Saturday, April 7, 2012

Best Laid Plans

Hello Friends and Family,

I've had one of those weeks.  Spring quarter started on Monday.  This means that, as an teacher, you have a lot of running around, printing out syllabi, talking to new students, dealing with overflow forms, dealing with financial aid issues, putting out fires, and generally being swamped from the second you walk through the door till the second you clock out.  It is also the week leading up to Easter Sunday.  As a sound man for a church, this means extra rehearsals, extra services, early call times, late release times, more complex setups, and generally being swamped from the second you walk through the door till the second you clock out.  On top of all of this, I am still trying to finish up a couple recording projects for a client.  In other words, I've had one of those weeks.

I've been wanting to do a bit of video recording for a while now.  I play guitar and sing every single day of my life, I've got a Flip camera and video editing software.  This just makes too much.  So, after a week like I've had (that isn't over yet), I decided that I was going to have a nice fun day of recording and making music.  You know.  Something fun and relaxing.  What could possibly go wrong with a foolproof plan like that?

I woke up this morning to a sore throat and a scratchy voice (just my luck).  I'd also managed to cut my thumb in my sleep (how does that even happen?).  Off to a great start.  Its uncomfortable to sing and play, but I'm able to do both and I've been looking forward to this, so I procede with my plans.  I discover that my Flip camera is dead.  Not entirely surprising, but the rechargeable battery won't charge.  Not a major problem.  I bought a Flip Ultra HD (the larger and more expensive version of Flip cameras) for a couple of reasons.
  1.)  Ultra is in the name (worth the price of admission, alone)
  2.)  It was larger and more expensive, so it must be better.
  3.)  Its bulkier frame supports regular alkaline batteries if you can't use the rechargeable one.

BINGO!! That came in handy.  Things are starting to turn around.  I didn't have any AAA batteries, so I just ran to the store and picked up a pack on the way.  I set everything up with no issues and start recording.  I decided to mic the room and the amp so I had a little more control of the audio in post.  This requires syncing up the audio from the camera and the audio from my mics, but its a simple enough procedure.  I end up recording a couple takes (2 or 3) of the minute and a half arrangement.  The Flip camera flashes a "low battery" screen at me and dies.  I take a couple deep breaths, find my happy place, and convince myself that that must have been a fluke and replace the batteries.  The exact same thing happens.  It lasts for about 10 or 15 minutes and then dies.  During this whole camera fail, I'm having musical fails left and right and I'm starting to get discouraged.

I decide, at this point, that this is only getting worse (from a musical standpoint) and perhaps it would be best to just focus on one of the better takes and try to practice syncing the audio and video together.  So I move my laptop to a better spot in the room and get comfortable, but I needed to get my laptop's power cable (I think many of you see where this going).  As soon as I'm just out of arms reach, my laptop falls off of the piano and lands on its side, completely destroying my headphone cable.  While the computer seems to be fine, I think my life expectancy dropped a few points due to a mild heart attack, stroke, and enough adrenaline to kill an entire generation of Clydesdales.

So... I'm home.  After a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day; I did what any normal person would do.  I went home to take a nap and write a blog.  I haven't given up on making videos, I just think that somebody out there is telling me to take a nap today.  I can take a hint.

Peter Jones

1 comment:

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