3/52: behind the scenes video, part 2

I’m pleased to announce that Part 2 of the “chromedecay behind the scenes: bill van loo live performance rig” video is now available on Vimeo. (Part 1 is also available).

chromedecay behind the scenes: bill van loo live performance rig, part 2 from chromedecay on Vimeo.

This 18-minute video shows me demonstrating my live electronic music performance rig. Part 2 covers using Ableton Live with TouchOSC and OSCulator, pad and keyboard controllers, and overall concepts of live performance.

Background information: all this video was shot a few months ago, in a whirlwind evening of setting up cameras, assembling gear, taking test shots, checking lighting levels in my living room, rigging cables, keeping my cats off the table I was using, fighting with my MiniDisc recorder’s microphone, and me waving my hands a lot. This week I finally finished editing it all in Final Cut Express, and I’m now thoroughly sick of the “rendering video” progress indicator. I’m quite pleased with the end result, though!

My friend Kent inquired privately about the technical details from Part 1, so I thought I’d include that here.

This video was recorded with 2 cameras; a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 was used for the head-on shots, and a Canon Powershot SD1000 was used for the overhead shots. All video was recorded in SD 640×480 format due to the cameras used. Editing was performed with Final Cut Express.

Screen captures were done with iShowUHD screen recording software for the Mac.

Voiceovers were recorded with a Rode NT1 into Logic Express 7, then exported for inclusion into the project. External audio was captured onto minidisc, then imported into Logic Express, edited, and exported & synced in Final Cut Express.

2/52: behind the scenes video, part 1

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I love teaching and sharing knowledge. This led directly into my chosen profession as a technology educator, and also shows itself in other ways, including making demonstration videos.

I’m really pleased to be able to offer this week’s 52 things project: Part 1 of a 2-part series describing and demonstrating my live electronic music performance rig. Part 2 will be posted as next week’s update.

chromedecay behind the scenes: bill van loo live performance rig, part 1 from chromedecay on Vimeo.

Other work from this week

In addition to making this video available, I’ve also been busy taking photographs this past week. On Monday night, I did a quick session in the chromedecay studio, shooting self-portraits so I’d have a new profile picture for Facebook and other social media sites.

Here’s the self-portrait I ended up deciding upon:
Bill Van Loo profile picture

This was shot with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18, with an external SunPak flash triggered by optical digital slave. I’ll write more about this setup at a later time. Upon reflection (no pun intended), I’d probably add a reflector on the right to fill in some of the shadows on the right side of my face, but I’m well enough pleased for now.

Here’s another shot I liked from that session. It’s cropped to a ultra-widescreen aspect ratio to get rid of the glare from a poster that’s directly above me; light was bouncing back off the acrylic from the poster frame, due to the flash pointing at it, so I cropped it out and got this:
Bill Van Loo in the chromedecay studio - January 2010

I also took advantage of the winter weather to shoot some outdoor photos. Here are a couple of favorites; these are both long exposures taken at night.
50 second trees Huron River long exposure

1/52: welcome to a year of 52 things

I’ve decided to engage in a new project for 2010, called “52 things”. Every week for the entire year, I will be uploading some new thing to the chromedecay site, for a total of 52 projects. This project was inspired by a number of similar “thing a day” or “thing a week” projects, especially the excellent Dust Breeding project run by Marcus Fischer (who has been mentioned here before).

These projects will range from photography to music to code to videos and even physical objects. Each week, I’ll upload the entry and include some notes about the project and the process behind it.

This first week’s project is this site itself. For the past 5 years or more, chromedecay has run as a mixture of blogging software, custom PHP code, and HTML. Today, all that is changing. For the past few months, I’ve been slowly working on getting the latest WordPress installed, migrating the site’s content, configuring plugins, and other such things.

The chromedecay site is now fully powered by the latest version of WordPress, and all content now exists as Pages inside WordPress. While that might not mean a lot to you, for me it means the ability to add to and change the site more easily, as well as opening it up to more collaboration with people like Joshua Schnable, who has his own set of projects that he’s eager to start adding to the chromedecay site.

One added bonus: the first seven chromedecay digital downloads are now available again! Over the years, the links to those releases got broken since they weren’t originally hosted on the chromedecay server, making them unavailable. However, today they’re available again, and it’s like rediscovering an old friend. I had a blast listening to some of the old live sets, especially, and I hope you do, too.

Over the coming weeks and months, the site will be continue to change – the current site design is fairly spartan, focused more on getting the new content and WordPress installation running. There are probably still some small wrinkles left to be ironed out, too – I’ll be watching for that as time goes by.

Here’s to a year of 52 things!