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February 11, 2009

What makes the desert beautiful, is that somewhere it hides a well

Written by Jaime Walden

 

Nestled in the half-way point between our Ogden, UT and our upcoming Tucson, AZ Battle of the Bands stops, I was thrilled to stumble upon a bus request from Page, AZ.  The request was from Kyran Keisling, an instructor at Page High School.  He wrote, “You have to understand how remote we are out here in the middle of the desert.  These kids get very little exposure into the world of technology and it would mean such a great deal to them to write and produce a video on modern equipment.”  Bringing free hands-on opportunities to make music and produce video projects is the mission of the Lennon Bus. “What makes the desert beautiful,” says the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well.” - Antoine de Saint Exupéry (The Little Prince) x mama On Mama’s Jukebox: Arcade Fire - “No Cars Go” Here are a few photos from the stop on February 10, 2009: Doug with the students in front of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus: Erik shooting part of the music video “Never Goodbye” with our Sony HD cameras: Page High School students working with our engineers to write, perform, shoot, and edit an entire song and music video in one day:

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February 09, 2009

Ogden and Josaleigh Pollett

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

This past week, we were involved in our first Battle of the Bands of the year, and we had the opportunity to work with a very talented singer-songwriter by the name of Josaleigh Pollett.  Josleigh took her voice and guitar and was an extremely pleasant surprise in a pool of exceptionally talented young bands.  The next day, Josaleigh came on the bus to record a song and make a music video on board the bus, but she brought so much more than her voice that day….  As a young video producer, I had a wonderful experience directing this video, and what you are about to see is quite possible one of the best pieces of work I have ever done.  Thank you Josaleigh, and thank you Ogden, Utah! Erik Edmund Niewiarowski

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February 09, 2009

How to Calculate a Video’s File Size - Part 2

Written by Jeff Sobel

 

Last time I talked about how you can quickly determine how big your video file is going to be before you export it.  You can use the same method to figure out how much hard disk space you are going to need before you capture video from tape or import video from solid state media such as Sony SxS.  All you need to know is what the bitrate is for the format of your video.  Here’s a few common ones: DV = 25mbps HDV = 19mbps for the 720p flavor and 25mbps for the 1080i flavor XDCAM EX = 25mbps in SP mode and 35mbps in HQ mode Apple ProRes = 145mbps in Standard, 220mbps in HQ So let’s say you need to know how much free space you’ll need on your hard disk before you capture one 60min MiniDV Tape that you recorded in 1080i HDV?  Let’s convert the bitrate, in this case 25mbps, into megabytes per second and then see how much space we’ll need: 25mbps * 8 = 3.125MB per second 3.125MB * 60 = 187.5MB per minute 187.5MB * 60min = 11,250MB per hour That’s about 11GB for a 60min tape. Now, what if you use Final Cut Studio 2’s awesome ability to capture an HDV tape directly into Apple ProRes 422 format files?  We’ll be capturing the same 60min tape, but at Apple ProRes 422’s 145mbps bitrate let’s see how much hard drive space will be needed: 145mbps / 8 = 18.125MB per second 18.125MB * …

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February 08, 2009

Rock Band 2- more than just a game

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

Alright, so I may not be the most dedicated “gamer”, in fact my favorite video game was Excite Bike in 8 bit detail. Needless to say Rock Band 2 changed all that, the hands on approach is transformational in the video game world, creating an accelerated level of interaction with the game, bringing almost a 3-D realm from the traditional 2-D game. As the progression to 3-D is the future of new gaming systems, Rock Band 2 is pioneering the way, as well offering an opportunity to be more social while gaming and dare I say even learn. Sure I’m not going to put down the plastic guitar, pick up a real guitar and magically nail every riff. But let’s face it, after hours of playing Rock Band 2 I have gained strength and stretch in my fingers, now ready for some strings! The game actually instills a better sense of rhythm and promotes perfection being achieved through practice, which is essential to learning an instrument. No offence to my generation or even the one below me, but come on, how many pop songs can some blond clone lip-sync too and expect me to be entertained. Rock Band 2 is about rock and roll, and the best part is the interest it has evoked in a majority of its users. It’s starting to stir blood left stagnant for too long from every repetitive pop song under the guise of hip hop about lip-gloss or whatever. Rock Band 2 can be considered …

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February 06, 2009

The Lennon Bus and Godin Guitars at NAMM!

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

This year’s NAMM show in Anaheim, California brought beautiful weather, and awesome exhibits from many of the Lennon Bus sponsors including Gretsch Drums, Mackie, and especially Godin Guitars.  During the show, I took some time to hang out and talk with Fred Disanto of Godin Guitars where we talked about the awesome line-up of musicians that Godin brought to our stage this year.  They invited some their endorsers to play on the stage, and they were as special and ranged the gamut of musical genres just like the beautiful guitars that Godin produces.  From the Latin fusion of Juan Carlos Quintero to the hard rock stylings of Aaron Mclain, this year our stage was rocking all afternoon!

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February 05, 2009

How to Calculate a Video’s File Size

Written by Jeff Sobel

 

A video producer often needs to be able to estimate the size of a video file before that video has been recorded, imported or exported.  Do you need a magic crystal ball to predict how large a video file will be before you hit that Export button?  Nope.  You just need a 5th grader’s grasp of basic math.  Here’s how: Let’s take the example of exporting a video using Apple’s Compressor which comes standard with Final Cut Studio 2. The first thing you should know is that digital video is encoded at a certain datarate, commonly called the bitrate.  Higher bitrates generally produce better quality video (less “pixelation” or graininess) but will create larger files.  You need to be sure that you choose a bitrate that’s high enough to achieve satisfactory quality but not so high that the video can’t be streamed on the web, downloaded in a reasonable amount of time, emailed, or however you intend to get it to your audience.  Compressor has presets which are great starting points for making this decision. The screenshot below shows Compressor’s stock presets for iPod, iPhone, and AppleTV: You’ll see that there are two different presets for iPod/iPhone.  The 1st is “h.264 video @ 600kbps” and the 2nd is “h.264 video @ 1500kbps”.  Now, it’s safe to assume that the 2nd preset will produce better quality video, but how big will the files be?  Let say we have a 2min long video and we’re hoping to compress it to a small …

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February 05, 2009

Nothing to Lose in Texas

Written by Brian Rothschild

 

I just discovered this great video produced with high school students in Mansfield, TX.  Its a good illustration of what the Bus does in one day with a group of students who don’t event know each other.  They wrote a song and the lyrics, recorded it, and shot a fantastic video all in one take.  Very inventive. 

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February 03, 2009

House of Blues

Written by Brian Rothschild

 

Liyana had a great day at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.  We made some great new friends including Gail Mitchell from Billboard Magazine and Anne-Marie from the House of Blues Foundation.

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February 02, 2009

Calling all Troubadours with laptops!

Written by Jaime Walden

 

The eclecticism of Garage Band ‘09 is pretty impressive.  One of the new features offers basic lessons in both guitar and piano.  What takes this a step further than Youtube’s user-generated content tutorials are the chord charts and ability to record and playback your own part in a lesson.  (Fun fact: In 1877 with Edison’s invention of the phonograph, the ability to record and playback changed the way in which we interpret music.)  Another helpful interactive tool is the ability to control the tempo and slow down the portions of the song that you are having difficulty with.  With “Artist Lessons,” famous musicians such as Sting and Norah Jones have video tutorials on how to perform their songs.  Ultimately, the multiple learning methods made available to educate musicians of all levels is extraordinary.  For those who find the idea of learning to read music daunting, or find great difficulty simply playing by ear, the hands-on toolkits are very user-friendly.  You can choose to control the mixer and isolate an instrument.  Visual learners can watch their favorite artist’s hands actually hold the chord patterns and mimic them.  I’m definitely a fan. x mama On mama’s jukebox: Voxtrot - “Raised by Wolves” 

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February 02, 2009

Songwriting 101: Song Forms

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

Hey there everyone! Let’s get it started!  So let’s talk about the pieces that make up a song. INTRO/OUTRO: So the intro/outro section of a song is *duh* at the beginning and end of the song.  Most of the time this is a instrumental vamp, sometimes accompanied by vocal stylings over the top.  In most cases, there are no lyrics in this section, and it only serves as a sort of buffer zone to ease the listener into your tune.  However, this being said, an intro/outro can also be a short lyrical opening/closing to your song that sets up your story or idea.  To check out a great example of a lyrical intro to a song, listen to “Power of Love” by Luther Vandross, however 80’s that song may be! VERSE/CHORUS: The verse is normally the story telling of a song.  The first verse is where you set up your story (if you haven’t used a lyrical intro), and your verses continue the inner-workings of your character’s story. The chorus or hook is where you deliver your main statement, and often the title of your song.  The chorus is a section that reoccurs throughout the song, and in today’s pop music, the chorus will repeat over and over and fade out instead of using an outro. BRIDGE: The bridge is an important part in a verse/chorus song.  The bridge normally fits in between your second chorus and third chorus.  It contrasts the rest of the song, and traditionally, the point-of-view changes …

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