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I shoot weddings with at least 4 cameras, two static and two operated. Can use GoPro for static, but 4K is best so you can crop to HD size without losing a pixel of HD resolution. One high in back, either in balcony or on a high tripod. One static behind the alter. Then two operated, one on each side in front 1/3, so you can get face close-ups of bride and groom. Be sure to pan wedding party on each side. Get close-up of ring, but sometimes that’s not possible during the ceremony so stage it after; get so close on putting on the ring(s) one can’t tell it wasn’t live. While there is a lull post ceremony and waiting for reception, have one camera shooting the photos being taken of bride and groom with each family, and have one camera interview guests. Have a set of questions, like what wishes do you have for them, when did you first meet them, tell me your favorite story about (bride) groom. Keep both cameras going during reception. Get lots of close-ups and b-roll, not just the action. Get many angles, like feet walking, children at their level. Try 4K Wimius for the static cameras, about $70 each on ebay. Not quite as good as GoPro, but 90%, have wifi, and sharp image. If you pay 2nd camera $200, charge $400 extra, etc. Short answer to your question, have lots of memory cards and shoot everything possible. Get a good microphone, but also a wireless lav on groom or minister to capture ceremony and vows. Put a good mic on each camera. Turn off the tally light. Walk around with camera running, but facing down or hanging at side. That way when you pull up to shoot guests won’t think it’s on until they see the red light. Shoot sometimes from the hip. Get more natural shots that way. Get candid shots. You’ll spend many hours editing; just plan on it and charge accordingly. You can make one long DVD with lots of shots that tells the whole day, and one about 10-12 minutes of the highlights for them to share with family, wedding party, and those far away who could not attend. Basically the long one is your first or second edit, then keep cutting. Ask them if they want it on the web, but be careful there of copyrighted commercial music.
Your video is very busy and you’re selling the steak, not the sizzle. Your focus is on technical jargon like lower thirds, titles, etc. If that’s how you do it, you won’t get or keep many customers. Coke and Pepsi don’t focus on the taste of their product, they show people drinking it and having fun, smiling, happy – the sizzle. If someone came to you and asked for a video to sell their webpage or product, to do exactly what you do, is this the video you would produce? You have the skills for technical stuff, but everything goes by too fast, too technical, no humor, no sizzle. I’m impressed by your skills, but not by your script writing, concept development, and execution. Here is a poor example as it’s 30 seconds of script and concept development: A) Show how they contact you – Fivver, phone, email, B) show meeting you at their business (example, a furniture store); C) Development; D) Shoot on site – show people smiling happy, do something funny or interesting (someone gets bumped and customer spills a little drink on leather recliner they’re looking at; salesperson’s face shows “no problem” and uses a wipe to easily clean it.); E) during showing this, zoom out and show you are actually at your editing console, producing the video; F) Show the happy recliner customer at home, resting in their new recliner, with a big smile as they close their eyes in comfort. G) You have a good appearance, so close with you onscreen telling audience you can do this for them – video production, script, concept, web page development. Close with how to contact you, again. Buy ads on Youtube. Google ad words is expensive, but effective and you can set your budget. Youtube ads work also. Are you on Craigslist? Send out a sample 100 snail mail brochures to 100 target businesses. Maybe include a sample DVD or flash drive of your work (people see that as an item of value are won’t readily throw away your advertising). 1) you need a better video; 2) you need better, multi-media, marketing; 3) Direct contact always sells better than 3rd person or non-contact media or any other method. Get on the street and talk to potential customers, businesses, etc. Have a business card, a brochure, and a sample, like DVD or flash drive. Try burning a mini DVD. A written link isn’t that effective. Follow up with an email once you have the potential company’s decision maker’s direct email, and include a link to your sample video. Make up 2 or 5 samples – give them away to some customers and hope they hire you for their next ad campaign. But they better be good and effective. Even starting out, if you aren’t effective at selling, hire someone who is who will hit the streets for you, train them on pricing and selling your product (or just a lead and then come back and work with you on the bid), and give them a healthy % of sales (like 15% to 30%). No sales, no cost to you. They have to be able to make a living selling, and enough for you to do likewise producing. Have a covenant not to compete clause so they don’t try producing themselves. It gets complicated: welcome to the world of self-employed and business. Do you have a business license? Insurance? IRS EIN? Formal LLC or Inc business? Business bank account so you can deposit your first check?
It sounds like your problem with speeding up is related to frame rate or refresh rate. Many games use high rates. If your rendering program is using a different rate it may result in the speeding. It seems the speeding is cumulative. Maybe not noticeable early in the video, but grows with time. Send a note to your editing software company tech support and they will probably give you the solution. Make sure you get all the specs on the original clips you capture. Sometimes just a right click Properties will give you information, or else load into your editing program then right click the clip and see if that helps. Doing this might even help you solve the problem yourself. The frame rates and all other factors going into the editing program will work best if they match the going out rendering. You may have to double render. Once at the same frame rate and resolution, etc, then downgrade a second render for upload. On youtube for my videos I have found wmv 720p is best combination of HD quality and file size to upload. I shoot in HD or 4K, then render. A good software editing program should maintain speed even if different frame rates or resolution is selected. I’m not familiar with Hitfilm at all. You might try free trial versions of other software, or free software like MovieMaker to see if there’s any change. The other item I notice, after just checking out Hitfilm, is they have many add-ons for extra charge unless you buy their Pro version, which comes with all of them. One of the add-ons is for mpg2 or AVCHD; common HD file types. If you’re trying to work with any of these files you may have problems with Hitfilm until you upgrade. From the looks of it, Hitfilm free version is just a come-on and you must buy add-on packs to make it work properly. Just a guess.
I think the GH4 is a great camera for you. 1) With run and gun you might not always have perfect framing. The 4K allows you to crop and follow subject without losing quality. 2) correct that autofocus isn’t the best or fastest, however, with practice can get your thumbs working and get better focus. Takes practice to not shake camera, but right thumb on touch screen to change focus point following your subject, then instead of autofocus, put it on button focus, then constantly push focus button as needed with left thumb. This is better focus than most better autofocus cameras. Also can use a very fast shutter speed for sharp frames, or slower for better motion filming. Not many cameras have this feature. 3) Certainly meets your requirements for weather sealing. 4) Small size and weight are good for run and gun. No sense having a small camera if lens is large and heavy. The Panasonic and Olympus lenses are lightweight but excellent glass, edge to edge. Interchangeable lenses are a great feature. 5) Fully articulating monitor satisfies requirement for viewing yourself, and for using low or high camera angles. 6) Definitely rugged and reliable. 7) Video quality is excellent and used by many for documentaries and low budget films. 8) It’s now out for years and proven reliability. 9) Many praise its ergonomic and intuitive controls. Quick learning curve. 9) Battery is OK, but can add double battery base, or XLR and SDI base for excellent sound recording. Only negative on GH4 is that the GH5 has been rumored to come out for the last year or more. Now most bets are for Sept, but that’s pure conjecture. IF GH5 does come out, make the GH4 your B-roll camera and use same lenses and accessories. But you know your needs best and have the experience to make a good decision. I’m just seconding your GH4 consideration.
First, it seems you have not done video editing. You’ll find out 2 hours into your first project if this is for you. Editing takes hours and it must be “in your blood.” Otherwise, it won’t be boring, it will be too frustrating. Look at any commercial TV or movie and see 25 to 200 names in the credits that produced it. And that is the standard that people use to judge your one-man-band production. Second – who is your target audience and why are you doing this? Might help determine equipment and investment. Third – for one question you ask – you can use a digital audio recorder and replace the soundtrack of a good video but poor audio camcorder if you have software that allows you to create and see the audio waveform. Some software synchs for you, but with waveform it’s easy to synch yourself. I and most here use pro editing software that does this easily, but the software alone will blow your budget. There is probably sub $100 software that will do waveform, but I’m not familiar. I don’t think the free software like Windows Movie Maker will do this. Hopefully others will chime in. Fourth – you’re right on audio being extremely important. Get that right. Also, on video, you’ll need some help shooting. A static shot for more than 20 seconds will bore your audience. Get close-ups, real close, like fill the frame, with your face, your moving fingers (both hands), and maybe even tapping feet. Get clever on the shots. Remember, as basic as it sounds many forget, every production should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Make each section good, and they generally are not equal lengths. Beginning and end may be seconds, but must be there. Many thousands before you have thought “wouldn’t it be cool to do this video…” and most drop out soon after starting when they see how much work it is to do it right. Even for non-commercial work I plan 2 to 5 hours of editing (not counting initial shooting) for every minute of finished video. Like I said, you will find out very soon if it is “in your blood” and becomes a passion, not just a hobby. It sounds like playing the guitar is a passion for you. To make a video of such will require making editing a passion also. I suggest before you spend hundreds, borrow or use what you have, try some free online video editing program trials (many give 30 days free trial, but some will watermark final renders), and give it a shot. We who are passionate wish you well and welcome you into the fold.
I have 7 HD cameras, but only one pro, the others prosumer or consumer. The Sony A1U is my pro workhorse and I still use it a lot. I very much like tape, especially now that prices have dropped. The main reason is archive. If my computer crashes, hard drive fails, I always have those tapes. Hundreds of them stacked in racks. It is true that the newer flash drive cameras have better quality, but not by that much. I regularly mix formats and cameras. HDV is fine for me. I also shoot a Panasonic GH2 hacked to 150 Mbps from its native 27, and like it a lot. But I’m not great at backing up personal and family clips, so I’m worried about losing some clips forever. My A1U with mic and light mounted looks professional, shoots great, and gets lots of comments. You XH-A1 is even better and if the clips satisfy your quality needs, keep it and keep shooting. I’m still selling stock clips shot with the A1U, so it satisfies some commercial customers. I’m always buying 3rd generation to keep the cost down. Now eyeing a GH4 for 4K, but that cost has not come down much. Put it in a cage or rail system, add an external mic, and it looks very professional. I got a Canon studio TV lens, f1.4, for a steal on ebay and put that on GH2 (or eventually GH4), in shoulder or tripod mounted rail system, and nobody notices the small still camera format camera I’m using. For online or DVD, the 1440×1080 is just fine. If you have work for 4K and can make more $$, invest. I find the only limit I don’t like with tape is the one hour recording time. With a fast 128G card I can shoot for hours. That and tape real time transfer to computer vs much faster digital card transfer. If the transfer time or 1 hr limit isn’t a factor for you, stay with what you have. Let your customer’s demands tell you when it is time for change. Don’t change just for the sake of change, or to satisfy camera envy. The latter is a trap you’ll never get out of.
I'm a bit surprised you have started a production company without this basic knowledge. Copyright, whether images, audio, or video clips by others, and even sayings and quips can get you in big trouble. That, and having a library of waivers for client, talent, and all to sign is the very basic must-have for all production companies. If you do weddings, the bride will want "her" music for their dance, soundtrack, etc. Can't do it!! Even the traditional "Happy Birthday" song is copyrighted. There are some ways around it, but it gets complicated and expensive. One way is to tell clients the synchronization rights (which is what you buy – meaning you can only sell or distribute (even YouTube) with the audio if it's inside a video (prevents you from producing and selling CD's to compete with them)) will cost $10K or more, just for one song, plus your regular production costs. That might be a bit high (or maybe not), but it makes the point to your client about how expensive using copyrighted music can be. And the huge hassle. Sometimes the song is owned by one entity, such as Sony, and it's a one stop buying process. Other times you must get OK and pay the song writer, arranger, producer, artist, etc. On the other hand, you can get permission from some bands or artists to use their ORIGINAL (only) music. (and get it in writing) I have such permission from two artists who produce scuba songs, but sometimes they create new lyrics to copyrighted melodies and they can't give permission to use those. Original music and lyrics only. There are some good free music sources. One is military bands. Each military base and such as the Air Force Adademy and all the others, have not just marching bands, but string quartests, orchestras, and many more. They have mp3's online and are careful to only make available old classic songs out of copyright. Another is archive.org and check out old recordings. Some cylinder, 78's, etc. Most are out of copyright, but you must check each song. Some are capable of being copyrighted, but can be used with "attribution." Means just give them credit and point listeners to their website or source and you can use. As a small production company you're usually under the radar, but knowledge and caution to clients will put them on notice you are a true, knowledgeable professional. Of course you want your videos to go viral – and that's when your p's and q's had best be perfect. And you do know about getting permission and often paying to shoot on different venues – such as in a building, even a public park MAY require permission for commercial production shoots. And a business license (often for each city you work in), and insurance, and ….. Good luck on your new company.
Here's a sample of free music I used – the opening is music from the Air Force Academy. The video is too long, but was made for fly-in participants not general public; listen to the first couple songs and get the idea. https://vimeo.com/107101162
And… Vimeo is usually less hassle on these issues than YouTube ; )February 26, 2015 at 3:40 PM in reply to: miniDV camcorder, no firewire port on laptop – last time, I swear #211797
You're absolutely right on S-video. I'm now shooting in HD, so I would use component. Now when I travel, I use cameras with SD cards so I can input into laptop. When I shoot near home, I can use any of my cameras as I have a desktop with firewire. While I prefer the newer flash card cameras for quality, and the hacked GH2 or Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera are my first choices, I do a fair amount of underwater work and the housings are often more than the cameras. My primary UW housing is for a Sony A1U, which is a tape HDV camera. When on a dive trip I have to input into a laptop via component, but that's usually for a quick on-site view. For editing I'll wait till home to capture via firewire and edit on my 2 monitor, 8 core, desktop machine.
Combo B&H and Blackmagic should do the trick for you. B&H is a great place to buy. Blackmagic's $1,000 switcher with 6 HDMI inputs that can be controlled by PC or Mac should work for you. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/766072-REG/Blackmagic_Design_SWATEMTVSTU_ATEM_Television_Studio_Production.html
Contact Blackmagic for design support.
I've only done standard definition, and strictly amateur multi-cam nput work, and only seldom, but I have done a live multi-cam stream where one camera was my underwater scuba system, cable to surface to transmitter in a buoy; receiver on the beach and board mixer to mix with surface beach cams, then streamed online. I regularly use 4 cams via remote control. Now with WiFi this is easier, but I have old stuff and use 3 Bescor units with my Sony cameras with Lanc remote controllers, and make a 50 ft cable bundle back to my control table. One camera is wide angle static, the other 3 I control remotely for pan/tilt/stop/start/zoom. I use these for pan/tilt:
then get the 50 ft extension cord, add a monitor cable, and Lanc cable, and wrap it all in spiral. One man shop controls 3 cameras, 4 cam sources (the 4th is the static wide angle), and works great. If you use a mixer you'll want a separate person to do that. The BlackMagic mixer/switcher above will connect to your laptop or desktop and you'll be able to add graphics, do on-the-fly green screen, play canned clips from the computer, etc. Decide if you want HD or SD for live stream. You'll have to buy some monitors, or use one larger one to use with BlackMagic which can show 10 inputs on one monitor. Understand that the standard you want to achieve is what you see on TV. Now look at the credits for one of those productions. There's lots of gear and lots of people. While it seems simple and seems should be cheap, it ain't. Can you do it? Yes. But be ready to have some help and to make some compromises. I get my 7" monitors off ebay; HDMI for about $130 instead of $500 (not quality color calibrated, but they work). First consult with both BlackMagic and B&H (both have excellent consultants), then buy from whomever you choose, get some cables and accessories (like HDMI splitters and maybe amplifiers), monitors, cables, and maybe some cable adapters. Be careful of the length of your HDMI cable runs. My one HDMI camera won't push signal down 50 ft cable, but I add an amplifier/splitter and then have one 7" monitor at the camera and a second 7" monitor at my control board, and the amplifier easily sends the signal 50 ft (need to add a small 12V battery or AC adapter for power to the amp). There will be few "gotcha's" like that you can expect along the way, but trial and many errors will get you through it. It won't be easy!!
I do a different type, mostly private travelogue, type video. So I edit the video section, then play back with sound muted and record into a Zoom H4 while watching. If you have a set script, record the voice first, then work the two (video & audio) together and adjust. Use a very good quality mic as it makes all the difference; but doesn't have to be expensive. Digital voice recorders, esp Zoom brand, are not too costly. Record the voice as if the person was giving a seminar on the subject, but be careful of the boring monotone reading script syndrome. Then move your video clips around to match. But don't be afraid to edit the voice track as well as the video. Sometimes you can show a clip that gives better info than the voice. If you make the audience work just a little tiny bit to follow you, they'll pay more attention than if it's easy and they get bored and distracted. Use gaps in the audio sometimes to show a pertinent clip. Experiment with music under and raise volume during the voice gaps. Royalty free music has a wide variety of choices. The basic concepts still rule for prduct video – have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Try to create a bit of drama or have a surprise or two. It's very, very hard to pull off, but add a little comedy once in a while. Use a lot of close-ups as these bring your audience into your production emotionally, even for products. Want some inspiration? Watch a commercial, esp a Superbowl commercial, for ideas on how to hold interest and how long a clip stays on screen before a cut. Watch a movie or TV show, but from a different perspective. Most of the audience will be following the story and the action. You should be watching for ratio of close-ups to medium and wide shots, how many seconds between cuts (count silently as you watch), and how music adds to the experience. Record some ambient room sound to cut into the non-talking sections. Every recording environment has a different background sound characteristic. Do everything you can to make your productions hold interest. Whether entertaining, informing, or selling, you'll accomplish your mission better with a good production.January 5, 2015 at 11:35 AM in reply to: miniDV camcorder, no firewire port on laptop – last time, I swear #211565
If you have a newer laptop with USB3, then use Black Magic Design Intensity Shuttle
to capture either Standard Definition (SD) via composite, or High Definition (HD) as in HDV via component; both using analog stereo for audio. The other option is a low cost desktop machine you can put a Firewire pci card into. Run older OS and keep it just for capture of older tapes. Not good for travel or mobility, but works fine at home. Or, capture all your existing tapes with system you have, then move to a card camcorder. Prices are low for great quality now. A $300 to $400 HD camcorder will give much better quality than any SD older camera.
In addition to some of the above, I have 2 more, both free, music sites I use frequently. One is military bands. example http://www.usarmyband.com/jukebox/index.html
Most every major military base has a music section, and these are not just marching songs. Most bases have an orchestra, jazz band, and often string quartet and more. Many post mp3's, just don't expect popular songs. They are very careful to post songs in the public domain. I have over 100 tracks from different bands. The Air Force Academy is great.
Another site I use is archive.org. Don't mistake with .com. At the .org site you can specifify audio, then put in your subject. I've used this for aviation videos and got some great ones. Almost all specify the license and many are public domain, being older cylinder or 78 recordings. If you're doing anything related to history, this is a great site. Can specify a search by genre, topic, artist, or decade.
Remember, these are free, whether for personal or commercial use.October 6, 2014 at 1:43 PM in reply to: miniDV camcorder, no firewire port on laptop – last time, I swear #211159
I'm certainly learning from you and this thread. I haven't looked in a couple years when I purchased a laptop without Firewire, and I have 3 cameras I love that shoot HDV (plus a few others on SD cards). I actually like tape because of the archive ability; no worry about crashing hard drives. Before the Pinnacle, all that was available was the BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle that used the component output, pus stereo cables, to capture. And that's $200 instead of $149, and requires USB3. Another option is to get a used desktop and buy a Firewire card, less than $20, and install it; can even use your external drive. I much prefer editing on a desktop, standard keyboard, using 2 monitors, and my case has 6 hard drives and 13 TB, plus many external drives. But all that's been collected over years. Anyway, seems the Pinnacle unit works well, except for losing sound synch after a while, for which you found work-around. I'm going to look into getting one. Thnx.
First, the pro estimate doesn't make sense. Is this just for editing your clips and stills? Then you still need a good camera; and excellent technique. Or, do you take the twins in for regular sessions, then they edit in a year? That lacks the day to day stuff. Surely a pro isn't going to follow your family around for a year, then edit, for less than $50+K. It really sounds like they will edit the raw material you give them.
Next – you want high quality. That's very dependent on your editing, even if you have the best clips in the world. Are you ready to spend hundreds of hours editing? Learning how to do this can take years. The standard by which home video is judged is commercial television and movies. Just watch the credits one time to see how many people were involved in a simple, non-blockbuster 30 minute production. Lots, like 30 or more. And you want to match their quality by yourself? Can be done, but most cannot.
Today the hardware and software should be your least consideration. The quality of your shooting and editing skills is primary. Most any modern camcorder, SLR or mirrorless, or even advanced smart phone will give you excellent images. How stable they are is dependent on your shooting skills. Angles, lighting, sound (and sound is 70% of a "video" production), and esp whether the shots are shaky. Most any editing software from $60 to $130 will do what you want. Get free trial downloads of any software and try before you buy. CyberLink Power Director is one of the best, fastest rendering, bang for the buck today (I don't use it – too much learning time for me to switch.) Don't pay any attention to the fancy transitions – watch the pros – they use simple cuts and fades. Do the same. Rule is – if your content is junk, use the fancy stuff. If your content is good, tell a story with just cuts or crossfades. You can choose one transition (like a page turn or clock wind) as a "signature" transition for this production. But don't throw the kitchen sink at it. That's distracting rather than complementing. For cameras, look at Canon Vixia series (HR-R50, R500), or a Panasonic (include lens for cost). Or most any good camera at Costco will shoot excellent video. I like the Vixia because it has super zoom with excellent quality. I have 7 prosumer and consumer HD cameras and go back to my Canon HF200 with 15x optical zoom, but can 4X digital and get 60X zoom with excellent quality. Most cameras won't have good quality with any digital zoom. Add required accessories – LED video light, plug-in microphone (be sure camera has a mic input), and a bracket to hold them. A tripod is required, but much of family stuff is handheld, so sharpen your skills at holding camera steady. And for this, larger or heavier is easier to hold steady, up to a point. A small camera or phone is very difficult to hold steady. Whatever camera, you'll need practice holding your breath, leaning on something, putting your elbow on the table or ?? to be stable. If there's one single factor that separates the pros from obvious amateur, its stability of the shots (then sound, then lighting, then ….and creativity of the angles and composition). But tripods are bulky and inconvenient for family, unless it is constantly stowed in the corner and becomes a fixture (most all come with quick connect adapters). Any major brand camrera will give you excellent images. They vary on low light without noise capability, zoom, ease of use, lens quality. Look at Mbps (megabits per second) for video. 24 Mbps is minimum, 27 is now a standard. I use Panasonic GH2 hacked from 27 to over 150 Mbps most of the time, then HF200 when I want a small set-up. Add a very good quality SD card to your list, and 32 MB should be minimum, and very fast (600X, or 90Mbps) is required. Be careful of counterfeits in this area. B&H and Adorama are excellent sources, plus your local camera shop, even at a slight price premium. I do buy on ebay a lot, but am very careful and know what I'm doing. My bracket, mic, and LED lights are from ebay. Not super high quality, but good enough for my non-pro work, and cheap. Tell a story – edit with a hook in first 4 or 10 seconds, then have a beginning, middle, and end. Use all 3 shots – wide angle to establish, some medium, but mostly close-ups. Fill the frame with faces from ear to ear. Close brings your audience emotionally closer into your production. Even sports productions get in those super close-up shots of faces to show their determination, concentration, and emotions. That's why stability and zoom are so important. But zoom TO the shot, don't make the zoom THE shot (exceptions to every rule, but know the rules first). 199 out of 200 people don't have the (skill, attention to detail, ability to concentrate, interest – choose one or all) to spend the time editing. This forum is filled with those 1 out 200's. Find out fast if you are one also – or get out your $1,500.
Just a little story about finding help locally. A few years ago my daughter was getting married and of course I wanted to do the production, but I wanted to do nothing video on that day. I wanted to edit after the event, but needed camera operators who could work with a minimum of supervision. I put an ad in Craigslist and said I'd pay $150 each for 2 camera operators. I was flabbergasted!! Within 24 hrs I had over 40 responses and they were all wayyyy overqualified. Almost all had experience on major TV or movie productions, one worked on Seinfeld. It seems people in this business work a gig, then it ends, and they're out of work. But it's "in their blood." They prefer to work for $$, but just want to be in the loop to be doing something in the business. They offer advice, help if the time is available. Look at what you've received here and what it cost. Seek out local help. I ended up paying $175 ea (they had not asked for more) and felt embarrassed they were so qualified. And they did great, much better than I would have done alone. The shots were all well exposed, in focus, and many artistic. Seek and ye shall find. Not during the shooting, but during the editing you'll find out very fast if this is "in your blood." People are so used to seeing high quality work on TV and in movies, that this becomes the standard by which all video is judged. It is extraordinarily difficult to put together a well-crafted, stable, entertaining piece that holds interest. Today's low priced cameras and equipment can meet image expectations, but the real quality is within you. You'll find out fast if it's in your blood. again – good luck.