Way back in February, 2012, Charles Plueddeman, the Outboard Expert at boats.com, dragged me along to see the biggest outboard ever built. "You can help me shoot a little video," he said. "People want to see this engine."
I'm not much of an engine guy, but the 557-horsepower V8 that powers the Seven Marine outboard sure sounded different, even idling at the dock on the back of a 29 Sea Hunter. I held the video camera while Charles did the on-camera intro. Then he took his camera out for the ride, and I pulled out my Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoot for a short clip of him exiting the slip.
That was about it for a while. In the shade of the Marriott marina dockhouse, I stayed out of the hot Miami sun and started imagining who would be editing this video. I didn't have much video editing experience, but then again, Charles had writing to do and a full schedule the next day...
I awoke from that reverie as the Sea Hunter reappeared in front of the marina. This time, I also grabbed my backup camera, an even smaller Canon SD1200, to shoot a few stills. And so, with a camera in each hand, I shot the Outboard Expert's modest re-entry to the marina thinking, "This effort isn't going to amount to much."
In the taxi back to the Miami Beach Convention Center, Charles was enthusiastic, saying, "We could be first with this video!" Reluctantly, I agreed I would take on the edit, and after a quick burger, I headed to my hotel room, downloaded the chips off both cameras, and started uploading to YouTube.
The truth is that the "how to use YouTube video editor" help videos are very good, and after the normal false starts, I realized I could pull this off. Being a rookie and grappling with a slow connection, I didn't publish the video until after midnight, but the result was worth it. The finished product is no masterpiece, and Francis Ford Coppola's job is still secure, but the video has drawn more than a quarter-million viewers on YouTube and on Charles' blog entry "Seven Marine 557 Outboard: In-Water Debut."
Nothing I've shot since then has been anywhere near as successful, but you can be sure I'm listening closely to whatever the Outboard Expert tells me. And at the 2013 show, I made sure he had a professional along to shoot him introducing the Yamaha Helm Master joystick system with twin Yamaha 350s.