YouTube Channel hits 200000 Views and Counting

Some time back, the 4th February to be precise my YouTube channel reached 100,000 views after 13 months of operation. Now seven month further on the number of views has doubled to 200,000.

At the time my most popular video was of a roller coaster in Blackpool, with just under 5000 views. Today it now stands at a little over 15000. Why it is the most popular I have no idea, as I have a number of other roller coaster videos that are far more exciting (see the following playlist).

The following are some recently uploaded videos of some kite aerobatics, enjoy.

Over the past seven months the most popular YouTube video Gangnam Style has amassed and additional 500 million + views. It stood at 1.25 billion back at the start of February and is now 1.78 billion. How long more will it take to reach 2 billion. Will it reach 2 billion by the end of the year?


Photography – Light, Composition

One of the key elements to photography is of course light. Without light one would simply have a blank image. If you enjoy landscape photography then the magic hour at sunrise and sunset are really the only times of the day for such photography. The reason being that photography is in essence about two key things composition / framing of the subject and the painting of the scene with light.

Light can be described in four different forms, transmitted, reflected, soft and hard light. The sun on a clear day is a good example of hard light as one can see really strong shadows on a summers day. Soft / diffused light is that which you would find on an overcast day with little to no visible shadows to be seen. In the case of taking a photograph of a sunset for example you also have the ability of taking in transmitted light, in the form of being able to see the light source. Should you be located close to the sea or a lake then you can also make use of the reflected light from the water.

One of the classing photographic assignments is of course Portraiture. Often you may hear that you should always shoot with the light (sun) to your back. However by shooting into the light source you can capture some wonderful colour and highlights. A large aperture lens is also great for portraiture, thus allowing for a shallow depth of field to be created and all the emphases being placed on the subject in question.

If you enjoy landscape photography then some of the videos below may be of interest.

The following video includes a number of examples of some interesting landscape shots to the music of Enya!

Its not just light but also composition that is important to any great image. You can perhaps glean a few tips on the subject of composition from the final video.

Photography Freezing the Motion

The video above details some really fun things one can do by freezing motion varying the exposure between 1/100 to 1/1000 of a second. The camera is of course set to manual, as well as continuous capture to grab several frames in quick succession. Water is being poured into a wine glass that has been mounted at an angle whilst the main light source illuminates from behind a defused background (velum). Adding some food colouring to the water creates that additional level of drama and dimension to the shot.

The next video looks at capturing the splash of a water droplet. Again like the previous setup this is done without the use of flash photography techniques, though they both make-use of a continuous light source.

Another fun experiment to do is to capture bubbles as they float down to earth. To really freeze the motion exposures on the order of 1/250 of a second allow for some interesting shots to be captured.

One further interesting video fairly similar to the second last one in which the task is to capture a splash, instead of capturing a water drop, this time the task is focused on capturing the splash caused by the dropping of a spanner into a tray of water.

Gavin Howie also has a nice video demonstrating how to capture water splashes. Initially he uses a white sheet of paper as a background. Towards the end of the video he looks at the addition of colour to the image, firstly by changing the white balance, in this particular case he uses tungsten. The alternative option is to use a coloured background that results in some really interesting colouration on the waters surface.

If you happen to have an aquarium floating around then you can have a go at dropping a selection of fruit and vegetables in and capturing the motion of the impact and splash.

Its always of course useful to take a look at the user manual of your camera to be familiar with the settings. In the case of the Canon 600D one can download the user manual from the support page on You will see on page 88 of the manual that the Canon 600D is capable of shooting about 3.7 shots per second in continuous mode. One can find details about the Tv setting on page 94 allowing for motion to frozen or blurred.

YouTube Channel hits 100000 Views and Counting

Was delighted to see my YouTube Channel setup just 13 months ago has just gone past 100,000 views. The channel has a little over 600 videos covering anything and everything from Building a PC to Roller Coasters, Aquariums, Dredging and even setting up a Motion Capture system.

Why I don’t know but my most popular video at just under 5,000 views is a POV video of the Blue Flyer Roller Coaster at Nickelodeon Land, Blackpool, Pleasure Beach. Why this is I really don’t know as I have posted several other Roller Coaster videos that are far more exciting. On the best day this video peaked at 57 views.

The next post popular video showed the process of Installing an Intel Core i7 3930K Hexacore CPU on an ASUS Sabertooth X79 Socket 2011 Motherboard. This video was uploaded in July 2012 and has reached 4500 views. The most popular day peaked at 44 views.

At just under 4500 views the third most popular video shows the process of Installing the Corsair H100 Radiator and Pump within a Cosmos 2 Case Sabertooth X79 MB 3930K CPU.

At 3000 views a video showing Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios Orlando essentially being attacked by Voldemort, hasn’t been as popular as I would have expected it to be. Quite a few of the lightning strikes happen very close (although in the distance) to the Castle, creating some interesting scenes.

A video of a Chinook Helicopter performing at Lecuchar Airshow received 238 views on the evening that it was uploaded. It was amazing to see the maneuverability of the aircraft. I uploaded just over 100 video clips of various aircraft from the airshow amounting to about one hour of footage.

Another interesting playlist coming in at four and a half hours of footage shows the Nordic Giant Dregder working in Aberdeen Harbour. The most popular video in this series shows the Imposing Hulk of the Nordic Giant and the Liebherr P995 Excavator hard at work.

Perhaps a more unusual playlist is that showing a set of blank screens in various colours ranging from White to Black and on the Red, Green and Blue. The most popular of these at roughly 2500 views is that of a Blank White screen and nothing else.

Perhaps the cutest video posted is that of a family of Dwarf Mongoose – a little surprising to see it has received just 79 views, on the other-hand they are not the most active and energetic of creatures.

So what makes for a popular YouTube video – well certainly it seems that people enjoy staring at video containing white and nothing else. Videos with an element of comedy seem to be very popular, and of course PSY Gangnam Style surpasses them all at 1.25 billion views, even Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris trails behind at almost 830 million. Will we soon give up watching television and go towards online digital content only?

Fun Photography Projects – 360 & Cloning. Any Other Ideas?

Recently I received a link to a YouTube video demonstrating how to spin a camera around the CN Tower. The video was posted a little over a month ago (17th December 2012) and has received around 125,000 views so far. One can make use of Google maps and street view to find the positions from which you would need to take a set of photographs in a circle around a tall object of interest. Then with a bit of work in Photoshop and your favorite video editor create a nice 360 – QuickTime Object VR like animation.

More recently (11th Jan 2013) a YouTube video was posted of the Space Needle in Seattle using the same technique as the CN tower video. I visited Seattle a few years ago and would have loved to have given this a go after seeing the results of the video below.

Another fun task is that of Multiplicity or essentially cloning yourself multiple times. A nice demo of one technique that could be used for this is demonstrated in the video below. Towards the end of the video the author mentions that he would give a ‘prize’ for somebody who include a hundred clones within an image. How difficult would it be to create an image with a hundred clones, or perhaps more importantly how long do you think this would take to achieve? The following post on PetaPixel breaks the cloning process down into seven steps.

I am quite tempted to give the hundred+ multiplicity challenge a go, using the setting of a good sized computer lab. Could have 50 or so clones sitting to desktop computers, perhaps another 20/30 sitting along a very wide windowsill (reading an interesting selection of books ranging from photography to C and Java!). Then would need to squeeze in another 20 or so clones in the remaining open areas. A tripod set at perhaps seven to eight feet should provide a good perspective allowing the full depth of the room to be observed and the clones to readily be visible throughout the image. The video below is another nice example of multiplicity.

Multiplicity in the Studio – Breakdown
Ensure the camera is on a good heavy tripod.
Camera settings to try as a starting point.
Manual Mode.
Sutter Speed 200, Aperture F8.
While lens set to Auto Focus, focus on an area where the subject will be, then switch over to Manual Focus so it remains the same throughout the photoshoot.

Should have one or two lights setup to illuminate the background.
Subject should be 6/7 feet away from the background to help avoid shadows being formed.
The subject itself should be lit so another light (Key light) should be used, to help fill in & create softer shadows and additional & less powerful light may be used.

Combining the images in Photoshop
File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
Browse for and select the images taken & press OK.
Within the Layers Window, select each image (layer) and press the Layer Mask Button.
Select the top layer, then with a black paint brush paint out the subject, making them disappear. Pressing Ctrl + I will invert the mask, hiding everything else bar the area painted out.
Carry out the masking process for all other layers.

Once finished, one may go to Layer > Flatten Image to flatten all the layers into one.  A better option of course if you ever wanted to edit it further would be to save the file as a PSD to retain all the layer & masking information. To create a flattened image you could simply save the file as a JPEG.

You may also wish to crop the image to a particular size or aspect ratio (Image > Crop).

Are these fun / Interesting Projects to Try?
Do you think some project tasks along the lines above would be interesting for a group of a hundred or so first year computing students doing a module looking at graphics / photography. Do you know of any other fun and interesting examples be they YouTube demos or online tutorial example walkthroughs?

Some Possibilities for 360 Animations in Aberdeen

The tall chimney stack

The Big Wheel at the Beach

The Obelisk at Duthie Park

Spotting the Dust on your Screen / VDU / Monitor

How often do you clean your Screen / VDU / Monitor? It can sometimes be difficult to see where the dust particles are. So here’s the answer! Below you will find a series of blank screens of various colours that run for a duration of ten minutes. Some months ago I posted two videos each a minute long of a black and a white screen. Surprisingly they have both received a good number of views over their short lifetime online. So I hope you find these solid colour videos to be of use in your PC maintenance routine. On the other hand if you just want to chill out and a watch a youtube video without any audio or motion on screen that you may need to concentrate on then this may be just the ticket! Enjoy. If you would like a similar screen of a different colour then let me know and I’ll see what I can do (an RGB value would be useful).

Social Media Review after Eight Weeks

I entered the world of social media just eight weeks ago on the 7th Jan 2012 with this ( posting and the creation of a YouTube and twitter channel. So the question is – what are the stats like? has it generated impact?

At the time of writing this the blog has received 3115 views (wrote my 70th post yesterday) and presently stands at 100 followers. The followers break down as 78 from twitter (, 22 and 2 wordpress comment followers. The wordpress followers range from people in the States & Canada to here in the UK & Australia.

Twitter (having made 566 tweets) has certainly proven to be quite useful, allowing me to keep up-to-date with things many others are up to and news in general. Has also proved to be a useful aid in the organisation of some research seminars (

My YouTube channel (
presently stands at 5020 views & 15 subscribers. The most popular video so far has been of lightning recorded at Hogwarts Wizarding World, Universal Studios Orlando with 810 views ( The next most popular is a video showing the Unboxing of a Cooler Master Cosmos II PC case with 296 views (  I recorded a video just a few weeks ago of the unboxing process & setup of one of the new MS Surface & uploaded it to the School Vimeo channel. It has proven to be quite popular amassing 5080 views in the three weeks since it was recorded (

My Klout score has move on up over the past few weeks as well, being just 20 back in January, it now stands at 34 ( All in all, the past eight weeks has been an interesting journey into the world of social media. It will be interesting to see how it will progress over the next few weeks and months.