Thursday, 17 May 2012

Guitar Cam - Attempt 1

First crack at Guitar Cam. The "test bracket" I made was not rigid enough, so the camera was bouncing around. I'll have to crack out the welder and make a nice solid steel one. But as far as a test goes, I think it was okay. I think the camera needs to come out further to catch more of the left hand fingering, but it's an interesting view. The song ended up a bit rough, I was aware the camera was bouncing and it threw me. Once I have a really solid rigid mount, I think the view will be more interesting and my distractions less...distracting :)

But what I hope you appreciate the most is I bought another video camera, nothing fancy just a low end consumer unit, but it makes a nice clear video. It has fancy optical stabilisation, low light is not bad, but importantly it has the nice Apple "iFrame" codec built in, which takes 960x540 video at 25fps (PAL) and every frame is an i-frame. Compression is H.264 for video and AAC for audio, which is fine, that is modern day (2012) top notch compression. iFrame as a codec is good for editing, each frame is a nice clear picture. I just used VirtualDub to knock this out up - synchronising the Zoom H1 audio from the mic to the video feed and adding a text overlay is pretty quick and easy (once you know how). I dropped the bitrate really low (the file is 90MB) because my upload speed is pretty slow and I want to go to bed.  I was experimenting with Cyberlink PowerDirector to render this video, but it was pissing me off (excuse the French) so I stuck to my tried tested and true VirtualDub.  Thanks Avery.

Enough talk, have a look, and offer suggestions - is the viewing angle too horrible? Not enough information coming through on the left hand, too far away from the right? Let me know.



Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Gig update

Well I had about two and a half months of gig enjoyment, but the colder weather has dropped the number of patrons, so the gig couldn't pay for itself anymore - it's all over!  Paul from B-Bar was really happy and will get back to me when the weather starts to warm up.  I'm thinking of leaving it at that and wait - I do feel a level of pressure to make sure my playing is in good form, the repertoire is up to speed and I'm adding the occasional new song in from time to time.  With work asking me to increase the number of hours I do a week (they'd like 50 hours a week, plus my 60-70minutes per day commute time) and the number of activities I have on with the wife and three little kids - I just can't fit it in.  I made it happen up until now, but I had to hold myself back from really getting into it. By spring next year work (should) have dropped back, so it could line up nicely.

Alternatively, knowing what I know now I think I could fairly easily line up another gig in a less "seasonal" location.  It's a tough call - stop for a while, or keep going.

I know I do tend to go on and on about not having enough time, sorry, but it's the truth!  Life is balances, and one day I'm sure to be ramping up the amount of guitar that fits into it - and then you'll know all about it :)  In the meantime, I'm not going anywhere, in fact I'm hoping to have a few new videos soon.  I've just bought a video camera (they are pretty cheap these days even for 1080p!) and I have a little project in mind to make a guitar-cam bracket.  I still like to weld and grind and create tools and a mounting bracket for guitar-cam videos would be cool.  I'll keep you posted.