Week 40: Amsterdam Centraal

Beyond the reaches of the sprawling city, we head to the Dutch countryside to get a glimpse of klog making, a tour of the historic windmills, and a taste of genuine gouda.

Production Notes:

  • Well, this is the first place where we had decent footage after “The Big Hard Drive Crash”, so here’s our first “real” video from EuroTrip ’11
  • It was a little unfortunate that we were met with bad weather (intermittent rain and foggy conditions) while out at the Zaanse Schans museum, but we did have some moments of sun that we took advantage of
  • We used the full assortment of lenses here, including my old 70-300mm that was light enough to include in my pack – allowed me to get those closeups of all the livestock.  Granted it had no IS, so my lightweight VGR-8225 tripod really needed some extra weight (a heavy hand?) to help keep things stable at the long focal lengths
  • I wish I could’ve gotten more film of the “dutch pancakes” as they were being made – something interesting and akin to the “Dutch Baby” that they have at the local Pancake House.  We shot some footage at “The Pancake Bakery” in Amsterdam the night before, but it was pretty bad (and I was still pretty pissed over the whole hard drive incident), so I opted to exclude it.
  • We didn’t take as much footage inside the windmills, but I have to say they were pretty interesting!  Operating as a museum, the mills actually do produce and sell goods (in this case, cut lumber and paint) and the funds from this and the tourists (of course) help to keep the windmills turning.  We had slight breezes through the morning so go to see some of the windmills in action (as you can see in the video)
  • And no, I didn’t mispell “Central” – that’s really how they spell the name of the “Centraal” train station in Amsterdam.  Which actually didn’t have any metro services running because apparently it’s under repair due to some really bad decisions.  And knowing that would’ve helped before we landed there in Amsterdam asking how to take the metro :P
  • We didn’t take much footage in Amsterdam itself (see “Hard Drive Incident”), but upon arriving, it reminded me a lot of “City 17″ from Half-Life 2 – a lot of worn down buildings, wet, gray weather, and people strewing about.  And a lot of bikes.  Everywhere.
  • Would I come back?  Definitely.  Besides the filling pancakes, we’d love to head back during some good weather in the spring to shoot some of the Tulips and some better parts of the city.  (We were only there for one night, so we made the best of things)
  • This was done entirely in iMovie ’11 again just an experiment with the “Snap To Beats” feature. I’ve found it highly time saving -if- and when it works – unfortunately, I found out the hard way that adding transitions or manually messing with timings will screw up the Snap to Beats feature and make you start over. But by laying out the footage first before adding titles / transitions / etc., I was able to avoid the whole mess. You definitely give up a certain degree of flexibility here, but it’s definitely a time saver. I’ll plan on using iMovie in cases where I just want to quickly churn out a couple clips.
  • One more thing I noticed: iMovie ’11 has some export presets for certain services, and looking at the one for Vimeo, the 1080p preset commits you to a whopping 20Mbit/s bandwidth (woah!). Out of premiere, I usually encode to 10Mbit/s, so I was a little taken back by this (in fact, at 20Mbit/s, this project weighed in at 569MB, a bit too far north of my weekly, non-Vimeo+ limit…) This surely can’t be what everyone is encoding to these days, is it? Or is it clever marketing ploy to get non-savvy iMovie users to upgrade to Vimeo plus? :P
  • Music Credit: the guy who got me started on radio stations, this is Armin van Buuren feat. Audrey Gallagher – “Hold On To Me”. Been listening to “A State of Trance” since Episode 136 when I first heard Above & Beyond’s “Satellite”. Armin is Dutch, of course, so I think it suits this video well!

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