Friday, August 31, 2012

Getting closer to being finished with the third video

Made a little progress with the Trace Bundy video yesterday.

Was fairly busy talking to many members in the Astronomy club and opened up the observatory the fourth time in the past four days. Being so busy opening up the observatory has cut back on the video editing progress.

All the camera angles are in and most the the cuts are good enough. I'm going to review it and make some final adjustments, before burning the DVD.

The back camera is not quite level. I don't know if I will digitally level that before sending it out. I may do this, but it will add some delay in the video editing progress. It's not that noticeable in this video.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mailed off the Kye Kye video yesterday.

I didn't have time to watch the video on to many systems. So hopefully it will be okay for the bands memory video from Cornerstone.

I put some information on the contents of data DVDs on each DVD sent that was a data DVD.

Was busy with a couple friends looking at a bunch of objects at the observatory last night, so I didn't get much editing done yesterday on the Trace Bundy video.

Here is a photo of the moon, using my iPhone. Handheld with 40mm eyepiece. Aimed iPhone through the eyepiece at a part of the moon. That 40mm eyepiece was mounted in a Celestron C14 at 3911mm focal length. So the effective power with about a 4.5 power zoom into the eyepiece was roughly 400x.

The moon actually looked better than this when we looked at it though the telescope. Usually a quick photo, looks at least four times worse than what we'd see at the eyepiece, maybe even worse depending on the photo and techniques used. I sharpened this a bit and removed a bit of red glow from the observatory lights which I inadvertently left on while taking this quick photo.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starting to digitize and sync Trace Bundy video from Cornerstone

As you can see from the below screen capture, I'm at the stage of multi clip syncing of his performance. I have a four camera multi clip setup already.

I'm thinking this edit may not take to long. The back camera might be altered a bit digitally.

Trace has a great website with a lot of nice video and each cd he sells has a DVD video disk with it. At least last three CDs do. I bought his most recent cd from the concert and was really happy to see the DVD and video included.

He has a lot of YouTube video as well.

I'm hoping to get though this edit fairly quickly.

I had a little bit of a delay this week with other projects that are unrelated to the video edit. Also I was under the weather a bit, partly from a cold, of allergies and partly from missing some sleep with two very late night observing sessions which were almost all night observing sessions in the past week.

I have four camera angles in sync in the multi clip for this project. For some reason the import to iMovie of the front Eos camera and iPhone didn't import quickly into Media 100 and I ended up reimporting that directly into Media 100 from the source video. This means I will delete the imported camera angles from the iPhone and Canon to save space.

I'm going to cut the project first, choosing selects and then determine if I will digitally level that rear camera cutaway. This will save some time in rendering in Boris Red.

Other technical notes for my own diary.
(The Media 100 imported files from 720p front row cameras are quite large. I could have probably used a lower quality setting without a loss of quality in the import.)

(I need to pick up the pace of these edit sessions. Two bands in two months is way to slow.)

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Friday, August 17, 2012

DVD mius R burn is more compatible. Sony hx900 recorder disappointing

I can play the Iona test burn in my Sony RDR HX900 DVD recorder. One interesting side effect of this Macintosh burn and likely and burn that didn't originate with the Sony is the DVD video cannot be dubbed or copied to the Sony's internal hard drive. I can copy and disk burned inside the Sony back to the hard drive giving me a kiosk like selection of laserdisc movies if I want those. It would work with a disk recorded inside the Sony, but doesn't work the Macintosh disks. It's as if the iDvd disks are missing something, or the Sony only copies it's version of a DVD back to the hard drive.

I hooked up the audio of the Sony to some small speakers. Listening to the soundtrack is disturbing from this Sony DVD player. There is a lot of distortion. Although the menu says it's playing a 48k audio soundtrack it seems the audio is clipped and distorted internally.

The audio seems to distort when being played from this particular disk player, but not other DVD players. I wonder if the audio will distort from my friend, John's blue ray player. An earlier burn distorted as well from my HDR 900 Sony. I'm wondering if there is some kind of setting in the Sony or flaw in the da converter or something, that is doing something like causing a 16 bit signal to be clipped through a 12 bit signal path or something. The distortion is very distracting.

I already lowered the levels of this DVD from an earlier test burn. I'm not sure how far I may have to go of if every burn will distort. It's almost like having a high volume subwoofer frequency cause the small speakers to distort, but you can't hear the bass because it's below the response curve of the speakers. I think this is related to this particular Sony players however. I may have to rip yet another version with lower output levels from iMovie.

It may be something to do with these apple iDVD burns and this particular Sony DVD player. I'm going to check the DVD-R burn against other players in the house and then try others. I'll probably send a DVD-R burn out to the Iona contact from this version as well, just because the minus R disk is more compatible.

Things I like about this disk.

The opening menu has a song as background that is from Iona's 1996 Cornerstone concert. If I would have dropped the entire audio from the earlier concert that opening menu would have rendered the entire audio of an entire set as the opening menu music. It would play once through the entire concert before repeating as long as the menu sat there. Of course the opening menu soundtrack doesn't need to be a long selection, because you can't pause it and it's not really an extra or something that is normally done. I decided to put the entire song from that earlier concert on that opening menu so another song would be on that opening menu. It's kind of like an extra, and different. If you had the disk and wondered, where is that opening song in the performance, well it's not going to be there, because that wasn't really from the 2012 performance, it's a kind of menu extra. The other chapter menus have a sound snippet from the 2012 concert.

This DVD of course has that homemade feel to it, and there are no extras. It might be nice to have a festival summary some cutaways of the fest at the end, but I don't have that video edited and I didn't take a lot of other video of the festival. Maybe I'll burn a different version much later for Iona, once I've gone through some other band edits and sent some of these other DVDs out to the respective performers.

The brightness of the DVD burn is a little bit higher than on the QuickTime master. I'm not sure why this is the case. The stage was bright, but the video looks a lot better with less encoding mpeg artifacts with the brightness turned down 15 to 30 percent on q tv or monitor when playing the DVD. You'll see less background but a more movie like experience and the quality will kind of approach that of the QuickTime master which is at 1080i.

I'm fairly pleased with the results. Now I have to run out to the net and order a real Iona DVD concert video, because I know from reviews out there that it is excellent and even has a really great surround 5,1 mix.

I almost purchased a zoom mx2 to record these concerts. The 5.1 surround recording option it had looked promising, but that's not the same as a 5.1 mix that is professionally done from a really good recording. Actually most systems, that is home based 5.1 playback systems will not be suitable for a "real 5.1 mix audio monitor" by a professional production, because there is an auto leveling function build into home for a Dolby encode. Professionals use specially certified systems. I can recall this info from a Dolby seminar given to recording engineers by Dolby. Of course one could mix a Dolby soundtrack on a hone system if they were creating something that was ONLY going to be released direct to video. Since most players would be having the same auto level summing as your home based mixing system, the other systems wouldn't show any out of balance issues. (But a film theatre would, so you need a certified system to do a correct film mix on.) If it's not going to a theatre/film release, that pro thx monitoring might be less necessary. Thx is another subject, it's basically a certification process.

Time to play a test DVD on the computers again to verify the latest burn to minus r is distortion free.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Might use Clipwrap to rewrap and create Quicktime video

The link above shows a youtube video that shows how I can use Clip Wrap on the Macintosh to create a copy of the AVCHD video clip of each band.

(Note: One of my friends said the volume was low on the Youtube video. I may re-encode and rip that recording and upload it to youtube later. If I do that the link may change, but I'll come back and update that in the post.)

This shows how a Macintosh system would use Clip Wrap software to create MOV files and might be valuable for those who need to get selected clips and only send some of the video from a camera to a "client" or "friend". How can they edit video if they want to edit that video, unless it's in a usable format. For the Macintosh, ClipWrap is one option.

MORE DETAILS are on the video.

Some written thoughts and details are as follows.

I have a copy of "each days footage" for every camera angle in a directory structure that is a "camera archive". One of my goals was to be able to send each band or some of the bands a copy of the original footage, so they can edit or use it for any other use they might want to work on.

But I can't just send them the entire camera copy for all the bands of that night. In theory one would think they could delete the video of the other bands in the directory structure and just import the camera footage into a nonlinear editor.

On the Macintosh it's not that easy. The Macintosh needs to see a complete camera archive. Once you delete some of the bands footage, the entire archive is not recognized. So one work around would be to convert the AVCHD video files using some kind of program, and then import those into a video editing program.

There is a program called CLIPWRAP that will do this. I have tested it. It's a $50 program on the Macintosh and does a nice job. It will convert the AVCHD footage into MOV quicktime. And this can be imported into a Macintosh editing system, and some PC systems as well. The biggest drawback to this approach is the MOV files are larger than the original source and they still have to be converted by the editing software. So that would cost the bands more time or money to do those imports.

There are a lot of reasons a band might want footage, but also plenty of reasons they might not want those source camera angles. They may not want or need footage of this quality level. If they are doing a project, they may want to just shoot the video fresh and have more control and get much better scripted video. If they want to edit this it will take time. And as I don't know what formats each band would need, it's a guessing game. Do they really need the footage and would they really use it.

And how do I send them the footage, without it costing an arm and a leg. For example I could put copies of the AVCHD footage, not the entire Sony directory on a disk drive. I might buy a 320 gig USB drive for $54 or something like that and put a bunch of video on a disk, basically just the camera angles. And the bands might not need that, or have time to use it. It might just be a simple memory video with no real promotional or commercial value. So they probably would just set the footage aside and it would just gather dust. If I bought a disk drive for $54 for ten bands and sent them out never getting the drives back, then I'd be spending almost $600 just to send video to a band that will not really want to spend the time to edit the video.

It's much easier to send one copy to JPUSA, of all the video and let them gather selects and edit accordingly. But even JPUSA has to have a need and the time to do that.

So what I'll likely do is send a DVD of the mix to the band and a quicktime master file on a disk or some kind of cheap media. And if they want to look or use that master mix they can easily do that. If they want all the digital files, they can let me know and we can work out the details. Basically I'm not worried about giving them source video, I'm just concerned that this will snowball into me spending a bunch of money for hard drives that will just disappear and not be used at all.

There is no point in making a $500 or $600 investment to send video that will never be used. Many bands and even JPUSA doesn't have the time to work on or find out about video editing, especially video that has little close up or other scripted or behind the scenes value. I don't want to think that this video is worth more than it actually is and have to face the fact that it will probably be looked at as a kind of vacation memory video for each artist, and not much more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review of the burn of two DVD disks.

(Reviewing the latest Iona Test burn on my laptop)

I went by my friends house to check out the DVDs on his system. I had two DVDs. We put in a PLUS R Kye Kye disk first and pressed play. It looked nice. My friend has a Sony Blue Ray player, a nice large wide screen tv and a surround system. The video display said, 1080p and 48k stereo. The video looked really nice. Audio was not bad but I wish I had a better mix. With the surround system the sound seemed a lot better, than with the TV speakers, but it was a little harse on the high end of the audio spectrum.

My friend, John asked me why I used DVD +R's instead of minus R disks. No special reason, I think an older burner I used only burned plus R disks so I was in a habit of buying those. He said, minus R disks play on more players. Yes I know that.

We put the test burn I made of Iona in his player next, I wanted to see what it looked like because the Kye Kye DVD looked really good. It's possible the "line doubler" or upscaling of the Blue Ray player made the video look a lot better (1080P).

For the Iona DVD, the Sony Blue Ray player threw out an error message. It couldn't read the plus RW disk in there. This is one of my older blanks, I used for a quick test burn. It played in my Macintosh and PC but not some of the Sony players. That's okay. I'll go home and burn another one so we can screen it on John's surround system. I mentioned to John, that I just bought some minus r disks at Best Buy. Soon I left to run some errands, and decided to stop by Starbucks and burn another DVD on the laptop. So I grab the new package of "DVD-R" disks I thought I purchased and opened them up. Turns out I picked up the wrong type of blanks. After opening them, I realize I picked up PLUS R disks again.

Well perhaps the Plus R will work on his player. Plus RW disks can be more troublesome than "write once" PLUS R DVDs. So I need to go pick up some minus r blanks. I might as well do that. If the plus r disks are rejected by the Sony players, I can use them for archiving of some data or some other movies that work on some of the other players around the house. I've put laserdisc movies we own on DVD plus r and they work in some of the Sony players that are used by my mother. They work to media shift her classic laser disk movie collection, so they won't go to waste. They are okay for archiving. And of course any DVD will likely work in the Macintosh for Handbrake rips for a home Kiosk system (WD Player).

Time to get some new glasses, or be a little more careful while I'm shopping. Looking for my Starbucks card I found a best buy gift card in the wallet that I forgot I had. (An old Christmas present.) So I can run back to best buy and get some minus r blanks.

Another thing the plus r disks can be used for is data loads. As they will likely be readable by a pc.

Well I'm writing while tired. During my little afternoon siesta/nap I was called on the phone five times by friends and relatives. My friend John is on a city council. He told me he was "very tired and in need of a nap". He was in four hours of meetings today. He has a business, and has work to do. But this small city barely pays council men and women. So he's having a long day as well, and he is going off to another meeting, and will likely be working late into the night for his business projects.

-- Iona disk sent was a Plus R burn.

The Iona disk played in most of my players at home, but might not work in all the players It was a DVD plus R disk.

Perhaps the PLUS R DVD I sent to Iona will actually work in the players they put the disk in. I'll probably want to send another minus R disk to be sure they don't have any problems watching the video.

These DVDs are created on my Macintosh, as Video_TS exports. Copied to a directory, they can be copied from plus r or minus r blanks with a pc or Macintosh. The user just has to cooy the files to a directory, then burn the new disk with the video_TS and Audio_TS folders at the root level of the new DVD.

That DVD should work if that type DVD is recognized by the video player. Back in the early day of DVD, there were two standards, PLUS R was used by some manufacturers and Minus R by others. PLUS R was used by Apple and computer manufacturers and Minus R was used by most of the video companies, like Sony. Eventually most modern players could handle both types of DVD's but Minus R's still are more universal.

The video_TS folder will have the same content. On an unprotected DVD the "video_TS" folder is all that is needed in the root of any ripped copy to create a playable copy. I'm talking about basic DVD's ripped by a home user. I'm talking about basic DVD video programs, not extra multimedia files that may exist on mixed media releases.

A typical weekday, reviewing footage of Kye Kye during "lunch".

I'm sitting here at a fast food place eating lunch. I'm having a chocolate shake with my Arby's Jr sandwiches. The shake kind of reminds me of the shakes at Cornerstone, but there's a lot less heat in here.

On the table sits a couple of small sized portable USB drives attached to the little MacBook. I'm streaming a rip of the Kye Kye video and reviewing it.

The DVD was mastered last night and I ripped a copy of it to iPad format. I'm playing that quicktime on the Macbook and looking at it. The quality is okay, but of course lower resolution than the quicktime master file. The quicktime master is about 4.1 gigs in size. Small enough to burn on a data DVD and mail it off to the band. The quicktime master should play on a PC, so the band shouldn't have a problem watching that as well.

The DVD burn went okay, but the menu is messed up a bit. Also I don't have any credits on the end of the video. I guess this is kind of a test burn and I'll probably review the audio in a few systems before the final burn for the band. I have to decide whether to add credits to the end for them I may just leave the end of the video without credits, maybe I'll just put my name on a video credit at the end. There is enough room that they can put credits on or I could send them another one with credits per their request.

The chapter menu is missing a music cut from the band. A background music sound track and also the default moving animation from Apple iDVD is missing from the chapter menu. The style is a 16:9 "revolution" setting. This provides a scrolling and rotating movie feature like opening in the menus. I'm not sure why the chapter part of the menu didn't rip, I didn't see any errors, but something was missed. Maybe I didn't construct the DVD menu correctly. I'll double check it before the next DVD master. This DVD is a quick little DVD performance. Also I have only the final audio mix on this of mine, not the raw unchanged mix from the recording. I may include that in a separate rip or rip two versions of the performance on one DVD, one after the other. I'm leaning on putting each audio mix on a different DVD, or just sending the raw recorded audio and letting the band use it if they have some kind of need or desire to tweak it. The DVD just holds a 30 minute performance.

I'm going to have to export out another DVD from iDVD. Of course I'll double check the menus. I was tempted to send Kye Kye this current rip even with the menus not totally working. They work, but the chapter one doesn't animate correctly. This DVD like the Iona one, will not play on my high level Sony DVD recorder at home for some reason. It plays on other DVD's. The Sony rejects these kinds of burns from Apple iDVD, something about the header menu perhaps is unrecognized by that Sony HDR-900 recorder.

Looks like there will be a day delay to rip another DVD and review it. For now I want to stop by my friends house and see this DVD play on his surround system. The band sounded awesome on his surround system with an earlier rip example. Kye Kye will sound better on a surround system than a standard TV. There's just something about this mix that doesn't translate well to a normal speaker system on a television.

This latest DVD rip was ripped using the "PROFESSIONAL encoding setting". The best quality possible is obtained with PROFFESSIONA compression. iDVD put the 30 minute show in a VIDEO_TS folder that ended up being around 2 gigs in size. That size is quite large for a 30 minute video. The multi-pass encode to get from iMovie to iDVD was in the four hour range. I'll have to do another four hour encode to add credits in iMovie.

iDVD must have seen the settings and length of the movie and decided to encode it at a higher bit rate, perhaps the max possible for a single sided dvd at standard resolution. That should make the DVD look better in theory and it looks pretty good compared to the usual "default setting" which iDVD often uses. The standard setting doesn't compress the video much, with a lower quality output.

The Quicktime master looks pretty good. It makes me wonder if the movie would play well on my PC and what the SRS WOW surround effect will sound like on my little Toshiba laptop. The SRS WOW effect probably won't work for the DVD, I haven't tested the DVD on my PC yet. I haven't checked the Kye Kye Master quicktime file a PC either.

Watching the slideshow that Kye Kye has out on youtube makes me wonder. Maybe I could do some kind of crop and zoom effects in some kind of quick sync with the imovie to give this a different feel. Could I produce multiple zoomed angled and a much faster paced video? Probably but I'm not going to try to make a music video out of a simple production. The band can do what they want with the video if they decide to do something with it.

I'll leave that speculation and test for later video adventures.

I also stopped by a local Best Buy and picked up another external USB drive for the next band or artist I start to edit. I was looking at portable drives with the mind of purchasing one or two to mail them to bands with all the source video on them. I'm not sure how I'll send source footage to the bands yet. USB drives seem easy, but I need to get a feel for how software can import cut down versions of the Sony AVCHD footage and camera files. In other words can I send the smaller versions of a days shoot on the drives and how much space would each show take. And how much media is involved.

In theory the AVCHD files are all less than 4 gigs in size. This means all the source video files could fit individually on DVD disks. That might be cheaper than copying files to a USB drive or external key, but then I might be burning up to ten data DVD disks and the bands would have to reconstruct the file structures perhaps to digitize the cameras and re-edit or reuse the master footage.

There's some experimentation I need to do. Also the Sony SR-11 camcorder has the video on it's drive and that is mounted as a camera. That camera has a lot of footage on it, and I can't just do an Imovie camera archive and send a digital copy of that to each band, because they'd end up getting all those other bands on the same camera angle with their footage. So I have to see if I can copy a part of that and how easy it is to get the individual band footage on a type of folder/directory and how easy that would be for a band to use. Could they use that. I'm hoping I don't have to do a backup of the entire SR-11 to disk, then delete all the other footage, reexport the sony footage for each band and reimport the original each time. That would add a lot of time, but it might be necessary in the gathering of source video for each band.

Well that's enough talking about video processing steps inside the computer.

Programmers love to talk about processes and process steps, usually about their own programming. Talking about the various steps performed in a computer by an editor is almost the same thing and useless to most blog readers.

If a person is exporting out 720p (720 horizontal resolution) footage, they might be able to get away with zooming in and out and reframing 1080i footage for their "standard" definition video. This is perhaps a benefit of shooting in 1080i. I've done a small zoom test with some video. It seemed I could zoom in, maybe reframing up to 1/3rd closer, but not to a quarter size of the screen, which seems to be the resolution limit you'd be able to zoom into in theory. Unless you're going for a pixelated effect, you wouldn't want to over zoom.

(Hmm. . . I'm a little tired, woke up early. I almost feel like taking a nap before calling my friend's house. I think my friend has a newspaper deadline to meet, and he will probably be too busy with work to see me this early in the day.)

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Watching the Olympic games closing ceremony late at night.

I'm watching the rerun of the Olympic ceremony. As cool as it can be, I'm actually surprised how boring this is to me.
Actually I realized I'd rather spend one night at the Cornerstone Gallery stage this year and see a few bands there in 100 degree heat; than be in London under perfect weather watching the closing ceremonies at the Olympics games. I'm waiting for Adele to sing. I'm kind of bored with all the British Beatle, imagine, Pink Floyd stuff. I don't even know if I will be able to stay up and watch this show.
This evening I looked at some of the video clips out there on the Internet some Iona bootleg video from their video productions and some video promotional stuff that Kye Kye has out there. There's some really nice stuff out there, it's a lot better visually and from an excitement point of view than my simple Cornerstone video footage. It's amazing what people can do with enough editing time and today's equipment.
I'm kind of shocked that so much stuff gets out on YouTube. Someone mentioned to me at the festival that all the free bootleg stuff on YouTube is hurting the music business and I can believe that to some extent. I guess the small labels and artists don't have the time to worry about this stuff or keep looking to take down bootleg video. Most people don't have a clue about copyright law and since there is so much cheap technology out there, they just throw stuff out there on the net. I try to keep true to a different more conservative way of holding video assets, knowing the music and performance copyright is supposed to limit the use that others can do with music performances.
My own gut feeling might be against some of the more conservative and traditional worries about protecting the artist and label. I feel that if the bootleg stuff gets out there people are smart enough to know that some of this is not going to be very good and it's not necessarily a bad reflection on the band product. I understand and tend to side with the record labels logic on these arguments. Over time some older video may take on more of a historical record feel to it and may not be as threatening to the profits of the label and bands. I think when people see these things they end up getting excited and decide they want to buy music and become new fans. But I understand that copies of albums or production music is just like any blatant piracy and I'm actually shocked at the amount of that type of boot legging that is out there on the Internet and YouTube.
Because I'm was a computer programmer I understand copyright restrictions on software as well. So I haven't been one to push the piracy envelop in music, video or software copies. I tend to spend more or go without rather than get a free copy of someone's album or piece of software.
I wonder how many YouTube video clips are being taken down each day due to copyright violations. That would be and interesting piece of trivia.
Why do labels look down on bootlegs? There are actually some very good reasons. A lack of talent in the shooting of the video is one thing. A lack of getting a good image of the artist is another, perhaps the video would make the artist look bad. Perhaps they are afraid of bad performances. One friend said that the labels might be afraid you are doing their job and promoting the band when that is their job. I never thought of that as being their motive and suspect it's not really a prime reason they don't like bootlegging. A good free promotion could be like a scab worker trying to take the work of those who are really doing that or being paid for that. Also there is the inability of the label or management to review the stuff that is being put out there. So they often don't want to be bothered with a bunch of submissions and simply don't have the time to sort through this.
There are a lot of good reasons that traditional conservative labels want to protect the bands, their products from customer bootlegs. This may be changing somewhat due to the proliferation of smart phones and small cameras. I went to a free concert in Detroit of a band that was an outdoor concert. I was hoping to get a quick clip of one of their songs with a camcorder. I saw signs no cameras or video, so I left the camcorder in my car. Even though I followed the rules of the signs, other young kids didn't and they taped the band with their smart phones. I'm sure they put clips out on the net. That's the nature of all this new technology now. It was amazing to see how many people on the field at the Olympic games were using smart phones and tablets to record the opening ceremonies. I wonder how many people would be doing that had Apple not pushed out the iPhone and changed the nature of phone devices some years back.
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Time for dinner then later the chapter edit for Kye Kye

TIme to take a break, do some things around the house and eat dinner.

I'm missing one of the song titles. After dinner, I'll import the video into iMovie and start on the opening and chapter titles. I had a test DVD, but I'm re-burning this one, with a better compression setting and want to have correct chapter titles that match the songs. (I had no chapters on my first test DVD.)

The third song in their set was "a new song". It's not on any of their CD's so I couldn't find the title of the song.

I'm waiting for a response on the song title question from the band. This may delay the final DVD burn a day or two.

Kye Kye- screen shots from the "quicktime master"

Here's a couple of screen shots from the quicktime master.

As you can see one screen shot shows a wider view and a little bit of blurring near the edge of the video. This is because I had a wide angle lens on the Sony HD camera for the band at the beginning of the concert and realized I didn't need it during the event. So I removed it. The external lens, blurs the edge of the picture, so it's better to remove it when you don't need to see the entire stage. For bigger bands I may have used that lens more and had more out of focus edges on the wide shot.

A lot of intermediate files, and a 12 step program

I just finished the final render step for the Kye Kye video. This is just a Media 100 export step. Now I'm going back to iMovie to create titles and chapter marks for their short video. The Master export quicktime file is about 4 gigs in size for the 30 minute Kye Kye video.

There are a lot of intermediate files that exist and a lot of time rendering for these Cornerstone video edits.

I'm going to give a quick summary. Then a longer summary with numbered steps. Then last a diary. Most will want to read the FAST summary and ignore most of the other diary points of this post.

There are several input and export steps used and many intermediate files created with many steps. (The steps are: iMovie imports, Media 100 imports, Media 100 exports, iMovie Imports again, exporting from IMovie to iDVD working files and finally the DVD burn of the master file.)

These take many steps. The key is keeping enough free space on the Macintosh hard drive for working files and exporting out the external drives whenever possible.

Most will probably want to skip the rest of this blog entry.


Here’s a brief summary of steps and some file sizes in a typical large project like this. This is concert video with many cameras supplying footage.

1. Import footage into iMovie first. This creates a file about 15 gigs per hour. It’s a high resolution quicktime file.

2. Import that video from iMovie folder into Media 100. This generates an audio file, which is not very large. It will not create another video file. You’ll have the advantage of having video files imported with iMovie which seems to do a better job and almost instant use of that in Media 100.

3. Create intermediate files inside the editing process. This is done automatically by Media 100 or Boris Red Exports. For the long Iona video of 82 minutes. I had some really long renders of color FX clips that took a ton of space on an external drive. These took 186 gigs of space.

There are other files that will be created as well. This took roughly 500 gigs of space for the Iona edit. There were a lot of mistakes to correct.

5. You may have to import some of those intermediate files in Imovie if you rendered them at to high a quality. This will be imported again in Media 100 to make more corrections. This happened to me with the Boris red footage. About 160 gigs of files Red created at a setting that was way to high in resolution were reimported into iMovie and took up about 16 gigs. This for 24 minutes of footage.

6. Export the footage from Media 100 as a quicktime master file. I didn’t have any titles at this stage. This created a master file that was about 18 gigs in size.

7. Import that back into iMovie. This creates another file.

8. Export the final iDVD rip to iDVD from iMovie. For the Iona video this created a file about 19 gigs in size. This was master footage that iDVD could rip. I created titles in iMovie and used chapter markers with song titles at the start of each song.

9. Create the final DVD, which should use PROFESSIONAL or BEST setting in iDVD. Keep in mind if you don’t do this it may not fit on a single sided DVD. Iona video wouldn’t fit on a single sided DVD. But with a professional setting it did and looked better.

10. Burn the DVD. Verify the menus work and import the audio tracks or video that you may want for animated titles.

The export to DVD can be to a VIDEO_TS folder on the hard drive. All DVD’s can be burned with Toast (version 7 on my machine). This generates another 4 gigs of data on a disk somewhere for your DVD master file.

11. Archive the iDVD to an external drive. This can be an additional step, if you want to reload the iDVD project later and change menus. That can take a lot of space. I haven’t done that step.

12. Rip copies for your iphone, ipad, or home playing devices like Apple TV or Western Digital player. These can be done using Handbrake and take up more space. A nice size video file for the iPad might take up a gig in space.

-- My Personal edit diary - (More for my future review most blog readers will want to skip the rest of this.)

If I want to make a diary of sorts and say how much time and space this will take. I had a lot of really high resolution masters and working files in the middle of the Iona project. I had almost 1 TB or 1000 gigs of files at one time or another for an Iona video. This was all at 1080i resolution for the most part and footage from many cameras.

The more conservative approach (had I known better) might take up 500 gigs or less for all the working files for the Iona edit. Keep in mind there are probably less than 30 gigs of digital files for the entire Iona show to begin with. Those are mostly in AVCHD Sony compressed format. My version of Media 100 cannot use native AVCHD files even with “clip wrap” program.

The process I use, intermediate Apple Quicktime files that are often ten times larger than the source files. This due to 1080i full resolution wishes for the edit process. Had I downgraded the standard resolution throughout the production process, I would have used a lot less space and had much faster rendering. (Standard video would use something like 954 pixel wide intermediate files, instead of 1920 pixels wide full HD.)

The total time to render the Iona video project took about 3 and a half days of rendering. Not including manual editing, just the computer working away while I slept or ran errands.

The Kye Kye video is smaller and takes a lot less time, but if you make a mistake and forget to have enough “working space” in your internal drive, many programs (Media 100, iDVD, and iMovie) will create HUGE intermediate files on the internal hard drive during their rendering process. This means you may need about 30 gigs of free space for many of the steps.

For the 82 minute Iona video, the iDVD project took 18 gigs for an IDVD project file that goes to the Macintosh internal hard drive by default. The Media 100 export uses temporary work space on the hard drive. If you run out of space, the render may stall. My latest Media 100 export of Kye Kye stalled and after waiting 8 hours I finally realize I ran out of drive space on the internal hard drive. I had to stop and re-render it. The actual export at very high quality H.264 export settings took about 4 hours.

So the KEY is to keep enough free space on the internal hard drive for working and temporary files. Check before each step of the process to save time.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to shoot different kinds of concert video on a budget

(Above: A sample of a test file of Iona during my edit of their Cornerstone video, in Quicktime. Notice the compression rate is so low this file is really large, almost 60 gigs in size. Clearly a quicktime file that will choke most nonlinear editing systems.)

There is an old saying, which is they won't miss the video they never saw to begin with. This is a true saying basically something I heard from a wedding videographer. He figured if the video cut wasn't good enough, you might as well cut it from the final product, because the bride and groom won't know it was missing, because they never saw the shot to begin with.

For a commercial production for a client this is true. And if you shoot something and think it has some value, even with bad camera work as the guy running the camera, you may feel the temptation to leave that shot in. Even if it's badly framed, or a bit out of focus. This may make the end product a little less professional looking and show the flaws of your shooting technique. When your shooting history and want to preserve it and perhaps some aspect of the event, you may make the decision to purposely weaken the end product a little and make it a little worse. It will show flaws in your camera performance for the sake of showing a shot you took of the event. This becomes a great temptation. And it's a temptation toward showing a little bit more or erring on the side of showing to many camera angles. This is the approach I took with the Iona Video edit, or at least the early versions and the one I just mailed out to them.

I took a "more camera angles" is better approach and tried to put in a few more handheld shots than I would if I was trying to show only the best and most steady and in focus shots. From a classical editing perspective this is a mistake and shows a weaker video. I took this path anyway, to show more of the band, even if a few shots were out of focus. I cut more to the music and tried to show all the band members. This made the overall video a little weaker. And I might make another edit a more final edit and remove some of these shots and also remove some of the camera shake from some of the shots that are in the current released DVD that was mailed to Iona's booking agent.

With that disclaimer stated on the blog. I'm going to continue a bit and talk about ways people shoot or approach video.

Ideally you'll have camera operators on each camera. I didn't have that luxury at Cornerstone 2012. I was shooting alone, so I had a lot of fixed camcorders on tripods.

From a classical perspective and approach, a director will have people that will follow commands from a director. And the director will have expensive communication equipment and headsets for the camera operators who act almost like slaves to the will of the director. They listen for a shot that is called and try to provide that. The director will also tell a switcher operator what camera they should cut to for a live video mix or live switched video.

Another approach is one I would take. I wanted camera operators who could think independently and operate without any direction at all. They would know their main targets ahead of time. And keep the target and task that they are responsible for.

The classical cable studio approach requires more equipment and communication equipment. It often has substandard operators and they don't need to know much about music, they just listen and respond to commands on a headset.
The "cable access" approach a crew of somewhat untrained operators will try to use some cable access equipment. They may have limited skills and you'll end up with a very standard shoot.

Also a well planned video event for commercial release will have a lot of expert camera operators and expensive equipment. I don't have that setup and never did for Christian music video stuff that I did. So this more expert approach was not something we attempted.

My goal of course was to shoot bands (in the past) with limited quality equipment that was affordable. This was a compromise on equipment quality and made the gathering of video difficult. I used a very standard way and very boring way of taping most bands at first and I'm more drawn to a standard and safe way to shoot video, for example having many cameras with "safe shots all the time" so I have something to cut to and something that is a backup to cut to. I don't like close ups from operators that pan all over and have a lot of dead video on the screen so I have nothing to cut to. If you have more cameras then you can take more wild footage that has a lot less usable footage. The more cameras you use, the more junk you may acquire at times.

It's more important to have people who can think for themselves and understand music and can follow the band, that to have an operator who thinks he's a great camera operator and creative, but knows nothing about music and won't listen to the band. This is my opinion.

The creative and perhaps ADD like shooter who is focusing on taking little creative snippets for the really unusual odd stuff can be the forth or fifth camera operator. That camera operator is shooting for their own enjoyment most of the time and most of their footage is unusable. They may have an almost photographic quality to the approach, they are looking for the perfect shot, and may move like they are taking a photograph. I'm not saying there is no room for that kind of independent approach, but it's way down on the pecking order for what I was looking for.

Perhaps at times I was too conservative. Sometimes young camera operators who were in a band would get creative shots of the band and this would seem far from safe, but these shots gave a new fresh perspective and they were cut into the "live video feed" creatively. And these made the video seem like a live music video, something more than a normal Palacevision kind of live feed. We had people tell us our video was better than Palacevision in giant venues, because of creative and strobe affects we had in our live video at times. The video became an integral part of the show and provided added value.

There are a few ways you can approach video.

If you are shooting it as a documentary of the event, you will want more wide shots from the back. Something to give establishing shots of the band. This to show the viewers the overall look of the event and document the event. At least that is what I feel. But for a live event feed. The audience in the back isn't interested in the wide long shot, because most of them are already far away from the stage. They want to see close ups and more of the up front action. You are providing a binocular or telescope to the audience. So when you're doing live video you want to use a video mixer and mix in more up front shots and unusual perspectives and perhaps use more effects than you would for a finished documentary like video.

With "ISO CAMERA" recording, meaning recording with tapes in each camera, not just a recording of the video mix, you can go back and edit the event and get a more general edit of the event to show others as the "memory video" or documentary video of the event.

With a crew that works together and gets used to shooting video, here is the secret we used, not really much of a secret, but it worked out that way. . . to shoot bands without any communication at all to the camera operators.

We assigned targets and priorities for each camera operator. One camera operator would have the goal of getting the lead video clip. This meant the lead part of most important part of the musical event at that time. Close your eyes and listen to a part of a song. What is going on? What is the lead at this moment as you listen to that sample selection? Whatever that is, that is the lead video shot and what most people are interested in most of the time. The lead camera operator must get that shot and stay safe. It's a boring job, but someone has to do it. So that is their assigned task. If they can do that well you have lead coverage and can always go to it most of the time.

Then there is the secondary musical event. This is the target of the second camera operator. The lead operator often has to focus on the lead singer, as most songs involve singing and that may be where they are. What is the secondary part that is most important. At times it's another perspective shot of the lead, a second view, but most of the time it's focusing on the second most important thing that is happening musically. It might be a hot guitarist or a hot bass lick or some other instrument. Maybe a saxophone lead. Whatever that is, that is the job of the secondary camera operator. And both of course have to be positioned well in order to get those shots. They may have to be aware of where the other operator is and if they can get their shot. If the other operator can't get that shot, the two might make creative decisions to switch targets. This can result in a difficult mix or edit, but if they play it safe and make sure there is some kind of target in the viewfinder all the time, at least the switcher operator can select the best target at that time.

Then there is the third most important shot. Which in a three camera shoot conservatively - is often the back camera establishing shot. If you have the luxury of a camera operator on that back camera shot, then that will be at times zoomed in and maybe show a two shot or three shot of the band, a little closer but perhaps with less than the entire stage. If you have a more powerful and advanced camera it might even zoom in to the lead singer and show a shot of them from the back of the auditorium, but that is rare and really rare for budget shooting and budget prosumer or industrial camera equipment.

Then there is the fourth or fifth camera or a roving camera. That person may be on stage and behind the drummer or focusing on unusual cutaways and shots from behind the band. Hopefully showing the audience as well. This becomes the forth most important part. Then of course there are times when perhaps the number one and two camera operators are dealing with a dualing part between a couple of instruments that are playing together. This becomes another challenge, but if you have the back cutaway to the entire band you can recover from any mistake the others make and cut to the back camera at any time. So the goal is to have at least two safe cameras and perhaps have one or two camera operators take risks.

If you have an inexperienced crew, or someone with attention deficit disorder, in the way they work, they will not have the patience to stay on their assigned target and the video will suffer.

It's better to have two really good camera operators at an event that four or five people who are completely clueless and not following the music at all. I've had video with a lot of volunteers and many of them were very poor in their quality of shooting skills and those five cameras will an absolute nightmare to mix or edit. With virtually no usable video. And I've had two camera shoots where both camera operators knew what they were doing and that video looked much better, even if the back establishing camera was missing.

It becomes less of a "directing role" for the director of these kinds of events, and more of a "selecting role". In other words the director is looking at the feeds that the camera operators are providing and saying to himself, "what is the best shot and most musical shot, that the audience wants to see at this time?" So the camera operators become more of an independent operator who can think for themselves, not a servant listening for the next command from the "director". There is less control over the camera operators and more trust. Sometimes you get a little more chaos, but sometimes more creative shots that way.

AVOID ROOKIE SWITCHER OPERATORS. As a director of a live shoot using my budget technique, you have to beware and avoid pretenders who don't know much about video but think they do. They may want to run the video mixer, but not have a good sense of video production or film. I told one "concert photographer" volunteer. he could run a video mixer and that he should have fun with it and "just select the best shot". I said, "it's kind of like a video game" remarking about the mixer and how easy it was to select video. I meant this for an ease of use perspective, not as a creative user perspective. I promptly went out and took one of the cameras to provide video to the event and left him at the switcher. I couldn't see the switched video from my location on a giant screen. I didn't realize what he was doing and he was inexperienced. Later I saw the video mix and it made me sick, meaning it was dizzying. It had way to many cuts that made no sense, constantly cutting from one camera to another and using buss effects that made no sense at all. It was horrible. The expert photographer thought he did a great job and said he had a lot of fun switching and it really was like a video game. I felt sorry for the audience who had to endure looking at that dizzying display of a mess. Needless to say I was very careful on who I would allow on a switcher again. I'd have to make sure they knew a little something about video and weren't playing a "video game" for their own enjoyment. This doesn't mean they cannot learn how to switch, just don't let them switch and learn on a live event without direction and some training. I want to moderate this remark a little and also say that band members or some can bring new interesting perspectives at times by accident and create something new and different for the live mix. We had a band member do a switch from camera 1 to camera 1, yes the same camera. He did this by accident switching from the same buss to the same selected source and had one of the busses strobed. This with a slow half dissolve created a strobe effect that followed the live video feed of the same angle. It was a very interesting special effect and we used this at times in our live events. It was something done by accident and discovery in a house when we were playing with the switcher and a band in the living room somewhere. So rookie mistakes or creativity can lead to some interesting effects that might be usable.

It's more important to know and follow the music on a concert video shoot than pretend to be an expert camera operator. That's my humble opinion.

Also, this advice is for low budget documentary like shooting and some live shooting. It doesn't cover very high level or quality shooting that is planned scripted or has very high level professional talent. That would be the subject of a different topic and since I rarely shoot those kinds of videos, I will leave that to other writers.

So you want to be in a band, lessons from reading, etc

Some lessons from Past Cornerstone's and a few books I read.

I was out on a "rap music" tour with a local performer and we ended up at a famous Christian Rap band concert event. All the rappers knew each other and they were doing some outreach events in a small weekend tour. Some comments about signing with a label were made by the more experienced in the "signed bands" to the less experienced "unsigned artists". This was some years back.

Also I attended some Cornerstone seminar sessions for "musicians" and question and answer sessions with artists on the Christian music scene and questions to artists in particular about being in a band or starting a band.

Also I've read a book called "The Business of Music" which was about the music business in general.

Here's a few things I learned from all three.

Keep in mind that this was from over a decade ago, so some things may have changed, with self published labels and do it yourself records. But some things are still the same.

Think about it from a business perspective. You are a studio and you have a lot of equipment and technicians and engineers working for you. And you're goal is to create a nice product. It's to produce good music or at least commercially viable music with talent and a lot of expensive equipment. Yes everyone wants a record deal, but they have to pay for that studio expense somehow. This is a business, a kind of business machine. So they need to recoup the costs of the album/CD production. How do they do that. With the most popular bands, not the average band.
1. (Business of Music) Most of the profits are from the superstars and the top 5% of the bands. The big sellers, not the majority of the artists or acts that are signed. 90% of the bands and acts will not sell enough music to cover the cost of production. The real profits are from the bigger acts that hit it big.

What does this mean? It means they are gambling that you might hit it big. If they cover costs of production, then they are happy. You as a band might see a small signing fee to sign to a label, but that will be deducted from record sales. The average artist gets $1 a record sale, through normal channels, but this is deducted from their advance and promotional costs often. So the average artist will see nothing from the sales of their albums. They make profit from "retail markup sales" from CD and music that they sell at their concerts and that's about it. They make money from T-Shirt sales and sometimes more money from the markup and profit from T-Shirt sales than from music sales. They may make profit from the concert. That is what keeps them going.

2. (Cornerstone comment from an artist, I believe it was Jimmy Abeg). Question: What would you say to the average Christian artist that wants to go out and perform? Jimmy A: I'd say don't do it. It's not worth the trouble (I'm paraphrasing it.) There is not enough money in it and you will be older and living in an apartment while your friends live in their own houses. Because you can't make enough money to be successful. But he added, if you are really into performing and must perform, you'll do it anyway and I can't tell you not to and expect you to listen. (Note this comment is paraphrased a bit from memory of that interview, I haven't looked at video footage of that recently.)

3. Comment to artists from a past Cornerstone festival on the business. You have to understand that running a band is a lot more like running or owning a Pizza Hut than the glamour you think will be involved. You will have a lot of money spent on making phone calls, paying the band members and support staff and for the cost of a vehicle to travel from concert to concert. Even a small buss can cost a ton of money to fuel up to travel around during a tour. You could easily be needing $300,000 a year for expenses to tour, and this is for a smaller band that isn't using a ton of equipment.

4. Comment from rappers to others. The record labels in Nashville will treat you like royalty when they are trying to get you to sign with them. They will pick you up perhaps in a limo and hang out with you and will seem to be your best friend. Then once you are signed they will not want to talk to band members and you will feel like your a stranger. What happened? You were signed and now the label only wants to talk to your manager. There is a reason for this. The reason is the record label wants to give honest advice to the manager of a band and they don't want to deal with the band and hurt their feelings directly if they are giving criticism. They want to tell the manager and the manager can break the bad news of some critical comment to the band. The manager can say, "yeah the label doesn't know what they are talking about, etc" and be on the side of the band. This helps insulate the band from criticism and still allows the label to have some control over the final product.

This is some of the lessons I learned in reading about bands and labels. This is not meant as a criticism, but merely as statements of facts of the way things work. You have to be ready for this. The band is also giving up some creative control to their music of course, because they sign record deals giving power over their music to publishers and the record labels. This limits what they can do legally with their own music. I'm not saying this to say labels are bad or this is a bad deal and there should be an alternative. This is just the way things work and the nature of the music business. I'm just stating this as the way things are.

It may sound like I'm going to make some kind of sales pitch and offer some kind of alternative to the typical label route. I'm not really doing that here and that is not the intent of this post. I'm just posting this as some knowledge you may want to study and think about so you realize how things work in the music business if you're looking for that big chance and record deal.

Now for a few photos from the Kye Kye edit.

Kye kye edit continued. . . The concert experience

When Kye Kye came on stage I had a lot of fun taping them. This band had a different sound and I never heard of them before the festival. They had a techno feel, but not just a pure drum machine mix, but a live drummer, guitars and keys. They definitely had a Euro sound and seemed to be influenced by that kind of sound.

I found out later from the Kyr Kye website that three of the band members are siblings who were born in Estonia, this might explain the euro sound. The last Christian band I heard that had a euro sound was a band called Code of Ethics, but I haven't been listening to Christian techno bands lately.

The lead singer moved very well. She almost danced in one song as if she was charming a snake or something. Se had this hairstyle that almost had a Medusa like quality to it, while she performed. Very interesting and mesmerizing. I really enjoyed the bands performance and actually the words were easier to hear in the live sound up front than in the recording. MY camcorder audio confirms this, but it's distorted from high volumes, so it's no use for audio post processing.

I mixed the video and let it sit because I don't have an address to send the tape to. I also wanted to review the mix in more than one system and see how it sounds. I showed the video to my friend who is a DJ and he looked up the band on Facebook and found out about the Estonian connection. We have a little history or knowledge of Estonia. A friend of ours who was into Christian live sound production went to Estonia on a mission trio and actually stayed over there for a year. This friend married a Christian Estonian gal and brought her back to e US.

Also I went out on some dates with a bible smuggler who smuggled bibles to Estonia back in the Soviet days. When I say dated I mean in a Christian sense (Christian dating, means i went out with this lady, I was not sleeping with her).

Anyway I recall many stories about the Bible smuggler and even have a watch she brought back from Estonia which she sold to help someone over there raise money to buy a washing machine or something.

So the Estonian aspect of the band is also interesting to me.

I edited the footage and went over to my friends house to play it. And my friend said, you remixes the audio to much and we can't hear e band enough. I reduced the stereo effects by doubling a d panning e tracks. I applied EQ to both sides differently. It didn't sound good to him on his giant screen tv. This was a second review of the video edit with audio corrections. my friend John had received the Kye Kye CDs in the mail and he said let me show you what the cd sounds like. He put the cd into his stereo system which is in the living room under his giant screen tv. He flipped a few switches and out came the band Kye Kye. This was through a Bose surround sound system.

The sound was so good, it was amazing. I told John, "wow that's great, I gotta order a cd as soon as I get home.". Then my friend John said, hey check it out the audio matches the video. I said, well your a DJ and you probably lucked out and picked a spot that matches the video. We sat there and I said, they probably used a click track and it matches the album. Because they had ear monitors and there is some sequencing in their performance. This means I mint be able to sweeten the mix or at least a video mix separately with the cd audio. Wow the audio even has background vocals. We watched the video for another couple of minutes and John yelled out to his wife, to come out and take a look at this video. Then talking about cornerstone matched the video and it dawned on us, this wasn't the cd playing, but my sound mix. The sound was so much better in the surround system it fooled both John and I. We thought the video was a CD. Looks like the video sound is done and I can mail this off.

There is one problem which is I could set the DVD compression better in iDVD. I will do this next. Also since the sound track could be original or my mixed track and the concert was only 30 minutes I can put a repeat performance on the DVD I send the band. One with original sound with no audio changes and the other my video mix.

I asked John if he knew their address as he bought the CDs from the band. John said, I threw away the envelope. I ordered a set of cd's from Kye Kye's website. When they arrived I had a return address to mail the DVD to.

I'm going to write the band first to verify the address and burn a final copy of the DVD to mail it to them next.

I'm actually mailing the Kye Kye video after my initial mailing to Iona as that video is pretty much finished at least for now.

More on the Iona video edit in a future post. I will also edit this post and add some screen shots from the Kye Kye edit session. It was relatively easy, with only the audio sweetening giving me trouble.

Now to start talking about the editing - The Kye Kye edit

First I did a quick edit of "The Choir". This was really a test edit and that video will be revisited.

Then I decided to do an easy video and one I wanted to see. I wanted to edit the Kye Kye concert. This was only 30 minutes long.

I started editing this and worked on it for a short time. I ran into a problem which is the vocal volume on the recording is to low. This might be due to the way the band performs or the live mix. It sounded okay on the cameras near the stage and we were hearing more of the vocal monitors, the band monitors up front which is where I was standing. I didn't know if the actual live mix had enough vocals in it. But Kye Kye has low volumes in their mix for their singer. The lead singer is excellent, but she has one flaw perhaps, which is the mix doesn't have her voice up high enough and she perhaps sings in a way that is a little bit like a little girl singing. I love her voice, don't get me wrong, it's like a separate instrument. But she might be able to pronounce the words better by opening and closing her mouth more, change her delivery a little. It might change her sound and singing style a little, but it would allow us to hear the words better.

So the audio mix was a mess in a way. It sounded good from an overall sound perspective, but people would say to me when I showed them the band video quickly on my laptop, I can't hear her words. They would say she sounds good and can sing, but also that the singer isn't singing good enough for them to hear the words.

I know they are a cool techno style band and have an Estonian background, but it would be nice to hear the actual words.

My Christian DJ friend saw the video and immediately ordered a set of Kye Kye CD's off the internet.

So I continued to edit the Kye Kye video tweaking the sound and actually losing some of the stereo separation in the mix in an attempt to digitally enhance her voice an bring it out using digital parametric EQ settings inside Media 100.

This took about a week as I wasn't doing this constantly. Then I sat aside the video and wanted to play it on a number of systems and see if I should make more adjustments.

This story will be continued in another post. I'm going to run out and meet a friend for lunch now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

If the video shoot doesn't kill you, maybe the edit will.

I'm going to change my initial page and edit this further to reduce the (Peak Oil and economy) tangent, part of this first post.

This to reduce the reading and size of this opening posting.

I'm better off mentioning that briefly and giving external links or a link to a separate blog (youtube videos, etc.)

I may create a youtube video to mention that theory later.

Some quick facts about my background:

1. I purchased a camcorder in 2009 to create a simple and free overview of Peak Oil, but put in different perspectives, throw in my 2 cents and more about the subject. I never did this.

2. I had a day job as a computer programmer/lead analyst and did video on the side for about ten years.

3. I travelled to Cornerstone 2012 in a kind of last minute rush, videotaped a bunch of artists at the Gallery stage and I'm editing that video now. That's a quick summary.

(You can stop reading this post now, for the quick read.) The rest is details.

I used to be involved in video production (as a videographer) and taped a lot of Christian concert events, like Cornerstone Festivals. And I drifted away from that, but returned at least to tape part of Cornerstone Festival in 2012 . When I heard this was to be the last Cornerstone and Iona would be there, I decided to attend. I've seen many other bands, but Iona rarely visits the USA and that is one of the reasons I decided to attend. I've seen many other bands locally that are regulars at the festival, so Iona was one of the reasons I decided I better go to the festival, because they put on an excellent show.

Cornerstone festival ended for a variety of reasons depending on who you talked to. The actual reason the festival ended was the poor attendance due to the economic downturn.

With only 4000 attending in 2011, and 6000 attending this year; we can see it's an economic hardship to put on a festival like this. Bands reportedly played for free at the festival this year.

They couldn't even afford to pay the bands.

This was due to the economy (and likely the price of gasoline as well ). If you are young and busy trying to find a job that doesn't exist (due to the poor economy), you don't have time and resources to drive out to a remote festival far away. Some say "youtube" and free stuff on the web killed the festival. I actually heard this. I guess that even makes sense, if you don't have money you'll look for some kind of footage perhaps for free on Youtube. You don't have the money to go to the festival so you might search for some free entertainment. That's not the same as going to a festival and meeting people.

Overall the economy killed the festival. It was not sustainable.

The festival is another sign of a failing economy and the high cost of fuel. There are of course other reasons which some will say or guess that contributed to the ending of the festival. The stated reason is one of economic sustainability. If you need $400 piece for small crowds to attend and make it profitable, and it costs hundreds more to drive there, people can't afford that in this economy.

I talked with a young local Christian guy who was "in a Christian band" tell me he didn't attend Cornerstone for years. When I asked him why, he said, "it costs to much". This guy lived 13 miles away and he claimed he couldn't afford to go. If he can't afford to go, I'm sure others can't as well. Maybe this was just his overall reason, he also said "I went when I was a kid". So maybe part of the reason was he felt he outgrew the festival. But he was still in his college.

If the cost of the festival to be sustainable from an economic perspective is $1.5 million a year (my guess). or perhaps $200 a visitor with 10,000 visitors, and maybe $400 a visitor for 5,000 visitors. JPUSA clearly can't fund the festival with low attendance. It's a miracle the festival lasted as long as it did.

To continue, the festival organizers might need rich donors to underwrite this. Perhaps set aside money up front (perhaps in a kind of non-profit fund). That seems unlikely in todays economy.

Most people who attend a festival like this don't plan or pay ahead of time. That's the nature of a concert goer. A poor ministry in Chicago probably won't find a bunch of rich donors.

JPUSA was stuck in a financial rut. They were going way beyond the extra mile. They probably needed to retire from that festival. It was a gift to the churches by a poor church. It wasn't financially self sustaining, but dependent on the gifts from a poor church doing all it could to keep the festival going. (My first thought about the festival being much smaller was, why not take it back to the state fair grounds near Chicago.)

Historically from what I heard through the years, JPUSA was putting more money into the festival than they were getting from it. So they ended up spending something like $100,000 or more per year on average and this was a gift and drain on this poor ministry. It's easy to lament the end of the festival when you're a person who enjoyed past festivals.

JPUSA had dozens if not hundreds of volunteers from their church and that was a labor of love. It was a gift to the church world at large. Can the festival be self sustaining and actually fund itself? Can there be a way to fund it? During the lean years, it's likely that this festival would require significant funding and donors, perhaps a different organization structure that would simply raise funds framing the festival as a gift to the donors. It after all is a creative party of sorts, there are benefits to the festival, but do those benefits have a return that would make the funding of the festival (up front) more desirable. I could spend a lot more money trying to build up another Cornerstone festival and fail if I started from scratch. So I think it has value, but finding that value and marketing it to (rich donors) or whomever, would perhaps be a tough sell.

There might be alternate ways to raise money, but this would require a lot of planning. What if we could get 50,000 people to attend video webcasts of the festival with live streaming video? If they would each pay $10 per internet pass, that would raise some cash for the festival. But things like that require a lot of technology and planning and expenses. And that brings up the dreaded worry of copyright and free video going out on the net and piracy and all those concerns that record labels and bands need to worry about as well. So I don't claim to have an answer to make the festival sustainable. It needs to be figured out and looked at from a more sustainable point of view in the economic framework. I think the LLC and donor model would be the best route. But don't try to over-reach and do another Creation festival. Just plan for a small cut down Cornerstone and make it economically viable.

If some rich Christian (like Pat Robertson?) were to donate tons of money to a fund or LLC to "keep Cornerstone going", what would be the long term plan be and how could you justify it? If I was standing in front of a rich donor, how would I sell this? Aren't there other charities that are more worthy of their donation? Why struggle and worry about a music festival? Am I as worried about feeding the homeless in the inner city? Is this blog post a plea for helping inner city Chicago folks? It's easy to be blinded by the "need" to go to a concert event, but is that really a need?

Would the goal of a different financial approach be: setting up an LLC organization, and make it profitable for JPUSA to run the festival and pay them as consultants to run it. We need to make it profitable for JPUSA, an asset rather than a financial burden. Ministries as a whole need donors and sponsors. How would you frame a LLC or funding project, with perhaps a goal to have $10 million for the next five years. That is how museums are funded.

Museums get rich donors and companies to give them budgets up front and they are always money losers. They don't make money from ticket sales, they will usually lose money. If a museum loses to much money it will close. Rich donors and companies sponsor museums, and sometimes taxpayers.

Is the Cornerstone Festival (cultural experiment and camping party) worth saving? How do you we get donors to fund it? That's the $2million question.

One story on the net has stated that someone offered to buy the farm and give it back to JPUSA if they would continue running the festival. That could be a good sign.

What would the financial goals be? I'm thinking a goal would be something like $2 million a year toward a festival by some kind of charity LLC or foundation. Simply fund it and let's JPUSA run it. That LLC would simply hand over $2 million to JPUSA and the goal would be to put on the festival on for a $1.5 million budget. Don't go overboard, plan for a profit toward the "consultant". JPUSA would get $500,000 in profit per year to put on the festival. Make it a positive balance sheet item for JPUSA instead of a negative one. To me that would be the goal.

I'm sure JPUSA hasn't stated this as a goal or even looked at my idea. (I didn't walk up to a tired Glenn Kaiser and say, "hey Glenn, I have an idea, let's save the festival." ) And I'm not saying this is a sustainable business plan, I'm saying this is something that would be funded by donors up front, because they thought the festival should continue.

This is more of a wish list goal, to save the festival. I think the motivation or sales pitch to those (rich Christians) who might fund such a thing would be to look at the tangibles that happened as a result of the festival. By this I mean the exposure and donations that other charities received from the event. For example Compassion International reportedly had 5000 children sponsored at the festival during the past 29 years.

If each Compassion sponsor stayed with a child sponsorship for ten years on average, then that could be $1.5 million in sponsorships per year overall from the Cornerstone Festival. That's a pretty good payback on investment for running the festival. (That's probably a dollar for dollar return on the festival in donor income to Compassion alone.)

There are intangibles as well, which is the simple exposure to all the "ministries" and the simple interactions that happened discovering other Christians from all over the country. These don't have a dollar value, but in reality there was a dollar value to the festival and the economic downturn, and possible the price of gas likely stopped the festival. I thought I would hate seeing the festival with a small turnout. Actually I found it quite refreshing, there was less competition for campsites and a far more intimate experience watching bands on a smaller stage, it was better than the larger main stage from a video perspective. I could walk right up next to the stage and tape the bands. This was like being on the stage with the band in the front row. Almost impossible to do in past festivals at the main stage during the "boom years".

I have a small Sony HD camcorder and some video software. I've taped festivals in the past, back in the "good old days" and even had a cable access show that showed some band video in the old days. In the past, I would tape events with friends and volunteers. We used to use video mixers and create a live mix most of the time of concert events. I bought all the equipment that I used to create my public access shows. I did this because I couldn't guarantee the video I taped could be freely used by the cable company and become their property. I had to have the ability to limit the usage of the bands video, so I never used Cable access equipment, this due to copyright restrictions and the need to respect the bands and their labels. So I paid dearly in expenses to have options and keep video from being put out that might make the bands look bad or threaten the profit potential of the labels.

I also was involved with live video concert support, we ended up doing giant screen feeds to video projectors for some local events and even a couple of years at the main stage. One grateful band manager came up to me after a concert and told me the video that I gave them was used and helped their band get a record deal. "I know it's not much but we wanted to give you something." He gave me $38 dollars, actually a nice sign of thanks. It was unnecessary, but it was the profit I received from those years of Christian video production. I can remember one concert goer yelling up to me on the main stage, back in the 1990's between sets. He said, I want to know how I can get up there and be you. He wanted to be on the main stage and holding a 14 lb camera on his shoulder when he was older. I thought, you don't know how much money it cost me to get up here, how much I had to spend and give to get to this point. I thought you don't know what it cost. But I didn't say anything to him.

My video taping at the festivals was done for free and as a gift to the concert events. I was just another below the line donor and volunteer. Because I had to buy equipment, it cost me more than most cable access producers to do my show.

I stopped doing video production or taping Christian bands around 2003. When I heard about the last Cornerstone, I decided to go there and video tape some of the festival. A last video memory capture of a great event. It's impossible to go back and tape history, so maybe this video would have some value to the bands or festival organizers, maybe just a nice memory video for them.

I wanted to do so much at the last Cornerstone. I hoped to enjoy the campgrounds, maybe take a swim. Perhaps check out the old main stage area. (Someone told me they have a garden whee the old stage used to sit, but I didn't have time to see that.

I had a lot on my personal wish list. But the heat was really unbearable this year. So I stuck close to the Gallery stage and decided to take as much video of the acts as I could.

If getting the video didn't kill me, perhaps the editing will.

After the festival I was really exhausted. I'm a little bit older than I was in the old days. I started attending festivals in 1987 and attended each one from 1987 through 2003. When I quit attending the festival seemed to be running strong. I was a little bit shocked that attendance fell off to such a great degree in recent years, but this is understandable with todays economy.

This year I attended the last four days of the festival. I brought two Sony camcorders (1080i video) and a digital audio recorder. I also had three point and shoot handheld cameras that could take 720p video as well and used those handheld. This for the first day I taped at the festival. I purchased much of my equipment for the festival on the way out to the festival, it was spur of the moment purchases. This meant I had to learn about some of the equipment on the way out to the festival. (Last minute planning doesn't work very well.)

The second, third and last day I added another Sony Camcorder. So I had up to five cameras running during my video taping of a Gallery event. (I usually only had one additional camera angle running handheld.) Sometimes I shot with a Canon EOS up front, sometimes with an iphone and sometimes with a Fujix w3 3D camera, taking a 3d video clip of most of the acts I taped.

-- 3D video a different subject
I might have enough video for a short 3d review of the some bands and the festival. This is very limited as I didn't have time to tape much with the 3d camera and I don't know if or when I'll edit the 3d video footage. That's another project. This blog will refer to the regular video edit. (3d video requires different software and I'm not setup for that at this time.) And how would you release 3d video? In Anaglyph with glasses? In MPO format for those who can download it? On 3d blue ray encoded disks? I don't know how that would easily happen. Maybe Anaglyph on the web?

-- Survival mode, like working in a sauna
I was unable due to the heat and exhaustion to visit much of the campground and stages. I just survived and stayed near the Gallery tent. I wanted to go to other tents, but I had the problem of not having enough budget to have enough SIMM Cards for the entire festival and had to charge batteries each night changing them because I didn't have AC power. And I had to download the SIM cards to a hard drive an erase them for the next day of shooting. This meant I lost about 3 hours sleep a night and I was averaging maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep each night. It was extremely exhausting. And I shot only perhaps four bands per night, which still was difficult. It was so hot out I had 5 chocolate shakes for dinner one night. I just kept getting another chocolate shake, held the cold cup on my temple or neck and then drank the shake. No time for dinner but I could cool off with shakes and lemonade refills. I would use up to 3 cameras handheld and man one camera on a tripod once in a while.

I focused on the Gallery stage, because of the heat and the need to stay in one area. I camped inside my car with the AC running much of the time. This to keep from complete heat exhaustion. I was trying to shoot footage for perhaps four hours each day. Shooting video without a crew for four hours a day could kill a person,I don't recommend that. I was glad I didn't have any friends along who would have to endure the heat. I felt sorry for my friends, but also happy that they didn't have to suffer through that hellish heat.

I survived, but was completely exhausted by the end of the festival. I was even hallucinating the last day, due to lack of sleep and going into a dream (REM state) during the daytime. I decided at 4PM the last day, I had to get more sleep. I saw a person in my vehicle that morphed into a car seat. Dreaming while your awake is a bad sign.

After a two hour nap, I started to tape video the last day of the festival. I had a lot of little technical problems during the Choir concert. I was really exhausted by that time.

I was so tired by the end of the festival, I put my car in accessory mode, not realizing it, and promptly drained the car battery. I thought I killed the battery through the normal use of my hybrid car, that the constant charging of batteries at night and constant running of the AC system perhaps killed the starter battery. A jump didn't work.

So I had my car towed to Macolm Toyota, and ended up staying two nights at a motel in town. This cost me an extra $500 in expenses. So being exhausted had it's added price. I guess one side benefit was getting a ride to the festival and being there very late. The tow truck even died near the gates, he ran out of gas. This gave me the chance to walk back to the car and actually see the remains of the Viking ship which didn't sink.

I might have been the last visitor at Cornerstone. Others who were there by Monday were volunteers breaking down the tents and cleaning up. Perhaps I was the last visitor of the festival.

I was there Monday walking around before my Prius was towed away. At the end of the festival everything was peaceful and only crews and JPUSA folks were there tearing things down. I was too tired and busy that last Monday after the festival to go down to the lake and take a last swim in the lake. I was even to tired to go swimming at the motel in Macolm

I went down to the lake to take a picture of the Viking ship that was "sunk" as a sign of the end of the festival. They fired arrows at a viking ship model that was sitting upside down during most of the festival. It looked like some kind of art project near the Gallery stage. It turned out it was a Viking ship to be sunk, representing the death of the festival. A friend of mine mentioned he heard from a fellow festival attendee, that the Viking ship didn't sink at the closing ceremony and it was a "good sign" perhaps that the festival couldn't be sunk. A symbol that Cornerstone might keep living, it might not sink and go under. Maybe the festival had a life of it's own and could be saved. My friend suggested I should go down and take a picture of the Viking ship still floating in the lake. I did and created a little caption for a test video with a couple of titles.

Not getting much rest is a festival tradition and people often leave the festival in a kind of "Cornerstone zombie" state. This results in high creativity, but also plenty of emotions. And we rest up after a festival in the glow of all that happened. The good and also the nature of an extreme camping experience, coughing up dust, and trying to forget that 140 degree heat that would great you when you stepped into a Portable Toilet at the festival.

This year was like working and surviving in a Finnish sauna. During one of the events I drank five chocolate shakes for dinner. I had a flow of sweat running down my forehead burn my eyes during one of the nights event. I was shooting video almost totally blind, due to the heat. It was almost like Desert Storm or something. A survival through extreme weather and heat.

Now that I have the video, the goal is to survive the edit process and get the footage off to the bands. I'm hoping to get a DVD of each band I taped sent off to them as a free gift. I'm also hoping to give a copy of this video to JPUSA. Of course JPUSA and I both know that there are limits to what we can do with the video footage and all the usual disclaimers apply. Due to copyright limits, there is a real limit to the size of a video clip that I could display on youtube. I understand this and unfortunately it's likely impossible for me to post long sequences or even complete songs from any event on the web. So this is a diary of the edit process, but it won't include links to complete concerts or anything like that.

OTHER POSTS will deal more with the editing process, with a few extra comments thrown in from time to time.

I tend to write long posts. I hope to make this a diary of the edit process. I might go off on tangents from time to time which are off the topic of the Cornerstone video I took and the edit process. I'll try to keep the size of the posts shorter and more readable.