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Slightly OT: Video w/Live Show


J. Dan

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I recently did a 5-yr anniversary (for the band) show where we wanted to kick it up a bit. We brought out a couple 27" TV's and set them on giant rubik's cubes and pumped video from a portable DVD player. In the first set, we started with the original band lineup of 5 yrs ago in the outfits that they wore back then. Then for each of the 3 members that have been replaced, I played a video that I edited of a fake MTV news from the 80's. It had Kurt Loder on the screen with me doing a voiceover (sounding as much like Kurt Loder as I could), and reporting on a fake scandal that forced the member out of the band and announced his replacement. As the video played, the current member would swap with him and we'd continue playing. Each video was about 45 sec, enough time to swap, and contained a good bit of humor for the fans that have been following us. For that set, I just swapped between the appropriate video (3 on one DVD) and our logo (on a memory stick plugged into the DVD player).

 

For the 2nd and 3rd sets, I made an hour long DVD that had a montage of clips including live band pics of individual members, the whole band, our logo, an animated rubiks cube solving itself with our logo on it (yeah, 6 hours of Flash work for 32 seconds of video), and various clips, mostly of people dancing, from 80's Movies, Club MTV (from the 80's), and "I want my MTV" commercials. Of course all that was no audio, just video. I thought it created a pretty cool addition to the show (we also had a giant pacman, giant swatch, etc.).

 

Anyway, so everybody liked it and we'd love to do more of it. But first of all, the TV's were really heavy. So if we do it, we're going to pick up a couple flat panels (probably 32") and use tripods. But that would be 16:9 so I'd have to redo the 4:3 video that I've got now.

 

Also, there was a DJ that used to work at one of the bars we played that had Flat Panels covering the back of the stage, who used to play the actual videos of the songs we were playing and sync them up to us by controlling the speed from his laptop. If he didn't have the video, he'd just put up our logo. I always thought that was pretty cool. I was thinking it would be cool to sync up video to parts of our show, and since I do some sequences (about 25% of the songs), it seems like I should be able to do it.

 

Now comes the part where I'd like some feedback from you guys. Have any of you done any of this and how do you do it? I could just burn a few DVD's and pop them in and not really have it synced with anything. If we try to have the video content go with what we're doing, what's the best way to do it without having do completely edit an entire big production for every night (we change the setlist up every night). It would be nice if my sequences could call up some clips and I could maybe do a little video mixing on the side here and there between parts. I was looking at something like the Korg Kaptivator or one of the Edirol units. But I'm not looking to spend tens of thousands of dollars. I'd also rather not drag out a laptop, but I understand that may be a necessity. Does anyone have much experience syncing MIDI and Video?

 

I'd appreciate any insight any of you can give. I'm posting here because I'm interested from the standpoint of being a keyboard player and integrating it with my MIDI rig.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Sounds like cool idea. You can run various visualizations, like WinAmp's, video clips, whatever.

 

But why don't you consider a projector? It shouldn't be more expensive than two LCDs, and it'll have a huge screen.

 

I thought about renting a projector for a show just to try the thing out. It'd cost next to nothing. The problem is filling the screen with 1-2 hours of video.

 

About syncronisation - I guess there are video players that sync to SMTP or MIDI clock (don't know for sure, though).

 

Running all the stuff (both audio and video playbacks) from a laptop seems the easiest way.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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The problem with projectors is that they have to be positioned so that when we move around on stage, you don't block them. You gotta mount them up high, focus them, make sure the other lighting doesn't interfere, I figured popping a couple flat panels up on tripods would be easy.

 

I tell you what would be ideal, I don't know if they make it, and if they do, it's probably expensive, but basically a video sampler module with a hard disk. Just like an audio sampler, but call up video clips off the HD and trigger them from midi notes and sync them to midi clock. An added bonus would be external inputs that you could do transitions to controlled by midi CC's. Then I could just add a video control track to my existing sequences. If there's not a sequence, I could put something generic up that's not sync'd. The stuff I've seen that looks like it could do that seems to be overkill.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Dan - I've not done what you're trying to do but I can suggest you check out http://createdigitalmotion.com. It's a site for the VJ and video artist crowd. They are the sister site to http://createdigitalmusic.com. Your best best is probably the forums. There are many people on that site that do visuals for bands and it's likely they can at least point you in the right direction.

 

Good luck!

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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