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I’ve just purchased my last set of videos to complete my collection of Great Layout Adventures, 1-13.  I also have a set of TM videos and some individual layout videos like Choo Choo Barn, How to use DCS (OGRR) and Twin Cities model RR video.  I also enjoy those moments when I stumble upon a great You Tube video like a Mr. Muffins’ weekend layout run or small clips on this forum.

Here is what I get from these:

  1. Great entertainment.  Model railroads as entertainment or background video with guests can work well.
  2. Humble pie and aspiration. Seeing museum quality layouts like Tony Lash’s, Don Klose’s or Bill Bramlage’s makes me realize that I’ll never have the means or the skills to have a museum quality layout.  However, those layouts motivate me and make me aspire to build the best I can and remind me of my humble place in this world in a good way.
  3. Road entertainment. I travel often for a living and have brought these videos with me on the road.  When I’m stuck at a desk all evening, what better way to spend the time than watching my collection of O Gauge layouts and drawing up my next layout project?
  4. Sleeping pills. The one and only time I met Richard Melvin was at Train Fest several years ago.  When he spoke, it was like feeling the warmth of the summers of my youth–instantly familiar and comfortable. Yes, listening to Richard Melvin’s voice is not only familiar, but can put me to sleep at night – and that’s a good thing.  My favorite falling asleep video is The Choo Choo Barn.  The music combined with the childhood dreams of building that perfect layout and Richard’s smooth voice soothes the soul and makes me dream about my next project on my own layout.
  5. Ideas for my own layout. I’ve recently gotten into the habit of taking cell phone pictures of still clips from these videos.  Bridges, specific scenes, unique accessories, cars and buildings all contribute to the great ideas I get from these.
  6. Great stories. Listening to Leapin’ Larry’s story or Hot Water’s expertise or weathering techniques by several different layout builders drives me deeper into understanding what this hobby is all about.
  7. Therapy for my madness. When I watch all the great people that have layouts and their reasons for creating them, I feel like I’m not alone in my world of trains.  There are folks out there that think just like me with multitudes of shelves full train cars and engines.
  8. Reassurance. The thousands of dollars and the countless hours I spend on this hobby is shared not only by guys like me but elite champions like doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs that have built great empires in our communities, creating jobs and making our economy roll while sharing the passion of this hobby.  I love when these folks talk about how making mountains or laying track is their great relaxation because it is mine as well.
  9. Time stands still. Even though these videos age, the content is timeless. The videos I watched 20 years ago are still relevant today, even though Protosound engines are now Protosound 3.  Marty Fitzhenry is still alive and shining, saluting “Stevie” from Ross Custom switches, one of our great heroes of this hobby.

What do you get when you watch O Gauge videos?

Mike

Last edited by IRON HORSE
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This is a nice thought provoking post Mike. YouTube videos work for me because of their expansiveness. Photographs are great and when they are in magazines there is usually a good narrative. But there may be something that gets your attention that you would like to see something additional. With video you are typically provided with a good overview which affords a conceptual understanding of the layout. With both mediums I always find some detail that I had not considered. The human eye goes to movement so the videos do the job.

@IRON HORSE posted:

Here is what I get from these:

…Sleeping pills. The one and only time I met Richard Melvin was at Train Fest several years ago.  When he spoke, it was like feeling the warmth of the summers of my youth–instantly familiar and comfortable. Yes, listening to Richard Melvin’s voice is not only familiar, but can put me to sleep at night – and that’s a good thing.  My favorite falling asleep video is The Choo Choo Barn.  The music combined with the childhood dreams of building that perfect layout and Richard’s smooth voice soothes the soul and makes me dream about my next project on my own layout…

Nice to know my video production work is a cure for insomnia.

Just kidding! I genuinely appreciate your compliment about my “announcer voice.” Producing that Choo Choo Barn video was one of the most enjoyable projects I ever did. I’m very pleased to know you enjoy all the OGR videos.

I watch youtube videos. I like hi rail layouts so I'll my comments are for them. I'm not knocking it but I am surprizes how many have sharp S turns. or  several switches one after another on the mainline. Seems to work alright.

I have open grid and I'm beginning to think I'll never finish it. Table top has to be a lot faster. There are some tabletop that look really nice.

And plaster work, mountains, waterways, bridges, tunnels some have none but look good.

I'm talking about the average home layout here not the famous ones.

I too, enjoy watching model train videos, even of scale layouts.  Sadly all of the three major producers are no longer offering new ones: TM, OGR and Great Model Railroads (all HO).  But like Mike said, they are professionally done (in contrast to my U Tube postings) and for model railroaders do tell great stories.

This is a nice thought provoking post Mike.  YouTube videos work for me because of their expansiveness.

Thank you, Jay, for this comment.  I've been thinking about writing this post for awhile and finally decided to put it out there because I am so grateful for the producers for providing me with so many hours of enjoyment.  (And, yes, Richard, fully awake time, too )

I, too, like You Tube videos and have posted a few of my own on my holiday layout.  Call me old school, but I still love the DVD format and I am reminded of what Steve Jobs once said about the market for IPods:  People want to own their music and videos.

I bought my first O Gauge video directly from Tom McComas at TM (not TMCC as I stated, Thanks PeterA) who was working a table at the Dupage County Fairgrounds 20+ years ago.  At that time, I thought it was a gimmick that you could by quality O Gauge videos for the low prices they were (and still are).  But within a few minutes of talking to him I realized what a nice, great man he was and my collection of videos began.  Like Richard Melvin, he has a great voice, too.

Last edited by IRON HORSE
@Rich Melvin posted:

Producing that Choo Choo Barn video was one of the most enjoyable projects I ever did. I’m very pleased to know you enjoy all the OGR videos.

The Choo Choo Barn video is one of my all-time favorites.  I've watched it many, many times both wide awake and in slumber .  At one point I emailed Tom Groff to express my appreciation and he responded in kind.  Visiting him and the Choo Choo Barn was on my Bucket List and I was saddened to hear that he passed away. 

Mike

Mike,

A very heartfelt and thoughtful post. Your words inspire me in this hobby because you "love it so much" that kind of thinking is contagious. You remind me that in such turbulent times we all need an occasional break from reality; where we can imagine and remember a smaller simpler world. Thank you for reminding me.

kevin

.

If any of you are thinking "Gee, that's a neat idea, but I have no idea of how to present my stuff", may I recommend that you watch the youtube video to which Cody (paigetrain) posted a link.  After watching the 20-1/2 minute video my immediate response was "don't end yet!  I want to see more!".  I'm still wiping the drool off of my chin. 

Part of what makes it a good video is the sheer quantity and quality of trains and other toys, but what makes it so watchable in my opinion is that it's not a lecture, but rather it's simply a visual presentation with engaging background music - in this case ragtime.

True, this format is not appropriate for instructional video; but that's a different creature.  Enjoy this video for what it is.

And thank you, Cody, for posting that link.



Perry

@ Iron Horse, Mike, this is a super thread and thank you for mentioning my name and Hot Waters name as we had a lot fun with model trains. Now, Hot Water is also super knowledgeable about real trains. I have to give Rich Melvin a big pat on the back, he’s got a great voice, knows how to produce a great video, brings out the very best of all the layouts he visits,, and uses the cool music and sound effects better than any other  model layout film maker of model and real train productions in the industry, in my opinion.  His personal touch filming our layouts is just outstanding. It’s sad to say, several of the model builders have past on to their eternal homes, but, We can sit back and watch their masterpieces at our convenience. Making these video’s is expensive and time consuming, I applaud Rich and the OGR Staff for their interest in our hobby, the best hobby in the world. I to would like to see more home layouts. Thank you very much for opening this thread.
I like to watch all of the educational videos, home layout videos, big club layout videos. And the 765 real train video’s are awesome, all are so enjoyable to watch.
If we watch these great video’s, building our home layouts is much more fun.
Thank you OGR  and everyone involved.
Happy Railroading Everyone

Last edited by leapinlarry

FANTASTIC THREAD !! My question is when is the next Great Layout Adventures Rich, I'm suffering from Great Layout Adventures withdrawal.  I've been educated over the years by them and now ...... HELP !!!

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there won't be any more Great Layout Adventures videos produced. The video business (yes, this is a business, remember) ceased to be profitable several years ago. Discs are on their way out as everyone wants to stream their videos online and get them for free. YouTube has had a lot to do with killing the business for various video producers, OGR included.

The other problem is that I am now 75 years old. I can't do three long days of lighting, shooting, and working on a layout to produce a video any more. Each layout in the Great Layouts series took two to three days to shoot, and a few took even more.

@leapinlarry posted:

@ Iron Horse, Mike, this is a super thread and thank you for mentioning my name and Hot Waters name as we had a lot fun with model trains.

Larry,

Your experience, as told in your video, is so familiar to many of us.  When you saw that American Flyer layout as a 12 year-old, your reaction was, "It may not be as good as his and it may not be as big as his, but some day I will have a railroad".    I had the same experience when my Dad took my brother and I to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago as kids and saw the large layout.  It never left me.  I knew some day I, too, would have a railroad.

I have what I think is a funny story about Hot Water.  I bumped heads with him on the forum a while back.  I remember telling my wife that he seemed like he was a Mr. Know It All.

Well, afterwards, when I watched a segment on a OGR video featuring Hot Water, I immediately realized he is Mr. Actually Does Know It All when it comes to real steam.  The fact that he drove the Freedom Train and worked in the industry is fascinating.  That's what I meant by my topic point of being humbled by these videos.

Mike

@Rich Melvin posted:

The other problem is that I am now 75 years old. I can't do three long days of lighting, shooting, and working on a layout to produce a video any more. Each layout in the Great Layouts series took two to three days to shoot, and a few took even more.

Too bad you couldn't take some young pup under your wings and teach him the art so the tradition would continue.  I'm 59, so maybe the DVD is a product of my generation and is dying.  But, like PeterA said, the production quality doesn't seem to be there with You Tube videos.  15 minutes of Andy Warhol fame and they fade away.

Another thing that cannot be understated about these OGR DVDs, unlike movies, is the functional utility of grabbing ideas from them.  How many times have we watched the Godfather part I and II?  I bet my OGR DVDs blow away those counts and that's not to discount the legacy of Brando and Pacino and the rest of the cast.

Mike

@IRON HORSE posted:

Too bad you couldn't take some young pup under your wings and teach him the art so the tradition would continue.  I'm 59, so maybe the DVD is a product of my generation and is dying.  But, like PeterA said, the production quality doesn't seem to be there with You Tube videos.  15 minutes of Andy Warhol fame and they fade away.

My age is a secondary issue. The real problem is that videos on discs simply don't sell any more. As I said above, today everyone wants their video delivered via online streaming, and they want it free.

OGR invested thousands of dollars in the production of each one of their videos. There has to be a way of earning back those costs and getting a return on the investment, or there's no point in doing it.

I am not surprised that producing the videos is no longer economically viable for OGR, the model has changed a lot. There are people who make money producing videos on you tube, who regularly produce content and make money either through You Tube Monetization (based on views/subscribers), You Tube Member/Patreon financing, or some combination of the above. The thing about that is it takes a while to get to the point of making money (if that is your goal), you have to produce content regularly and you have to build up your base, and that takes a lot of time and effort...and again, to make money on it the way many do.

Funny, train layout videos can be a two edged sword, it is much like the show layouts you see in magazines and the like. Of course it is entertaining, that never changes, especially when they are well done, like the Great Layout Tours, TM,Or Chris Raine's videos, etc (then there are those that put you to sleep because the person doing it, well, is as dull as dishwater or worse, annoying).

The upside you get to see what people are doing, get inspiration, see techniques you may want to try, and that is all good.

The downside? Speaking for myself, you look at one of these large, magnificently done layouts and I can get depressed, realizing the effort that went into them, the money, and thinking like "no way I can do that"...or look at your own layout and the slow progress and think "there is just no way it will happen". It is human nature to compare and contrast, and sometimes it can get overwhelming

More times then not it inspires me, I also realize that with those larger layouts, unless they got someone to build them for them, they had their ups and downs, had their doubts, their frustrations, issues, etc. We see the baby, all cute and cuddly, we don't necessarily see the labor pains.

I’m sorry to hear About the overall decision to stop production of the GLA series but it’s totally understandable, being a retired Tech I see the change and direction of videos. I’ll just have to make copies of my discs so that time and fair wear and tear don’t diminish the joy that the GLA Series has given me.  I salute you Rich and the OGR members that assisted you in making a stellar production and hopefully the next big trend can give us something similar to enjoy.

I salute you Rich and the OGR members that assisted you in making a stellar production and hopefully the next big trend can give us something similar to enjoy.

Well said.  Unlike random train videos on You Tube shot by amateurs, the professional ones like GLA are the ones you can watch over and over as great entertainment.

Speaking of trends, TM has some of their videos on Amazon for Prime members that are occasionally free.  That's a great way to introduce new people to the hobby and probably makes a few bucks for TM.  Perhaps OGR ought to consider that. 

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