The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:27 pm 
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Having viewed hundreds of siren videos over the twelve years that I have been active on this board, I thought that I'd give a few suggestions to those of you who submit Youtube videos to make them more enjoyable. These are general recommendations not targeted to anyone specifically.

1. Avoid talking while the siren sounds. Resist the temptation to yell something when the siren starts, and don't bring your friends with you unless they can keep silent. You don't need to remind us that the siren is starting when we can plainly hear it.

2. Don't force viewers to watch two minutes of movie-style credits before a thirty-second siren clip. Your film will never make it big in Hollywood or online, so just get to the point and spare the big production stuff. All we want to hear is the siren.

3. If you have background music, end it before the siren starts. If you're filming from a moving car, turn off the stereo before you enter the area where the siren can be heard.

4. Try to locate your camera some distance from the siren so that the sound does not come out distorted. This also takes advantage of local acoustics and reverberation. If it is a windy day, try filming from inside a car with a window rolled down to cut down on wind or ambient noise. Park the car so that the wind blows perpendicular to the open window.

5. If you have video editing software, cut out most of the blank time before the siren sounds. Ten or twenty seconds of waiting is fine for most viewers, but three minutes is not. When the siren shuts off, try to get most of the wind-down, but remember that because it takes some sirens several minutes before the rotor stops moving, most people aren't willing to wait for it to stop.

6. I know that not everyone can afford high-end cameras and equipment, but if a basic tripod is out of your budget, at least place your camera on a flat surface rather than holding it in your hand. When the siren starts suddenly, the picture won't jump when you do.

I hope that these suggestions will be useful for you.

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Last edited by Daniel on Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:26 am 
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Real Name: Andy A.
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If you don't have video editing software and there's a long period of the video without sirens sounding and don't want to wait a long time, one thing you could do is say in the description of the video when the sirens start to sound(e.g. 3:42), and that will be linked, and if you click on it, it will take you right to that time.

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Resident of a county with big a mixture of sirens, but in the process of being replaced. :(


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:31 am 
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carexpertandy wrote:
say in the description of the video when the sirens start to sound(e.g. 3:42), and that will be linked, and if you click on it, it will take you right to that time.
Though not having video editing software isn't really an excuse, so please don't make this a habit. There are plenty of free suites that will allow you to do simple editing tasks like cutting.

I find it highly irritating when the lead up time to a siren activation is quite long (since to view the video, the lead up still has to be downloaded), especially since I'm charged 1.1c/MB to use the Internet on campus (which makes my Internet usage bill sky rocket when using YouTube). Unfortunately, Australia (and much of the developed world) doesn't have the same broadband environment that the United States does, bandwidth is much more expensive here.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:10 am 
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Here are my suggestions. When the siren you're recording shuts down, especially if it's a Thunderbolt or an electronic siren, there are often other sirens still going or winding down in the background. Please try to capture all of that ambiance without moving or turning off your recorder or camera. I've had to explain that to some people who have recorded for me in the past.

Also, please try to avoid making unwanted noise by messing with the recorder or camera while the siren is running. I've had a couple of recordings nearly ruined when a friend messed with my recorder, especially the Southern Acres recording, which I plan on redoing myself because of it.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:40 am 
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Here's a few more tips from me:

Don't put the camera in view where a car/truck will block the entire picture, if it goes by.

Don't try to zoom in too much on a siren. I've seen some videos where it looks bad due to too much zoom.

Don't keep the camera zoomed out too much, or we won't see the siren too well. Especially on lower quality cameras.

Don't stand too far from the siren, otherwise it'll sound too quiet.

Hope these help.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:28 am 
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If I may add a tip, I think this a big one.

Location, location, location!

Please, I would like a good description of where this siren is at. If you say something like this Whelen Vortex is in Oklahoma City, that doesn't really help to identify which Whelen it would be. This is why usually for my videos I put a map, descriptive descriptions, and narration of where I'm at and where the siren is at. Now I wouldn't expect all of you to do exactly that, but just add street names or nearby businesses, schools, parks, etc. This will also help people decide which siren to get so they know that a siren they were considering is already filmed, especially since siren tests don't happen every day and we'd like to try and get something different every week/month. That's just my 2 cents. Thanks.

Tommy McGowan (TommyBNSF)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:00 am 
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Don't know if that was referring to me, Tommy, I live in OKC...lol no worries though if it is. I usually try to give the street corner nearest the siren in the description and the date it was filmed in my description, that is the bare minimum.

My big thing is talking...I can not STAND when people talk in siren videos, and I'm pretty sure most everyone on here feels the same. That's why whenever a friend goes with me to a siren, I tell them not to talk as soon as I start the camera. "THUR IT GOEZ" is the most common thing I hear in videos that could have turned out perfect if that wasn't in it. Why ruin what could be a perfect video?

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-Proud owner of: Thunderbolt 1000T, Thunderbeam, SD-10, Two 2T22's, T-112, Naked Model 2
(It's no wonder I'm never on here anymore)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:26 am 
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Real Name: Tommy McGowan
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Yeah I know you're from OKC. It was biggest town I could think with a lot of the same siren lol. Either that or Chicago with their 2001's. But yeah the only time I do talking is for the narration BEFORE the siren goes off (though I do often talk when there's ambiance; I really need to stop doing that. :roll: )

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Not trying to bump, but if its a Statewide Tornado Drill, should you turn on the radio for the announcements saying that it is only a test?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:26 pm 
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@2T22Bman: THere isn't necessarily a need (as the vid title tells the viewer it's a drill), but if you do that can add some notice that the sirens are going to start soon.

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