▶ Yagya – Fifth Force EP
▶ Kutiman – Unknown from Don’t Hold Onto the Clouds
▶ Beat Pharmacy – TIDES
▶ The Cult Of Aphex Twin ex BBC
For the next HISSandaROAR library I have been torturing an old metal cabinet I inherited, and at times even more so some of my other equipment…. Apart from an angle grinder & mallets galore, I’ve also completed a number of sessions using the PolyEnd Percussion Pro robot beaters. These devices are incredibly well designed & I imagine have been stress tested a LOT!
But I still managed to break one… or thought I had!
You know that feeling when your car starts to make a new sound, and you wonder at first whether you should worry about it… Then you start to wonder where that new sound might lead…. And the possible worst case scenario? I went through some of these feelings when one of my Perc Pro beaters started misbehaving…
Then this happened:
Normally the little wooden beater is permanently attached to the thread in that hole, and when not in use it sits flush with the surface…
How did I break it? Well lets just say I was experimenting with velocity swells on 400bpm 1/16th notes for long periods of time, against metal… And to make it even worse, some of the time I did not even have the beater attached to a mic stand, I was using it by hand! You will see and hear the results of these experiments next week – it was seriously fun and I managed to create some really interesting sounds… But after a while the beater started missing notes, and it slowly became a bit erratic… I stopped to check what was up & the small wooden beater fell into my hand. Oh shit I thought! I really hope that isn’t permanent damage…
I emailed a photo to the PolyEnd guys who were super helpful, and after sending some more hi rez photos to them, they advised me that they use Loc-Tite on the thread and that I should be able to screw the beater back in. At first I couldn’t see how because when the mechanism is unpowered the beater is flush with the surface, so there is nothing to grip when tightening… But after messing around I realised if I pointed the hole towards the floor, the solenoid or whatever descended by gravity enough that I could start the beater on to its thread… Also kudos to Polyend, but I got the distinct impression this had not happened before… But then not everyone is recording 400 bpm snare rushes on a metal cabinet 🙂
Now I have some Loc Tite as I have used it before to permanently join mic stand adaptors, but before I attempted to permanently reattach the beater I had a thought: what if…. what if!
One aspect of the Perc Pro that was never really a perfect match for me and my needs, was that PP are only available with wooden beaters. My lounge is half full of percussion instruments – a drum kit, vibraphone, marimba, timpani, rototoms, marching bass drum, xylophone etc etc – but you would have to really hunt to find a bare wooden mallet. I just do not like them and rarely use them – I dislike sharp attack. Even on my drum kit I usually play with a pair of Vic Firth SD12 Swizzle G sticks which are double ended drum sticks, one end being a normal drum stick & the other end being a softer mallet, and 99% of the time I use the softer end…
Now I appreciate this approach only works as I am only playing my own music – same with vibes, marimba, glock etc…. In many musical settings a harder mallet or drum stick is necessary to make the instrument rate in a complex or busy arrangement, but thats not me… I prefer sparse music where instruments don’t fight to be heard, and to my ears vibes played with hard mallets is like a different mildly unpleasant instrument compared to dreamy soft attack….
When PolyEnd launched the PercPro there was talk of other beaters becoming available, but over a year has passed and there is no sign of them… So you’ve probably guessed by now where this is leading – I decided to see if my short term failure could become a longer term gain, ie a Perc Pro with a soft beater…
I went for a drive to a local company who are specialists in just one thing: if you need to attach, join or fasten two things together and Coastal Fasteners can’t help you, then no one can. Your next stop will be a fabricator or machine shop. A number of times when rigging camera & sound gear I have needed some weird non-standard bolt or often actually a ‘thing’ which I am not sure exists, and they always have a solution, so I took the PP beater with me and went to have a chat.
Turns out the thread is M6 (an M6 screw has a nominal outer diameter of 6 millimeters) so my next question, was there a way to extend the mechanism beyond the body?
CF: Sure, with one of these
OK, and if I wanted to attach the standard wooden beater?
CF: No problem, use a 6mm grub screw
OK, so my immediate issue is solved AND I have gained a 6mm connection point for attaching anything, clear of the body of the mechanism. Next stop: hardware store to see what kind of elements I can find for my new Franken-Beater
I am pretty much done recording for the new library, so I won’t test and evolve this setup immediately, but I did have one other thought relative to the new library. This will make far more sense once you hear some of the sounds – there is a short preview below – but I have the big metal cabinet within easy reach of my house now (OMFG it weighs a lot – I can only just lift one end of it!) and I bought some extention cables for the PercPro beaters (Hosa DMX 5-Pin XLR Male to 5-Pin XLR Female Extension Cable – 30′) so it now doesn’t take me too long to set up my microphones, recorder, laptop and the Percussion Pro beaters and controller… If there was interest, I thought I might offer to re-record peoples sequences using this set up. There would have to be some constraints – I don’t want to spend days of my life recording pounding metal… Owning the new library would be the first pre-requisite, and there would have to be a durational limit but sequences could easily be submitted via a standard MIDI file, with three preset notes as per the three beaters, with tempo, timing, velocity etc all being your choice… Would you be interested?
I’ll ask again when the library is released…
“We’ve made three different types of strikers. We’re selling beaters on demand with mounted silicone, aluminum, and wooden (oak) strikers.”
Gorgeous new book arrived from amazon: Laurie Anderson: All the Things I Lost in the Flood – so great to see some of her graphic scores
The big bass drum I have had for a while, as per the label it came from a pipe band in Bay of Plenty (one day i will peel off the ‘PIPES’ part and replace it with ‘BASS’) but I picked up the two Ludwig timpani yesterday after getting them for a bargain online… And funnily enough they are ex a brass band as well, although a more local one… They don’t have the pedals for tuning, but it seems they can take the pedals – there is a tuning gauge on the side of each, which has movable markers for notating tuning… So my next mission is to find pedals for them! But OMG I love their tonality & deep resonance, I just have to stop myself from playing the theme to 2001 on them!!
▶ Leon Vynehall – ‘Movements (Chapter III)’ (Official Video)
▶ Leon Vynehall – ‘Envelopes (Chapter VI)
▶ Echologist – Slight Detour
▶ Sergei Prokofiev – Lieutenant Kijé (love the celesta at 1’10”)
▶ Ólafur Arnalds – saman
Jim Jarmusch at the Lincoln Center, New York, April 2014: “Robby Müller, I learned so much from this man about filmmaking, about a lot of things, about life in general and about light and about recording things and about capturing things in the moment and about trusting instincts. Robby and I had a really wonderful way of working: No storyboard, a shot list only if really necessary for ourselves. I still don’t like making a shot list each day when I’m working. Robby’s idea is about instincts, trusting your instinct and your intuition and Robby would always say things like: ‘Of course we can plan everything in advance and when we go to that location it’s a different time of day, the light is different, the clouds are different, so why would we cling to the idea we had previously? We must always be on our feet.’ Think on your feet.
And we did a lot of interesting things while scouting for this film together which was: We find the most dramatic, incredibly beautiful landscape you could imagine and then we would turn our backs on it and film the other way. [audience laughs] That was something that Robby said: ‘Look how magnificent this is, we’ve seen it in a fucking calender! Let’s look over there, it’s a small tree and a rock, very sad and emotional, you know?’ [audience laughs] So we would film that instead. And this is just one example of the kind of way that Robby thinks. And I learned so much from him, thinking that way. Don’t look for the obvious, always keep your eyes open, keep thinking on your feet. Shooting a film is a process and you can’t control everything in the process, so be open. Another thing Robby taught me was: O.K., you’re shooting a scene outside and suddenly it starts raining. And most crews would say: ‘Well, the scene doesn’t take place in the rain, so let’s pack up and we’ll have to stop for today’. And Robby would be: ‘I wonder what it would be like, if the scene’s in the rain. Maybe it’s much better’. Or if we already shot some of it: ‘O.K. think of some dialogue where they say it’s about the rain, you know?’ Like, keep thinking, keep thinking, don’t be set in your script. It’s something that came from Nicholas Ray, who said: ‘If you just gonna shoot the script then why bother?’ And that’s something Robby also instilled in me. Robby Müller is a kind of brilliant man who’s a very rebellious teenager in part of his spirit and yet an incredibly technically gifted person.”
▶ playing records at the wrong speed? hold my beer…. ps skip to 6’00”
▶ sad & beautiful photos by Romain Thiery of abandoned pianos
▶ interesting project: sound of street view
▶ WTF Siri! – “they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos..” – at last the real motive for voice control is revealed
(may also be useful excuse: I don’t remember ordering this module! WTF Siri!!)
▶ this made me laugh
So far my Super 8 drone has been a rather worrisome project! Even the little Canon 514XL camera is really too much weight for my old Phantom 3 Pro… So far I have done 6 short flights with it
Flight 1 = I got it airborne and landed ok
Flight 2 = I got it airborne, but then had a forced rapid landing with the drone reporting the battery did not have enough power.
Flight 3 = I got it in the air, having swapped batteries and set the 10 second timer going. I managed to take off, and get it pointed out towards the ocean view in time for the ten seconds of Super 8 to roll… Then managed to land it ok, very gently into longish grass. The weight of the camera below it meant the drone didnt tip over & shred grass…
Flight 4 = I took off, managed to shoot another ten seconds of Super 8 but then tried to turn the drone a bit fast, and I think the excess counter weight meant the drone tried to autocorrect the swaying, and then spiralled out of control, crashing into trees beside my drive… I walked down the drive to try & find it and easily spotted the battery which had somehow been ejected on impact. And down the bank further was the drone and Super 8 camera….
Surprisingly it was all intact – well, no new damage at least… I put the battery on to charge, and planned next flight for the next sunny day.
Flight 5 = I took off, managed to shoot another ten seconds of Super 8 and land ok again…
Feeling a little braver I thought I will try and get a bit higher by powering up more in the ten seconds before the timer fires… bad idea!
Flight 6 = I took off, powered up and tried to turn at the same time to get into position… Oh sh+t! The drone angled over a bit and revved hard trying to autocorrect… Thinking maybe going up might help it stabilise I gave it a bit more upwards power but by then it was surging revs and spiralling up & out of control!? Yikes!! Having lost control I tried to keep an eye on its trajectory and as it spiralled down I waited hoping not to hear the sounds of serious damage… It seemed to descend at about a 30 degree angle, so I dropped the controller and ran down the drive looking for it.
Being an older drone, the P3P does not have the ‘find my drone’ app which my Mavic has… So the only help the drone app was, was for it last known position before crashing… But I thought it should have kept power until impact so the last GPS should be reasonably accurate…
I walked down the drive to where it last was according to that yellow line above and started searching… No sign of it down the bank, or on my neighbours property… I went down to the road and into the bush reserve and searched below my property… Found a soccer ball but no sign of the drone… After an hour of searching it started to get dark, so I called it quits for the night & went home a little defeated…
Next morning after a good sleep I was out at 8.30am searching with help from my neighbour. We covered more of the bush reserve and rechecked his property. No sign of it. After a couple of hours search we knocked on the door of the house way out in front and asked if we could check their garden… Another hour and still no sign!
By now I was thinking there was only three likely scenarios.
1. Someone walking their dog through the bush reserve has found it & taken it home. So I put an ad on the Plimmerton Facebook page, offering a reward…
2. It was stuck up in the tree tops, as the bush reserve is very dense in places… So I got my Mavic out & flew over most of the area, carefully scanning but to no avail…
3. The third option? The drone has become sentient and has escaped to freedom, to start a new life as a free robot… with a Super 8 camera to document its activities…
Thankfully the weather has been good all week – cold frosty mornings but clear sunny days with no rain… This gave me hope, but rain was forecast for today and sure enough I work to the sound of rain on the roof… If my drone was still out there somewhere it was now going to be a very wet drone, which might likely ruin the electronics…
But when I got up & checked my messages, there was a FB message saying my drone had been found at 1 Reserve Road!!
Wow! So while out of control it travelled more than twice as far as it did when it was under my control… Thankfully it looks ok, no damage and the drone battery still has charge in it… And the Super 8 batteries are still fully ok, and another 10 seconds has been shot… although of exactly what I don’t know….
So I might have to revise my next flight!
When I was at Palliser Bay a week or two ago, I shot some previz using my Mavic drone and converted it to B&W, imagining what it might look like on Super8… So that might be my next flight, away from any houses or people… But also with the danger of a rocky landing if I do lose control… So here is what I am hoping to capture (spot the nerdlinger at 1’08”)
Given the stability issues with my Super 8 drone I suspect I wont be flying over the sea any time soon 😉
Think I’ve found my favourite film stock – Ilford SFX200! Blown away with the shot above (make your browser full screen & then click on the photo) which was taken in really difficult light. I flew my drone a bit and shot some video but with such contrasty side light a lot of the video is either underexposed or blown out… But the detail and totanlity of the photo above is gorgeous to my eyes…
I just got scans of four rolls of SFX200 back from the lab, a lot of the shots I took three version of: first as above shot with a red #25 filter, then with an infra red 720nm filter with normal focus and then a second infra red shot focused as per the infra red focus marks on the xpan lens. I’ll post some comparisons once I’ve gone through it all, SFX200 is not an infra red per se but is sensitive to infra red. I also shot a roll of Rollei infra red 400 film so will be interesting to see how it compares…
▶ Ital Tek – Blood Rain (new album Sept 7th)
▶ Nas – Adam and Eve
▶ Braun tube jazz band – more here
▶ Martyn – Voids
▶ Lifeless – Luminism [ssi-146]
After a patient six week wait, the rather unfortunately named Rossum Assimil8or arrived!
Having tracked its travels I was ready for its arrival and had carved a space for it, playing ‘module tetris’ between cases with the aim of creating a playable self contained instrument… But also pulling together all the modules that involve programming, so the case can split its time between sitting beside my computer getting loaded, and over with my main modular, being assimilated and modulated… (Cirklon is still in transit, on some kind of world tour – it left Berlin, transited Shenzhen, China and is now resting at Changi, Singapore)
The realm of modular regularly blows my mind – every time I engage, it feels a little like jumping into some kind of swimming pool of infinite creative potential, where I could stay underwater, doing nothing other than messing with my modular and a few decades could pass without ever reaching any limits in possibility… I used to think that was primarily due to scale i.e. my modular growing past the point of predictable or knowable outcomes… Of course taste, aesthetics, intent all steer whatever experimention and creative process is occurring but the creative power contained in even just this little 6U case is really freaking unreal!
For a composer, the choice of instrumentation and associated performances are in effect the realisation of their musical art form. Accordingly for a classical composer, having regular access to an orchestra or ensemble must enable a profound cycle of creative feedback – writing for specific performers. Hearing the results. Iterating.
For many decades electronic instruments have been accessible, but now – right now – we are truly in a golden age of evolution. Whether you are a ten year old kid who just got a Volca sample, or some middle aged geezer who just got an Assimil8or, all benefit from the confluence of decades of creative evolution and the current mass rapid growth in production of music/sound hardware and software.
I wonder when we will see entirely new forms of music based on this evolutionary leap? Do you feel you have heard it yet, because I sure don’t. One of the biggest creative issues I have with a lot/most music produced with modular is due to maximalism. Almost every piece starts, gets denser, and denser, louder and louder… until it ends. Why is it so hard to turn off? or even just turn down? Is it simply due to the newly found skill or pleasure of making sound? More is more is more is more is more, until… the end?
There is an ongoing joke/meme that ‘you can never have enough VCAs’and that may be a potential source of the issue. Due to cost and space limitations many people work with small cases such as this 6U. But when it comes to priorities, generating sound/music is often high on the list – voices, followed closely by a means to play or trigger those voices. But unless for every sound source there is a means of controlling its volume (a VCA or filter, controlled by an envelope) then those sounds are going to start, play and keep playing… More and more and more… until… the end?
I thought I had visited all of the gun emplacements & bunkers in Wellington… but this one was new to me! These are crappy iPhone photos, can’t wait to see XPAN shots from here!
Have to wonder if these gun emplacements ever actually fired a shot in anger? Testing and range finding, sure… but thankfully our remote location made it a bit of a wasted mission in previous world wars ie could NZ be a potential staging post to invade… um… Antartica?
First test flight with a Super 8 camera attached to my drone was successful!
As with attaching my Sony D100 when recording sound, I am using my old Phantom 3 Pro and scored a Canon 514XL Super8 camera as it is tiny & lightweight, plus it has a timer function where it waits 10 seconds then shoots 10 seconds… So next test is an actual camera test, shoot a roll!
▶ Mr. Cloudy – Goodbye Last Snow (Love Sprockets Dub)
▶ Blue Calx by Aphex Twin, performed by Alarm Will Sound
▶ Stay On It by Julius Eastman, performed by Alarm Will Sound via I care if you listen
step 1 for a synth nerd/obsessives is to monitor DIY versions…
I’ve stalked a few of the originals & inevitably bailed out
when they passed $2k beyond my budget…
And I kinda failed even being aware of version 1 of this DIY edition
but as posted previously, version 2 is currently available
and these atoms arrived today: case & PCBs
Next step: ordering the BOM
Next step: further patience, waiting for all elements to come into stock
current estimate: October… OCTOBER!? WTF?
ok then… I’ve waited a year or two to get to this point
Still don’t know who is going to build this for me
but it sure won’t be me…
patience is a virtue
DoodleChaos: “I synchronized the song “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg to my first line rider track drawing everything by hand. It took me over a month of my free time to create. Hope you enjoy!”
▶ Resina – Procession via
▶ Jack DeJohnette – Epilog (1974)
▶ Sangatsu / ”TOKYO”
▶ Tortoise – Find The One (Remix by Bundy K. Brown)
its kinda funny – I have vinyl of this song & have listened to & LOVED it for years… at the wrong speed! Have a quick listen to the ‘correct’ speed Youtube copy, then have a listen to this:
▶ Tortoise – Find The One (Remix by Bundy K. Brown) at the wrong speed…
so much more space… its hypnotic! And the drums sound so much deeper
I’ll continue listening at the wrong speed thanks!
If/when aliens ever arrive to this planet, these people should lead the official greeting party!
NSU Spartan Legion
▶ Peter Gabriel: “TV smash take 1… uh take 2… TAKE 3!”
▶ DIY Pearl SY-1 Syncussion second run is currently available – ordered the PCBs, will find someone to build it for me!
▶ infinite realtime composition for computer-controlled piano by Karlheinz Essl
▶ how Herbie Flowers got a double session fee for the bassline of Walk on the Wild Side
▶ public transport in NZ: 1974 versus 2018
▶ funny: xkcd on GDPR
All of the short films entered in the Super 8×8 Wellington Festival are available to screen online now, HERE
If ever you doubted how difficult it might be to shoot a 3 minute short film, with only one take per shot and all editing done in camera then I highly reccomend trying it! Aspirations and ego rapidly get crushed and soon become grateful that *anything* works in it! I kind of treated mine as a camera test, trying as many techniques as I could during the week of shooting including slow mo shooting at 48fps, some stop motion single frame shots, motion control tracking shot, zoom etc etc….
So below is a copy of my entry, as screened on the night i.e. with a soundtrack created without having ever seen any of the developed film… so despite my best efforts at the time, sync is a little blurry…
And below that is an updated copy with a revised soundtrack which is a lot more specific with sync, plus I fixed the offaxis titles and horizontal flipped one shot at the end, for continuity…
Full screen, good speakers please!
Screener: THROWING SHAPES
Updated Screener: THROWING SHAPES
The day has finally arrived – after 2 years on the Cirklon waiting list I at last made it to the top and today am placing an order for a Cirklon sequencer!
Funnily enough I had been reading an interesting thread on MW: How are you sequencing all of your voices? which is primarily people describing how they sequence their modular synth, but also how they integrate into their studio…
Time to start reading the manual while I wait for the Cirklon atoms to travel across the globe to me!
Two new libraries releasing soon at HISSandaROAR
▶ Altone – Small Soul
▶ Karlheinz Stockhausen – 2 pianos and ring modulation
▶ The Black Dog – Black Daisy Wheel
▶ Nightmares On Wax – Deep Shadows (Moodymann Remix)
▶ Second Woman – Apart I
oh yeah! 10 rolls of Super8 TriX and a new camera!
‘new’ being a relative term, but a mint Super8 camera for under $200
and not just any camera, a Nikon R10 Super 8….
perhaps the ultimate Super 8 camera!
Was motivated to hunt down & procure the R10 due to a couple of features,
first is that apparently it has the best registration of any Super 8 camera ever
(noticed the need when my Nizo defocused briefly, due to film moving away from the gate)
but the R10 can also shoot double exposures… and while reading how to do that
I discovered it can also shoot backwards ie backwards action!!
Might I add, it is fascinating times in the analog world
slowly Fujifilm abandons its film history…
Meanwhile Kodak embrace theirs…
and are progressing!
▶ In the studio with Nils Frahm
▶ Lost score composed by 18 year old Debussy is up for auction
(pre-sale estimate is 120,000 – 180,000 euros)
▶ Song Exploder: Jon Hopkins – Luminous Beings
▶ xkcd: how well something works after I decide to fix it
▶ Chris Carter Chemistry Lesson on Studio Hardware
▶ creativity, step 1: divergent thinking
▶ Peter Zinovieff: Synth Pioneer
Confused by all of the GDPR bizo? Mr Scruff clears it all up
Saturday night was the conclusion to the Wellington edition of the Super8x8 film festival – its been run in Auckland two times previously but this was the first time in Wellington and it was such a fun challenge to take part in! I’ll write a bit more below about it but here are a few stills from my entry, THROWING SHAPES which I managed to win second place! The winner was PINECONE by Tim Hope which was a really nicely conceived and executed short film, which also prompted a great audience reaction..
The theme for this festival was INVERSION which could be interpreted in any way that you like, and while shooting 3 minutes of film over the course of a week might sound fairly easy this was a really excellent creative challenge as all editing had to be achieved in camera – no post production was allowed & the first time we all saw our films was at the screening… Accordingly everyone was a little nervous at the screening, so the laughter was somewhat cathartic as one by one each team was hugely relieved to see their film!
My approach was to start with the soundtrack, and attempt to work backwards – making timed notes on how long shots should be to keep some form of sync… But after carefully shooting frame by frame a leader (so sound could be easily synced live) and the titles, and then a motion control tracking shot, the next location blew my sync as I got caught up in shooting without accurately timing how long my shots were! But all was not totally lost – each shot I did I shot on video first as a test of framing & timing, but also so that I could slowly assemble a video version of my film to rework the soundtrack as necessary… So I guesstimated how much extra I might have shot at location 2, and updated my soundtrack accordingly…
While I am used to shooting film as stills, and try to be conscious of shooting digital & not just shooting excessively, the discipline required to edit in camera felt like an enormous challenge and it was a really invaluable learning experience to attempt it and to then see the results with my own attempt and with everyone elses.
One of my aims was also to attempt a number of different shooting methods, so apart from motion controlled tracking (using my SYRP Genie and slider) I also did one rotating 720 shot with camera on SYRP Genie, a stop motion shot (6 seconds at 18fps = 108 x shoot a frame & move props!) and some slow motion shooting at 54fps… I had planned to also do a timelapse shot, and a macro motion control shot but the weather turned to shite on the last two days and I had to drop those shots…
So did my film work? Kind of… It was sure fun to see it and while I never aimed to have a clear linear narrative over the course of shooting, improvising some shots and adjusting aspirations to reality my ideas evolved into something I will continue to work on – I plan to shoot another 3 or 4 rolls of Super 8 and then edit picture as well as sound & score, partly to try & make my short a little more fully realised, but also because it was such fun shooting and as I feel a lot more confident shooting on my Nizo 801 camera I want to carry on and do more with it! So you can expect an online screening in a month or so!
hands up: who has stayed up way past bed time, to insure you win an auction for an obscure bit of audio gear for sale in a different time zone? (maybe) worth it for a one off – I can find no other instance of this dual resonator, anywhere…. except soon here!
a tape echo that uses 8 track cartidges?
sure… hate to think what my next stop will be…
stalking 8 track cartridges to erase with dubbed out space cadetship…
if you hear a bit of some dreadful 70s band in the feedback then consider it unintentional
of course every mixer should include an analog drum machine… and a spring reverb!
the museum of repurposed technology grows…
▶ Brainwaltzera – muddy puddle trot
▶ Oneohtrix Point Never – Black Snow
▶ Hexstatic – Perfect Bird remix
▶ Perfect Bird – Guitar Vader – パーフェクト・バード
Having recently got a lot of rolls of film back from the lab its been interesting revisiting shots I took, in some cases months ago… And the differences in approach, to the same shot, at this location I especially found interesting, so I thought I would share the details…
Note: all photos have had no post production work done at all – these are all displayed as they came out of the camera…
The location is the river mouth at the South Coast from Wainuiomata – it was a sunny day & I arrived mid afternoon… & I lugged a fair amount of gear along the beach to the river mouth: my Canon 5D3 and lenses, Lee filters & tripod… plus my Fuji TX2/XPAN2 and lenses & Lee filters… and my field recording gear…
I shot a bunch of test shots as I walked alongside the river but it was the final curve of the river as it approached the sea that caught my eye so I dropped all my gear, set up my tripod & started shooting…
So those first two photos above, were shot with my iPhone 6s, auto-exposure auto-focus so essentially a snapshot and in such bright light the EXIF data says the exposure was 1/1522! As snapshots they capture that it was a sunny day with blue sky but as far as the water goes they are to my eyes ugly photos. Fine for documenting my setup but harsh to the eyes….
Next camera: Canon 5D3 with Zeiss 21mm lens fitted with Lee Super Stopper. Now when using such dark ND filters the sensible method would be to check your exposure without the filter and then either calculate the exposure time, or refer to the handy card of typical exposure times included with the Super Stopper (eg 1/1000 = 30 seconds, 1/500 = 1 minute) or refer to the handy app that Lee Filters make freely available…
But I quite like taking a more experimental approach that doesn’t require anything other than shooting test photos, as I sometimes capture happy accidents this way…. So after composing & focusing my shot and setting f stop and iso for typical non-ND conditions, I then crank the iso and fit the Super Stopper ND15 filter and simply start shooting bulb exposures, increasing the exposure time with each shot until I am in the zone of what I imagined/pre-visualized (nothing is more boring than shooting a 3 minute exposure and finding it is way under exposed!)
exposure time = 1/5 second iso 1250
exposure time = 3.1 seconds iso 1250
exposure time = 7 seconds iso 1250
OK so by now I have quickly shot 4 photos within a minute and am now in the ballpark of what I am after in terms of approach… So now it is time to decrease iso which allows me to extend the exposure time…
exposure time = 33 seconds iso 400
better but I want the water to be like glass
exposure time = 180 seconds iso 100
this is it, I could stop now & be happy with this result from a 3 minute exposure… but as they say, you can never know if you went far enough unless you also go too far, so…
exposure time = 248 seconds iso 100
Checking the image in the LCD display I think I am into the territory of diminishing returns, so I call this shot done, put away my 5D3 and get out the XPAN…
Now I tend to keep my XPAN2 loaded with either Fuji Velvia 100 or Kodak TMax 100, mainly due to the issue of reciprocity failure, which varies with every film stock but I know from basic research & testing that these two stocks cope well with long exposures…
This day I was loaded with Velvia 100 as I figured there might be potential for a beautiful sunset, so first as with my 5D3 I set the XPAN2 on my tripod and framed/composed and focused the shot and for reference took a shot on auto exposure:
And having shot on iso 100 with my 5D3 I know if I put the Super Stopper on my XPAN a 3 minute exposure is going to be approximately right, but to allow for some reciprocity I will leave the shutter open a bit longer…
exposure time = approx 210 seconds Velvia iso 100
You can draw your own conclusions about which shot you prefer… Velvia 100 does tend to get a slight purple cast with extended exposure times, so for example a slight tweak in Photoshop balances that out:
There is a great saying, which applies to sound as much as photography:
The best camera (recorder/mic) is the one you have with you! So while like most people I take a lot of snapshots with my iPhone I dont really consider that photography per se, it is just taking snapshots. Why? Well, I consider a photograph requires composition and control of the medium. Composing means more than just framing, composition also occurs through control of focus and exposure, both of which do not tend to occur when using an iPhone. But a photo taken with an iPhone is definitely better than no photo at all.. And if nothing else can be a useful reminder to revisit a location to shoot it ‘properly’ as is evidenced by the ugly iPhone photos at the start of this post, and the gorgeous silky tones of the long exposures…
One of the reasons long exposure photography has such appeal to me is that as with shooting film it slows the process down, so rather than bang bang bang shooting snapshots with little thought or investment in thought, process or feeling.. the photograph becomes more akin to field recording where three minutes is a bare minimum to capture an ambience, and it therefore requires you to be present and quiet for at least that long.
Lastly, I love this quote by Ansel Adams and have adapted it for field recording
The next HISSandaROAR library due for release soon is a byproduct of the Doppler Truck Horn recording sessions = literally hundreds of clean open road car passes…..
▶ “The video is by John James Haynie of North Texas State University, he invented it to study & teach trumpet”
▶ reading & listening to David Burrastons recent arts fellowship travels has been fascinating! What an excellent initiative.. #soundart
▶ fascinating interview with Andre Cymone – Princes bassplayer amongst other things…
▶ not enough physical space for a modular synth? think again (but, BUT a noticeable lack of speakers in these small setups, which presumably means monitoring on headphones = a scary prospect for the longevity of your hearing given how dynamic modular experimentation can be!!)
▶ Synthesizer Manuals Collection (thanks Nigel)
▶ I’d never seen this Making Of for the classic Gondry/Daft Punk music vid… such great ideas & brilliant choreography by Blanca Li
▶ If you use facebook & also use bhphoto, open & close this bhphoto page for the Linhof 4×5 Master Technika 3000 Metal Field Camera and see how long it is before bhphoto ads start appearing in your timeline… :/
▶ This is what happens when you sneak a hip flask on to your lunar mission…
survived day 1 of shoot for @Super8x8
stayed up until 1am finishing a draft of my soundtrack…
then shot titles & first shot = motion controlled weird perspective
Nizo 801 Super 8 camera + @Kodak TriX + @Syrp Motion Control
This is fun!
And quite possibly the most difficult work I have ever done!
Shot a camera test today with my Nizo 801 macro Super 8 camera, even did some long exposure test shots with my Lee Filters Big Stopper as the Nizo has a bulb mode… And shot some 54fps slow mo, and some double exposures…
Testing it all works prior to shooting a short film (of some kind) with a single roll of Super 8 film (all edits are done in camera) as part of the Super 8×8 Festival which my friend Ian is running in Wellington this week! For all of the people who entered, the first time they see their film is with everyone else at the screening!! I’m trying to plan my shooting so I can also make a soundtrack of some kind that is slightly coherent…
love this bathymetric image of the underwater landscape surrounding New Zealand!
courtesy of NIWA
found a very lethargic bee in my lounge, so I put him on a bit of kauri gum…
mainly so i could shoot some #macro photos…
then i remembered reading of how bees & bumble bees can become exhausted if they are away from food source for too long… so i put a tiny bit of honey on the kauri gum…
nom nom… starting to feel better!
i left the room for 5 minutes & came back to find him buzzing at a window, wanting to be let out…
off you go little bee! keep up the good work…
Thanks to #TePunaFoundation I just bought my first photo print, a 1:1 print off a R P Moore negative, shot w Cirkut panoramic camera in 1920s – neg/print is 1.3m wide!! Exquisite detail – Milford Sound #NZ, I posted the original back in February 2017, and never would have predicted one day I would have an actual print to admire & inspire!!
▶ Akira Kurosawa’s great advice to aspiring filmmakers – full interview here
▶ 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY – All 611 shots
▶ great interview with Philip Glass (the audiobook of his autobiography is highly reccomended too)
▶ The Terror is a great new TV series – period drama, ships stuck in ice… interesting article on sound for the series: Capturing, creating historical sounds for AMC’s The Terror By Jennifer Walden
▶ hee hee