Archive for the ‘Chroma Key’ Category


Slice recording Acoustic Guitar

This past weekend we finished recording all acoustic guitars for the STW Slice “The Wall” project, things are coming together very fast on the musical end and we have just over a dozen tracks to record before we finish the recording stage of the project. hopefully in two or three weekends more we will have everything laid down. So far we have 90% of electric guitars, there is 1 guitar track for “Run Like Hell” that still needs to be recorded, it is some loose lick’s and accents, All but one of the bass guitar tracks are done, all acoustics are finished. What is still pending is Pianos for some of the songs, classic guitars, and an harmonic that will be used on the “Outside The Wall” song that closes the album. Next weekend we should be able to finish the classic guitar, the remaining bass and electrical guitar and one or two pianos. leaving the core of pianos and the harmonic to the weekend after next.

imageRecording Agenda

That is how we are on the recording side, on the post edition we have 15 songs edited and mixed 11 to go but for most the basics are already covered. So we should be ready for mastering by mid May. As for outputs, we will be making stems of all individual instrument tracks and a general stem of Slice’s mix on his own and a few final mix downs with the original song from the album as a backing track, with different levels between Slice and the original.

On the Video side of the project we are starting the planning phase, we intend to shoot all the video footage in the last week of June and beginning of July, and start editing in August, with some luck we should have the finals by October or at least before mid November. Just in time to get them all published on You Tube.

Keep tuned for more updates.

Follow Slice at http://youtube.com/user/inside71slice

Thanks for reading.

Ian Burt © 2012


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The STW project I have been talking about for the last months get’s its name from “The Wall”, an all time master piece album by the Pink Floyd. STW are the initials to Slice “The Wall”: Slice came up with the idea and is the only performing artist. We have been holding back disclosing this for a number of months, waiting to get some go-ahead’s, we have decided to come out into the light, Why? well, why not?

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The best way to answer is to explain what the project is about. Rock history knows that Pink Floyd released the album “THE WALL” one 30th of November of 1979, the album released as a concept album, where the motive and story behind main theme is well known. There is plenty of information on the internet and dozens of books, so going into it would be presumptuous on my part, others better versed than I have already provided extended and deeper knowledge, so how could I dare. Also common public awareness is the fact that “The wall” over the years has been represented through different platforms, as a live show, as a movie, etc. This brings us to Slice, During the “Roger Waters The Wall” tour through Europe, Slice and I had a chance to see the live performance in Madrid, both Slice and myself are great fans of Pink Floyd, in such a way that Slice has done a few covers for his YouTube channel in the past, of some of the most memorable songs of the band. After the show Slice came up with the idea of doing a cover of the entire album, all 26 songs. I thought that was a great challenge for him he was only 15 at the time, but at the same time the idea was new and surely rewarding if it was done right.

It took us 2 months to decide how we wanted accomplish the different tasks, the schedule, the method, as many bits and pieces as we could. We ended up with a huge list of thing, not big enough to put us off on our desire to embrace this project with all our strength.

A year before STW concept

Before I go into any more detail there are a few things that I need to clarify to avoid misunderstandings:

  1. The entire project is a non-profit quest, all Slice and I get out of this, is the cover and recreation of a master piece we both worship and admire, with the personal satisfaction that this brings with it.
  2. We will not publish this work to the public without the approval of the legitimate owners of the Copy Rights. (Roger Waters, David Gilmour and EMI Group Limited)
  3. The Cover will be published when permissions granted on YouTube on Slice’s Channel and will not be under the name STW or Slice The Wall these are code names during the project development stage, are not registered and hold no commercial value.

Having that out of the way, for what I am happy. Contact has been established with David Gilmour’s managers office in London and they have no objection to the project as long as the IP is not damaged or mistreated. We have sent the same request to Roger Waters office but haven’t received reply yet (witch is understandable being that he is in middle of a tour right now). We have been unable to contact EMI, there seems to be a logical barrier that we have not been able to overcome yet. We have left a few attempts via their web site but we have no idea if they have gone through.

Slice Recording Bass Session 18 STW

Getting on with the project, Slice is going to record all guitars (Electric, Acoustic, Classic & Slide), Bass for all tracks and Piano on all tracks that have piano (not keyboards). in the 26 songs there are over 90 different parts, and some are going to be dubbed. that means nearly 150 tracks to be recorded. we started in August and have recorded 21 session with 87 tracks finished in total, where in most sessions Slice records between 6 and 8 parts, we have had to repeat some early recordings due to sound issues. Our target is to finish all the recording by April and have the mixing finished by July. There is still a fair way to go but we are more confident after every session.

Rough mix not the final thing.

 https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F36489972Slice Cover ABTW2 by Ian Burt

After July and once the audio is all finished, mixed and mastered We will start editing recording and editing the core live performance video, All the video will be treated using the Chroma Key technique. There will be tons of footage we are using up to 6 cameras on every instrument part that sums up to 80×6 in the range of 500 video clips, that need to be selected arranged and edited. One of the things we decided early on, was that expecting to engage our potential viewers for an hour and a half on just a performance of slice would not cut it, we wanted to do something more without making a plagiarism of the film or show. keeping the viewers attention has been and still is a challenge that we haven’t quite solved. One thing that we are going to do is record a side story with Slice as the main character, where he tries to go through the different songs with a personal view, this has not yet taken since we are still working on the script and footage that needs to be decided. A great amount of this resource footage that will be recorded outside the studio, there for we are waiting for better weather.

Slice Session 20 STW piano recording

There is also the Graphics, all Chroma video will be scored upon a virtual background that is being designed for all different scenes.

Please review earlier posts to get further details on the STW project.

I will continue to post on the progress of the project as we move down the schedule.

any enquiry or support please contact me at iaburt@hotmail.com

Support Slice by visiting his You Tube Channel at  http://youtube.com/user/inside71slice

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.

Ian Burt © 2012


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Hi everyone, for those followers and for those newcomers this blog is dedicated basically to Slice and the STW project. today instead of a post talking about stuff, I am writing to deliver a request for support (not money so please read on).

This is a home DIY project and I am trying to cover all needs on a 0$ budget. So far we are very much on our way as you can read bellow. But there are some areas where I could do with a little cooperation from anyone willing to give a hand. This is a formal request for help to anyone in the photography, video or film worlds (amateur or professional). I will explain in more depth what it is we have not fully covered on private correspondence via email.

All the final material will include credits to all collaborations.

Pleas reach me at iaburt@hotmail.com         

Last upload by Slice.

Coming together.

Thing seem to be falling into place, in a slow but constant rhythm. to explain why this is true I need to give the background first. We started the STW project beginning of August last year 2011. At that time we only had a rough idea of that we wanted to achieve. One of the first things we did was buy a large size note pad so we could get everything registered and down on paper.

So we had an idea and a pen and paper, and off we went into moulding the idea into the shape of a project. Slice who is the original generator of the idea, needed to mature it a bit before getting down to detail. Slice is a musician so he gave it the all musical approach. I was left to take care over all rest of  tasks, of managing and producing the project.

follow the link Initial Blog posting for STW..

So here we where with a master piece of rock and roll, we had a pile of songs that said a story and Slice was going to cover them. We would put them up on YouTube as a  collection and as a single track. But what where our goals.

    1. Engage you tube visitors, with appealing music, covered by a 16 year old.
    2. Try to be true to the original story, music and authors.
    3. Attract people to share this work and expand the music & videos as much as possible.

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We could approach al these as Slice had approached his earlier videos, live recorded in his room with the original in the background and him playing over it, where sound was all ambient. This would be a problem, since recording different dubs and instruments in this way makes it very hard to get a good audio quality. On top of that we had the issue with the video. Video presented a few problems the light, the takes where going to be very uneven different light and day times, making later editing a headache. The screen real-estate was an other issue, since we had as many as 6 videos of different takes on screen at the same time in some places. with raw video this would be unmanageable, meaning that we would have to use some of the editing techniques of the many available in this field. Finally a 100 minute video needs to provide more video dynamics than just a group of musicians (all the same person) on still camera. The video needed to engage and maintain the viewers interest for a long period (we still need to see if we can achieve this).

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Ok, Goals set! Now we needed to set the requirements. What do we need to get to these goals. Slice was in charge of learning all the songs and their parts and nailing down his performance. So I was left with all the logistics, the audio recording, the copyrights, the video recording, the audio and video editing and the video script.

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The first thing I needed was to have a clear idea of how I was going to do all of this (audio and video) For audio it was clear from square one. I would record all the track’s one at a time and mix them in the box against the original. For this I had all I needed except for some cables and minor details. For the video part of it, it was a complete different story. My choice was to do video in Chroma Key and then add a background this would help me use up my screen real-estate better and have more flexibility. I also decided to take several shots at different angles simultaneously so I could play with the different perspectives. Finally I decided to have a parallel video that was telling the story and use it as a resource to maintain the viewers attention high throughout the full movie.

follow the link DYI Chroma.

So! what has worked so far. It is always good to be ahead of schedule. Specially when schedules are based on estimates and estimates are good will judgment.  Well we have a the recording rig working and already have around 30% of the tracks recorded and some 3 or 4 Songs completed including the mixing and mastering.  On the video side we have done some trials with a DYI home studio and the results where more than acceptable (see video) but this week we got lucky and we have been offered a pro Chroma Studio fully lighted and 5 m. Chroma wall. We have 3 cameras, only one is ours but some friends are helping out. Slice has managed to get some of his friends to provide with some instruments we still require for some tracks. We have some of the Copy Right and are waiting on the rest, we hope they will be OK.

Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoyed.

Please visit Slice’s channel @ http://www.youtube.com/user/inside71slice

© Ian Burt    


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Hi everyone, and welcome to 2012, happy new year to all of you. I don’t know about you but I have no new resolutions, only a continuation of the ones I couldn’t complete last year. 2011 was a grate year in many way’s for me and I have a lot of hope placed on 2012. I have big plans for Slice and some very interesting professional projects I am hoping to get into. It will be a year of changes in many things and I am really looking forward to the challenge that change brings. When I say there is no new year resolutions what I mean is that I prefer to think on planning and moving along as things come and go. New year is a milestone between two calendar years, but that is not necessary related to how planning and goals are established. if December 31st is the only day we can plan ahead we have put a great limit to our own capability to achieve.

Many of you may not know that I as a professional I earn my money as a Software designer and project manager. for the last 18 years I have Designed, Developed, Managed several large software projects. I have dedicated 11 of the 12 years of this century to Fleet & Asset Management and Stolen Vehicle Recovery Systems. with the new year my current contract with a large multinational has come to an end we delivered the Version 1.0 of their new AVL or Fleet Management System (codenamed IKHNAIE) over the next 6 to 12 months they are going to launch the product throughout there international branches and start with the ROI of this 3 year project. I am sure it will go just fine I will be actively involved in supporting them in this trial to come. This however has left me jobless, not that I am worried I will find a new project in the new year and get back to work. But it gives me an opportunity to open other markets and kind of projects. So all I can say is that I am very excited on the prospect of moving on and doing new things with new people.

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On my personal plans, there is one main thing I have been working on in the last year or so. It is actually a goal I set out last year as my 2011 new year resolution and is to loose weight. Not because of esthetical reason, I am not that kind I enjoy being myself in every way even when it gets in other peoples nerves. It is for health sake I have come up with a little diabetes (not much) but it is due to my overweight and can be solved by loosing weight. So that concern is still in my to do list, or must I say my to finish list. Confused smile  

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An other project is the STW Project with Slice that I have mentioned a few times in other posts. This is far from finished and we are doing good progress, but it has proven to become a colossal task and very time and energy consuming, more than what we had bargained for in the first place. This is actually more of a motivation than a setback as Slice and I see it the more we put in the grater value it will have. We don’t expect STW to be more than what it is per definition, A Cover of a Musical Master Piece.  As such it will be a pulley amateur job, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t put in the same effort and illusion as if it where a professional or commercial product. The idea is to put it up in You Tube for anyone that want’s to see it. no commercial interests involved. At this part of the project and after 5 months of work we have completed over one third of the recording and should finish recording by March. We have done the mixing and fixing of some of the main songs but still have to record the base guitars for most songs, and all pianos. On the video editing I have been trying to get the right help and resources to finish the task and this will be monumental since we have a minimum of 4 takes of all parts of every song and up to 12 takes in some of the more busy parts. Almost al in Chroma Key, except for some resource footage that will be used to add the dramatic content to the video. 

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Here is a callout for help, If anyone has time and will to help out on this please contact me at mailto:iaburt@hotmail.com every piece of help is appreciated. It will have to be in remote since I live in Madrid and this is a call to the entire international community that may follow this Blog.

One final Project is we are refinishing and moding Slice’s main red guitar. we are asking everyone to send us name proposals for the renewed axe.

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Please follow Slice at http://www.youtube.com/user/inside71slice

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.

!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR ¡¡¡¡¡

IAN


Garry Moore The Prophet Cover

Slice has a very long way to go. he hasn’t got an exceptional technique as a guitarist, he is well within the average and will not shine in this region without hard work. As a performer he has got the feel, but needs to work on his expressiveness, musically and theatrically. He has made progress and we are helping him to find the way to his style. But this is a journey that he has to do on his own. As a guide to his personal evolution as a musician. I am going to review some hints in his channel uploads.  

My personal review of Slice’s channel in You Tube and the covers he has uploaded. To this day Slice has uploaded 14 covers since March 2010. As you may say he is not very productive, and you are very right to say so. so lets see what he has shared with us.

Looking at his playlist there is one obvious artist that stands out over the rest, that is Pink Floyd. Slice has done 4 covers of 3 songs or parts, these are the earlier covers and are dated from March 2010 when he opened the channel. This first cover was for the David Gilmore “Comfortably Numb” second solo, as recorded live for the P.U.L.S.E. Album during the tour of the same name. Here Slice is 14 years old, his performance is not the cleanest and he does make a few minor mistakes, but listening to the cover you can hear that he has managed to find some tone and a feel for the solo. The sound is not that good since he recorded it with a small Casio camera and there is far to much ambience noise. One thing to notice is that he took the video so that his face was not visible.

Comfortably Numb cover number one. 9 March 2010

He later repeated this cover in a second video in July the same year only 3 months later, this is a much more mature video. He uses the Sony Handy Cam, this improves the video and audio quality. He performs a much richer solo with much more feel and intensity to it, cleaner in performance and with a more responsive and adequate tone. He also appears full headed so that the viewers can see him from this video on will be the standard.    

Second cover of Comfortably Numb Jun 2010

Following the Pink Floyd Covers are a Money solo cover from the Dark Side of the Moon and a full song cover of Shine on you Crazy Diamond Part One from the Live P.U.L.S.E Album. this is a 13 minute and 25 second cover and was recorded on December 2010. This is a long cover with several parts. This is song has a lot of dynamics, that the player has to keep the right mood and feel through the various stages.  

Shine On You Crazy Diamond Cover

In between these two last covers Slice added a Guns N’ Roses solo from the “Chinese Democracy” Album This I Love song originally played by Dj Asbha. a very emotional piece with lost of bends and vibrato 

Slice has done a few rhythmic covers, where no solos are involved like “Sum 41” With Me full song cover, Green Day American Idiot full song cover, “Disciple” After The World full song cover and “3Doors Down” Here Without You full song cover.

With Me Cover for Sum 41

One exception to the rest of the covers is the “Jimi Hendrix” Little Wing intro cover, this cover is different since Slice plays it there is no backing track. This is a Classic and there are many grate covers in the Tube.

Jimi Hendrix Little Wing Cover

As Slice has been making progress in his performing techniques he has also started refining the video and audio recording quality. Note that as he added more covers he started editing the footage using several frames for different instruments played simultaneously a good exposure of this can be the cover Slice made of “Dire Straits” Sultans Of Swing song from the Dire Straits album. Here Slice uses the same hand picking technique that is so characteristic of Mark Knopfler. this is also one of the videos that has received a high rating since day one. Further progress has been the sound mixing on the early videos Slice would play the original song on his PC though his external speakers and played in to his Roland Cube amplifier and matched the volumes of both. Se other post that can provide further info on how we are doing it now.

Dire Straits Sultans Of Swing Cover

The final step has been the inclusion of Chroma Key video recording and editing to provide a better visual experience. The main goal is however to maintain and centre the attention on Slice’s and his performing and not that much on the videos. However there needs to be an appealing video with motion and character to keep the viewers attention.

Don’t Cry Guns N’ Roses Cover

So far we things have been slow but the new project STW that Slice is working on is a major change in direction and we are working for your enjoyment. 

I will be on vacations for a week so I will skip some posts but will be back the second week of January with new stuff that I hope you enjoy.

Remember to comment and subscribe if you have liked this blog. and please follow Slice’s channel on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/user/inside71slice

Thanks and Happy New Year to everybody. 

Open-mouthed smile


Our first attempt to make a cover video with Chroma Key was published here last week.

Slice covering Gun’s N’ Roses – Don’t Cry

 

I must confirm that I am fairly happy with the result, though far from professional, it is acceptable in the video side of things. With the Audio on the contrary I am very satisfied even when it needed a second mastering for Slice’s performance to blend in to the original track in a way that could be noticed. The first mix was far to blended and it didn’t sound credible. As he put it himself unless you spot my mistakes you wouldn’t believe that I was doing a cover just a playback.

So once we where pleased with the audio, we went on to editing the video. Al the video footage was captured from a single camera head on focused at eye sight height and taking a mid body shot so we got Slice and the guitar. Video and audio where recorded in the same take so they are live performances. As soon as I started editing the footage I came across the shortcoming’s of the material we had. Most of witch where fault of the set and the lightning. Also my inexperience with video paid a hard toll on the amount of effort that was needed to get the current results and be some what happy with  them. In general I find video 10 or more times harder that audio depending on the task. The recording to start with, most of the takes where ok on the audio side (Slice knows his stuff fairly well), but when it comes to performing in front of a camera he finds it more of a challenge, having to take up to 6 or 7 takes of the same track over the 2 to 3 necessary for audio, putting the recording in an average of 10 takes per track. This all adds up over 5 hours of recording to get footage to build a 5 minute video. Editing is the second big issue, I can forgive what has happened to the first video since I take it as a learning curve and a very steep one I must admit. I have spent a minimum of 18 hours editing or trying to to get the 5 minute result. I don’t know how far I am up the learning curve but looking back I am far from the start. The last issue is the setup, of course I had experience in audio setup and that has played back but the Chroma set took it’s time and thinking, and now I know where to improve and will for the future.

image     Chroma Set during recording session

I didn’t get into this blindfolded, I have read and followed tons of tutorials on the web about the correct procedure to getting a good quality Chroma Key. The theory is very simple, straight forward and clear to follow and so I did. But reality is a very different beast. When I got my first take up on the editor I found shades and shines that weren’t present during the recording, or that I couldn’t spot at the least. As you can see in the following picture most of the back drop seems to be evenly lit up.

DSC01699Backdrop with lights.

Well it is not and I have learnt this the hard way.  Another tuff lesson was the subject. Slice in this case, has to be wearing cloth’s that can’t merge in to the back drop chromatic spectrum. In this case the prints on his tee-shirt did juts that. Making the keying far more difficult, trying to avoid that his torso was keyed out in to the background. The lights, well I have learnt a thing or two on the subject, it is not that much a case of flooding things in as much light as possible, as it is more about getting the light evenly spread on the backdrop, avoiding shadows cast by the subject main light on the backdrop and separating the subject physically and with a back light from the backdrop it self that make the difference.  Getting all this right is a matter of try and error until you get the appropriate setup, don’t count on getting it in the first attempt.

The theory says that any colour can bee keyed out and while this may be true, it is the selection of a colour that will not be present on the subject that make it easier. An other factor is that it is not too dark, since it can get merged with some shadows on the subject. obviously my choice of back drop has been far from perfect. Green is along with Blue Royal the least present or easier colours to avoid and I went for green, but my cloth has a large mix of tonalities it is green in the major but it has blues and reds and other tonalities to it specially under uneven light conditions.

There will be an entire post about light (not that I am an expert) just to share experience, but I want to put something down here just a few quick note. You need to get light on the backdrop, the subject and the subject back light but direct light is not the solution it needs to be defused and softened, you will need at the least 2 lights on the back drop, 1 on the subject as main light and it is recommended to have another one on the backlight to the subject. I have been using bounce cards to get indirect light exposure. As shown on the picture these are two 1.5m x 0.25m Polyethylene boards stuck together in angle to provide a disperse light to the back drop, the lamps 350W halogen have a filter trans lucid paper to diffuse the light. the main subject spotlight is another 350W halogen bouncing off the celling and a bounce card placed behind and oriented to the subject. the subject back light is a 200W lamp positioned to the right of the subject behind and bellow the frame area also filtered.

 DSC01705Celling lights on back drop with bounce cards

The camera is the week part in this gig, we are using a handycam from Sony DCR-SR47 60GB HHD, it has a HQ function but on the recordings of this video it was set to SP 6Mb/s that is mid quality, I have tuned it up to max quality and we should get a more crispy result next time. I also try to avoid as much zoom as possible to prevent getting degraded image, thou it supposedly has a 60x Optical zoom that should not present an issue. It is obvious that the better the quality of your picture the easier and more room for editing.

imageMain Camera

For editing SW I am using Adobe Premier Pro 5.5, this is my main tool but I also use Director Pro 9 for some things. using any video editing SW is a challenge in any way you want to put it ,there are virtually thousands of online video tutorials and I haven’t seen 2 do the same thing in the same way. I have learnt a lot of ways of getting things done, not just Chroma but this is a real head on battle. I have found out that you need to know about exposure, matte, hue, spill, and a hole bunch of bits and pieces that make up your frames, a slight touch on one will bring a value to undesired range in any other, there are so many parameters so similar, and at the same time so different you can get lost and it is best to go back to the beginning if this happens. I recommend anyone that wants to give video editing a sot, to keep a good copy of all your raw material and originals in a safe place and work with a copies. 

image Adobe Premier Pro Cs 5.5 UI

As I said earlier on I have room for improvement and I already have an idea of how I am going to go about it, forgive me for not detailing this plan here but I want to see it work first instead of embaying my self with new failures, that I am not going to be able to prevent form happening but are better handles in the private zone.

Thanks again to all for your interest and support
I really hope that you enjoyed this

Ian A Burt.