Sound & Software Walkthru

First, many thanks to….


1. Screenflow! Best. Video. Editor. For serious, it’s dead simple and an amazing middle-ground between the lame-brained iMovie and the Ivory Citadel of Learning Curves that is Final Cut Pro. Used it to capture the native-mix (and so any limitations of that video are because of its half-assed implementation….not sure what’s playing back, but *key* is altered in playback [!!!] and the master-clock-timing doesn’t show). Also adds transitions in the smoothest way I’ve seen.


2. Audacity, keeping it really really real for reals. A fine, upstanding example of what open-source software is capable of achieving. I use it for all my editing tasks now instead of Cubase 4, which ate up both my wallet (-$500) and a USB port (dongle).


So, the sound:


My ID at the beginning was grabbed from Missy Elliot’s Work It and capped with one of the many, many, many fine samples in Steinski’s Nothing to Fear. A note about each one:


a) Work It totally ties with Lil Kim’s How Many Licks for best explicit lady-rap.
b) Nothing to Fear will have to get its own post, for later, though it deserves a book.





I found that unless I gave about 3 seconds between each scratch, I couldn’t rest the rhythm enough to make the phrasing interesting. So I made a custom track with lots of gaps and they crucial word inserted at the end.


I wanted to start with the bass for the video submission, and I like using the beatmasher to telegraph the build/change. Once the drums were in I realized the bass (Track 2 EQ, not Track 1!) was way too down and then waited for the loops to reset to bring in the scratching. I used the first bars of the acapella track since I really liked all the different shifts in the speech samples and couldn’t find a good loop in the verses.


I switch to the Noize (provided thanks to Ean Golden) as basically another sound to solo on, and this is where one of the limits of my setups get apparent. I can’t pause or cut audio when hitting the samples so it’s hard to really imitate a scratch from it. I can do a sort-of-sequency juggle on it though, and making another edit by flipping the sample into reverse definitely helped (you can hear that lots of the samples build UP, instead of the original which was more like a crash or a fade). Having that down&up made the cue point hits more fun to hold and feel sliding around.


One neat trick with the beatmasher is to grab white noise, or anything with enough highs, and cut it with the gate to sound like a hihat. Once it gets fast, tweaking the rhythm makes it feel more funky to my ears.


I would love to say that here I cut up the bass’s cue points. Or that I had ALREADY done that at the beginning like I had PLANNED. The bass is soooooo fun for that….and I blanked. This is the other side of the setup’s limits: my brain. I really have trouble staying aware of the many things spinning together and the many tricks to put on each track. Often, I have to write taped notes to myself like I’m in Momento. Oh well. The point is to be happy with what I have, so the bass will gets its own redux video. Maybe I can shoot that myself…..


Oh, one more weird thing. I’ve noticed this before, but even though the master clock does rule and rock, the beatmasher is completely not up to task. If you leave it on any fast rhythm for too long, you can CLEARLY feel the beat slide off. It gets to the point where it shifts from the downbeat to an upbeat….does. not. fly. For now I just make sure to be retriggering the length every so often, which seems to reset it. I hope hope hope this is more solid in Traktor Pro.


Up next…can I actually capture a performance from my laptop camera while running Traktor?


NOTE: still have to learn good aspect ratio for youtube…ah well, for next time!

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~ by djsilence on May 13, 2010.

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