thoughts and decisions for a creative edge

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Hanging out with Tom Browne in Jazz Festival Delft, NL

Music makes the world go round.

Admit it. You thought it was money all along didn’t you?

It’s taken a decade for me to realize this when Rob Hoogkamer gave me a call a day before Tom’s performance.

Phone rings Friday night at about 9:30pm +2GMT Dutch time. It’s Rob. He always have personal news to tell or ask me. Like the time when he hosted a BBQ in his place, but didn’t have gas to actually light up the Weber. He gave me a call for help. We work our blunders out together well somehow.

“Wassup Hasan! What you doing?” He asked.

I lowered down the TV volume.. Sounded like he’s calling from a very crowded room. Not out of gas again I hope. We were watching Texas Storage War or something brainless on tele. The family cosy together on a weekend night. Pretty rare that I’m seated here with ’em instead of editing or creating something in studio upstairs. But he caught me.

“Just lazin out with the ladies sir. Yourself? What you up to?” I replied.

“Well I’m in JJ Music House watching Tom Browne. Are you coming?” There was excitement in his voice. He should be.

Rob is Artist and Repertoire guy for Jazz Festival Delft. He made the pilgrimage back to NYC with George Onkiehong who spearheads the event. I saw pictures posted on Facebook and Twitter but didn’t realize it was the father of funk they’re after. But now its clear and everyone is excited to have Tom Browne as the event headliner. In the back of my head, I went “Duh!! I should have been there!”

It’s been a while that I met Barry and Aad van Jole, owners of JJ Music House here in Zoetermeer. Last I met them was during the crowd petition to keep JJ Music running due to the Hockey Club expansion into their grounds. That’s a year passed. I have not had the opportunity to see the new venue. Maybe its time I do. But as much as I want to go there right now, I kinda treasure this times doing nothing with the family. Sometimes this nothingness is all that is needed for family time. Anyway I already have my head set for tomorrow’s act in Delft. Thought I’d go there by myself and enjoy some good music with people I’m bound to meet.. but the next thing Rob was about to tell me changed where I would stand on the festival ground.

“I remember you asking about doing the 360 footage for the festival. I think we have enough people doing pictures for the festival.” Now that didn’t sound too good I thought. But he adds, “Would you however be interested to shoot video for the event?”

My head went on a swirl. The reason why I started 360fotoshoot was to get away from the hassle of post production when working with video. For 360 panorama all I need was a Fisheye Lens, a Tripod and Field Recorder with Surround Mic. But video, you need to come prepared with premonitions for the unexpected most of the time. There’s tons of gears that you need to take for a shoot. And it is so easy fuck up and make mistakes both pre-production / on the spot / post. It may sound cool if the tasks were delegated amongst few people; but I work alone most times. If any mistakes were to happen, there’s no one else to blame but myself. Thus I dread to answer the question. But yet I love the challenge and the opportunity with such an event. And c’mon its the funk with Tom Browne! The legend who brought us Funkin’ for Jamaica back in the 80’s. Most importantly, I trust Rob’s instinct for a party. Music experiences with him have always been exceptionally good. It is also with him that I got to meet and know artists like Marcus Miller and Richard Bona. We go way back into NYC days when walking around Bleecker Street and jazz bars was the thing to do on late night weekends.

He paused for a while waiting for my answer. I think he sensed me thinking. Rob knows that I can shoot Live Events from his last project with this band. Then went on to explain, “We asked some people to do it. But they all asked crazy amount for the fee.” Which I’m not surprised about.. “So if you want to do this, it’s open for you to get all access backstage and tap the audio from the PA.”

I imagine myself flying around the event. Me alone. Which remotely is not possible. I need extra hands to take care of audio and a 2nd camera or maybe a 3rd. To cover the event I need at least two person, an additional camera guy and somebody to take care of audio and logistics. And Rob somehow know I wouldn’t say no.

I have 2 people in mind to help get this done. Rang up my trustable work buds Kenneth for 2nd camera work and Davin to help with logistics. We’re working together on some other projects so I really hope they’d wanna come and have fun with this one. Pro bono. I’ve less than 24 hours to plan this. Not sure about the scale of things; thus we’re working blind. But acknowledging that it’s the headline act, Tom’s bound to be on a big stage in the middle of the square in Delft known as Markt. Thanks to Google Maps and Wikipedia!

As sudden as that phone call, we gathered and met on site the next day. With my perception proven right, the crowd and the response to the whole event made it even more exciting than what I’ve thought it to be. Understanding that our main purpose was to cover an interview; and granted access on stage means its a no brainer to cover the main act itself. And so we did.

 

I had a great time shooting the event. Quite a bit of a rush here and there setting things up based on instinct on what’s to come. Thus I think we did a pretty good job. We had enough resources to capture both the gigs that Tom Browne played in. One with the Dutch Music Conservatorium students and the other with an incredible band which is cheekily called What The Fonk which energy fits perfectly for Tom’s performance. There’s a lot of work to be done but the interview got a quick release before the final edit. The other clip is a teaser on raw footage captured from on stage. I think it’ll give you a good idea what the final edit would look like. The finale was incredible I thought. Heck it literally blew my ears off on stage! But you’ll have to decide on that for yourself with the exclusive shoots we did on and off stage. So mark this page for the final output!

 

I’d like to say thanks to Rob Hoogkamer for giving this opportunity to meet and work with such a legend. To partners of Jazz Fest Delft Mirjan and George Ongkiehong who organized this amazing event, I tip off my hat to them both for the success. I had a good oportunty interacting with old friends that was there supporting local music industry. Hope we’ll have the opportunity to work together again in future events. FYI Clint Marana (drummer from WTF) and me go almost a decade back since my SAE Amsterdam days. Met him via Rob after I came to Netherlands.

So why did I start this blog saying that Music makes the world go round? Only coz it literally did here. You see, Tom have a friend that he hasn’t seen from Queens for half their lifetime. And of all places, we learn that she now lives in Zoetermeer. Which happen to be at one of the music venue he’s due to play named JJ Music House. What’s the chance you’d bump into an American friend in Sweet Lake City you’d say… in our case, I’d say very likely. Rob and myself met in NYC back in 2000 and it’s due to this friendship and music did I end up in Zoetermeer too. Thus its no surprise, but a vicious circle that hangs between Zoetermeer and NYC for some bizarre reason. But its a beautiful one none the less.

Complete video edit of John Browne’s performance would be posted on Vimeo on rastAsia’s channel soon. Give us a couple more days to surprise you. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with our next postings. Thanks for visiting my blog! Keep jazzin’ it up people!!

I’ll leave you with the featurette from Dutch website about Tom Browne.

From Delft Jazz Fest website itself (in Dutch) :

Tom Browne

17 augustus 22:00 uur
Categorie: top
Locatie: De MARKT

FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA! Jazz en funklegende Tom Browne laat oude tijden herleven! Met een unieke crowdfunding-actie van JazzFestival Delft hebben de fans van het festival zelf hun JazzDream laten uitkomen.

Tom Browne (Queens, 30 oktober 1954) is een jazztrompettist die bekendheid verwierf door zijn vroege werk met Sonny Fortune en zijn twee grote hits in 1980 en 1981, “Funkin’ for Jamaica (N.Y.)” en “Thighs High (Grip Your Hips and Move)”.

Browne speelde oorspronkelijk alleen piano, waarop hij al vanaf 11-jarige leeftijd lessen volgde. Later leerde hij ook omgaan met de trompet. Op 21-jarige leeftijd speelde Browne zijn eerste officiële concert, van de Amerikaanse componist Weldon Irvine. Rond die tijd leerde hij Sonny Fortune en Lonnie Smith kennen, waar hij mee ging samenspelen. Later ontmoette hij Dave Grusin en Larry Rosen bij GRP Records. Via Arista Records werd Browne gecontracteerd bij GRP Records door Grusin en Rosen en in 1979 bracht hij zijn instrumentale jazzalbum uit, “Browne Sugar”. Zijn echte doorbraak kwam echter twee jaar later met zijn zelfgeschreven nummer “Funkin’ for Jamaica (N.Y.)”, dat verscheen op zijn tweede album, “Love Approach”. De single stond vier weken lang op nummer 1 bij de Billboard-lijst en was ook een hit in het Verenigd Koninkrijk. Brownes volgende album, “Yours Truly”, verscheen in 1981, nog steeds in samenwerking met Grusin en Rosen. Hierna verscheen al snel, in hetzelfde jaar, zijn volgende album genaamd “Magic”. Dit album bevatte het nummer “Thighs High (Grip Your Hips And Move)”, dat #4 bij Billboard bereikte. Met zijn volgende album ging Browne iets verder en maakte hij een nummer in electro-jazzstijl, “Rockin’ Radio”. Dit (gelijknamige) album bevatte tevens het laatste nummer dat Browne zou maken in samenwerking met GRP Records. In 1984 maakte hij het laatste album in samenwerking met Arista Records, “Tommy Gun”, waarbij Siedah Garrett optrad als leadzangeres. Ook nam hij met Fuse One, een band met jazzmusici, het album “Ice” op.

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Bungee Jumping + Hexacopter


Link

Sounds we hear..

Finally found time to experiment the use of head-worn binaural earphone CS-10EM with static directional sound in a visual mix. Its very sensitive and highly susceptible to wind noise thus the fluffy beanie helps well in winter as a windjammer. You should notice how it captures the low rumbles coming from the school at a distance and cars driving by. Quiet pre-amps from the R-26 surprised me again here. Mind you these are connected to the Plug-In mic I/O, not the XLR. The XLR connections are much quieter. CS-10EM picks up a full range of 20Hz-20KHz well but I’d only trust the built-in earphone solely for level monitoring and nothing else. And for that, the big gain knob on the R-26 helped greatly to dial in the right level.

For those who are new to Binaural Audio, the next paragraph is a brief introduction about it. If not just skip to the video to hear it for yourself. WAIT!! Before you get to that, grab yourself a good headphone.

Binaural hearing has been emulated in sound laboratories by using mannequin heads with built-in microphones. Except this time, I’m the living breathing head. 🙂 From these signals, human beings can determine characteristics such as inter-aural time and level differences and—based on the listening experience—information about the spatial origin of the sounds being heard. Are they coming from in front or behind, from the left or right, or above or below? This ability to perceive where a sound originates from is referred to as binaural hearing.

Interesting? Read more about binaural audio.

Also noted, that GoPro WiFi app does not work well in snow somehow. It was -5ºC that morning and the range was somehow drastically reduced. My iPhone sees an connect to the GoPro ad hoc WiFi connection but buttons initiation does not relay well even at this rope length. It could be either the iPhone or GoPro. But phone is warm in my pocket while GoPro is close to the freezing floor.

Oh well, only the sound matters here..

Tech specs:

Binaural Mic
Roland CS-10EM

Field Recorder
Roland R-26 which also powers the binaural mics internally.

GoPro Hero2 + Wifi BacPac + Dive Housing

Manfrotto Super Clamp

Velbon Alu Mini Ball Head QHD-51Q


Super Sennheiser September

It’s been a great month of getting new toys in this September. After a quick projection on the work in progress, we’ve acquired a list of mics needed in the studio to get the field job done. And you’ve read it – all of them happen to be from Sennheiser.

Sennheiser EW122p G3

We started our month with the Sennheiser wireless lavaliere EW122p G3 series. The frustration from not being able to mic up an interview clearly due to the fact that that last project was in a crowded space helped us make this decision to pick up a wireless lav. The main difference with the EW122p is that it comes packaged with a cardioid ME4 mic. Some folks reckon it might be a hassle to use a directional mic on a lavalier system, but I want to be able to direct the capsule to the talent in a controlled space. If I know that I will be capturing audio from the talent in the open but not in a sit-down-interview situation, then the ME2 mic (an omni) would do best. We got in the T+R packs along with spare BA 2015 batteries and the optional L2015 Dock Charger that should enable us to transmit continuously.

Sennheiser MKH 416 p48

This one is the industry standard. The go to mic that Hollywood or ADR studios would use to make overdubs. It’s a phantom powered hyper cardioid shotgun mic thats been used for over 2 decades and trusted by many ENG works.

I’ve heard so much about it and in fact never planned to buy this mic. Never thought I’d be able to afford one really.. But I got really lucky and found somebody here in Holland that was selling it at a pretty affordable price after giving up an old hobby of sound collecting.. Pretty strange I thought that he used the MKH416 which is mostly best suited for collecting dialogue for TV. No rules in audio they say..

I tested the mic thoroughly when I was there to collect it. I had my Roland R-26 close to be sure that it is able to power the 416.. This way I’d also be sure that my R-26’s circuitry works fine with the mic. It’s the only way that this mic can be powered. Interestingly the guy selling it had a Fostex FR-2LE CF Field Recorder, so we’re happily comparing gears over microphones and tea.. yes microphones.

One conversation led to another, so I asked I asked since he was into ENG and EFP, what else does he have in his collection. At this point he was reluctant, but he finally said he has this vintage shotgun that he is actually didn’t intend to sell. Didn’t intend to sell?? What does that mean.. What was it he had? A pristine 20+ year old combo still-in-box Sennheiser ME80+ME40 with a working K3U preamp.

The ME80 have been a workhorse for some documentary producers. The newer version of this mic is the ME66 which uses the K6 preamp instead of the K3. Click on picture to see what folks of Gearslutz think about it.

Sennheiser K3U pre with ME80 + ME40 Capsule

Wait. Isn’t that the original electret that’s replaced with the new ME66+K6 module?? Yep. That’s the holy grail… I’ve actually read about these. I didn’t know I’d stumble into one.. while purchasing the MKH 416.. what luck. But was he planning to sell it or not was the better question.

Since it was there, I asked his permission to test both mics (or 3 mics considering that there’s the ME40 cardioid capsule there too). And I loved them both!! Instantly with the ME80 you could tell that its got a long throw of pick up. Not as warm as the MKH416 but its clear, crispier in its higher end peaking at 8KHz thus giving it that brighter response. But if you’ve seen the difference in this mic to the newer ME66, that’s where it gets interesting.

With the ME66 you need to use it in close proximity or the mic is not going to pick up frequencies from 2Khz and above. But that’s not the case with this ME80 which has an even response throughout the 10dB difference. SO which one is better you think? Well depends.. If you need sound rejection from the rest in the crowd, keeping this mic close to the voice will keep it isolated while rejecting the background noise further away from the mic. But for Field Recording, the ME80 will give you a gorgeous response in all registers.

The accompanying data sheet (published in 1987) reports the following specifications:

K3U:
Electrical impedance: approx. 130 ohms

ME80:
Frequency response: 50 – 15 000 Hz
Sensitivity at 1 kHz: 5 mV / Pa +-2.5 dB
S/N ratio according to DIN 45 405 and CCIR 468-2: >67 dB

The most important difference between the K3/ME80 and the K6/ME66 is the much higher sensitivity of the ME66 (50 mV/Pa vs. 5 mV/Pa). Thus, the ME80 would require a quieter preamplifier. The equivalent self-noise level of the K3/ME80 is about 6 dB higher than the K6/ME66. The specified S/N ratio of 67 dB corresponds to an equivalent (CCIR
468-3 weighted) noise level of 27 dB (which would be about 16 dBA)

Why yes, you guessed it. I ended up coming home with a bunch of mics. I have to thank Han for trusting me to take over his precious collections. I’m sure he had more in there but I wouldn’t be ready for Schoeps CMIT 5 U. This is bad enough for now.

I’m looking to see if we should enable customers to rent out this mics.. But if you really do need them while in Holland for your shoots, do drop us a note about it.

Next blog will be about our new upgrade for a friendly mixer for both Audio and Video – Avids MC Control v2, the Artist Series


WatchBot Hack

So you fell into that groupon deal for this surveillance camera. Camera worth €240 going at €45, who’d wanna miss that. But now you found out the camera doesn’t allow WPA encryption. And the annoying GnG advert URL creeps on you whenever you’re on the Browser UI. Let’s iron those out shall we?

You’d need to do this 2 things to upgrade the cam..

1. Flash cam with compatible Apexis cam firmware
2. Update to Foscam’s latest UI

!!! WARNING. YOU’RE VOIDING YOUR WARRANTY, NO TURNING BACK AFTER THIS !!!

Download Apexis J802-WS firmware 17.37.2.41. It allows the use of both unencrypted and WPA2-TKIP+EAS instead of just WEP encryption on Watchbot’s crippled firmware.

What’s bizarre, Apexis use mediafire.cc to distribute their firmware. This is the direct link to it from their website: Apexis firmware J011 J802 J803 firmware_17_37_2_41.bin.

After flashing the FW you can reconfigure necessary port forwarding and Wireless LAN setup within your network router and camera settings. The camera should work wirelessly but lets toss that ugly Watchbot UI especially that cheesy Gadget&Gift advert. You already paid them your dues with the camera purchase.

Download Foscam latest UI 2.4.18.17 from FI8918W’s latest update link.
http://www.foscam.com/Private/ProductFiles/FI8918W-11.22.2.38.zip
– unpack the zip file and keep only the UI.bin
* ShenZhen Foscam firmware source http://www.foscam.com/down3.aspx

The rest is pretty much self explanatory..

ENJOY your new browser-free UI with latest and best working drivers with your Watchbot!

*** Fair warning – do this at your own risk. Im not responsible for you. ***

Wij zijn toch niet gek!


RED cam in Indonesian Music Video “Behind The Scars”


Fandi Ahmad’s return in Groningen

I can’t take any credits for this. The idea came about when friends in Singapore asked what the commentator was saying.. Real fans, especially those in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia might have watched it but not understand the commentators report. The whole coverage was in Dutch. Thus all it really needed was English subtitles.

I hope I didn’t make many errors with the translation. I tried the best I could to make better sense of this much viewed report from 2010 from both RTV Noord and FC Groningen’s TV.

After a couple of week’s upload and getting 900+ viewings to date, I think I might have helped hundreds to understand what a real hero our football legend is when it comes to goal scoring in his career’s peak.

This one is for you Fandi. And all your fans. Enjoy!