Back and Forth…

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Like my exhaustive over-long DAW shootout a few months ago, I’m now doing the same with my editing software. I’ve been a Final Cut Pro editor for years, but I gave Premiere Pro a shot back in 2009. Despite cutting a music video with it, and even liking some of the features, I found the CS4  experience to be clunky and buggy. It wasn’t hard to stay with FCP.

Flash forward to to the release of FCP X (and all that went with it), and a lot of folks are taking a serious look at Premiere again. I’ve begun playing with the new version and I’m amazed that I can pull T2i footage off the card, right into Premiere – no transcoding needed. To be fair, you could do this in CS4, but it didn’t always work (at least for me).

With CS5, the Canon footage played with little effort on my MBP. Again, I’m taking footage right off the card – I haven’t added color correction, fades or attempted to composite anything yet.

For now, I’m getting reacquainted with Premiere, and thanks to, and it’s training series for FCP editors making the transition, I’m digging it so far. If editing Canon’s version of AVCHD doesn’t bring my laptop to a crawl, I can see the benefit of switching to it. I can’t count the hours that I’ve spent waiting for transcodes. I often shoot several commercials in bulk over a few days, then edit over several weeks. I batch-transcode with Red Giant’s “Grinder”, and that experience can be like watching paint dry, not to mention the crazy big file sizes associated with converting to ProRes.

With the added benefit of Photoshop and After Effects integration, this could be a no-brainer. It will take working through a project to see if I’m my cutting in FCP will be final. (yeah, I went there…).


Phase Two…

November 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Amongst all of the other projects and stuff I have to get to, I’ve been trying to put together a PC for the purpose of capturing HDMI video for editing. I was given an old PC to resurrect, but after opening it up, the age of the machine won’t allow for it. I’m now locked into building a new system.

I’ve been out of the loop for awhile, so I’m researching the current crop of PC motherboards. The main requirement is a PCIe slot for the Blackmagic Intensity Pro capture card. I was given the card today, so I can spec out a board, chip, memory and case. As always, price is a consideration, which means this has to happen with little or no budget.


I have to admit – I’m more than a little intrigued by the Intensity Pro card, and can’t wait to get it into a system. If for no other reason than to see how performs. If successful, the info gleaned here may be useful on another project of mine. The box says that multiple cards can be installed to control multiple cameras, so it’s worth investigating.

It’s shaping up to be a fun side project. I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress…

Thanks PreSonus…

November 5, 2011 2 comments

I’ve been DAW hopping for most of the year, and have written extensively about it. I’ve grown tired of Logic and it’s extremely slow development. It’s competition (Reaper, Cubase, etc) have all surpassed it with new features and workflow improvements. Add the colossal f–k up of the Final Cut X release, and my faith in Apple has been shaken. Logic users are now holding our collective breaths to see if Apple will butcher it in the same manner.

While waiting for Logic X to arrive, I began testing the waters of the competition, and I spent 6 solid months with Reaper during the Alpha and Beta test cycles. The truth? I like(d) it a lot. Reaper is a powerful program, but I find that, at times, it can get in the way of creativity, mostly because of it’s power and sheer number of choices. An oft written refrain on the Reaper forum is “I just want to make music and not code a program”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That brings me to Studio One. I was excited by it when it was released over a year ago. However, it was too limited at the time (no AU plug in support was huge for me), so I passed and took a “wait and see” position.

Thankfully, PreSonus dropped a bomb 2 weeks ago with version 2 of Studio One. The biggest selling point for me was the Melodyne integration. Melodyne is THE ultimate in pitch correction software. It will correct damn near anything without the dreaded T-Pain effect (unless, of course, that’s what you’re after).

I’ve been a Melodyne user for years, but I often reach for Auto Tune because, frankly, I’m lazy. Melodyne requires some work, and a small dose of music theory. In short, you can do more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing. The bigger Melodyne issue for me is with the plug-in itself. It runs “in tandem” with your DAW, making file management tricky. It’s easy to lose the pointers to your corrected files if you work with multiple drives.

To solve this issue, Celemony created the ARA protocol for Melodyne and partnered up with PreSonus. ARA provides internal two way communication between the plug in and the host. The bottom line is it’s now easier to use. If you’re not interested in S1, but want the Melodyne integration, fear not. The ARA protocol will appear in other hosts early next year. PreSonus is getting the head start.

As you can tell, I’m a bit excited about S1, and I’ve been test driving it a great deal. Yesterday, I decided to use it for voice over recording and audio sweetening on a commercial spot I shot recently. Let me say that the workflow for video post is well… awesome is the word I’d use… It’s much faster than Tools, Logic and Reaper.

In the screen shots above, I dropped a reference cut into S1. Imported the audio. Opened the Video window. Set a level on the FirePod and within seconds was recoding my VO. After some EQ and compression, I had it pushed back into Final Cut. I did the final mix in FCP, but next time I’ll mix the entire spot (music, VO, and sound effects) in S1 and print the final mix there.

It’s never been so easy… I haven’t even touched on the music aspects yet. I’m sold, and Apple had better bring the pain with Logic X, or I’m staying with S1.  I’ve already transferred some Logic songs to S1 to mix, and I like what I’m hearing.

As always, your mileage may vary…

Been a long time…

November 4, 2011 3 comments

I became a Mac user back in 2003, and I’ve never looked back. My love affair with the Apple has been rewarding and filled with an insane amount of creativity… But… I got my hands back inside a PC this morning (it’s a long story) and I have to admit – I’ve missed it.

I’ve done more than my share of self-builds back in the day, and I forgot how much fun it is to be in the innards of a computer. Yeah, call me a geek. I’ll cop to it.

Long story short, I have to get this particular PC up and running so that it can accommodate a PCIe capture card. However, upon closer inspection, it may not be up for the task of streaming HD video, let alone editing. Dell seems to have some proprietary stuff going on in there on the motherboard, so it may be cheaper to build a new one.

Lucky for my son, I don’t give up that easy, and like a puzzle that needs to be solved. I’m on it. The problem with that is, I now have the urge to build again…

Categories: Video

Shakin’ Stuff…

November 4, 2011 2 comments

After months of concentrating on video production, as well as trying pick a new DAW, I’m happy to say that I’m making music again.

The song “Vampires” was born out of usual frustration with the people and things that suck the life out of others on a regular basis, and NOT the crappy movie types with bad skin and tons of hair gel that women in their 40’s fantasize about.

But I digress, and that’s another rant filled blog entry all it’s own…

I realized that my approach to writing and production hasn’t changed much in awhile. With the exception of guitars, I normally do everything “in the box” (drum programming, bass lines, keys, etc) and that gets old. Just because one has 2000 drum samples, doesn’t mean you have to use ’em all the time. And with that, the urge to stretch out and experiment with different mics and recording techniques took hold, and I figured the best place to start was with percussion.

There’s nothing like adding a little live percussion to a sterile programmed track, but the only percussion instrument I have is my Prince tambourine (and I’m not pulling that trophy off the wall), so I had to dig through my kitchen cabinet.

It’s amazing what you can do with a container of Sea Salt…

I’m now a believer. Playing it live (whatever it is) beats the hell out of programming it any day of the week. So grab something, put a microphone in front of it and shake it, strike it, or beat on it. Trust me…

BTW – Although Reaper is featured in the video, my DAW of the moment is Studio One by PreSonus – at least until Logic X comes out. 🙂 In all seriousness, Studio One is worth taking a look at. One of my heroes, Teddy Riley, gave it an extremely enthusiastic endorsement, and is largely why I picked it up. Teddy produced and mixed Michael Jackson’s posthumous album with it, and he likes it better than Pro Tools. That’s all I needed to hear. I’ll post my thoughts on S1 soon.

Now I have to get back to the business of slaying vampires…

WELY 94.5 FM

October 26, 2011 2 comments

There are days that I find myself repeating David Byrne’s lyric, “Well… How did I get here?”

Today, I find myself in Ely Minnesota, which is literally a stones throw away from Canada, on a radio station consult. I never thought I’d ever be this far north, but here I am, and it was a blast. The gig was to recommend a new and better workflow for the on-air folks – which is cool.

Personally, it’s a chance to feed my lust for all things gear and dig through a radio station. I will say that WELY is a cool small town station, and the staff is super awesome – extremely friendly and inviting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: Music, Random

What to make of these…?

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

First, I will say that I did not come up with the following images by nefarious means. Last week, I was in several webinars – the first of which was for the release of PreSonus’ Studio One 2, and the second was a drum mixing seminar by Waves.

The instructor was using Logic, but upon closer inspection, this was no version of Logic that I’ve ever seen. Logic isn’t really “skinable”, although some have ventured into the code to tweak it. The instructor finished his presentation and opened the floor up for questions. I thought long and hard about asking, but held off. However, 20 minutes later, I was bursting at the seems and finally typed my question: “What version of Logic are you using?”

It hung there for about 30 seconds, then the moderator came on and said, “Well, that’s it for questions. If you want to watch this webinar again, it will be available at”

I cannot claim that my questions about a seemingly beta piece of software brought the whole works to a halt, but it is an odd coincidence. Who knows? Maybe they were “out of time”…

What I do know is Mac Rumors posted screen shots of Logic X a few weeks ago (which I did not see), and they were removed as fast as they went up. I’m posting what I have because – A: I don’t know if it is indeed Logic X, and B: If it is, then it should not have been used in a live webinar by Waves.

Armed with that, and a huge sense of righteous indignation, I present what I grabbed. I’ll let you know if Apple comes knocking…

Categories: Music