Etude: November 2017 – Challenge: Two Minute Romantic Comedy Trailer – Hans Zimmer Masterclass

November 2017 – “Romantic Comedy Challenge”

We were provided instructions and a voice track (narration and character-dialog) by an imaginary director who is looking for a score for romcom trailer.  The “director” set a one-week deadline!  I sweated this one a bit, given that this is also Fall Projects season here at Prairie Haven.

Pretty darn cool challenge.  This was by far the most complex mix I’ve done in quite a while, 26 tracks across 13 scenes (in 2 minutes!).

Some fun!  Here’s the link to the 2 minute trailer.

Continue reading “Etude: November 2017 – Challenge: Two Minute Romantic Comedy Trailer – Hans Zimmer Masterclass”

Using Ableton Live to drive Logic Pro X

This is another scratchpad post to remind myself how I set up two of my favorite digital audio workstations (Ableton Live and Apple Logic Pro X) to run at the same time.  I like facets of each of these systems and want to have the best of both worlds — the live-performance flexibility of Live and the instruments and signal processing of Logic.  In some perfect future, Logic will run as a Rewire slave and a fella won’t have to do all this goofy stuff.  Until then, this is a set of notes on how I do it.  Your mileage may vary.  I’ll will try to respond to your questions as best I can (click HERE to contact me) — but I’ll be sluggish, don’t count on a reply in anything less than 24 hours.

Overview

The goal is to use MIDI coming from Live to control instruments in Logic, and get that audio back into Live.  This is where you’re headed and this diagram may be all you need.

Continue reading “Using Ableton Live to drive Logic Pro X”

Grinnell Reunion 2012 — a life of happy accidents

I gave a talk at my Grinnell College reunion last weekend and decided to build this post to share a bunch of links to things that I talked about.  This ain’t a’gonna make any sense to the rest of you.  But the stuff is interesting.  🙂

This is a story of rivers of geeks.  I described the rivers that I swam in during my career, but these are by no means all of the species of geeks that ultimately built the Internet.  I was lucky to be a part of a gang of 10’s maybe 100’s of thousands of geeks that came together in the giant happy accident that resulted in this cool thing that we all use today.  But don’t be confused — it was a complete accident, at least for me and probably for all of us.  Here’s a diagram…

Continue reading “Grinnell Reunion 2012 — a life of happy accidents”

New Mikey tune — first flight of lots of New Stuff

Gracious.  A fella gets going fixing one little thing on a music-making workstation and the next thing you know a year has gone by and about 42 jillion other things have broken and needed fixing.  Meanwhile, no music has happened.

So today I just pushed through all the crud and said “dang it, today I’m going to produce a tune for the blog, no matter what.”

Click HERE to listen to the result.

Consensus decision making — WORT-FM, 1975

This is a piece by Jeff Lange in Volume One, Number Three of “Spread the WORT” — the newsletter of WORT-FM (Madison, WI) just as it was going on the air in 1975.  I’ve always loved this description of the consensus decision-making process we used to run the station.  All due apologies to Pogo…

The big deal?  The sentence that really catches it for me is “we ad WORT don wanna tred up on the wee miroridy vuponts, so we jus wade undill eberyone am finely agreed.”  Still works for me today, some 35 years later.  Thanks Jeff!

Here’s my translation, since many of you aren’t native-English speakers and might find this pretty tough to read in Jeff’s native Pogo-style language.  Apologies to Jeff for any mistranslations.

Yes, it’s a curious fact, that nobody is ever able to quite explain, how decisions get made at this particular radio station.  But they do.  This is a grievous hard and ticklesum thing for newcomers to digest.  Take, for example, the familiar caller who, in a fever pitch of excitement, has phoned up the station with his or her (or “it’s” for that matter) idea for a program.   Rnnng.  He (let’s just say it’s a “he”) says “My dog can bark heavy metal rock n’roll — can he have 5 hours on Tuesday nights?”   Well, the person at the station (say it is a person) says “Isn’t that the same thing as what’s on WBRK every night?”  The caller replies “Yes, but my dog barks badder!”  Then that, says the person, is a question for the Program Committee.

The best thing then is if the caller hangs up, thinking all is well for the Program Committee will do its duty.  But if the caller says “Oh, what’s the Program Committee?” then the person has to explain: The Program Committee are all the people that come to the Program Committee Meeting.  You can come.  So can your mother.  It’s Friday at 8pm.  No, they never vote on anything.  Voting is against the rules.  So is parliamentary procedure. They just talk about things until everyone is agreed, and that is consensus — the highest form of unanimity.

Then the caller says “oh.”

Then the person at the radio station should continue: “Yes, it’s a curious fact, but it seems to work.  So far, at least.  We at WORT don’t want to tread on the wee minority viewpoints, so we just wait until everyone is finally agreed.  Nope, it’s never failed yet…  which just goes to prove: you can make some of the decisions all of the time, and all of the decisions some of the time…”

Then the caller says, “can you put me through to the general manager?”

“No, there isn’t a general manager.  Would you like to talk to Sarah-Gene?”

“She the owner?”

“Nope.  She’s just another volunteer.”

Porto Baradio

Ah, the joys of moving. Old things rediscovered after years of sitting lonely and forlorn in the Center Hall Closet. One item that’s made it back out into the glory of the light of day is the wedding-gift Porto Baradio that we got from our bestest Madison friends. It was a centerpiece in the place-before-last, got demoted to the closet when we bought Mom and Dad’s mid-century modern house and returns to its proper place now that I’ve got room to see all the radios again.

Is this a cool thing or what? A bar… A radio… All portable… Take that, you iPod weenies.

Mom’s old musicbox

One of the joys of moving is that you find old stuff that folks have been wondering about. Our move didn’t find some photos that Dad is looking for, but it did turn up the disks for Gracie’s old music box.

We pulled the music box out today and fired it up. It still works, although the the workings sound like they need cleaning and oiling — no wonder, it’s been in our closet for at least 25 years and probably hasn’t been used in 75.

Music box

Here’s the music box, all closed up.

Music box name plate

Here’s the nameplate — J. Werner of Hamburg, a “Musikwaaren Fabrik” made in Hamburg. My guess would be late 1800’s, but it’s hard to tell. Not much comes up when I do a search on those terms.

Music box - open

Here’s the box all opened up. Dang, I wish Mom hadn’t used masking tape to hold that glass lid in place. I’m going to have to find some magic goo to get that stuff off without lifting the finish.

Music box - combs

Here’s a picture of the combs — looks like 2 combs t’me. Some more cool goo, plus some gentle work with the Dremel tool, required to clean those up.

Music box - makers mark 1

Here’s the first of two name-stickers on the inside of the music box. It’s interesting that both this one and the other one (see below) have had a corner cut out of them. Since it’s the same corner, and it’s clearly on purpose, one wonders what was going on here.

Music box - makers mark 2

See? They really went after this one with their razor knife. Strange

Music box - comb and damper detail

Here’s a detail shot of the combs. There are little dampers off to the right side of each comb that quiet the note before it’s plucked again. Some of those dampers look pretty narly.

Music box - disk

Here’s a disk (we have about 20 in the stack). Some are just rusty like this one, some are covered with some kind of weird moldy varnish-like stuff.

Music box - side

And here’s a detail shot of one of the side handles.

I think I may peck away at restoring this a little bit. I view this as a connection back to Mom and Gracie which would be nice to bring back at least to operating condition. I’ll post progress notes to the blog as things unfold. There are folks who are interested in these music boxes, they call themselves the Music Box Society International. I think I’ll hook up with my local chapter and see what kind of resources they have. There’s also Nancy Fratti, who is really into restoring music boxes like these and runs classes in how to do it. It would be fun to go out and take her class.

I recorded one of the disks. Click HERE to listen to the recording. It’s got lots of whirring noises in it — that’s the gizmo that needs oiling and cleaning. But the sound is really neat nonetheless. A great old thing — hopefully a little TLC will bring it back.

Ralph’s good idea of the month

Sheesh, this one is a slap yourself in the forehead idea.

If you, like me, have a cable connection to the internet and you, like me, haven’t thought about your cable modem since the day you bought it and you, like me, bought the durn thing more than a couple years ago — go buy a new one that’s compliant with DOCSIS 2.0. It’ll be way faster.

Ralph pointed this out at lunch on Thursday. By Thursday afternoon I had me a brand new Motorola SurfBoard (which, with all the rebates from CompUSA, turned out to be free).

I’m talking way faster… Ralph’s getting over a megaBYTE per second sometimes. I haven’t formally tested mine. But it’s…

WAY FASTER!

Tuning notes — MP3 files for your iPod or player

I came across some whiz-bang writeup about a guitar tuner program you could download to your iPod. Richard and I agreed that a simpler approach would be to record MP3 files of notes that you could put on your player — just play the file when you need to tune your instrument.

So here is a collection of files you are welcome to download and share. No ding dang rippin frippin copyright — all I ask is that you put a link to this page from your blog, tell your friends to do the same, etc. That way, maybe these files will work their way high enough in the Google ranking that people will actually find them.

Feel free to offer suggestions by commenting to this post — I’m not sure I’ve got the right notes when it comes to the orchestral tuning files (having never played in an orchestra). If they’re wrong, let me know and I’ll change them.

Here are the files;

Tuning — A — Bass Violin Sound
Tuning — A — Oboe Sound
Tuning — A — Violin Sound

Tuning — D — Guitar Sound
Tuning — D — Jazz Organ Sound
Tuning — D — Piano Sound

Tuning — E — Guitar Sound
Tuning — E — Jazz Organ Sound
Tuning — E — Piano Sound

Podcasting 101 – Episode 1 – Going to record a remote? What do you take?

Poor old Safe Haven… This poor blog has been sorely neglected while I've been off fooling around with podcasting (at www.SexAndPodcasting.com).

But I'm starting a series of “how to” podcasts and they need some backup info and I've decided to post those notes here.

The first show is about all the things that you might want to put in your bag when you go out to record something as a “remote” (not in your comfy studio, but actually out there with da peepul). I decided to start with this one because I'm heading up to the Winnipeg Folk Festival tomorrow and needed to make this list anyway. Continue reading “Podcasting 101 – Episode 1 – Going to record a remote? What do you take?”

Radio people are digging their own graves

I loved this New York Times piece called “Fade-out, how the new rock is passe on radio.”

Here's the punchline quote at the end;

Quote:

Some analysts fear that, when radio stations switch from alternative rock to programming aimed at older listeners, they may be making a sacrifice. “Radio has ceded the younger demographic to other media,” said Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media, a radio consulting company in Southfield, Mich., specializing in rock. “I just don't know how we're going to get back people who didn't get into the radio habit in their teens,” he said, adding, “It really becomes problematic down the road.”

Another tidbit from the article. Turns out the big programmers (Cox, Clear Channel) dropped women from their ratings target in 2003! And here's another gem.

Quote:

“The format in the last couple of years has gone through an identity crisis,” said Kevin Weatherly, program director of KROQ, a closely watched alternative powerhouse in Los Angeles. “You have stations that are too cool, that move too quickly and are only playing the coolest music, which doesn't at the end of the day attract enough of the audience. Or you have the other extreme, dumb rock, red-state rock that the cool kids just flat out aren't into.”

Dumb rock. Red-state rock. I love that…

Here's a tip to the broadcasters. Figure out what podcasts the “cool kids” are listening to. Do something like that on your radio station. You'll be fine.

Update…

Hm, later the same day, Clear Channel (biggest oinker multi-radio-station owner in the land) posted declines in radio revenue. Here's a relevant quote;

Quote:

Radio broadcasting revenue fell 7 percent to $773.6 million, while live entertainment dropped 17 percent to $424.5 million

And here's a link to the story.

"Messing with my man" — a musical project, with apologies to Steve Reich

Xeni Jardin over at Boing Boing posted this great voicemail message from a very angry young woman who accidentally left the message on a wrong number. Here’s the link to her post. I’m goofing around with some new audio gear this afternoon and decided to do a little fooling around with it. I hope she hears it some day, and uses it to direct her anger — she’s been done wrong!

This is a take off on a great Steve Reich piece called “It’s gonna rain” – here’s a link to get you started on that one.

And here’s a link to my little MP3 — it’s about 3 minutes long, 2.5 mBytes.

Listen…

Recording Skype calls (for podcasting, but also interviews for work)

Ah. A completely satisfactory geek experience. Now that I've rassled most of the basic podcasting stuff into shape, I wanted to move on to doing interviews and conference calls and recording them — Ralph pointed out that Skype was the way to go.

Doug Kaye (the maestro of IT Conversations) put together this definitive post on how to record Skype calls. There are other ways, but this is definitely the industrial-strength approach.

I'm going to start doing “conversation” podcasts, but before that I'm going to use this to record an interview for a consulting project I'm working on — tomorrow. I have a little rant n'record that's going up on Sex and Podcasting about how you could use podcasting as an organizing tool for work (the show will go up in a day or two).