Well that month disappeared quickly. It’s been busy!
I finished one video project and have done more than a dozen interviews for the next. All mostly via Zoom. Some was field footage and shooting though, and it made me realise how much I still have to learn. The sound was OK, but my camera skills need practice. Slow pans, manual focusing, getting visual elements to help the narrative…
I’ve also got four episodes of the podcast lined up as well as some trailers to promote it on air. I haven’t done much more outside of that for it. More on that later
In NZ we’ve left lockdown and everyone is trying to go back to the before. You can shop at will, travel, there’s school sport, and televised rugby. So more than 90% of the nation is happy that life is normal enough again. Those that aren’t happy probably need to take a look around the world and reassess. We have so much to be thankful for, most of all there’s no community transmission. Yes, industries are suffering, people have a lot to deal with, but that was the same before. Now it’s different industries. Most of us talked about realigning, changing for the better. Now we have to follow through.
The nation seemed outraged at a couple of border failures – but the response to the failure was exemplary – all cases since have been caught at the border. Imagine how we would feel if we were in Victoria – suburb by suburb lockdowns, police on each floor of apartment buildings, road blocks… again, we don’t know how lucky we are, mate.
Lots of people are talking about holding on to the good changes that have happened; it’s getting harder though. The ‘return to normal’ seems include acting like Covid-19 wasn’t a thing. But you can’t have a skirmish with a pandemic and then take it all back. Some fundamentals have changed.
For me, I’m thinking hard about how I balance things – money, family, work. I’m determined not to go back to full-time work stress. This will bring other stresses, but for now, I’m ok with that.
Lockdown made me broaden my network, reset my approach and look around for new opportunities. The good news is there’s plenty out there – it’s time to follow up on them. Wish me luck.
Weird things happen around the full moon. I don’t know if today was a full moon or not, but it felt like it!
An early start to get work done, school run, then a drive to Motueka to meat the surgical theatre bus. Sounds great doesn’t it, getting surgery on a bus in the car park of a hospital!
It wasn’t for me, but I was the helper and the driver. It was an excellent setup really, and they got through a fair number of patients.
While that was happening, I took the dog for a walk, and then did an interview at the Marae. Quickly brushed up on my paku mihi (and thank God for Te Aroha, neh?).
We moved on to the interview. It was brilliant, captured such wisdom and gems of knowledge – except that the recorder wasn’t going. Shame-faced, we started again. My phone rang!!
It was the CEO of the iwi, probably the only thing that saved me, but I got the hard word to turn it off completely! Everything that could go wrong did, but my guest was gracious and accommodating. In the end the audio came out very well, and everyone was happy, but it was a hard-earned win!
That was fine, but of course, I missed the three calls from the hospital to come and collect the patient … When I did finally arrive, they looked at me like I had abandoned the person, and gave me suitably filthy looks.
Got home, with a stop for food on the way, settled patient in. Off to the school run, then home to edit audio, chop, chop, chop. LAter edited video, chop, chop, chop.
In the blink of an eye, I missed three days? Where did that time go?
I mean it’s Easter, so you could use the joke about disappearing for three days and then coming back and taking all the credit … but that isn’t the case here 🙂
Instead it’s been rinse and repeat days of a little work, a few chores, shared meals and catching up with friends and colleagues over video channels.
We’ve used Zoom, Skype, Teams, Houseparty for about 5 minutes, Facetime, facebook and probably others. But at the same time, one of the teams I’m in is preparing to use radio.
Recognising that some people don’t have access to the technology others do, or reliable broadband, and the geographical reach of radio is wide, it seems to me that there’s a chance for local media to shine here, and get back to what radio does best – connect people. Hearing a a friendly voice can be very soothing.
It might not be the finest hour for radio, but it could be the start of something great. As commercial stations struggle with advertising drop-off, some have already disappeared. Local access stations could fill the gap and offer different programming, different voices and most importantly, local content.
So How did we spend day 13?
It’s probably time to stop asking that question, but for the historical record. One of us went to the supermarket for the first time in two weeks. It was relatively normal.
Sometimes you surprise yourself. You work on something for a while; it’s good. But then you collaborate with someone and something unexpected happens. Flamenco triplets turn up in a straight 4/4; a new cut builds momentum where there was a lull; Random chord injections, resolve and make sense. Suddenly the thing takes off and flies!
Does it mean change? Yes. Does it mean dealing with the unusual? Yes. Does it matter? No. The thing is better than when you started. So it was today with something we dubbed a frankensong – made up of bits of old songs strung together differently put together over a new drum and bass combo. It took an unexpected twist for me that evoked Tex / Mex, Lucky Luke style horse-race through tall stone columns and cacti.
It’s like being physically separated makes us more disciplined at the music. That sounds unlikely, but the advantage of it is that what we hear, in the end, is most important. If we were in the same room would it be the same?
Certainly it would be harder to play what we’ve made, as we’re all using effects and multiple tracks – rather than playing a single part, we’re mixing fx and double tracking, improving what we’re capable of.
And it’s freeing creatively, and better bang for your creative time. One drum and bass mix can lead to two or three – wildly different – interpretations. It also allows for creative difference, I guess, so there’s little need to worry about the creative choices. I suspect we’re all too old to care anyway.
So how did we spend day 12?
Metting each other in brief moments around the house. Filling up the rubbish bin. Cleaning, working. Is it weird that we’re enjoying it and all getting along? Even the dog was well behaved today!
For your viewing pleasure, an old episode of Lucky Luke; originally French, great voice acting and more political than I remember.
So I’d been having trouble getting separate tracks into Garageband, Reaper and the like when using the Zoom H6 . When the H6 was in Multi-track mode as an interface, I’d select input 1 and get nothing. Same on input 2.
When I switched to setero mix I got level through – but only one track. This was not ideal – separate tracks make life much easier for error-prone musicians like me. I couldn’t figure it out – the software could see the h6 – but I couldn’t get a level through.
The answer lies in the way the DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) treat the combined L R inputs on the H6. Essentially, even though there isn’t a mic capsule in use, they count as inputs 1 and 2, they are not ignored.
So the XLR input labelled 1 on the H6 is actually input 3 in the DAW software even though it’s labelled 1 on the recorder. Input 2 is channel 4, 3 is 5 and 4 is 6.
The solve is described by Jen Edds in this video – it’s something no-one else on the internet has mentioned (that I could find, at least).
The moral of the story is: don’t trust your eyes … it might be labelled input 1, but that doesn’t make it channel 1. Ain’t that a trap for young players!
So another beautiful autumn day in Te Tauihu began with a cooked breakfast, before settling into some serious wood stacking. We got about 3 of the 4 cubic meters done, so pretty happy with that.
Saw approximately half the neighbourhood walking around, and plenty of smiles, giddays and waves.
They say you should learn something new every day. Today I learned that the audio interface I have – while it has six inputs, and is awesome for field recording, will only word with Reaper as a stereo mix. Which means I can only input one track at a time into any live session.
I can hear you falling to sleep already, but this is a bit annoying as I can’t separate tracks. If I play guitar well, but muck up the words, then the whole track has to go… I can record separate tracks, so we will make do.
On the upside, after the jamkazam fail, it looks like ninjam / reaper will work as a jamming tool. So drums / bass in Tauranga, one gat and lungs in Melbourne, the other in Nelson. Gonna be interesting!
Catching up with some friends from around the world in about an hour or so, looking forward to that.
So how did we spend day 10?
Working together then reading and relaxing apart. Vege soup out of the freezer for lunch, toasties for tea. All in all a good, no complaints kind of day.
News today of NZ’s first death from coronavirus on the West Coast. Not unexpected, but still very sad, and it makes everything that much more real, especially for the front line workers. In a small community it will be especially difficult.
Hopefully it will also reinforce the message we have to stay home and stop the spread.
So how did we spend day 4?
Mostly on calls to family and friends around the place. Everyone is keen to keep up contact. Most seem to be prepared and ready to make the most of the break. What else can you do, right?
Getting ‘the banned’ back together
So one unexpected consequence is getting the band back together. We’ve set up a shared workspace and we’ll share some files and see what happens! Should be a hoot.