Saturday, October 3, 2009 (7:28PM) I've had this tune stuck in my head and fingers for months. Time to get it out of my system--time to Get The Ball Rollin'! + Scratch track & compose. Just recorded a brief scratch track on the DC400M (WillSongs' debut) and bass. I need to compose the song. I also started a drum track. It's going to be a tricky one! The main groove is in 6/4--sort of. More like four measures of 4/4 and a half measure thrown in. As for the title, that is just what came to mind. I just need to get this instrumental rock groove going. It is long overdue. * The DC400M is set to active, neck pickup, single-coil mode (the single coil gives a sweet edgy bite, especially on low notes). Running through the RP20 with patch "BCTube FCB00 B" with high gain and reverb (add delay later). Got kind of an SRV sound going. * Settled on 160 BPM for the tempo. Sunday, October 4, 2009 (9:00AM) * get a drum line going. - Can't use the step sequencer effectively--too many beats in the pattern. Pull out the keyboard (with the stickers on the keys), and fiddle. - It is quite a tricky drum line. I have settled on the instrumentation as a Power Trio, so they are all very exposed. - TIP: When editing velocities in the roll window (Alt-LMB-Drag), I just noticed that a graphical line is drawn from the bottom toward the top, with length proportional to the velocity--that is, if it reaches the top, it is a full 127. This solves an old frustration with not being able to fine-tune a velocity. * OK, got some ideas from the drum line. Then extend into the second verse with the bass--an abbreviated groove to set up a face-melting guitar solo, I think. But I am feeling the blisters coming. I now have a minute and a half of song. * Needed a serious bike ride. 17 miles on the Rock Island Trail, through mud, up hill and against the wind, both ways. Change title to Get It Rollin'--shorter and broader applicability to include the bike wheels. Wednesday, October 7, 2009 (6:08PM) * The "jam" is too long. Cut out some measures. Call it the chorus. Got another scratch on the DC400. Cut up clips, move 'em around, establish a road map: v1 establish basic groove c1 v2 bass solo v3 guitar solo v4 band jam, perhaps add B7 phrase for interest c2 v3 repeat basic groove c3 tag 3:28 So, we're looking at a four-minute jam. Sounds about right. Sunday, November 15, 2009 (1:42PM) * Yeah, this is taking forever, as far as calendar time goes. The issue is, I have to become a bass player all over again just to play what I hear and develop more. That means fingers that don't blister so easily and muscles that don't go into rigor-mortis on the first run-through. I really can't write a good solo line until I have the right line for the rest of the music. - But I have identified the sound I want: run the bass through an RP20 patch I created for the electric guitar: "BCTube FCB00 B", no delay or reverb, and with "low" gain; that is, the bright tube on 100% gain with the compressor output overdriving at +6dB. That is as close to the sounds of Getti Lee, Chris Squire, or John Entwistle as I will ever attain. Tuesday, November 17, 2009 (7:34PM) Working out with "The Real Me" (The Who, Quadrophenia) and "Heart of the Sunrise" (Yes, Fragile). What a rush! But these fingers have not worked like this in YEARS! Monday, December 28, 2009 (05:44 PM) - I bought a new PC: processor : Intel Core i7-920 motherboard : ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 video : BFG NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1Gb monitor : Dell S2409W 24-inch 1920x1048 audio : M-Audio Delta 1010LT RAM : DDR3 1600 2048Mbx3 6GK hard drive : WD SATA 500Gb 7200 rpm OS : Windows 7 Pro 64-bit power supply: Corsair 750W case : Blue Centurion service : build & one-year warranty The system now sees eight CPUs. When the song plays with the full drum kit, the max instantaneous load I saw was 11%. I also added two hard drives, so the OS is on one drive, song files with audio are on another, and samples are on the third. It is a smokin' system. The project file ported fine, except I had to delete and reinsert Battery 3 (using rivendell_popkit_c.kt3). - I believe I now have the callouses to play this, but I don't quite have the muscular endurance or the speed (for the machine-gun riff). I noticed I am really digging my nails into the strings, and, thankfully, that really works on the song (in my mostly humble opinion, that is). Monday, February 8, 2010 (07:17 PM) - I finally played the machine-gun riff and kept up. But I still lack the endurance to do it the second time. However, the intense practice is bringing nuances into my playing that I knew were lacking. As a consequence, I have a much more defined vision for the arrangement--enough to work hard on the drum line, especially the jam verse. Wow! Three months to get in shape for a 3-minute song! Sunday, March 7, 2010 (02:41 PM) - The time has come. After five months of slow preparation, I can feel the Muse leaving the bass line and gravitating to the guitar. My fingers are working again after five months of drilling them. As a cute addition for the song page, I recorded audio and video of myself playing bass along with "Heart Of The Sunrise" and posted my FIRST YouTube video: URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyKTHhB-eIc Title : Heart of the Sunrise (end) on Bass Desc : The new song I am working on has a bass line that I just can't play--yet. As a workout session, I have been playing along with "Heart of the Sunrise" by Yes. The experience takes me back to being a 15-year-old kid again, playing along with some of the most serious and moving music I know. What a rush! (Ah, another great bass-player band!). Tags : bass; heart of the sunrise - Also, I have a new direction for the song: "Gamin' With The Boys" in honor of the wonderful time Aaron, Luke, and I have had together recently playing Section 8. I got some software: FRAPS - To capture video footage of the game as we play. Sony Vegas Movie Studio - to edit the footage and fit it to the music. - Oops, my sister wrote, "I went to view it and saw the message "This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it on copyright grounds." Denied! Now what??" There are no messages or indications either at the facebook page or the YouTube page. But if I log in under another user account, I get the error. It gives no indication as to who "WMG" is, but I might guess Warner Music Group. I replied, Stupid oversight on my part. I just didn't see it coming, and there were and are no messages (to me). I can't even replicate the problem unless I log in under a different user account! Basically, I played along with a snipet from Yes' "Heart of the Sunrise", and it never occurred to me that it could be a copyright infringement. YouTube says, "It's possible that you may be permitted to include small excerpts from copyrighted material in your video if what you intend to use is insubstantial or is incidentally included, or where the intended use you have for the copyrighted material falls within a exception or limitation to copyright under the law in your country." But there is no contact info. I am sure I could get permission if I knew who to write. Oops, Will And, of course, I deleted it. + Tracking * Bass. - Setup: > Fender Jazz Bass +5, active, mid boost, panned 75%/25% toward bridge pickup. Leave the fingernails on for the extra bite in the tone. > Run through RP20 (Mission Control) with patch "BC Tube FCB00 B" with low drive (compressor output +6 db into Bright Clean tube preamp with 100% gain). > Run two tracks. Plug into direct box with parallel line to Mission Control and balanced line to Aphex 207D (MicLim), just in case I can enhance the tone at all (never have). - See track_bass_a.png. Two full takes plus a couple takes on loose spots. The machine-gun riff is still tough to pull off, but I know I got a couple good ones. > Notice clip grouping (new feature Sonar 8.5). I think this allows me to edit on one track and have edits apply automatically to the other track without having to replicate all edits. We shall see. Yep, works great--splits, copy-paste, drag-drop. The only thing I have to do separately is select clips across different layers. Very nice addition! - Comp the takes. Satisfied with the part. See comp_bass_a.png - What can I do with the DI track? Guitar Rig 3 (demo) is quite impressive. I think I could get a good sound out of it, but I don't think I can actually do better than what I have. And I think that is because my playing is influenced by the sound I am hearing as I play, so it is an optimum combination. Besides, Guitar Rig has to be purchased to avoid time-out and other pain. - However, the only thing lacking with Mission Control is speaker emulation. ReValver has some bass cabinets. I rather like "Bass Collection | 1x15 Jazz". This is a stereo convolution effect that also adds a nice spacial width. But it may be too muddy. Monday, March 8, 2010 (12:43 PM) - Oops, I just noticed that, when I tuned up, Mission Control's tuner was set to 438. Saturday, March 20, 2010 (02:23 PM) * Guitar. - Actually, I am still arranging--again. I just played the song over and over and am having A LOT of fun with it as the gaps begin to fill up with ideas. Monday, March 22, 2010 (08:50 PM) > Closing in on the guitar line--much faster than the bass line. I have 90% defined, and my fingers are reaching for the same things in the "wild zones." These are the hardest to define because they are almost undefined--I completely abandon the meter and somehow find my way to the down beat. I remember this in The Ride and one in Seeking Rivendell...and slightly in Rain & Wind. The interesting thing about this line is the amount of raw chords. Saturday, April 3, 2010 (05:22 PM) > I haven't touched this in over a week. Yet I am playing quite well, considering the interval, and that shows this is where the Muse is. I almost feel ready to record, but I am still reaching for a few notes that need to be eliminated or changed. They happen so quickly that I can't do it in an analytical approach--I just have to play it a lot. : In the mean time, I have recorded 200Gb of video footage of me and the boys playing Section 8. Sorting through the files and deciding what is where and what is worth keeping is a serious challenge. Sunday, April 4, 2010 (04:48 PM) - I am done cataloging the game footage (game_footage.xls) and can't wait to edit video, but I need a scratch track to work with. Besides, listening will refine my ideas. > Setup: : DC400M: Neck pickup in single-coil mode, active, slight treble boost. : Run through RP20 (Mission Control) with patch "BC Tube FCB00 B" with high drive (compressor output +15.5 db into Bright Clean tube preamp with 100% gain). No effects. : Monitor effects through Sonar. Set input channel with no output bus, echo on, and route ambience and effected reverb. The latter will need tweaking. > One run-through, and use a single take. Not bad. > A little quick mixing. Oops, I do not have the scratch MP3 encoder set up. Search old notes. Under Tools|External Audio Encoder Setup. See lame_encoder_setup_a.png path = C:\Program Files (x86)\Lame for Audacity\lame.exe command = lame -b 160 -m j %I %O > Render gamin_with_the_boys_scratch_a.mp3 Tuesday, April 6, 2010 (05:27 PM) - One of the problems with the last track was the reverb. It had an awful response to transient notes. I noticed, only the guitar is going through it. In fact, the ambience reverb is used by all three instruments as the "space" being played in. > Idea: Use the reverb bus as the guitar effects, and the channel is the preamp. > No. Another problem was getting the same sound while practicing and tracking as during mixdown. The clean sound has to come from the sound card direct to avoid the latency (a delay that drives me crazy!). I think I got different mixes because the channel trim was at -3db. So, in the end, I need to set the channel output to a dead bus, and route a send through all effects. > I found a reverb I like via PerfectSpace convolution reverb. See spring_reverb_a.png. It appears to be the spring in a Marshall amp. > Pain! The processing delay is really large. Route the master bus to output 3/4, thru mixer, back to input 1/2. Record the direct guitar and the return of the bus, and compare with a millisecond time ruler. (Described in help file under "Audio Options dialog—Advanced"). See true_processing_delay_a.png. This shows it is 790-660 = 130 ms. But the card is set to 256 samples, which should be 256/44 = 5.8 ms. What is going on? : If I set latency to 128 samples (3 ms), the processing delay reduces to 105 ms. Changing other parameters or drivers has no effect. : Eureka! I found it. After googling, seeing a feature enhancement for Sonar 8.3 ("Delay compensation can now be disabled on live tracks during playback/recording to reduce latency"), I searched the help files for "delay compensation". This led to a help article, "Live Input PDC override". In short, my channel was being delayed to align it with other channels that use intense plugins (PDC stands for Plug-in Delay Compensation). Turn it off via Transport | Live Input PDC override See true_processing_delay_b.png. Now the latency I set (6 ms) is the processing delay I get (7 ms)--for practical purposes. : But now the drums have a strange reversed-gate effect. It disappears if I must the ambience reverb, and this is probably OK for tracking. Whatever! Well, that 2.5 hours went by quick! Sunday, April 18, 2010 (10:15 AM) - The time has come. It's not perfect, but it is inspired. > tune to A=438! > Same setup as above. > Capture video with Canon PowerShot A720. > Got four takes in before listening closely. Too sloppy on the first verse! But takes are getting successively better--for the moment. Wait, the first verse is getting worse. Better take a break. Another mistake: I was hearing previous takes, and that distorted my playing. > One of the takes got corrupted audio. > Add a fifth full take plus two extra takes of the first verse. Satisfied. - Composite. Build a layer of copied clips from the takes. See comp_guitar_a.png. + Mix - just jump right in. * Tweak Drums. - See tweak_kick_a.png. The kick had a +3.5-db boost at 48 Hz, and I don't think it is appropriate. Drop to 1.4 db. See tweak_kick_a.png. Funny, Battery 3 is getting "old", but I can't imagine anything it can't do that I would need. Wonderful product! - Let's try a new feature with Sonar 8.5: the Percussion Strip. See if I can "fatten up" the drum sound. Too strange and unwieldy. I could learn to get something I like out of it, but I can't hear anything in any of the presets that I need. The drums are sampled fabulously, and the ambient reverb is all they need. - The third and fourth versus are just repeats of the same pattern. Yet I feel myself resisting the need to edit them. I am tired and getting lazy, so I should walk away before I compromise the project. > Render gamin_with_the_boys_scratch_c.mp3 Monday, April 19, 2010 (06:27 PM) - Much better. Got some editing done and liking it. * The guitar sounds slightly ahead of the band. Use channel tools to add a 25-ms delay (see delay_guitar_25ms_a.png), tuned by ear. It seems to improve the entire performance, so there may have been a timing issue introduced by the PDC override. * Listen on M-Audio DX4's. - Kind of a pain now that the monitor is in the way. - Drop bass very slightly (less than a db). Other than that, I like it. * Fine-tune - Add a volume envelope to the guitar to drop its level during chorus when strummed chords upstage the bass. - I like it! > Render gamin_with_the_boys_mix_a.wav gamin_with_the_boys_mix_a_192kbps.mp3 gamin_with_the_boys_mix_a_128kbps.mp3 Wednesday, April 21, 2010 (07:46 AM) + Videos * Take Five of the guitar line. - Published to YouTube: URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5L4Kz5rX-I Embed: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 (04:20 PM) * Gaming footage. - I am having trouble with rendering. I want a 1280x720 high-quality video that letterboxes the sides of the bus footage but should be the correct aspect ratio for the game footage. But the bus footage (from the camera at 640x480) fills the screen while the game footage gets letterboxed on the top and bottom, and the dimensions of the video are wrong. > To get a 720-pixel height (1280x720), I have to use the "HDV 720-30" template, which renders a .m2t file, not a .mpg. Can YouTube even accept this? Their guidelines say, YouTube can accept almost any video format for upload, but for most users we have found the following settings give the best results. Video Format: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 preferred Aspect Ratio: Native aspect ratio without letterboxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9) Resolution: 640x360 (16:9) or 480x360 (4:3) recommended Audio Format: MP3 or AAC preferred Frames per second: 30 Maximum length: 10 minutes (we recommend 2-3 minutes) Maximum file size: 1 GB So a wide format would be only 360 high. But I have seen 720h videos there. > Render gamin_HDV_720-30_nostretch.m2t. : It has the correct aspect ratio and letterboxing behavior, but it is not 720h. It appears closer to 480h. WAIT! I am wrong. Windows Media Player thinks it is only 480h--that is how it sizes itself to the video. But if I stretch the player until the video stops growing, it stops at something that looks like 720h. : Gorgeous video, but big: 447Mb. That is fine for keeping. > Can I burn to DVD? : Sony Vegas will integrate with DVD Architect Studio, but it did not come bundled and costs another $40. : Windows DVD Maker will read a .mpg file. So render gamin_DVD-NTSC_nostretch.mpg (480hx640w). : Try it. Seems to be working. Yep, it worked. It stretched the image on the guitar-tracking video, but, oh well. I set it to 16x9 to accommodate the game footage. > gamin_HDV_720-30_nostretch.m2t will take about 144 minutes to upload to YouTube. Thursday, April 22, 2010 (06:58 AM) : "The upload failed due to an unknown error". Try again tonight. : Does the speed make sense? 447,000Kb/144min*min/60s = 51Kb/sec. No, that is modem speed! How long does it take to upload to willsongs.com? Filezilla also shows an upload speed of 50Kb/s. That is a limit imposed by AT&T (my internet service provider) to keep clients from using their PCs as file servers. > The DVD version, gamin_DVD-NTSC_nostretch.mpg, has 480hx640w (a 4x3 aspect ratio), though the file properties say it is 720w. What happened? : Try creating a new project. Import gamin_HDV_720-30_nostretch.m2t. Then render as DVD NTSC. The resulting game footage covers an area 407x640! Why is it truncating the width? See gamin_video_project_a.jpg gamin_video_project_b.jpg and gamin_video_output_a.jpg : Contact support at http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/support/default.asp I am unable to render a 720x480 video in which my 1920x1080 track fills the 720x480 frame. Instead, its rendered width is only 640 pixels, which corresponds to the other track containing a 640x480 video. My project contains two video tracks. The first track in the sequence was taken from my camera (30.000 fps, 640x480x24, Sony Motion JPEG) and occupies roughly the first and last ten seconds. The middle portion is occupied by the other track containing 1920x1080 video (30.000 fps, 1920x1080x24, FRAPS). Attachment gamin_video_project_b.jpg shows the project. The preview window shows how the 1920x1080 track SHOULD be rendered (720 wide, though I don't understand why it is letterboxed on top and bottom). But the attachment gamin_video_output_a.jpg shows how it actually gets rendered; the frame is only 640 pixels wide (the media player window is stretched to expose all the video at 100%). Attachment gamin_video_project_a.jpg shows the project with the timeline on the first track. The parent video is selected in the project media window. I am wondering if the renderer takes the output dimensions from this track and overrides the dimensions of the 1920x1080 track. If so, how do I force it to behave properly. By the way, the rendering was correct when I set the output to 1280x720 (HDV 720-30), but the file type is different (.m2t rather than .mpg). What am I missing here? How do I force the rendered output to be 720 pixels wide? Thanks, Will : Post to forum also. : Support referred me to an article: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/kb4311 This shows the pan/crop tool, which I had missed. Each video clip has a small button that activates it, or it can be accessed via tools|video|video event pan/crop... From there, the event can be cropped to match the output aspect ratio, and the option is available to stretch it to fit the frame. : I was mistaken on a point: 720x480 is NOT the same aspect ratio as 1920x1080; it is less wide, so the footage SHOULD be letterboxed vertically. : I think I found the solution: use the pan tool to expand the camera frame to 720x480 in the first event, then render with "stretch to fit frame" selected. Nope, the output is still 640w. # I have tried everything--every combination of render with stretch / without crop / no crop crop with stretch / without template DV NTSC / default I can think of. WMP displays a 640w image, but the preview window displays a 655x480 image. I notice that 655/720 = 0.909, which is the pixel aspect ratio for the NTSC DV template, but I am setting the pixel aspect ratio to 1. If I set it to 0.909, the preview window shrinks to 655w. : Reply to support: Thank you for making me aware of the event pan/crop tool. However, after trying every possible combination of cropping and stretching I can think of, I cannot render a 720-pixel-wide video. Thirteen attempts all produce 655x480 images (see render_study.xls). I can send other files if you need. I also find it curious that I cannot get a 30.000 fps frame rate; it is always 29.97 fps. Ideas? : A forum user replied, The bulk of your video contains 1080p video, so don't force Vegas to use 720x480 (are you trying to burn a DVD? There's no other reason to use 720x480 if not). 720x480 is not a 16:9 resolution that 1080p is, especially if you're not using the right aspect ratio. And since most media players don't read correctly the aspect ratio bit, avoid such resolutions/ratio combos. So, open project properties, use the "match media" icon in that dialog to "read" from one of your 1080p videos. The frame rate will be 30.00 fps, which is fine, since BOTH your kinds of videos are 30.00 fps and not 29.97 fps. If you prefer 29.97 fps, then you must "disable resample" on all your tracks in the timeline before you export. Then, set your previewing to preview/auto (you currently have it at best/full), otherwise you might experience slowness during 1080p editing. Now, edit in that 1920x1080 timeline. Your VGA video will just have vertical letterboxing, that's normal. VGA is 4:3, while the rest of your video is 16:9. Nothing much you can do about it, other than stretch it using pan/crop. Then, export like this, at 1280x720 at 30.00 fps (or 29.97 fps if you prefer a more NTSC-compatible frame rate): eugenia.gnomefiles.org/2007/11/09 /exporting-with-vegas-for-vimeo-hd/ : I replied, Thank you. You have given a bunch of tips I need to follow up on. But, for now, yes, I would like to burn a DVD that I can watch on my 16x9 screen. But, you are right, I failed to notice 720x480 is not 16x9. But it is closer than 655x480, so I would like to be able to achieve it (since the software claims I can). You were right on with the 1280x720 recommendation. That is what I am using for the YouTube version, and it is rendering just fine using the HDV 720-30 template. Now if I can just get it to upload...... Support told me to use pan/crop to match the output, but it is not working. Here is what I replied to them: [see above] Again, your help is appreciated. Will Friday, April 23, 2010 (08:24 AM) - Successfully uploaded gamin_HDV_720-30_nostretch_b.m2t (447Mb) to YouTube: user: http://www.youtube.com/user/guitarsenall URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CQZN-2-Mso embed: - The YouTube version loses some resolution. Upload to willsongs.com: http://www.willsongs.com/plusplus/gamin /gamin_HDV_720-30_nostretch_b.m2t Total Production Hours: 42 + Loose ends * Request permission to use Heart of the Sunrise at http://www.wmg.com/contact: Hello: I would like to request permission to use a portion of a song for which I believe WMG holds the copyright. It is the final 2 minutes of Yes' "Heart of the Sunrise" mixed with a video of me playing along on the bass. It will be posted on my website (possibly on youtube if that's OK), will not earn anyone any money, and will only be viewed by family and friends. May I? Thanks, Will Spicher Saturday, May 1, 2010 (04:05 PM) * Cleanup. - Move video files together, and delete unused ones. > Big oops! I deleted video files I didn't think were being used, thinking they would be in the recycle bin if I found otherwise. Unfortunately, the recycle bin has a size limit (~25Gb), so files that were in the project were permanently deleted. That hurt. But I really can't save it anyway. The project files are 50Gb. That is just too big to archive. OK, it is what it is. gamin_HDV_720-30_nostretch_b.m2t is the final result. Delete the raw video files. > Delete all video and audio files related to bassworkout.mpg. - Clean up audio data. > Delete the scratch track folder from project files, and delete the scratch tracks. > Delete tracking folder from get_the_ball_rollin.cwp, but leave it intact in get_the_ball_rollin_mix_a.cwp for archival. - Produce a backing track to play guitar with. > Mute guitar, unfreez drums, unmute the count-in, set master bus to mono and pan hard-right. Drop fader 3-db to avoid clipping. > Render gamin_with_the_boys_back_monoR_b.mp3 - Delete old auto-save project files. - Copy the entire project folder (1.41Gb) to archive (two independent, non-backed-up drives). - Delete raw racking audio files. Project folder is now 1.08Gb. - Burn a DVD with Windows DVD Maker (gamin_burn_dvd.msdvd): gamin_DVD-NTSC_stretch.mpg gamin_DVD-NTSC_nostretch.mpg gamin_dvdntsc_pickin_b.mpg I can't remember which renders better: stretch or nostretch.