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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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.

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

"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…

Rip Mix Burn Sue — a fantastic lecture by Edward Felton

Ah. Every once in a while I come across a fantastic lecturer who illuminates a huge topic. Carl Sagan did that for me when i was at Cornell — I used to play hooky from classes and go sit in on his Astronomy 101 lectures (as did several hundred other folks).

A less known example is Hubert Alyea who was a brilliant Princeton chemistry educator upon whom The Absent Minded Professor was modeled. He was a colleague of my Dad and I grew up listening to Professor Alyea's amazing chemistry lectures (from which the notion of Flubber emerged).

Professor Felton (also at Princeton) is in this league in this lecture “Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue”. The stream's likely to be one of the best hours you can spend if you're interested in the digital media rights issue.

Here are a few topics;

– How Sandra Day O'Connor saved the fast forward button

– A great explanation of how to digitize media

– Technology convergence

– The most important concept in Computer Science

– The Celestial Jukebox and the Napster case

– The Remix culture – Negativeland, the Grey album, Woody Guthrie

– DVDJohn

– The Fritz (Hollings) Chip

And more. The whole stream is about an hour and a half, but I gave up at the Q&A session — the questions were long and badly recorded so I got tired of waiting. Same goes for the introductions — I skipped those as well. The lecture itself is an hour. Well worth every minute.