Things you can do with a frustrating helmet. Help me!

Hi! I'm Jake!

I grew up poor. I am now 32 and I'm still broke. So about 2 months ago, I came up with an idea for a video series called "Things You Can Do With A." Basically, I take things most people have and I tell you new ways you can use them to entertain yourself.

One of my hobbies was collecting helmets. So, I decided to call this first video "Things You Can Do With a Helmet." It's about four minutes long and it covers the gamut. There are some silly things you can do with a helmet and some violent things you can do with a helmet. That's me: silly and violent.

Here is the video in all its glory.

I think I came up with the idea for the video sometime in May. I began working on the script about two weeks before shooting the video. Curt Fletcher, my roommate, helped me punch it up. We spend a lot of time writing videos and jokes together. His wife, Caitlin, a comedy aficionado, put in her two cents as well.

The video was a lot of fun to shoot. We shot most of the video one afternoon in both Denver and Aurora, Colorado. I did most of the talking in the video. Curt had a couple lines as well. Andrew Smyczek, a fellow stand-up comedian shot most of the video. He appeared in a few of the shots, though, so Curt took over taping.

On the day of the shoot, I decided I had a second mission to tackle: I needed to buy a machete. I called Harbor Freight, a hardware store that sells cheap Chinese tools and priced my prize. The cashier asked if I had called earlier that day asking about machetes. I had. She said the girl that talked to me on the phone had already left for the day but she said I sounded hot. Nice. I like a chick that thinks a machete guy is hot.

In retrospect, I should have waited for another day to buy the machete. We didn't start the shoot until 2:00 p.m. that day. By the time we got back from Aurora to shoot the last 25% of the video, the sun was fading fast. When you watch the video, you'll see a number of shots where my face is in the shadows of a descending sun. Oh well. At least I have a machete. Also, one of the scenes that didn't make the final cut called for a whiffle ball bat. Good thing I didn't waste time buying that as well.

Andrew had to leave before the shoot was done. To make sure he got out of there in time, I went through the script and marked ever scene where we'd need all three of us to shoot the video. Curt and I had to shoot a few pick-up shots the next day.

I waited about two weeks to edit the video. I was bummed when I watched some of the footage. Some of the problems included back-lighting, poorly-lit shots, continuity issues and really bad audio.

My camera is a Panasonic GS320. When I bought it, I was really excited. It had been returned to Circuit City by another customer so I got it at a discount. What I didn't know is that the camera didn't have any audio inputs- or even a headphone jack so I could monitor the audio. Consequently, any time I do a shoot, I have to rely on the camera's built-in microphone (not ideal) and I can't even hear if the footage sounds okay.

Most of the audio was fine, but everything we shot on Denver's 16th Street Mall had a lot of competing noise. My voice had to compete with wind, trains, passersby, beeping sounds. I am a writer. I spend a lot of time crafting my scripts. So, when something like a train or a peeing bum screws with my dialogue, I start grinding my teeth and clenching my fists. On the plus side, I have really solid craps that day. They are like diamonds, crap diamonds, dense, hard as nails, capable of cutting glass.

Now, the camera wasn't solely to blame for the bad audio. During the running scene, my keys were jangling a bunch. I have a caribbeaner full of keys on me most of the time. I look like a janitor. I shouldn't have had them on my belt when during the shoot. It sounded like St. Nick was early for Christmas.

Also, Andrew is not a professional camera guy. So, during many of the shots, he clipped the top part of my head. Professional videographers know you need to give what's called "head room." There should always be a certain amount of room at the top of the screen. Too much head room is weird. Too little is crappy.

I ended up having to re-shoot a few of the scenes. I also added a scene which justified the jangling keys. I said "With a helmet, you can jangle your keys." Then I proceeded to jangle my keys as if a baby was there. I added a cooing baby sound effect. In the revised version of the video, after the baby cooed I yelled "Shut up homeless guy!" That was supposed to be a call-back to whiffle ball scene where I told the homeless guy (Andrew) to shut up. In the 3rd call-back, I yelled at Andrew one more time and he said "Quit calling me homeless guy or I'm telling mom."

Unfortunately, the video was going long. After two days of editing, it was almost six minutes. I like to keep my videos under five minutes if possible. I'd would have actually preferred to keep it at about three minutes, but I had a lot of content I really liked. So, to keep the video short, I had to cut all the homeless guy scenes. I trimmed a bunch of the other scenes and completely removed a few other scenes as well.

I spent probably six hours trying to sweeten the first minute's worth of audio. Eventually I just gave up. Sound Soap can fix a lot of problems, but it doesn't work miracles.

Anyway, I need a solution. I need a good camera guy and I need a way to capture good audio. If you know of anyone who can help, please leave a comment or contact me at . I hope you enjoyed the video!

Bye! I'm Jake!