Saturday, 6 September 2014

Dolphins

So in the previous post I blogged about a wonderful weekend in Inverness at a family wedding. Now driving to Inverness, or anywhere else in the north of Scotland, takes quite a while. It's made worse by the fact that I don't drive so Bryony did all the driving; approximately ten hours each way. You would think this would rather limit our trips to Scotland, and it does, yet just two weeks after the weeding we were in the car heading north, this time to stay with friends on Skye. Fortunately my mother-in-law was joining us as well so there were two people to do the driving. There will probably be a number of posts about the holiday as we had a great time, but I thought I'd start with the dolphins.

Ever since we first visited Skye back in 2009 (you can see all my previous Skye posts here) our friends have suggested we take a boat trip from Elgol to Loch Coruisk which is right in the heart of the Cuillins. Unfortunately either the weather hasn't been great or we've visited too late in the year and the boat trips haven't been running. This year we were there at the right time and had glorious weather (for the first three days anyway) and so over dinner on the first night while planning the week the boat trip finally made it onto the schedule.

There are a number of companies that run boat trips from Elgol but we went with Misty Isle Boat Trips; this is the company our friends always use when taking visitors out to Loch Coruisk and as everyone involved is so friendly they've never seen any reason to try any of the others. One of the reasons for the trip, other than to see Loch Coruisk, is that you can be pretty much guaranteed a close up encounter with seals which bask on the rocks on the entry to the harbour where you disembark for the short walk to the loch. Of course it is likely that you will get to see other wildlife as well (we got a golden eagle soaring over our heads as we re-boarded the boat) but there is obviously no guarantee. Fortunately we were lucky and had a pod of dolphins playing around the boat on the way out.


Apologies for the quality of the video. Firstly this is straight from the camera with no sensible editing and secondly for some reason it looks horribly blocky once uploaded to YouTube. I'm not sure what the problem is but I'm guessing it's down to a reduction in file size to make the streaming possible on "normal" internet connections. Anyway... this should at least give you an idea of the experience we had which was best described as magical, and that was before we got to the seals or to see Loch Coruisk, which will be the subject of future posts.
6 September 2014 at 11:03 , ADRIAN said...

Nothing wrong with this video. It's level and par for YouTube.

6 September 2014 at 11:09 , Mark said...

Thanks Adrian, it's just a shame people can't see the raw footage as it is so much crisper and more detailed, then again it is 256M of video so YouTube have to squish it down a bit. What's strange is that if you switch the view to 1080p for the high def version is seems to tear slightly although the quality is better; I'm guessing this is because it was recorded as 1080i and so there is some conversion going to to change from interlaced to progressive encoding. Maybe I should change the camera to 1080p instead?

6 September 2014 at 12:31 , ADRIAN said...

Mark I open a new blank video document at 720px. I then drop footage over it. I then use the free transform tool to resize the video. it is a non linear editor like the one in Blender. I then export as MPEG, H264 and sound AAC. It seems to give the best results so far. Though nothing like as good as it is before uploading to You Tube.

6 September 2014 at 12:47 , Mark said...

Thanks, that's useful to know. Normally I just upload unedited video straight from the camera, but if I need to edit it then I'll try those options when I do the final export.

7 September 2014 at 09:23 , Helen said...

Lovely video Mark. I've been on dolphin watching boat trips before, but never so close to home. Any idea what species they are?

Glad you all had a great time on Skye.

7 September 2014 at 09:29 , Mark said...

I think they were just common dolphin but I could be wrong.

8 September 2014 at 07:16 , ADRIAN said...

Mark, I think they are Bottlenose as I couldn't see the cream stripe.
I forgot to say that if you use the VSE in Blender there is an export panel that can be expanded by dragging it out from the top left it seems to have many more Codecs and formats than the render or normal export box. If you decide to use Blender for video and can't find it then I'll send a screen grab.

8 September 2014 at 07:20 , Helen said...

Thanks Mark and Adrian.

17 September 2014 at 13:59 , GB said...

Your post has made me realise how fortunate I one was when I came to work here in the Outer Hebrides. All those years (nigh on 40) ago we used to travel between the Islands of Harris and North Uist and South Uist and Eriskay and Barra in semi-open converted lobster boats and seals, gannets and dolphins were everyday occurrences. Even the occasional Basking Shark including one which came up and tried to get friendly with the 16 ft clinker in which friends and I were fishing. That was a very scary moment because although they are harmless they can turn such a (relatively) small boat over very easily.

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