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Made a duet and a game

I learned some filmmaking skills 3 years ago and I like to dust the rust off every now and then. I enjoy the technology and the tools of the trade: DSLR cameras, lenses, lights, clapper boards and double system sound recording.  Editing is also a lot of fun. Making something beautiful that didn’t exist before appeals to the creative side of my personality. Premier is a fine piece of software. I like the challenge of perfectly syncing multiple tracks, and then playing director in the multi-cam window.

In the video below, I set up lights, tripods and cameras, white balanced everything, recruited talent (my wife), performed and recorded 4 video tracks, 2 audio files. Then blended them all together.

The challenging part was syncing the second shoot with the first shoot. They happened a half hour apart, so there was no way to sync with a  clapper board sound. The earpiece I’m wearing is playing the audio from the first take, while I’m recording the second take. I’d never done this before but I think it’s called dubbing. I had to sync the two takes together by looking at the audio waves in Premiere, while listening to the two takes playing simultaneously as layers in the sequence. There were 4 video layers and 6 audio layers. Four of the audio layers would later be deleted as they were from the cameras. But the two Tascam DR-40 digital audio recorder files had to match perfectly with their video files. Long story short, I was able to get the harmonica sound close, then nudge the audio file left and right one frame at a time until it synced, using the keyboard shortcut of Alt + left or right arrow keys.

My other challenge was setting up the multi-cam sequence. It’s too complicated to explain here, but once it’s set up and running, editing  multiple cameras into one final cut is a breeze. A common problem you will face if you try this is that multi-cam window likes to have the audio follow the video. Meaning, if you click camera 3, the sound switches to the audio from camera 3. In double system sound, this doesn’t work, because you delete all the camera audio tracks after syncing, they are low quality.

Instead, you bring in audio from your digital sound recorder, in my case, a Tascam DR-40, which had feed from two real microphones seen in the video below. So I had 4 video tracks, and two audio tracks. When I went to multi-cam window, it would only play the top audio track, which was the guitar and ukulele. It ignored the harp audio track. Even with ‘audio follows video’ unchecked. My solution was to copy the synced audio track from the main layered sequence and paste it into the multi-cam sequence in  a new audio layer. So now I had one video layer and two audio layers, plus I had all 4 videos displaying at the same time, in little thumbnails. All I had to do then was play the video, and click thumbnails in realtime, director style. If you’ve never seen it, go to youtube and search for premiere multi-cam window. It’s awesome.

I also like to listen to music the old fashioned way, by making it myself or with friends. I come from a long line of amateur musicians. Making music was a tradition anytime our family got together for as long as I can remember.  Grandma used to teach piano, but when she became blind in her nineties she still wanted to participate in our sing alongs. Me and my cousin would sit on either side of her. My cousin would sing, and I would play songs on my harmonica, the one in this video. Actually, that 1967 Hohner harmonica got old, so I recently replaced it with a Suzuki SCX-48 Chromatic in the key of C. It is a lovely instrument, but you can be the judge.

 

My Javascript studies are going well. I learned how to build a number guessing game here:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/JavaScript/First_steps/A_first_splash

I’ve got it embedded in an iframe, but if that doesn’t work, here is a direct link. Hint: if you turn on developer tools, I console.log out the random number…so you can cheat.

The tutorial was fun, but as I was working it occurred to me that it could form the backbone of an animated hangman game. I don’t play computer games, life seems to short. But I wanted this game to work, and I wanted it to be pretty.  A lot of what I wanted in the game was functionality that I didn’t know how to program. I found the answers with simple google searches. It is 600 lines of code, including the html, css and JavaScript. I wrote every.single.line.

Here is the game on codepen.

While I was programming the game, I fell in love with a new free code editor called Atom. I like it better than both brackets and sublime. I need to get back to studying Javascript. But if you are curious how I built my hangman game, here is the Javascript code:

 

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Playing guitar

I was hard at work today learning ecommerce on wordpress. It’s a new class for me, which is always fun. I don’t get paid for lesson planning, so I try to take lots of breaks to avoid burnout.  Because I have band practice tomorrow, I decided my break would be some quality time with my 1977 Martin guitar. I got my neck brace for the harmonica, loaded in my C harp and started playing Sweet Carolina, by Ryan Adams.

Not sure why, but I got chills all down my body. Like suddenly all my emotions were at the forefront. It was almost as if I’d been out of touch for a while…too much work probably…and the right side of my brain was suddenly seeing the sunshine again. That kept going for the entire time I was playing. I allowed myself half an hour before going back to work.

I’ve been updating my website with the new photoswipe plugin that I taught my students last quarter. It’s a ton of work: about half an hour a page, and I have 8 pages to update, plus stripping out the custom javascript and css I had written for my previous animated gallery page.

My trip to jtree this year was ok, though I’ve had better. I went down with a partner, which meant I wasn’t able to spend the first few days painting. Climbing was awesome as usual, my favorite new route was High Strung, up in the Wonderland. Weather was iffy this year. We had our warm days, but we lost 2 full days to rain. We climbed every day, but it was only a pitch or two on the rainy days. I hear the reservoirs are full in California, for the first time in 6 years. That’s a good thing for the state, but not so good for climbers needing sunny skies. I need to get back to work. Writing in this blog is fun, but my lesson plans won’t write themselves. This painting is my most recent work, done at Thanksgiving.

Turban Squash Thanksgiving 2016
Turban Squash Thanksgiving 2016