Archive for the ‘video’ Category

virtual comicon postcon report

A postcon report for a virtual comicon? YES, B’Y!

I’ve seen a bunch of Bittercon/can’t-be-there-con/VirtualCons attempted, and this one sincerely had way more going for it than any other one I’ve ever seen. I mean, once you’ve got panel programming going? You may as well start selling tickets. Cosplay! Interviews! Wet con suite! The aforementioned panel programming! Room parties of horrible film! (Okay, I’m kind of retroactively including Friday night’s Sharknado vs. Deep Blue Sea suck-off here. Sharknado won.) Dealers! Giveaways! Really short plane trips home! What else can you ask?

I missed shinykari‘s Overly Dramatic Readings panel, which is a shame, because I heard nothing but hilarity coming out of it. tereshkova2001‘s Rocking Hall Costuming and my Kitting Out Cheap panels drew… we aren’t really sure? Because YouTube is weird. But we both had audiences asking questions and we were able to do Q&A. YouTube’s play stats jumped from 0 to 15 to 51 viewers, and more than 15 people looked at supplementary materials, so I’m kinda leaning towards close to that 51, and I’ve seen plenty of smaller panel audiences at Norwescon panels.

shinykari‘s panel doesn’t seem to be archived, which is a goddamn shame. But tereshkova2001’s and my panels are! So here’s an embed for that. Torrey starts the show; my panel starts at 61 minutes in. The two embeds are queued to start at different places but apparently that doesn’t give you two different previews. :-p Nonetheless, enjoy:

Tereshkova2001 on Rocking Hall Costuming:

Solarbird, the Lightbringer, on Kitting Out Cheap:

So, yeah! Huge props to optimysticals for getting this thing rolling. If you weren’t at SDCC, you shoulda been here! And if you weren’t here, why the hell not?

live in two minutes!

Virtual Comicon panels start in two minutes! URL:

Supporting material for Rocking Hall Costumes:

#virtualcc panels today

Two Virtual ComiCon panels today! They’re listed just below. Also, Donna Barr wrote up a nice report on Clallam Bay Comicon, and I wanted to link to that. Anyway, “Rocking Hall Costuming” at 2pm Cascadian/Pacific, 5pm Eastern; “Kitting Out Cheap” the next hour, at 3pm/6pm. Deets:

Added: Rocking Hall Costuming: Join award-winning costumer tereshkova2001 as she discusses what makes a good hall costume, how to have fun in one, and how to avoid awkwardness or creepiness. Visual aids will be included! 2pm Pacific/Cascadian, 5pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. tereshkova2001 (Moderator)

Added: Kitting Out Cheap: Assembling the sound kit you need for the very little money you have. Supporting materials included but not strictly required. 3pm Pacific/Cascadian, 6pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. Solarbird, the Lightbringer (Moderator)

We’ll post with the final URL once we know what it is – Google+ will just kind of assign it for us once we open the livestream. See you there!

three! virtual comicon panels

Not at San Diego Comicon? Neither are we. So we’re DOIN’ OUR OWN! It got started on Tumblr, under the #virtualCC tag, with cosplayers and artists and even a vendor offering sales. Now tereshkova2001 (Worldcon top-level costumer) and I (supervillain musician) are adding panel programming.

YES, WE MEAN IT. We have two panels scheduled, both to be streamed in Supervillainy 1, a.k.a. my YouTube channel, on Saturday. COME TO OUR PANELS! They’re listed here, in…


Added: Rocking Hall Costuming: Join award-winning costumer tereshkova2001 as she discusses what makes a good hall costume, how to have fun in one, and how to avoid awkwardness or creepiness. Visual aids will be included! 2pm Pacific/Cascadian, 5pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. tereshkova2001 (Moderator)

Added: Kitting Out Cheap: Assembling the sound kit you need for the very little money you have. Supporting materials included but not strictly required. 3pm Pacific/Cascadian, 6pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. Solarbird, the Lightbringer (Moderator)

DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL LIVESTREAM WILL BE POSTED ONCE THE STREAM HAS BEEN LAUNCHED, and not before, because we won’t have the link until we actually start it. Watch either the blog or the #virtualCC tag on Tumblr for announcement probably half an hour before the panels start. We’ll be monitoring the chat on behalf of each other, so we can relay questions and stuff.

Neither of us have ever done this before so it will be an ADVENTURE IN TERROR! Or in live podcasting? Something like that. ADVENTURE! o/



Added: Overly Dramatic Reading: Rob Leifeld’s Captain America, 4pm Pacific/Cascadian, 6pm Central, 7pm Eastern, Friday, July 19. shinykari (Moderator). Presumably she’ll post a livestream URL beforehand; watch her tumblr.

end of the tour

I love touring. I really do! I know a lot of people get tired of it and if I got to do it a lot more often then eventually it’d turn into “have to do it” and frankly I can think of worse problems, but sure, that’s a real thing that you’d eventually probably get tired of doing, sure.

Getting back, on the other hand? God damn a lot of crap piles up, doesn’t it? Laundry, mending, cleaning out the tent, cleaning the gear bags, recycling all the dead batteries, checking equipment, catching up in the office, seeing what you can get off the cameras and audio recorder… I should have some usable footage and audio from the Leannan Sidhe shows once Shanti gets back from Europe; sadly, the only thing from Clallam Bay is on-camera audio that’s probably too clippy to post to the channel. What do you think?

(I haven’t got the audio recorder wrong in a while. But I did here. There’s a small trick to it, and every so often, I forget. ;_; If I hadn’t, I could’ve brought over that audio and used it with the video. Dammit!)

I did make good on my pre-departure promise, though: the YouTube version of the latest Geekmusic Podcast episode went live last night and is on the Podcast page! Video embed, j0:

Right then, back to it.

to the east!

Here we go – to the east, to the dry side. Six shows by Monday or bust! I’m going to try to get recordings entirely on battery; I make no promises. If you’re in Richland, we’ll be at the Greenwood Faire, listed as Leannan Sidhe; there are time schedules, tho’ I don’t have one handy.

Whatever I record, I must say, cannot be as awesome as this:

…because it simply would not be musically or physically possible.

And we’re out. Zoom~!

a thorough going-over

The band website has been kind of a mess for a while, partly because I kept adding things in weird places that I thought might work but didn’t, and partly because it has always been an assemblage of parts. The blog is a locally hosted WordPress, the video page was just my YouTube channel, the music page was at least partially integrated but is still really Bandcamp – things like that.

Basically, it was a mess, and entirely out of hand. And I read an article a few weeks ago on focus of presentation on your main band page, and decided to do something about it. It’s not so much a redesign – because it isn’t – as a better and more complete implementation of the existing design.

Originally, I just wanted to fix the front page. But then YouTube threw its new page format at me, and that doesn’t work with what I do. And one of my blog readers told me they turned off stylesheets to read my blog(!) because they simply can’t read white on black, and I’ve heard people say they had trouble with that before, and it all kind of snowballed.

So I pulled a couple of style elements from the blog and brought them over (particularly in the left bar), and hammered the other parts of the blog into looking like the rest of the site, made a videos page that’s not on YouTube, updated just about everything for consistency, and, well, take a look at it, will you? Does it render reasonably on your machine?

One big advantage of the new blog format is that I can post wider pictures without breaking the columns. Yay!

I’ve tested it on a couple of browsers and it’s fine so far, but I don’t have every browser or OS. From here, it looks a lot more consistent and frankly less goofy a presentation, but it’s still new code and parts of it could be broken.

And I’m still not sure what to do on phones. On phones, WordPress flips over to Carrington, which is a mobile-specific standard format, which is a a lot easier to read but… not attractive. Also I don’t know how to get the social-candy-icons stuff to show up over the banner on the blog page, because WordPress. I do know how to get them to show up on the Music page. I haven’t done it yet, but will – it’ll be tedious, and can wait until after Folklife is over.

Anyway, give it a look, if you get a chance. Does it work on your machine?

that was a lot of fun

Hooo, that was a lot of fun! Thanks to the Dread Captain Marcos, our guest villain last night, and Jeri Lynn Cornish, our hostage du jour, and most of all, The Cosmic Ray Show for having us all on!

The show is already archived, by the way. Click on the link above and you’ll find it. We’re the final guests, so about 15 minutes before the end of the show, if you want to skip ahead. Or if you’re into space exploration – like Curiosity Rover and all that? Watch the whole show.

I haven’t talked much about DIY day lately, but setting up for this appearance gave me a great chance to use my art degree in a set-lighting environment, and it’s led to a DIY opportunity!

Here are two pictures. One is four days ago; the other was today. The physical setup of the room is unchanged – the angle of the camera is a little different, but not that much.

Basic front lighting

Improved front lighting

According to everyone who has seen both today, the bottom shot is better; I of course agree. It has more depth to it – it’s less flat, more 3D – there’s better presence, and what you can’t see here is that performers pop off that second backdrop WAY better – there’s no fading into the background here.

What do you think the difference is? If you guessed less light, that’s not it. If you guess a lot more light, actually, that’s not it either. Total lighting amount is unchanged; no fixtures were replaced. Camera settings? Also unchanged.

Two things are different. One, I have a glare shield around the webcam. I made it with white cardstock. It keeps ambient light from the side of the camera from affecting the image, and by doing so, boosts contrast:

The 5¢ Anti-Glare Shield

The second is that I warmed the light in the foreground by putting sheets of gold paper behind the light sources, and specifically cooled the light in the background by putting sheets of blue paper behind those light sources, all off camera. The primary line-of-light is not tinted at all, but the first and brightest sets of reflected light is all warmer (in front) or cooler (in back). This also increases visual contrast.

Just as importantly, this also creates an optic architectural layer; it divides the space into two spaces, a bit, in your brain, which makes the more distance space be processed as further away in your head. This is how architectural layering works in physical objects, too; a small room can be made to feel larger by putting a divider into it, one that you can see around – say, a stub wall coming down from the ceiling, or a bar, or an archway. Your brain will see two spaces instead of one; it will treat the second as further away, making the whole stage feels larger.

And since there’s actually more light, the people in front (once there) really pop forward. Again; bright foreground, darker background, more depth.

It still doesn’t look like a huge environment, but it looks a lot less cramped, and gave the video compression software a better chance not to do horrible things. Having looked at the stream a bit, compression still did some weird things, but the result is far better than tests we ran against the original lighting setup. The lighting shift didn’t change the visual world of the shot; it improved it, in subtle but meaningful ways.

And that’s basically just 12 sheets of creatively-placed coloured paper. Lighting is fun!

fine-tuning the room

I’ve been fine-tuning the studio in preparation for work on the soundtrack, plus I have some other work coming up for Leannan Sidhe – their Roses and Ruin project and some second-studio work on their next full studio album. (Having their main engineer and studio be in Oregon when they’re in Seattle is problematic from a scheduling standpoint, so I’m helping out.)

And I have to tell you something: before the latest round of adjustments, I would never have put the words “Bose” and “precise” in the same sentence together. Not without also including the word “not,” anyway. I even dragged Anna upstairs and into the room to listen and she was all, “…<blink> wow.”

Remember my Bose? I’ve talked about them before. They’re old 301s, from this post where I talk about how terrible they sounded in the living room because of the room’s odd shape – see the link, it’s relevant. They sounded much better in the studio – a rectangular room – but still not the way you’d think they should.

Turns out, the way to get their best performance is to put them in a finely-tuned recording studio. IS THAT ALL? WHO KNEW!? ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

But I put on a test track and was suddenly transported back to my radio days, because they finally sounded like pro gear. I was… not expecting that! It’s not even that they’re just high-end precise; they’re unexpectedly crisp in the low end, too. You particularly hear it in percussion and bass guitar; suddenly, I’m hearing things I’ve never heard before, which means they’re worth having as monitors. For special cases.

Anyway, here’s a video showing the current state of studio tuning. It’s short, and annotated heavily. Enjoy!

Oh, and since people have asked, I will indeed talk about the Big Board, probably next week. Or the week after, I have another topic queued up also. Advance reading (or spoiler, if you prefer): “Heijunka box.”


This post is part of The DIY Studio Buildout Series, on building out a home recording studio.

an nwcMUSIC event in northshore

Hopefully I’ve talked about nwcMUSIC enough that you know, but if you don’t: it’s a geekmusic festival held at the Norwescon SF convention, and I run it.

We’re having our first ever away-from-convention event in two weeks, on Sunday, October 28th, from 2-8pm. It’s a play event; what filkers would call a housefilk, what nerdcore people would call a cypher, and not entirely unlike what Irish musicians would call a session, but with people taking turns instead of everybody playing all at once.

However you count it, it’s a chance to come and play with other musicians across geekmusic genres. Or that’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Relaxed and fun, and there’ll be snax. 😀 You can also come just to listen, but it’s not a stage show, so don’t expect anything that formal.

Email me for details! RSVPs are requested but not required, because I want to know what snax to buy. I don’t want to post the address because, um, it’s my house. We can’t afford to rent a venue yet. XD

Relatedly, remember how I posted the 80s stage fan musical Wrath Side Story a couple of months ago, recovered from dying VHS videotape?

There was a sequel. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, also recovered from ancient VHS videotape (but with far better sound and marginally better video)…

Star Trek III: Spock Pacific

Again, the sight gags are broad enough that they work okay even with the video, and most of the humour is in the dialogue, anyway. It’s very, very silly. Enjoy. ^_^

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