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The John Lennon Education Tour Bus

Next Destination: Anaheim Convention Center

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February 03, 2012

POW POW: PREs and Sunshine and Literature

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

I sit enthralled in the front studio of the bus, I sit enthralled reading Eugenides’ new book “The Marriage Plot.” I sit so enthralled that I do not realize that we were sitting at the University of Southern California campus until I look up and noticed the markings of the Trojan mascot around me. It all blurs on me a bit, I am running audio for today’s session. I sit and realize that the students we are going to have on today are a practiced band and will be coming ready armed with guitars and all. Impressive, I think that they were described as impressive. USC is a really impressive campus. Was it one of those instances that happen on the bus where we end up at a pretty location on pretty day and pretty sun lights our pretty parking spot and everything is just pretty. The weather was fantastic, the people were nice and I was running audio. I do not do audio too often. I’m on a big video kick so doing audio was a slight change for me this day and I felt ready for the task. Guitars are a subject of fascination for me. I spent a youth with Sonic Youth. They are a strange tool that can coax so many different sounds and feelings and emotions and chords and sensations and tones from the solid (or hollow) body. We spent the beginning of the year setting up the studio as we wanted things to be …

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January 30, 2012

Near Year’s Honours

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

When the New Year begins and the bus staff returns to the bus, it is a kind of a celebration. The bus exists as our home, the bus exists as our place of work and the people at the bus exist as our friends, so the return in the parking lot in Burbank served as a time of celebration. It was quickly back to work though for us. One of the reasons for this celebration is due to that the fact that the start of the New Year and the end of the break from the previous year is when new technology gets installed on the bus. This is all worth noting but it is not nothing to note that it is a few weeks into the New Year and there have been no signs of activity on the blog. There is a reason for this. We got our selves a new toy to play with, though I believe it would perhaps be two toys. The first being the Newtek Tricaster and the partner in its crime being the satellite dish on the bus powered by Todo Cast. With the combination of these two technologies, I may present to everyone a new and exciting facet of the Lennon Bus. Lennonbus Live! On this site, we are going to be showing of live broadcast of concerts that the bus does, Lennonbus Live sessions and many other things. We got the chance to break in the Tricaster at NAMM with a Lennonbus live …

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November 14, 2011

Getting Technically Creative with iPad Wireless Control

Written by Hans Tanner

 

Hello all!  It’s been tooooo long since our last chat!  Warning: excessive use of exclamation points may be used throughout this piece as we have just turned the bus into the wind and are heading west.  Final Destination: California aka HOME!!  The Lennon Bus has officially ended its 2011 tour and will be heading into the shop for repairs and upgrades while the crew trains for 2012!  To say we’re excited to see what next year brings with the production of a Lennon Bus Europe would be a massive understatement.  Moving on… to continue from our last discussion, we ended on integrating Sibelius and the Scorch app with your songwriting communication.  And before that we provided you with a method to capture that initial inspiration with the Garageband app.  The next step?  Getting your composition to become truly immortal!  One of the beautiful things about recording a song is the realization that by storing it in a digital format (or analog if that’s your style) you are in fact creating something that will last longer on this planet than you will.  A weird thought, yes, but its something that many artists don’t realize and often forget.  After you’re gone and this recording is something you’ve left behind, what do you want people to think and feel after hearing it?  I digress.  As you may already know, there are multiple DAW’s these days to capture a performance with, but the industry standard worldwide is Avid Pro Tools.  Now when it comes to …

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November 07, 2011

What Wonders We Witnessed When We Went To South Beach: 2011

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

How was your weekend? Was it well? Over the weekend, we at the Lennon Bus had quite a bit going on. We really did! Our tour season is winding down with only a few more days to go before we begin the trek back to California and what could be a more strange and fantastic way to end the year besides being in South Beach in Miami. The weather is not too far off from San Diego in the summer time, so I felt rather at home. Palm trees were abound and adorable pups scrabbled around s the bus sat parked on the beach front by the Betsy Hotel. Tours were given both days but the highlight of it all was the unveiling and birthing of the Wish Tree that will be on permanent display here in Miami. The amazing photographer Rob Zuckerman was there to make portraits of the first 100 people that hung their wishes. “Wait, one second.” Yes? “Make portraits? That is a strange phrase.”
Let me explain. This was a phrase that Rob used when he was taking portaits that evening. Something that he had said that had failed to cross my mind was the way we use language when talking about photography. TAKE portraits. SHOOT pictures. CAPTURE photos. It is all very aggressive and a proactive alteratation of our discourse can alter the way the entire action of photography is seen. MAKE portraits together, not SHOOT them. “Ahh, okay.” Anyways… At the ceremony, the excessively talented …

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November 01, 2011

Beam Me Up - Video Light Painting in Motion

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

A really cool looking visual effect is light painting.     In photography, the effect is achieved by using a slow shutter speed, but recently, I wanted to obtain the same effect in video. Turns out it’s a bit more complex than changing your camera’s shutter speed, but if you use Apple’s Motion, the effect can be done quite easily, in just a few steps.   STEP 1 Import the footage that you want to use for you video light painting and title the group subject.     STEP 2 Create a new group and title it null object. Create a new shape, I’ve chosen a rectangle, but it really doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, is to make sure that it has no fill and no outline, basically making it a ghost shape.     STEP 3 Track your ghost shape to whatever you are going to use to do the light painting with. In this case, I’ve decided to use my subject’s fingertip.     STEP 4 Wherever you want your subject to start light painting, add a particle emitter, the one that I’ve decided to use is the Magic Dust emitter as I have found that it gives you a pretty good place to start.     STEP 5 Add a match move behavior to your particle emitter and use the ghost shape as its source.     STEP 6 In the inspector for the particle emitter, change the life parameter to 10 and the speed parameter to …

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October 24, 2011

Codecs: Part II

Written by Jeff Sobel

 

In my last blog post we talked about some basic video codecs and their history.  This time we’re going to talk about a couple of popular post-production codecs, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. Last time we talked about capture codecs like DV or DVCPRO and delivery codecs like h.264.  The two codecs we’re talking about today are post-production codecs. ProRes and DNxHD aren’t codecs used in cameras and they aren’t what you’d post to the web, burn to a disc, or send to someone for viewing.  They’re used during the post-production portion of the workflow.  These codecs are capable of virtually lossless quality at high bitrates (for online editing) or very good quality at lower bitrates (for offline editing).  They use algorithms that are very easy for modern computers to decode to minimize the impact on the computer’s CPU, resulting in the computer being able to devote more of its resources to FX processing than to playback of the raw video clips.  Post-production codecs are also designed to maintain the integrity of the video when multiple processes like FX, keys, and composites are layered.  This is something the more heavily compressed capture and delivery codecs usually fail at. There’s a correct tool for every job.  When you’re editing and finishing a video, the correct codec is probably a post-production codec like ProRes or DNxHD.  So do yourself a favor, and transcode to it before you begin working in your editor; you’ll get more power out of your editing system, fewer headaches …

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October 17, 2011

The Theory of Making Music Videos- Part 1 (Pre Production)

Written by Ryan L'Esperance

 

So we on the Lennon Bus produce a TON of music videos and we do it in a very little time frame. This is why it is so important to have a set method for production, with a check list of points that one must hit to make the whole production run smoothly. In any production, the process is split into 3 major steps: The first step is the “Pre-Production Phase.” Here the artist or students brainstorm on the concept for the video and create a basic shot list for the camera man and director to start thinking on a technical level of how to best compose the shots. These ideas are then put into motion by storyboarding. Storyboarding can take a few different forms. Typically we have one or a couple of the students, who are not working on the audio portion of our project, to go scout locations in the area. This can be anywhere. It is usually done by sending a student out with a digital photo camera and having them take pictures in each location. In our case though, since we don’t have a car, we are typically limited to our immediate area. We gather all the photos and make a story board, or sequence of shots or locations that are going to be the story or scenes in the video. So, when making decisions on shots, you need to factor in “the Look” and also “the Gear” that it you will need to haul around, to …

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October 10, 2011

Avid Scorch: An Insight Into Burning Away Wasted Time

Written by Hans Tanner

 

Chapter two!  As you may remember from my last post we focused on the iPad app known as Garageband.  This provided an easy and efficient way for beginning or mobile songwriters to get their ideas out.  So at this point we have your song, which you can now travel around listening to. You enjoy it more and more every day and it’s mixed just the way you like.  A great point to be at but there’s one problem: it’s exclusive to one person… yourself!  You’ve just realized you want to share this song with your friends who also play instruments with the intention of seeing how they could contribute to the components that make up your song.  Option 1: You gather your friends together and explain to each of them the melody, the chordal movements, the arrangement, the key and tempo.  All the while doing your best to translate for each specific instrument.  Unfortunately you keep hitting snags whenever a particular question arises regarding a part of your tune that wasn’t properly communicated.  Option 2:  Utilizing an iPad equipped with the Avid Scorch app in conjunction with Avid Sibelius, you create a notated document of your song also known as a score or sheet music.  This score has all the notes written out for each instrument with clearly indicated sections for your arrangement i.e. intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.  You now have an exact representation of the song within Sibelius, which you can then upload to Scorch and have your song …

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October 03, 2011

Photography in My Eye: Part 1: Glass

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

Photography, to me, is a means in which I can alter the way I remember things. I can see things a certain way with my eyes and thus my memories are formed but my eyes always see things the same way. If I change the lens of a camera and take a picture, or edit that picture in a certain way, then we can really alter our memories of reality. A day that you saw in one way will look different in your mind when you look at the photos you have taken as the camera saw something different than you. Not better, not worse, but the camera can make subjects pop, it can blur out buildings, it can zoom across a field. So I want to start a blog series explaining how I use photography to remember things and what it means to me as I go around the country and also how it can help you change your world. With each of these lenses, the first set of number reference the aperture of the lens while the second set of numbers is the zoom of the lens. We will get into the specifics of zoom and aperture in another blog post, but for now, we can see some photographic evidence of how each of these numbers react to one another and how each of different types of glass shape how a picture can be taken. The first is the Sony Wide 4.5-5.6/11-18, the “wide-angle lens.” If you notice for …

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September 19, 2011

Codecs: A Brief History

Written by Jeff Sobel

 

If you’ve worked in video you’ve certainly been in contact with codecs.  Probably many codecs, in fact.  So what is a codec?  Codec is an abbreviation for “Compressor-Decompresor” or “Coder-Decoder” (technically speaking, it’s a portmanteau, an amalgamation of two words (a favorite tool of tabloid sites who live to gossip about ScarJo or Brangelina), but i digress). The vast majority of digital video is processed by a codec, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses.  In the broadest sense, there are two types of codecs:  Lossy and Lossless.  Almost all commonly used video codecs today are lossy, but many “lose” so little information in the encoding process that the resulting video appears identical to the original video source under normal viewing conditions, yet achieves much lower bandwidth than uncompressed video.  Another upper-level classification of codecs is “Intraframe” or “Interframe.”  Intraframe codecs compress each frame of video discreetly, while interframe codecs look at sequences of frames and compress them in groups by looking for the elements in the group that change from frame to frame (anything in motion, for example) and applying more bandwidth to encoding those elements while omitting the repetitive data inherent in the static elements (backgrounds, for example) of the group (groups of frames are referred to as “GOPs” (Group of Pictures).  There are pros and cons to both types of encoding and this frequently results in choosing different codecs for capturing, processing and delivering video content (more on that in a later blog). The first popular consumer …

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Recent Posts

  • “Come Together” by University of Miami Biscaydence Watch University of Miami BisCaydence students sing a live a cappella version of “Come Together” arranged by the incomparable Ben Bram with additional support from Alex Green on the Lennon Bus during The Betsy - South Beach A Cappella Festival. What an original and refreshing take on The Beatles’ classic! …
  • “Phenomenal” at Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts Students from The Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Harlem, NYC created an original song and music video in one single day on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon USA. Special thanks to NYC Council Member Mark Levine, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Mayor’s …
  • FEATURED VIDEO: “Better Than A Broken Heart” ft. Jeff Timmons Students from Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts came together to create an original song and music video on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon U.S.A., Inc. during the Apple Ed Tech Teacher’s Conference in Las Vegas, NV with special guest mentor Jeff Timmons from 98 …
  • NEW VIDEO: “We Can Fly” by Bronx Academy of Letters feat. Prince Royce Students from Bronx Academy of Letters High School in NYC got the opportunity of a lifetime to collaborate on an original song and music video with alumnus and Latin superstar Prince Royce on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon USA. Special thanks to NYC Council Speaker Melissa …
  • NEW VIDEO: Atlas Genius - “Balladino” (Acoustic) @ Hangout Fest At the 2016 Hangout Music and Arts Festival in Gulf Shores, AL the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus teamed up with the Hangout Foundation & 92ZEW for exclusive live artist performances and interviews on board the bus. Special thanks to Canon U.S.A., Inc., Juniper Networks, Securematics, Audio-Technica, Yamaha, Genelec, Neutrik, …
  • NEW VIDEO: Atlas Genius - “Balladino” (Acoustic) @ Hangout Fest At the 2016 Hangout Music and Arts Festival in Gulf Shores, AL the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus teamed up with the Hangout Foundation & 92ZEW for exclusive live artist performances and interviews on board the bus. Special thanks to Canon U.S.A., Inc., Juniper Networks, Securematics, Audio-Technica, Yamaha, Genelec, Neutrik, …
  • NEW VIDEO: “On My Way” - Garland High School Students from Garland High School had the opportunity to write, record and shoot a full production music video in one single day on board The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus during our Texas residency thanks to Juniper Networks, Securematics and Canon U.S.A., Inc. read more
  • PERSPECTIVE: John Lennon Bus, Episode 1x02 “George Clinton” Austin, TX Round Rock ISD students David Venish, Kara Barfield and Jordan DeStefano created an original short film as part of The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus original series PERSPECTIVE. The piece features funk legend George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and explores the peaks and valleys within the professional lives …
  • NEW VIDEO: ‘From Studio to Stage’ with Dr. John & The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Imagine having the opportunity of a lifetime on board The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus! New Orleans Grammy winner / Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John invited three lucky students from Berklee City Music, A Place Called Home and the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center to join him …
  • All we are saying: Lennon Bus wraps up borough tour October has been quite the month as the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus kicked off its New York City residency with stops in all five boroughs. The first visit was to PS171 / CPE II in East Harlem with Yoko Ono Lennon. That set the stage for our stops in …