Sunday, 9 November 2014

Get Back Experiment^3

I'm still practicing The Beatles "Get Back", it's basically ready for recording, but I decided to embrace the fad future and try some 3D video.  So if you are 3D playback equipped (or even if you aren't) have a look at this:

From a 3D point of view there are two main problems - the 3D depth is too deep, it comes across as artificial to me.  On my playback equipment there is also ghosting of the right eye on the left eye, and a little bit the other way around.  The depth problem is related to how I created the 3D, I haven't yet worked out the ghosting problem. I currently suspect it is crosstalk as a result of the over-depth 3D.

How did I do it? Yep, two cameras side by side, recording left eye and right eye.  Then a bit of synchronisation and cropping in VirtualDub.  Then putting them side by side using AVISynth.  Finally synchronising the audio from the microphone in Virtualdub.  YouTube takes the 3840x1080 file (ie two HD videos side by side) and does what it needs to do so you can see it in it's full 3D glory.  There is the problem, two cameras side by side, the spacing should be eye distance.  My two cameras side by side are a bit too wide apart even when touching.  Your eye will resolve it as 3D, but it's a bit weird.  Some thought will be required there.

From an audio point of view, it's rough.  It's cool, but rough.  When I do record it for proper I will ensure the recording is nicer, even if I have to resort to overdubbing/punch in.  Ah, they joys of editing digital audio.

So drop me a line and comment on audio and 3D - did one of the embedded videos work better than the other?


Monday, 3 November 2014

What's happening November 2014

One again I have signed up for "Movember", it's the only time of the year my family (begrudgingly) puts up with facial hair.  Last year in addition to the Mo, I also got wifey to dye my hair/mo/eyebrows dark brown.  I actually quite liked it...I'll ask her to do that again.  So at the end of the month, when I'm looking fresh out of the '70s, I'll record a video of "Get Back" by The Beatles, in Beatles costume.  I've pretty much nailed what I wanted to do with the song, so it is ready to go.  I was also thinking I'll record it Rooftop Concert style, to break up the monotony of me sitting in a bare room on a chair belting out tunes...

Meanwhile, Shaun Street of after seeing me at his open mic has been discussing getting me on his list of performers for corporate gigs.  Which is pretty cool - it won't be quite as family friendly as the predictable permanent weekly gig I previous had - but seeing as I don't currently have a permanent weekly gig, I like the idea of doing something.

It would seem appearance is important.  "You can't overdress for a corporate gig", so looks like I will need to dust off my suit.  Interestingly, and comically, Shaun mentioned "If you want to wear a hat that's cool, musos wear hats."  I'm sure he didn't mean it but I translated that to "maybe cover up your balding gray head" - ha ha.  I remember for a while there Adam Rafferty was wearing an Ivy Cap in all his videos - he is balder and grayer than me.  But of late, he seems to have embraced his male pattern baldness and his videos are now cap-free.

I do like hats though.  I'm thinking maybe a subtle Trilby.


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Open Mic October 2014

It had been a dry spell for gigs, I hadn't been away with work for around four months, so I started looking for a new one.  Just cruising the Internet, to see if there was anything going on nearby.  I was quite pleased to find that a tavern near to where I live was hosting Open Mic nights!  I contacted the organiser and he was happy to fit me into a spot, which I played last night.

What's an Open Mic you say?

Just that - a microphone, that is open to anyone who wants to use it.  Generally they will be set up with all the sound system you need, just bring along your instrument and plug in (and sing if you can...)  They are an excellent first step to getting out there and performing.  Polish up your best pieces, find your nearest open mic, and get down there for a slot.

I've been aware of open mic sessions around my town for a while, but the one that I was thinking of going had put me off, they only allowed original material, no covers.  So I'd never pursued any.  The advantage of the open mic over finding your own regular gig is that everything is there set up for you, just plug in and the organiser will set you up.  You don't have to be a professional musician, it's about having a go.  It's also ad-hoc, get a slot whenever you like that the organiser can fit you in.  The disadvantage is that it isn't paid (ha ha) and you only get a short slot (45 mins in my case) whereas I have about 2-3 hours of material.


I surprised myself at how anxious I was. Being up on a stage with bright hot lights in my face, plugged into a big PA system (biggest I have ever played through) with just a small foldback to know what I was doing.  I butchered a couple of songs ("what is wrong with you stupid fingers!" he thinks to himself) but I relaxed into it and played at least 5 or 6 songs at a good performance level.  When I was flicking and slapping the body I was concerned - the big PA subwoofer was pounding out a thump, reflecting off the back wall straight back at me and it sounded out of balance.  But Shaun (the organiser) assured me that wasn't what the audience was hearing.  I like being able to hear exactly what the audience is hearing, so I can play to that sound.  So I felt out of control.  But sometimes it is good to let go of control and trust in others.

There was maybe 20-30 people in the audience, which I found out afterwards that half of them were regulars on the stage too - a ha, so it's a "scene"!  The location isn't exactly Central Artsville, so it isn't currently attracting avid listeners of amateur musicians.  But you know what - a couple of people in the audience "got" what I was doing, and that is enough for me.

After the performance I spoke to a couple who do regular open mics and other musician get together things, and they gave me more insight into what/where/who.  I also spoke to Shaun for a while about what he does - he's a musician/teacher/manager, does gigs, manages some bands, runs two open nights, fills gig bookings.  He is an amiable chap, obviously loves everything about music and the scene and gets behind everybody in it.  He asked if I had cards/photos/setlist, occasionally he gets asked for my kind of gig - just one bloke playing background instrumental covers of well known and popular music.  That's what I would like to do, from time to time nice little gigs, but I have a busy day job and wifey and kids that I want to spend time with.  It's all about priorities huh?

So overall it was good fun, I enjoyed it.  Will definitely do it again.  I watched some of the other acts, there was a boy on before me singing over backing tracks, wow, I wish I had that sort of confidence, he was hitting Jackson 5 type high notes and all - not my cup of tea, but great job!  A guy on after me was playing heavy distorted guitar covers and singing, with backing instruments, a serious rocker from way back obviously knows what he is doing and was pretty good at it, again, not my cup of tea but great job!  After him was a duo, a chic singing and a bloke on guitar.  All original stuff, man they had put some serious work and effort into it from the looks of things.  And it came across great.  I even remembered one of their songs, "Hindsight", a catchy groovy piece.  Well done!  I bailed out before the final act which would have been good to see, a trio.  Next time.


Monday, 25 August 2014

A look into progress on "Get Back"

I owed you all a video talking through an arrangement, so since I'm still playing around with "Get Back" I recorded this after doing a successful take of "Heart of Gold" for YouTube. I put the camera in autofocus (new camera) and it hunted around for focus a lot which is quite annoying, my apologies. I didn't spend a lot of time in post production, sorry if the content and the continuity is a bit poor. As always, I'm rambly and sometimes don't make sense, I really should plan my videos before I hit the record button. One day, when I'm good at it, and I make instructional DVDs for a living hey! :-)



Sunday, 3 August 2014

What's happening August 2014

It's been a quiet couple of months on the guitar front.  No gigs, no new songs, barely playing at all.  I would of course play the guitar all day if I could, but my life is too full :-)

I have however been slightly addicted to "Get Back", it's such a rollickily grooving tune, when I have had a moment to play I'm assembling it.  I recently purchased a little tripod to put my microphone on whilst recording vidoes, I thought I'd try it out by making another rough recording of the song - the microphone is right up next to my right hand pointing at the soundhole.  It didn't make a lot of difference, other than there is a lot less background noise recorded.  (Although a little birdy recording bombed at the end!)

So here is the next stage in the progression of the development of my arrangement for "Get Back", Enjoy!