Categories: In The Studio

Learning Curve

I’m holed up in the studio quite a bit lately. A lot of it is putting time into things that should enhance the music I’m creating. Most specifically with video. But there’s a learning curve.

You may not know that I originally graduated with a degree in film production. However, I never really went into the film production world after school. No, I went to more school and decided to go into music. Ouch.

The good thing about the film background is that it gave me a working knowledge on how to deal with aspects of film/video production. Though now, like music, film is constantly changing with tech. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean there can be learning curves. Since I’m wanting to get a lot done with past releases of music to marry them with video ideas, it’s given me an incentive to get Final Cut and Motion in order to put these things together.

I’m starting to get a stockpile of lyric videos. But I had originally been having issues with the size of the output screens from Motion. Despite setting them for 1920 x 1080 output, they were coming out at 2880 x 1080. It was driving me nuts! I got on the phone with an Apple Motion customer care rep and they started walking me thru certain things. We eventually found out it was the pixel aspect ratio that was throwing things off. But the silly thing is, it’s off from the get go based on Apple’s Motion templates!! Now that I’ve figured that out, I’ve made my own templates and lyric videos will get done faster.

I promise to drip out the lyric videos as soon as I get VEVO to me control of my VEVO Channel (long story there where it’s controlled by a 3rd party company right now). Once I get that control back in my hands, I will have a lot of official videos to put out.

TLDR (a this point this is about another project, not musically related to my artist career);

Beyond the videos for my music, I’ve decided to create a podcast with a good friend of mine, Chris Hellstrom. The concept is to talk about recording and production from a musician standpoint and express it from a producing and engineering perspective. We’ve been discussing the idea for a month or two and as of yesterday we recorded our first episode. The plan is to get about 4 in the can and then launch it as a weekly thing. Maybe run about 13 episodes to a season. Or if we really get rolling then continue on weekly as long as possible.

Instead of just doing an audio podcast, which would be the easiest thing to do, I mentioned that we should combine it with video of us talking. Much like how Stern, or Rogan do their shows. Though Stern is primarily radio first, it is fun to watch them. I didn’t really realize the complexity it would add to the podcast show. That being typed, we dove in and did it anyway.

First thing I realized is, we recorded the audio portion at 48k/24bit. Which is my 2nd favorite audio rate after 96k/24bit. However, video tends to record at 48k. Or at least most broadcast video is output with a 48k/16bit soundtrack. I opted to use a GoPro for this first episode. Massive mistake!!!

As much as GoPro makes it easy to get video at 1920 x 1080, the audio quality and the actual 1920 x 1080 video quality both leave a lot to be desired. Mostly because the video is slightly fuzzy at full size, which it shouldn’t be. Then the audio is actually recorded at 32k. Like who the fuck at GoPro decided that was a wise choice?!? To make matters worse it only records files to about 15 minute lengths. Which means it requires a shit ton of work to make it work well in Final Cut to sync with studio audio done at 48k.

Step one: use QuickTime 7 pro, which won’t run after Mojave, to export the file to the right video format and upsample the audio to 48k. There’s a few hours of time wasted. This prompted me to say it’s time to use the iPhone with the Filmic app. This will allow me to use a better camera, with the right FPS and the right audio sample rate. Plus it can do 1920 x 1080 without issue and won’t segment a file in to 15 minute bits. Thus it can go from start to finish. Which will be nice.

While those files were getting converted to workable Final Cut files, I spent time learning how to do some fancy text splash videos for our opening and closing spots to the video portion of the podcast. Then I took it a step further and made an animated logo as well. This took about 4 hours of time, that had I’d been a full time video & motion graphics guy, may have only taken an hour.

The good thing is, they’re now made and all I need to do going forward is plant them in the video outputs. So no more hours of time creating them, they’re done. I expect episode two will take about 1/10th the time it took for this first episode. I look forward to that time reduction.

Once we’re ready to launch, I’ll announce the website here. Plus I’m pretty sure it will be available at all the normal podcast outlets, plus video on the website and youtube.

Jody Whitesides

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Jody Whitesides

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