Video (Day 264/365)

After checking into my room at the Atlanta Renaissance Hotel for a long day of interviews and banqueting tomorrow, I actually got some work done.

First, I worked on some more video for the backers audition. I don’t know whether I’ve talked about this or not, but this video is a replacement for the PowerPoint-like presentation we used at the First Look performance in January to give the audience some extra help with the lyrics.

One of the problems with the Keynote (Apple’s prettier version of PowerPoint) presentation was that I could add the William Blake’s Inn playlist from iTunes as background, but there was no way to time the slides to the music. Once the playlist started, Melissa had to stay on her toes and keep clicking to move the slides along, and there was no stopping or pausing. Those who were involved will remember jumping right in to announce the title of the next piece before the music started.

I decided to fix that by creating a separate video sequence for each piece, with text keyed directly to the music. If we have to, we can pause the video to set up for the next piece. Otherwise, it looks just like a PowerPoint presentation.

I will also be able to use all the visuals we’ve been working on, especially Marc’s recent works of genius: fading them in, moving them across the screen, etc.

So this afternoon I got two or three more of the songs done.

And then, like a fool, I opened up the orchestral score for Man in the Marmalade Hat. I was bored with the video, and since I had deliberately brought nothing else to work on, and since I was resisting paying for internet access (impulse control which I have clearly given into), I thought, why not?

::sigh:: It was exactly as I feared: getting the basic choral parts laid out in the strings was easy. Getting the tympani in line was easy. Adding the double-bass to the mix was super easy. And then I began looking at the rest of the battery of percussion.

Part of my apprehension (well-founded) about starting work on this is that percussion sounds are keyed to specific keys on the keyboard, but percussion scores don’t show pitch. And of course both my keyboard and my manuals are at home. I had to show the keyboard layout by pretending to edit the percussion sound, then convert the percussion line to an actual music staff, then transpose the random note to the actual pitch indicated on the keyboard.

This means that for the triangle, for example, we’re looking at a B-flat two octaves above the staff. Whether it can be wrangled back onto a single-line percussion staff remains to be seen.

That was not the worst of it. Once I got used to that process, it wasn’t too bad. The soul-killing problem developed after I got the tympani, the bass drum, the gong, the triangle, and the snare drum laid in. My old enemy, overload buzz, reappeared.

I gave up in frustration, so it’s too soon to tell, but it looks as if even my new laptop with 3GB of memory cannot handle a simple string and brass combination, I’m leaving the woodwinds out at this point for both memory management issues and because I’m thinking I need to divert at least some of them to play percussion for this number, plus seven percussion instruments.

The only solution that has occurred to me involves taking the dynamic levels down a notch or two, or the recording levels down, and then bumping the loudness back up in my audio editor. We’ll just have to see.

And happy birthday, Anthony Trollope!

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