rarely either an Adaptec GameBridge or other USB capture device (on an old Windows XP system) if there's a frequency or resolution or something that the Archos 7 doesn't like

So that's actually a decent investment over time (I *think* that's pretty much all of it) for what is considered a fun thing on the side.

We'll see how the audio situation goes in Episode 4. The feedback, comments and ideas both here and elsewhere, like e-mail, have been quite helpful. If Episode 4 is the "Just Dance" episode, then that one will be fairly short and straightforward, so not all of the ideas may be implemented for that. It's quite possible though that I'll begin looking at obscure systems and their software starting with the next episode, since I need my whole family to make "Just Dance" work and my wife is away on business until Saturday night.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Chris Kennedy
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Microphones and software

Hey guys -

Aside from the mic one is using, the acoustics of a room can have a great influence on how an audio recording is going to sound. You could take a mic from one room to another, and it would sound completely different. A microphone such as a shotgun mic is one that you do not have to wear, and it helps eliminate a lot of the ambient sound in the room as well as reduce echo. You could certainly use a boom mic, but it would probably slow your production, require a stand (or boom pole), and your camera operator would have to double as a boom operator (talk about coordination!) A lavalier mic or typical hand mic would work, but then you would have visible wires shown.

You can mount a shotgun mic on a camera, or you can put it on a boom pole.

As for software, I unfortunately cannot recommend affordable home software for video editing. The only software I have used for video editing has been Adobe Premiere, and that runs about $800. Wow. I just checked Adobe's site, and apparently Pro CS4 was used when editing the movie Avatar. I will say this - The software is awesome! I have no idea what CS4 is like. The most recent work I did was several years (and a few versions) ago.

Some people have recommended Final Cut Pro, but it is mac-based.

I do recommend having a high powered machine if you render HD video. I am pretty sure Premiere can make full use of threading across a Quad Core processor. You honestly need to have a Ferrari of a computer (more so than a gamer!) to render and compress video. Aside from the processor potentially slowing you down, you need a lot of RAM, a lot of hard disk space (Both for storing your video and especially for "scratch space"), and a fast hard drive at that.

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