Monday, July 13, 2009

Musical & Computer Geerery...

I've been watching guys doing multitracks on YouTube for years. Guys like "Big O", "FinneyLee" and "BHSNerd" have been doing the coolest tags with unbelievable precision and with full video for a long time. This is one of the things that got me on my kick of doing learning tracks for other quatets for money. I've played with computer recording software for nearly a decade, from the cromagnon Sound Recorder bundled with Windows 95, to Cool Edit 2.0, to its only slightly bigger brother Adobe Audition 1.5, which is what I currently use.

I've always loved creating quality multitracks. There is no thrill greater than ringing a chord, as any barbershopper will tell you, and when you can't organize 3 other guys's schedules, you make due! Ever since I saw these video multitracks online, though, I've wanted to show off for the world. Listening to them, I realized that there were a LOT of guys infinitely better than I doing this, but a lot worse as well. More recently, I figured it might be a good way to drum up some business for my learning track business (which has been virtually non-existent lately).

The only missing pieces of the puzzel were decent video editing software and a webcam. Well, the webcam was easy enough - $15 at MicroCenter. The video software is a different story. I tried playing with Windows Movie Maker, which is clunky and good for little more that snazzing up home movies to the level of a high school AV class, circa 1990. To be honest, I didn't need much more than that technology, but this lacked even the simple 4-panel tool I needed to do a video multitrack.

This weekend, I procured Sony Vega. Vega is kind of a multitracker's standard, and as is my usual M.O., started playing right away. It works well and quickly with my Adobe Audition and turns out some good stuff! I started out with the tag to "The Shadow Of You Smile", being a track I've done before and didn't need to re-learn. With no tutorials and glimpses into the how-to manual, I turned out a decent product before turning in for the night. (you can find it on my YouTube channel, but I'm not proud enough of it to post it here.) The next morning, however, I decided to try again and use the bits and pieces I'd learned the previous night to try the "Flying Sinatra Medley" tag and cranked this out in under an hour:

I now have a new way to spend my dubiously copious "free time"! Check out my YouTube channel to watch for more!

Also, while talking with my old friend Ralph on Facebook chat, I started wishing I could combine it with my other buddy lists. I've used Trillian to combine my AOL, Yahoo, & MSN IM names for years and been pretty happy with it, but have been using Facebook more than anything else to chat recently. Trillian - even the new version, Astra - doesn't do Facebook chat, that I've seen. Ralph clued me into a new IM consolidator called Digsby. I downloaded it and absolutely love it! It's not a HUGE leap from Trillian, but it does simplify things enough to be worth it.

Other than that, this weekend, I went to see Wolverine and had some AWESOME steak at Texas Roadhouse with my good friend, Marney (Wolverine is fantastic - ignore the nay-sayers). I also went to my friend Dave's wedding reception/open house with my sister and mowed a friend's lawn. All of this while appreciating gorgeous, sunny weather.

God, I love summer! I can't wait until I finish my teaching degree so I can have the time to APPRECIATE it again!

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