Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Monday, May 10, 2021

Movie review of Rocketman

Just finished watching Rocketman -- an Elton John biography.  Probably fictionalized, but it's still a good movie:  I have a cold, but it still brought me in, rather than making me bored.

Kind of a musical.

Some good camera work.





Sunday, May 02, 2021

Nice vinyl finds

 Maybe half a year ago I joined the vinyl craze:  i don't actually think vinyl sounds better than CDs -- but I like the meditative, intentional aspect:  it takes a bit of handling, and (because I don't have speakers for my turntable, just a headphone amplifier), I have to just sit and listen to music -- not putter around doing tasks.

Because of that, though, I usually only listen to one side per session:  the typical side of an LP is 23 minutes (or less).

There's a new and used record store downtown, near where I work, which I visit about once a week -- and another record shop in the mall.  "Normal" LP prices are $15, $20, or $25 for the "good" (i.e. popular) used vinyl, and $10 for the "cheesy used" (a lot of Neil Diamond, plus various bands I've never heard of).  When I stop in to a record store, I'm a little disappointed if I walk away without finding something good.  Luckily, I'm a child of the '80s -- and LPs were still in abundance (apparently) until 1989 -- so there's a lot of bands from my youth that are available on LP.

Usually I have a mental list of favorite bands that I'm on the lookout for -- but I also stumble across some unexpected finds:  Saturday (a week ago) I visited a record store I'd only been in once before (about a year ago), and stumbled across two Petra (a Christian rock band from the '80s) albums -- plus the (good) Georgia Satellite album (the one with "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" and "Battleship Chains"). 

And on Friday morning (a few days ago; took the morning off from work to attend a funeral), at the record shop in the mall I found a Talking Heads album for $15, and a semi-obscure band (The Shirts), of which I have one of their albums -- which I like -- in the ten dollar bin:  wooo!!!!


I have a bit of a backlog, in that I'm buying albums more quickly than I'm listening to them.  But I'm okay with that.

I've stopped buying guitars, amps, and woodworking tools -- and LPs take up less space -- so maybe that's an okay trade?


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Biggest edit yet


I'm getting in to amateur filmmaking, and I just finished my largest editing job yet:  usually I do fun little micro-shorts -- about half a minute to a minute.  But this time the finished product is 3 minutes 15 seconds -- plus an Easter egg about ten seconds later.  That doesn't sound like a lot -- but that's me distilling down 54 shots, of about 52 minutes of run time -- not including eight additional shots (at about a minute each) that I reviewed and went "Nah".

It was on a tight deadline, too:  this recent Monday was a public holiday, so my church had a working bee to clean out a storage shed (about the size of a four-car garage) -- so I wanted to have the video ready for the "Announcements" section of the church service on Sunday.  So, about five and a half days turnaround.  

 I don't remember if I started editing on Monday afternoon -- but I at least reviewed the footage.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I stayed up past midnight, editing (although I did take time to have dinner, etc., before starting editing).  Probably four hours per night.

And then on Saturday I spent most (but not all) of the day recording backing music for the various scenes, and editing it into the footage.

And!  Just as I was adjusting the volume on the final clip (Saturday night -- or really, 12:50 Sunday morning) listening the the pitter-patter of rain on the roof -- the power went out!!!  Commendably, I didn't swear -- I just said "Aaaaaaggggggghhhhhh....."  So, I set my alarm for 5am and went to bed.  The lights came on around 3am -- so I went back to it (luckily, the components had auto-saved:  the editing software asked "Would you like to recover your project?" ("Yes!!!  Yes, I do.")

 Went back to bed; got up at 7am; drove my USB flashdrive in to church and handed it in to our pastor, who embedded it into the PowerPoint slides -- and came back home.


I'm writing this blog entry now because I'm not tired now.  But I know I will be in an hour -- at which point I'll go back to bed. 


Anyhow: it's not perfect -- but I'm pleased with it.  I'm happy with the video component; I wish I'd had more time for the audio (my quasi-military drumming isn't as crisp as I'd like) -- but people will be focusing on the visuals, so they probably won't notice.

I learned how to fade in and out, cross-fade, and insert audio: so, learnings.  And I got faster with using the editing software -- as well as making edits by instinct and not agonizing over the "edit points" so much (deadlines!).

It was fun -- but I wish it hadn't been such a crunch.  But -- I'm not "burned out" on editing:  so, that's good.  :)

I told my pastor she could post it to the church's YouTube channel -- which means I can't link to it yet (as I type this, everyone's at the church service).  I'll link it to this post later -- and possible a follow-up post.

Although, I'll then take down the link in a few weeks -- just for privacy reasons (I name the church and the location in the title card; if I every amass tons of subscribers, I don't want that information to be public).  ;)


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Saturday, April 03, 2021

Two types of people - Boxes

 There are two types of people: 

Those who leave on the shelf a mildly-damaged box (e.g. cornflakes) for someone else, in favor of a pristine one....

and those who take the damaged box, because it doesn't really matter -- and by taking the damaged box that leaves the nice boxes available to those who care about such things.


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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Getting organized

I decided to tidy my "scripts and script ideas" folder on my hard drive:  it used to just be a folder called "Scripts".

Within those folders, I have three in the "Under development" folder (one that's a feature length film, that I've been picking away at for a few years; one that's probably a 10 minute film short (with input from B-Man, a co-worker who's also into filmmaking); and one that's a music video (for a song that I'll write to suit the video -- once I clarify what needs to be done).

I have fourteen that are basically ready to shoot:  these range from 15-30 second quickies, to 2-3 minute micro-shorts, to one or two that would be 3-5 minutes.


And then four that I've shot the footage -- three of which I need to edit into narratives, and one that I did about a year ago, but I want to adjust the colors and record some music to go behind it (currently there's no audio). One of these four is the footage of two hourglasses and a metronome, which I shot last night.

Hoping to wrap up two from the "3_Shot" folder over the next few days, and post one of them tonight or tomorrow -- and the other Friday or on the weekend.  Just silly little things -- but they amuse me -- which is the point.  ;) 


Anyhow:  more ideas than I currently have time to shoot (and edit)... which -- like my songwriting, where I have a backlog of songs to record -- is better than having lots of time and no projects to do....   ;)


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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

I am a filmmaker

 I am a film-maker.

A novice -- but still, a film-maker.

I spent about an hour and a half tonight setting up lighting and recording footage of a metronome and two hourglasses -- because I had an idea.  

And this weekend I shot footage for two micro-shorts:  probably each about 30 seconds.  

And on the train yesterday morning, I sketched out an idea for a silent movie type of micro-short, about two men in two boxes (you'll see).

I'm not in film school, so these aren't "assignments" or "exercises":  just converting my ideas into reality.

Having fun.  :) 



Friday, February 12, 2021

My first micro-short

Just posted my first (I guess) micro-short film to YouTube.  I thought my first micro-short would be this footage I edited last weekend, about a guy (me) sitting on a bench -- but I still need to put some audio on it before I present it.

Meanwhile, I told a co-worker that I'd post some test footage of a tunnel (underpass) that would make a potentially useful filming location -- but then I edited out chunks of walking, to make the footage go faster -- and then I added some title cards and end credits -- and then I threw down an instrumental backing track.  So, I guess it's an artistic film/micro-short (about two and a half minutes long).



Ayep.  :) 



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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mic cable rip-off

Am partway through one final task before bed:  finally repairing some microphone cables and instrument cables that I've been meaning to do (one mic and one instrument cable from church, about 6-9 months ago; two mic and two instrument cables of my own, that have needed repairing for maybe 2-3 years).

One mic cable (mine) I'd marked "BAD - THIS END".  Upon disassembly I realized that only two of the three pins were connected: the shield (ground), and one of the "live" pins. (All three pins are supposed to be connected -- one pin to the braided "shield" that goes around the interior of the cable, and each of of the other two pins to each of the wires that runs down the centre.  So I looked at the other end:  same thing.  So maybe I was using a device that relied on one of the non-standard pins -- and that's why it didn't work for me?  (Dunno -- it's been too long.)

Regardless:  that's a rip-off (IMO) to sell a "microphone" cable that doesn't connect all the pins -- because it doesn't have the "noise-suppressing" capability that two interior wires (connected properly) would provide.  Clearly the manufacturer couldn't spring for a slightly better cable that had two wires in the core.
It's analagous to selling a car that has some of the bolts that hold the car together:  yeah, it'll work -- but it's not as robust, and you're not getting what you think you're paying for.

I've salvaged the two ends of the mic cable (perfectly decent), and have labelled the cord as a future instrument cable.  I have some extra 1/4" jacks -- but, no hurry, as one of my recent projects was to build a mega cable rack (will remedially post pics at some point), and consolidate all of my cables (mic; instrument; RCA) -- years of accumulation; some in use, but most in various boxes.  Turns out that (including the short cables that go between f/x pedals) I have more cables of each type than I actually need:  I'm glad that when I sold my last two electric guitars (both to beginners) I gave each buyer a few (inexpensive) instrument cables, just to get them started; and, will post a message at work that I have extra cables.   
So -- no hurry to build yet another instrument cable:  I have enough.

Still disappointing, though, that someone would sell a "microphone" cable that doesn't meet the minimum standard. 

P.S.  I've written this blog entry (and also e-mailed the above to a few musician-y friends) -- so I might just wrap it up rather than getting out my soldering gear:  another night.  :)

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