From Win Nguyen on his work with the videos this year…

After seeing so much interest in the videos I uploaded onto Youtube of the 2010 TTSports Wgtn. TT Open, I decided to go ahead and film this year’s tournament to upload as well. I wanted to do something to help table tennis in NZ. We all know it’s a minority sport here and there is definitely a shortage of New Zealand table tennis videos on Youtube – we need to increase its popularity & image! In my opinion, having videos of our top players in action goes a long way towards increasing interest and numbers in our sport.

Filming-wise, it actually worked out quite well this year with me not playing in the tournament, giving me more time to concentrate on the videos (I entered last year and also filmed which was why I wasn’t able to get as much footage). The decision to do video was only made a week beforehand. In that time I came up with an idea to allow me to position my camcorder for better viewing angles. I wasn’t happy with how the camera was positioned last year – so low that the far end of the table wasn’t visible. A hit ball would just disappear into the distance and the viewer had to watch for the bounce of the ball to know whether it was in or out! Plus, there was no real indication of exactly where on the table the ball landed either – there’s a very good reason why when you watch table tennis on the camera is mounted up so high! I too wanted to achieve a similar kind of shot. Half an hour later I came up with an idea for my “Quadpod”, which took about an hour to put together from stuff I had lying in the garage (imagine a carpenter & hoarder person in one), and another hour of testing & fine-tuning to have a working prototype! It was a very simple design (as you can see from the photos). Mounting a flexible mini tripod (the “Joby Gorillapod“) on an adjustable platform above a ladder was a good way of getting up to the height I wanted for my filming. It can be adjusted from about 2m – 3.1m for height, was stable, portable & easily assembled / disassembled simply by loosening a couple of screws.

I only had one camcorder for last year’s tournament but decided I really needed two, with the amount of filming I was going to do, so went out & bought one during the week.

The Quadpod worked well on the day. The main issue I had with it was that I didn’t want to set it up right in the centre of the lounge area because of lack of space & for safety reasons with so many people walking past, someone could easily walk into it. I ended up leaving it at one end of the stadium only with one camcorder attached to it and using Rob Chung’s tripod & my 2nd camcorder moving up and down the stadium as needed. Because what I was using were just mini camcorders, I struggled with enough battery life & storage space – only an hour on one and two hours on the other, so any free moment I got between matches were spent either charging them up or transferring files to my laptop! It was a very very long day of filming, taking photos of result sheets (for looking back on scores), and catching up with old friends who were all very supportive of me doing the videos. I was at the stadium for about 16 hours, from 9am Saturday til around 1am early Sunday morning! The final was played around 12:30am and by then most people had already left so there wasn’t much of an audience – disappointing for The Grand Finale. It was very tiring but I thoroughly enjoyed my day there and witnessed some very good table tennis.

I managed to capture over 40 matches which was about 10 hours of footage!!! I wanted to edit & upload the videos as quickly as I could, especially the Mens Singles Final because not many people were there to watch it live so I knew there would be a lot of interest. After a much needed sleep-in, I finished editing around 12pm on Sunday and with Youtube’s uploading & processing time, it was available for viewing at around 4pm that day! That was the start of a very busy week for me, editing videos every chance I got before & after work, going to bed after 1am on many occasions. My goal was to have everything on Youtube within a week while interest was still high. In the end, it took me 8 days in total – my last highlights video uploaded in the early hours of Sunday morning (10 July).

After my epic week of editing, I can honestly say it was all worth it. Judging by the number of views I’ve had, at last count – over 1,000 collectively for all the 2011 Wgtn. Open videos in just over a week, it was worth the effort it in the end. After all, there’s not much point in making these videos if no-one’s going to watch them, right?

This gives me the drive to do it all again at next year’s Wellington TT Open! Hopefully by then I would’ve learnt more about movie-making and be able to produce better videos! If anyone is keen to help me out, regardless of whether you have video editing knowledge or not, even if it’s just some ideas or to offer constructive criticism, please email me: getwin1 [at], or search me on Facebook using the same email address.

There are a few people who I want to thank: everyone at Table Tennis Wellington for organizing another successful tournament, Paul Solt, the Tournament Manager (& sponsor!) for giving me permission to do the filming, Mat Hobbs & Rob Chung for your initial input & ideas for the highlights soundtrack & to Rob again for taking over the filming on Sunday when I couldn’t be there. And of course, thanks to everyone who took the time out to watch my videos, as you discovered there’s a lot there!

Here’s something to look forward to: I will be uploading videos of the recent Canterbury Open soon – thanks to Sarah Her-Lee & John Cordue for providing me with the source footage. If all goes well, I may be receiving regular videos from them to edit & upload as they travel and compete in various tournaments around NZ & the world! Also, if anyone has filmed some good matches and wants them edited & uploaded, please don’t hesitate to email me at the above address. I really enjoy making table tennis videos so don’t feel like it’s going to be a burden on me! I really want to encourage everyone out there if you have a camcorder, why not do some filming next time you’re at a tournament!!!


PS: Quick links to the three most popular videos:
Highlights 1/3
Highlights 2/3
Highlights 3/3