Home' Afloat : AFLOAT February 2017 Contents Take monthly with water February 2017 55
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
By necessity, I spend an inordinate amount of time smiting
the keyboard, staring at screens and going online, a term that
might have meant fishing at my local wharf when I was a kid.
There’s no escaping this disruptive digital age and I do love it.
On the down side, the constant connectivity can be taxing.
I recall attending a press launch on the Gold Coast for a certain
brand of electronics last year. There was an impressive fleet of
boats equipped with the latest touch-screen radars, sounders,
side scanners, plotters, new cartography and abundant tricks. I
was keen to learn more about this great new gear.
I pretty much went from in front of my MacBook Pro to a
day on the water in front of 16ins MFDs – that’s multifunction
display screens – which is where navigating and fish finding on
even trailerboats has headed these days. It’s great and amazing,
but not necessarily fun and enjoyable.
I came away exhausted from a day immersing myself in the
new technology, pretty much with no situational awareness about
what was actually happening around me. We were on the Gold
Coast Broadwater, but that’s about all I could tell you. Oh, and
there were fish around the sand-mining pipe.
Thankfully, these new-age electronics drive themselves. The
year in boats has been a lot like that. The big engine makers
are teaming up with the electronics brains to bring you greater
connectivity, car-like experiences, joystick docking, and greater
Luddites might rue the disappearance of sea time and learning
the ropes, but I can tell you we aren’t going back to runners. Things
have to become more intuitive to woo new blood aboard. Given
that we now have cars that park and drive themselves, it’s only
a matter of time before the autonomous boat arrives.
You pay for all these computer brains and automation and
perhaps that’s also the point of it. Joystick options on big boats
can cost $100k. But I’m finding I’m running more and more
equipment in auto mode these days. That’s a trend going forward.
Now, the bit I enjoy the most about the new disruptive age
is social media. You can connect with your boating ‘friends’ in
a few clicks, check where they are heading, look at the latest
images, and share in the spoils vicariously when not rafting
up. Fishing reports are often live, while blogs and like-minded
Of course, today’s smartphones have terrific cameras and
with the supplied editing software you can stitch together a little
video in no time, right? It’s just like the old 16mm movies your
mother made, right? You do remember them?
I now own a lot of camera and video equipment. The gyro-
stabilised DJI OSMO has been brilliant for boats, since it takes
the shake out of your video, giving you a truly cinematographic
feel to your footage, while making downloads to phone a snap.
It’s got the same camera as in the DJI Phantom drones. The DJI
Mavic Pro is the pick of these. It folds in a case that you can carry
on a plane or boat. I need to get one of these.
Meantime, with three bags of photographic gear, I arrived at
our boat with the ideal of making a family holiday video. I used
mainly the latest GoPro Hero5 waterproof action camera with
voice command. You just say: “GoPro shoot video” and it does.
“GoPro stop video” and it does that too. I had all the mounts
including a floating handle.
Being on the water for a few weeks with the family would surely
provide me with plenty of content and clips to cut a production.
Err, yes, well therein the problem. I tried to be sparing with my
shooting, but there was always something worth capturing. So I’d
go through the material at night, when the family was asleep, and
save a few five second clips to stitch to the ongoing production
as the day’s update.
What you don’t realise with all this stuff is just how utterly
time consuming it is. I guess I spent three or four hours a day
capturing and editing. It was a bit of an experiment, but it taught
me that I was doing it wrong. This holiday, I mean. You can get
caught up in capturing the moment only to realise you haven’t
experienced it at all.
It was good to realise the onerous nature of creating video
at the halfway mark of my holiday. TV producers will tell you it
can take about 15-17 hours of editing in post production per
minute of video shot. If someone says they can make a video
cheaply be very wary.
Thereafter, I picked up the Nikon SLR and fired off a few frames
whenever the mood or material grabbed me. A great photo using
a 200-300mm lens still speaks a thousand words. The iPhone
can’t compete. And I’d rather be boating. h
Lessons from the digital age
Getting away from it all – Pittwater ‘Bus Stop’.
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