Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rendering out Media 100 Export of Farewell Drifter

The edit looks pretty good. What may be lacking a bit in the audio in parts of a couple of songs seems to be made up for with the overall quality. I rushed to Cornerstone to do the shoot. I didn't plan for it enough. One of the problems with my approach, which was going the last minute was I didn't gather enough equipment to actually do the shoot without a few possible problems. For example I used to use AKG C1000s microphones for audio recording. I know they aren't high end audio recording microphones, but they are good enough for most live performance recordings. Why? Well the specs tell the story. The C1000s microphones have a very transparent quality to them and are condenser microphones. Condensers are better than dynamic microphones in recording high frequencies, but often have a problem which is they cannot handle extremely high noise volumes. The C1000s microphones are not just condenser mics but also designed to handle very high DB sound levels. They are often used as drum microphones above in live concerts covering the cymbals. I usually use C1000s microphones, or I should say I used to use them. I had the C1000s microphones locked away in storage, basically buried in the back somewhere in a case with other audio equipment. I had and often used windscreens for them. The cases were buried under so much other stuff, that I couldn't locate the microphones during my last minute planning. I remember seeing them when rearranging my massive storage space, but didn't apparently put that "case" in the front of other cases, but buried it. I had hoped to tape the Cornerstone event with these microphones and always used the windscreens. I picked up a digital recorder, and it had built in microphones. The Tascam Dr40 wasn't available locally close to my house. So I ended up locating and picking up one on the road. Unfortunately, they didn't have wind screens on the microphones. I figured I might be able to take my windscreen from my Sony Condensor microphone that is on my camcorder and use that. When I was under the Gallery tent under the hot conditions it seemed that there was no wind to speak of. I forgot to try to put the wind screen over the Tascam recorder and left it on my camcorder. The recorder didn't seem to pick up any wind when I reviewed the recordings each night, but obviously I didn't review all the recordings while the event was happening. It seemed the placement of the Tascam would keep any wind pretty much away, although they were up high, there was a lot of tent covering the event and a lot of people inside. I almost bought a Zoom Windscreen kit as well when looking for the Tascam, but didn't at a closer store. So the Tascam microphones were not covered or protected from the wind. With most of the recordings I didn't have a problem, but with the Farewell drifters, I noticed some wind noise on a couple of the early songs, near the end of one of them. And also I noticed a bit of other noise which the wind screens would not have reduced later during some quite tunes. This other noise was sound from another tent or act further away, but obviously loud enough. These distractions reduced the quality of the recording a bit. Other than that the sound is pretty good and I still enjoy watching this video. The initial edit was pretty good and a few minor adjustments were added. I only have a few "soft cut" transitions that were added to reduce the harse cutting effect of a couple of "takes" and I added one "push" DVE (digital video effect) which is pretty quick. Now I'm exporting out the program to a master quicktime file. This step takes about 20 hours or so. And the early estimates were 12 hours by the Media 100 system. I'm using "multiple pass" encoding and also had to make sure the Macintosh hard drive had plenty of free space for temporary working files. If I have about 30 gigs free that's normally enough. It's interesting to leave the computer running and then look at it the next day. After nearly 12 hours the time estimates actually go up, this is due to a lag in the multiple step encoding. The status bar seems to be moving very slowely or stalled, but this is just because the process takes so long. The estimates will continue to grow until the first pass is complete, then all of a sudden the last part of the process will start to fly and take maybe 4 or 5 hours. But at this moment it looks like the render is stalled. I actually went out and purchased some Violet Burning stuff off the web. I found some old link and sent in an order and found out that the link I used was some old link from Google to a past ordering method. The price was something like $12 for a DVD and almost immediately after ordering I received a reply from The Violet Burning that this was an obsolete link and an old price that I found. They send me a prompt refund (through paypal as I was using that). And they sent me a better link. So I ordered a couple of their products. Then I found out the video was a digital download. Cool. So I get an email with the digital link in it and download a "CD/MP3" purchase first, no problem. Then I tried to download the video. It's 1.7 gigs in size. My home WIFI is pretty slow and it would take 4 or 5 hours for the download to work, so I went to a pizza place that has wifi and used to have very fast wifi. That is located in Dearborn Michigan. But their wifi is broken, yet another fairly fast wifi was working (Open Dearborn). So I started to download the video at about 1 meg per second speeds. While eating the first download failed. In Firefox on my Macintosh. So I tried it again. I spent a hour or two there and all downloads failed. So I figured I'd try it again but this time at a different location. Maybe the service or my Macintosh was to blame. I'm running an old and early version of Snow Leopard, so I don't have the most recent OS or even the highest upgraded version of Snow Leopard. I tried downloading it at a Starbucks closer to home, but that took a much longer time, a slower WIFI connection. The download was going to take 3 hours. About 90 minutes through the download the program says my download is complete, but of course it will only download part of the zip file. So I have a 1.2 gig, a 1.02 gig and something like a 700 gig download. Of course a partial zip file won't work. So I'm "saving money I guess and hassle" by getting the video digitally. I decided to try downloading it on my cheap Windows 7 laptop which I use for astronomy. A newer OS and I have Chrome installed on it. Chrome is one of the recommended browsers listed in the email from the Violet Burning (Mike). So I ended up going to another place with WIFI, Buffalo Wild Wings. The WIFI seems slower than Buddy's Pizza (open Dearborn) in Dearborn, but actually the download was much speedier. I was downloading at 1.6 megs per second (according to Chrome) but actually it was probably faster. Within 30 or 40 minutes the download was completed and I had The Violet Burning video ZIP on my hard drive. I fired up the video. It was pretty cool. I kind of wished they had more video angles in the video, but obviously they shot it with a limited budget or limited access to the environment, keeping cameras stuck at a few angles. It looks like they shot it with pretty nice cameras, but these were industrial cameras or some kind of large cameras, without image stabilization. It looks like the video was shot handheld. Some of the video moves and shakes a bit. It kind of gives it an artistic feel. The video has a bit of a homemade quality to it. It's kind of cool what they did with the coloring of the video, there is a kind of almost bleach bypass/sepia tone that is on the video, with a hint of violet color actually. It's pretty cool. Some of the cuts of that video look to be from a wide to a narrower angle inside the same shot, digitally cropped. It looks like they cut to the same camera angle. I thought for a while that they only had one camera at that shoot. I still like the video. I know it sounds like I'm critical, but it's pretty cool. It looks like it was filmed in an Orthodox church, with some items that were not moved at all, a candle holder, etc that probably could not be moved. I've actually shot videos in some churches where the camera operators were told we cannot be in certain areas of the church and must stay within a certain boundary. For example you can't go on stage in some churches with the camera. It's like your treading on holy ground, only meant for the ministers or those in the ceremony. I can remember having those limits at one church where I did a wedding, but they let us go up into the organ loft above and behind the stage. We had a camera at that wedding shooting out from the organ above and behind the stage. It looked like the Violet Burning video had those kinds of limitations on it. But I still liked it because you get a feel of the concert. I also liked the way that video sounded. It was recorded with "a few microphones" in the room, to get a live feel. It has a very "wet" live feel to it. Which is something I really like. I can tell they had a few microphones in there. Giving both the feel of the space and a clear audio track. Some video recordings that are live have a dry sterile sound, because they have so much of the "mixing board" direct sound in the mix. Other recordings, which are more like bootlegs or are bootlegs have a sound which is live, from a camera. Many times camcorders don't get enough direct sound and suffer from being to much "live sound" and are missing aspects of the event that we hear. I like the "live sound" in the Violet burning video. I think it's actually a pretty nice video. It's not as cookie cutter as some of the "produced videos" we see from the more expensive productions. The sound may be less sterile than some really expensive productions, but I like it and find it refreshing compared to the typical professionally produced video. I myself strive to have a bit of both in a video recording if possible. This comes from having a good feed from the board and also good microphones in the room. I tend to put more microphones and room sound in the recording than others might, giving it a more live sound. With the cornerstone videos from 2012 that I shot, I didn't have the luxury of planning ahead of time and wasn't permitted to get a "live feed" from the boards. There is a chance that someone (the sound guys) recorded the board feed (at least for some of the performances). That recording might have been for some other projects or perhaps just for their personal review. I'm not sure how many groups they may have recorded, or if they were just saying that to put me off. My recordings from other main stage performances at Cornerstone actually had better sound, because I had a board feed and microphones. The Tascam recorder did a good job however. it's offering a pretty good recording and there is little need for adjustments in the mixing afterwards. There's only so much you can expect. I'm hoping to really surprise the Violet Burning with the video I send them. I hope that I have something good enough that they may choose to release it. It would be nice to see that out there so people could actually download that video off their website and they might get some profit off that appearance. Ironically that may be a way that they can get a little money, from the video I send them. It looks like they have a way to digitally deliver product. I guess we'll see what happens. I'm hoping that all goes well with this export and that I can start working on the Violet Burning video next. Below is a sample screen shot of the export time estimate. I gotta post this now, because I need to get out of this browser and make sure this computer has all it's resources being used by the export.

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