Jan 24, 2011 Work Begins

Master PPG 1 is now selling. Finally, money is going the other way, and thankfully way more than we expected. For the last few years I’ve just spent, spent, spent–pouring time and money into these projects without any return. Of course that’s typical, and I do enjoy the process for the most part. But anything like this involves necessary tedium. Sometimes the graphics require frame-by-frame adjustments, or animations don’t work, or I want to make it do something I don’t know how to do. Blah, blah, blah.

Video 1’s success is helping make it worth all the blood (there has been some), sweat and years. So now I’m diving into videos 2 through 4. Here’s where they stand.

The narration is done for all remaining vids–that’s a big deal. Of course there will be changes, but getting the narration recorded is like getting the building framed. Everything else is built on it.

I’m now on the timeline for video 2. That’s means I’m cutting it together, adding appropriate video and graphics to support what’s being explained. It’s time consuming because of all the footage I have. As efficient as going out to shoot specific scripts may be, that’s not how it always works. I go to Australia, for example, and shoot whatever’s there. I got some great stuff and it’s labeled as accurately as I can but still there are a lot of shots that you just have to back and look at. Partly it’s because I want the footage to be visually compelling, not just telling. So if I’m describing the difference between low and high hook-ins, I find a cool looking shot where the pilot is skiing along the water, stop the action, and put graphics on top of that. It’s more fun for me, it’s more enjoyable for the viewer.

Plus, I enjoy doing some stuff just because it adds to the excitement. Like having the pilot/paramotor swish up close off the scene before adding the graphics. Put a little swish sound in for good measure. Things like that add panache. Use them sparingly, quickly and without emphasis. A viewer should never notice an effect. Subtle but fun. That’s part of what makes doing a project off this size fun, though–making that happen.

I’ve learned from video 1, too. People commented that it’s too fast paced. And I can see that–my goal was to include a lot of material without wasting the viewers time. I’ll stick with that goal but give the viewer a half-second to pause every now and then. I’ve made some minor changes in the titling graphics, too, that will make it a little easier to read.

3 minutes are done on video 2 and I’m now at a stopping point where the next 3 minutes are animation. The basis of those animations are done but I’ve got to put them together. I’ll import the narration into my animator then build it exactly to match. Very time consuming but very instructional. You probably already understand these concepts but the animation will bring them to crystal clarity. I’m off to my real job, flying 737’s this afternoon, but tommorrow in Tuscon I’ll be an animating fool.

Lastly, I’ll be shooting some needed scenes over my 10 day Odyssey from Phoenix to the Salton Sea, hanging with the Australian clan and getting high-level pilots to do cool things. Ought to be fun. I’m finally making it to Mo’s fly-in for the first time. I flew the Bonanza out there once (with Mo and Tim along) but have never paramotored from there. It’s a nice runway for the airplane–I can’t wait to try it on the paramotor.

Master Powered Paragliding 2 nears completion

Last night I dropped the last clip into the last piece of instructional timeline. There are a mere 3 scenes that must be shot but this means that the instructional portion is essentially done.

The remaining scenes relate to Chapter 7, Tandem operation in high winds and I hope to get those recorded with Mo Sheldon this Sunday. If only Phoenix will cook up some highish winds; or at least enough wind to show the technique. Tandem is a tiny part of the video that most pilots will obviously want to skip over but, for those aspiring to teach, it would be a helpful adjunct to their Tandem Instructor clinic.

The closing and ending credits need to be done but that should go pretty quickly — it’s all the diagramming, finding the right shots, temporal shenanigans, animations and graphics that take so long.

Scoring will take probably a week.

I think I can now say that it should be shipping by October, almost exactly one year since the completion of video 1. Hopefully Video 3: Inflight Precision won’t take as long, especially since some of its animations are already done. Same with Video 4: Landing, which will have a fair amount of animations, some of which are already been built, and it’s only 64 minutes long.. It took almost three years to do video 1, One year for video 2 and hopefully will take only about 8 months to do video 3 and 6 months for video 4.

2011 Aug 22 Final Edits Complete

As of last night the final edits are done including the credits. That’s huge. Tonight (Monday) I’ll get the encoding going and should finish that up Tuesday afternoon and overnight. On Wednesday, Tim Kaiser and I will screen it with corrections to follow. On Thursday I’ll head out to San Diego where Phil Russman is going to go through it. The following 3-day work trip I’ll make corrections and then do one more screening. Then it’s on to authoring the DVD, making a final working copy and sending that off for replication and printing.

Although I have all the shots, there are couple that I’d love to get. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate to get the tandem shots I wanted in Phoenix but I did get them in Chicago. One more shot I might try to get, mostly for fun, is with Lance Marczak on his TrikeBuggy Blackhawk.

I think it’s safe to say that, barring catastrophe’s (like a computer crash), that I’ll be shipping by October.

Exciting times!


1531 Thursday, Mansfield, OH. I just laid down the last piece of music on an otherwise completed project. Screaming complete, I now move on to authoring the DVD.


Should be out for production by next Wednesday if everything goes right and ready for shipment by the second week of October depending on production schedule. While I’ve obviously never had a baby, this is how I envision it feeling emotionally.

Sent Out For Production

This is an amazing feeling. The baby has been delivered and I’m in recovery. That is, Master PPG has been sent off to the production company that will turn the disc and artwork into Hollywood style shrink-wrapped, slimline cases. If everything goes right, I’ll have these gues ready for sale starting the 2nd week in October. The moment that I get the shipment and test a sample, I’ll start taking and shipping orders.


In Transit

Skid marks. That’s what I’m looking forward to seeing on Tuesday when the full shipment of DVD’s is now scheduled to arrive. Providing the truck doesn’t crash, the DVD’s are watchable and the creek don’t rise, there will be one full skid of Master PPG 2’s here and I will start taking orders. Thanks for your interest! Sorry I didn’t want to take pre-orders but it helps keep Jeff in a less-stress state.

Also, I did a trailer for Paramotor Magazine to show at Coupe Icare in France and now share it here.