Friday, November 22, 2013

Ed Takes On Global Warming

Video number seven is another visit with deep thinker Ed.

I'll be on vacation for about ten days, so no new postings until the first week in December. Not that I won't be writing; I just won't have a way to do post-production and uploading from the road.

I least I don't think I will. I may be wrong about that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Video Number 6: I Got an iPhone!

Okay, I'm not that excited about my iPhone. But I did find a couple off apps that I hadn't seen on the Android, and I played around.

One of the apps I already knew about, and I was happy to be able to finally buy it. It was Aerfish's Sketji, created by my friend Eric Daniels. It's a sketching program, not an animation program, but after getting some nice results with its very intuitive interface (and I'm not much when it comes to drawing, believe me), I wondered if I could do a little bit of simple animation with it.

The other apps I played around with include VideoFXLive, Fun Movie Maker, and Scribblify. I also made a little music track using GarageBand for iOS.

Most of this will not show up in future videos—it's just too gimmicky—but there are a few tricks that just might come in useful.

And animation with drawings from Sketji? Oh, yeah.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This Is Your Wake Up Call

Song Number 3 is now on SoundCloud. It's Wake Up Call, originally conceived as the title track for the movie of the same name, the one I'm rewriting for the Challenge. I had a version of it, horribly-crafted with no real tune and some tortured meter.

But that's all changed, and I hope you like the result.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Time Lapse With a Spare Phone

I recently upgraded my phone to an iPhone, and since my old Android phone is no longer being used as a phone, I can put it to creative use without worrying about something being interrupted by an incoming call.

My first experiment was a little time-lapse sunset. Fortunately, my attic window has no trim, and so I was able to screw a makeshift support for the camera right into the framing. Here is what that looked like:

And here, with a quick little composition done in GarageBand, is the resulting footage.

I shot the footage using Tina Time-Lapse from the Google Play Store, and I assembled the frames in Quicktime Pro 7 (the new QT has no Pro version, and can't load an image sequence. There are, however, free programs for both Mac and Windows that can do this same function quite well).

Now that I no longer have to worry about running the battery down and missing a call, I can try out all kinds of interesting applications that use the non-phone features of my former phone. I've already used the phone to take geotagged photos to make a story map. With built-in camera, video camera, GPS, compass, and accelerometer, not to mention some compact computer capacity, there just might be some interesting things coming out of my "discarded" phone.

Video Number Five: A Little Experiment

Now that my Android phone is now longer being used as a phone (or, at least not full-time), it is available for a little bit of creative play, absent worries of some process getting interrupted by a phone call.

One of these processes is the shooting of still frames for time-lapse photography. I used an app called Tina Time-Lapse, and rigged a window mount for the camera (about which I will write more in my other blog). Here, with a nice little composition I put together in GarageBand, is the result:

The phone and Tina Time-Lapse will be coming out to do more work later in the year, I'm sure. The mount is only good for the window, but the concept works in a lot of situations. Meanwhile, I'm still working on Fluid, honing the last stubborn line of my next song, Wake Up Call (yes, same title as the screenplay—it's the title song), and trying to tie myself to the chair in front of my computer to write the article and the book.

Hard this week, as it's Hell week for the Village Players' (of Wolfeboro, NH) production of Fiddler On the Roof, and I'm running the lights. So, no sleep and not a lot of time for me until after opening weekend.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Return of Ed

The fourth video of the Challenge is also the second installment in what might became a series (or a micro-mini series—there will be a third for certain): According To Ed.

I'm still working on Fluid and the next song. And the first article and book and the screenplay, albeit a bit more slowly than I would like.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another Song, and Another Movie

I'm still struggling with trying to get all the shots for the movie Fluid—part of the problems of working around family schedule—but I've posted the next video in line, How To Drop Ten Pounds. Here it is:

I still don't know when I'll be done with Fluid, but there are a couple of videos that are almost ready to go, that I will likely post during the upcoming week.

And meanwhile, I finished another song. This one was done exclusively for the Challenge, and although it cooked in my head for nearly a month, the writing took about a week, with the lyric translated from my notes in a single day. The tune came to me while I was at home, and I hummed it into my phone. And I hated it. But then I came up with another tune on my way into town, stopped by the side of the road and hummed that one.

That one stuck. Here's a link to I Hate Halloween. And just because I thought you might find it interesting, here's the page of notes I took to create it.

All the neat computer printout stuff in the left column is from the notes I took on Evernote. I started with the closing refrain, mapped out the basic premise, then wrote the whole thing out very quickly in prose, more or less.

Then, while I was cleaning the kitchen and preparing to make bread for dinner, I started the actual lyric writing, with a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary at hand. First I worked out the meter, and yes I do actually sometimes write out "ba-dah ba-dah" etc. to keep the iambic meter in my head.

After this set of notes, and after I'd hummed my first, discarded, version of the tune (which I made a quick video about with the new iPhone), I transcribed the lyrics to a computer file that I could read while I recorded the song. Really. I record these demos one of two ways: directly to my Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, which is what I use if I'm just playing the guitar and singing, or into Garage Band, when I feel the need for some MIDI or other extra orchestration. In the latter case, I start the recording, switch the screen on my Mac to the page with the text, and just start singing. Saves paper and ink.

So there you have it: the next two works in the Challenge, and a little glimpse into my creative process. I'm still running behind on articles and books, although the screenplay is already starting to come together in my head, so I'm pleased with the progress on that.

And I'll catch up. No, really. Anyone taking bets out there?