thoughts and decisions for a creative edge



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


Learning process of shooting 3 point music video..

I have never tried making promo video from a LIVE band performance. And I never thought it would be this tricky, but I am glad I took up that challenge. It introduces new challenges, a steep learning curve that requires me to apply all that I have learnt from audio recording and video editing into one project that I am keen to finish.

Preparation before the shoot is vital. Reliable working equipments that would deliver good audio and video is key. A general direction on how the finished video should look like also plays an in important factor. This would determine the gears to bring and the angle of shots you’d need to capture which means possibly less editing in post.

What I think is most important is the ability to communicate with the band on and off stage. To be able to communicate with the band on set, upon your 1st minute of introduction is crucial to let them open up to you later on while they’re on stage, while you’re behind the lens. They are after all the talents that the whole project will showcase. You want them natural in camera, not feel intimidated, or even worse, agitated with your presence around their performance area.

Thank goodness I have a real friendly team of people to work with for this shoot. I have known 2 of the band members for a very long time. Both are very deeply involved in sculpting Dutch pop music, one which I got to know whilst living in NYC, the other at recording studios here in Amsterdam for my graduation project in SAE. Both this gentlemen are well-honored for their work and I have that standard to uphold for this project. I want to make the band look at their best. Nothing more nothing less.

It is no doubt the first LIVE band that I will record and I certainly need extra hands for a 2nd or 3rd angle of view. I remembered instantly a previous edit I did with camera shots collaborated from Dajimstar. He’s fresh into DSLR video, and he shows that same passion with photography and has that creative edge to learn. We shot Gwaan back in spring of 2010. That was a wild party from local party connoisseurs Sized. I simply asked Dajimstar if he wanted to make a copy of his shots to be used as 2nd camera angle in the edit. And there it began.

Unlike Gwaan, this project consists of a 3 set performance for the evening from the band Company Live. Each in a 45 minutes session thus it’s a long evening of trying to catch good moments.

We have over 90 mins of HD footage captured between the three cameras altogether. Now it’s time to narrow it down to highlight the best ones we got and also based on the bands preference. This one is a full length feature on one of the songs they performed that night. Excuse the cheesy floating logo on the screen. It was a quick try out using motion after I made a quick update of the band’s logo. Certainly could use some creative advise on that one. 🙂

So this was put together in a short period. It will be updated once the festive season is off our way. 🙂

Ladies and gentlemen, highlight to the band, Company LIVE.

3 Camera edit in FCP
Nikon D300S with 50mm F1.8 / 17-85mm F4.0
Canon 550D with 24mm F1.4 / 50mm F1.4 / Samyang 8mm F3.5
JVC GZ-HD7 shooting 1080i at 30fps
Røde Stereo Video Mic
Glidetrack HD

ProTools & Logic smiles at their 16GB buffet..

Atom Splitter
Can’t help but swoon..

I can’t bench press more than 30 in a minute these days.. But I  can tell you I stuck 16GB of ADATA’s DDR3 RAM onto this iMac… and Kaboom! Did I see magic! Yes I get that eekie at times..

I thought what the heck. I need it if I want to learn After Effects.. and I’ve been always sitting back with CPUs for the last couple of years. Reading all this geek reports over the new MacBook and MacPro speeds does not help much but bring despair. Now I’m hoping I wouldn’t have to catch up again with technology within the next 3 years (fingers crossed) before this one pays itself off.  I know it wouldn’t do much difference within ProTools yet as its still running in 32bit mode. (Wake UP AVID!) But once on Logic 9.1.1 which has been 64 bit enabled for more than a year now, the DAW flies with even most intensive Reverb processings thrown on every channel. Not all audio plugins have been re-written for 64bit processing yet.. but what’s available now is enough to give you an idea of the things to come. Even more when Lion 10.7 gets released. I stacked Structure and Reverbs on randomly, and with only 10% CPU being nudged I thought I was tripping! That is way more significant than the last machine I had. Which normally wouldn’t even run. LOL.

The joy of running VST instruments is immense.. Running MASCHINE 1.6.2 within Logic is flawless. Before the upgrade, you hear a significant pause (sometimes half a second long) when MASCHINE is jumping scenes, but now anytime you switch scenes or patterns, it’s seamless. Massive improvements on VST, RTAS, MAS & AU plugins processings. As long as I don’t choke them all in one place. 🙂

And your score for the 64bit 3.4GHz is…

SO now we’re back in the game. Not the processing game.. but literally back at music-making without a hiccup. The last thing that should hinder you from laying down your creativity idea should be a CPU stutter when you’re in full steam. I almost bit the bullet for a MacPro but decided to do some pocket saving and go with an iMac instead. That extra EU2000 could go to extra audio gears if needed down the line. (Yea I’ve been eyeing on the Neumann for a while honey.. Or maybe that new pair of Genelec) And I think the result I see from this Geekbench chart is pretty significant. It’s not too far off from the 8 Core. Oh well.. I’m not that techy to translate what that means… But real glad to know I’m within that ballpark when it comes to working with an able machine in the studio.

So who’s up to test and see what this thing can do?