The Trip To Exmouth – Part 1 – Video Asset Preparation

When you decide to go on a trip or holiday, many times you base the destination on some imagery you have seen – white sandy beaches, turquoise ocean, verdant forests, sumptuous hotels, exotic wildlife, warm climate, challenging ski slopes and so on.

Indeed, travel agents and locations promoters lean heavily on these images and videos in their brochures, TV adverts and editorial (which is often obtained by expensive wining, dining and shmoozing of travel writers) to coerce you to their little piece of paradise.

But what you don’t see, is the reality of what can – and often does – happen, in transit, while there, and when returning.

Jacqui and I decided to make a trip by car to the fishing Mecca of Exmouth in Western Australia. Located at the tip of the North-West Cape, Exmouth is renowned for its sunny and warm climate year ‘round, excellent fishing in the categories of sports, deep sea, reef and game, resorts with excellent accommodation and services, top shelf restaurants, super friendly staff and plenty to see and do in terms of snorkelling, surfing, sightseeing and numerous other pastimes to make you forget your normal, daily mundane life.

Exmouth and nearby Coral Bay are world renowned for the famous “Swimming with the Whale Sharks” adverts and promos. And an annual game fishing competition called Gamex, where huge blue and black marlin are caught on gossamer thin fishing line (and tagged and released by the way).

But what REALLY happens?

We used a variety of cameras – still and video – to capture as much as we could of our travels, accommodation en route, things that sidetracked us, our arrival, stay, excursions and adventures whilst there and return home.

We wanted to show what we experienced, what we saw, what we enjoyed, what we endured, what we loved and what we hated – for starters – and put this all together in a video. Over the coming days and weeks, I’ll be posting various aspects and elements of how we are compiling this video, culminating some time down the track in the finished version. Stay tuned!

First Part of the (Video Making) Journey

The first thing needed to be done was sift through all of the video clips and still images taken on the 21 day trip. With 7 different cameras (from camcorders to GoPros and 360 degree units to smartphones) this was a daunting task. And dare I say, one that might put a lot of people off.

In the past, I have used a custom-built Excel spread sheet to let me catalogue each clip, write down the approx. in and out points, and grade clips according to content and usefulness, but thankfully, whilst this system works, most current decent NLE’s these days have this sort of facility built in – with varying degrees of sophistication.

Vegas Pro 15 uses the inbuilt Windows SQL database for its engine, letting you manually create bins into which you can import clips – eg in my case, bins for Geraldton, Carnarvon, Exmouth, Perth City, Mandurah, On The Road etc for place names, and then have sub bins for subject matter under these headings. These might be Fishing, Snorkelling, Scenery, Restaurant Food, Accommodation and so on.

Vegas Screen Shot-1.jpg

Additionally, and a REAL bonus, is the ability to add Tags to clips and using a system inside the SQL database, Vegas Pro, will automatically create Bins for you based on these tags. As many tags as you like (as far as I can tell anyway) can be added to a single clip, and then of course, you can search for clips based on these tags. This system makes managing your asset base of clips (and stills) a snap as Smart bins are automatically created of saved search results that are automatically updated when new media items match the search results. You can also edit the search criteria of an existing Smart bin.

In my case, for video clips only, I ended up with over 400 and this would have been a nightmare to manage without this Bins / Tagging system. I shudder to think how this was managed by movie makers with possibly tens of thousands of clips and takes in the past!

Creating Multiscreens

All I was aiming to do initially, was create a multiscreen view of different clips showing different aspects of the trip for an intro to the eventually finished product.


This created a separate challenge, and I admit to a false start initially as I thought I could use Pan and Crop functionality in Vegas Pro to contain each of the 9 “segments”. This proved to be wrong (of course), and a bit of digging discovered that Track Motion was the way to go, creating a preset of size and location for each of the segments using coloured solids, and when all were finished (preset #9 containing all the other presets), I’d simply replace the solid colour with the clip of choice.

Before adding clips though, I made sure I saved the VEG file as a template for future use.

When adding clips to replace the solid colours in each track, be careful to make sure you don’t add any rogue keyframes otherwise everything gets quickly out of whack as I found out, making it necessary to start all over again. After that, I simply made it a habit to press the Home key to make sure the play head was at the start of the timeline before creating a new preset.

The screen shot shows the process up until preset location 6 is ready to be filled. Of course when all are filled, depending on the effect(s) you are after, the location on the timeline of each clip and its duration (and any other fx // fixes) can be modified.

Another trick is to make sure you ungroup Audio and Video and delete the Audio track after adding a track otherwise you’ll end up with a cacophony of sound.

Top Tip:

When adding a clip from the Trimmer, press TAB first to ungroup the audio and video, and press “A” to add the video segment to the selected track FROM the current playhead location (SHIFT-A adds it TO the current playhead location).

You may be wondering why I didn’t also include the stills we took in this process.

The answer is quite simple really, but none the less embarrassing. I didn’t check as to the camera settings beforehand, so what we ended up with is a large number of RAW images. In short, this will happen later after I have created a Photoshop batch process to perform the conversion and resize the images to PNG format.

As soon as the intro is completed, I’ll post it here and to Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube.






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