Learning just another (filmmaking) program, while not forgetting about photography

Recently, Zuleikha had just another gig as a musician (playing piano), and we recorded it – Mitchie on video with her Olympus E-PL5 and the 45mm/1.8 lens (on her tripod of course), and me with my Røde NT-1A microphone, the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen) interface, and the Lenovo Thinkpad P50 laptop/notebook which I’ve got from my employer.

Zuleikha’s piano teacher asked us to make a DVD from all the attendees’ performances, so we recorded everyone instead of just our own daughter. And since then (that was Sunday evening), I’m trying to learn just another video-editing program.

Why? Well because Ardour is more like Avid’s Pro Tools – a music studio inside of your computer, and OpenShot is a video editor which we’ve used previously, but which also gave me some headaches already – for bigger projects like a full-blown DVD, it’s not the most stable and full-featured one.

So at the moment I’m looking at the community version of Cinelerra, which seems to be great. There’s a very nice article on the German ubuntuusers wiki, with some additional nice links, like the one to Raffaella Traniello’s “Cinelerra for Grandma” – that answered most of my questions (and struggles) so far.

It’s still quite a lot to learn – these are not your basic editors, but full-blown and -featured professional programs like the commercial ones on other operating systems (and also a bit like Ardour vs. Pro Tools or Logic).

And with all that music- and video-related stuff, I’m still not forgetting about photography, even if I do that only for private and family “jobs” right now. So I’m still regularly reading the most interesting bloggers (and pros) like Kirk Tuck, or Michael Johnston’s “The Online Photographer” (and listening to Brooks Jensen’s “Lenswork Daily” podcasts).

I just answered one of Mike’s posts for instance, which was about his thought of a dual camera system (one his iphone, the other one maybe a Sony A7-2). My answer to that one, in case you don’t find it on his page, was:

“Love the idea, Mike.

I’ve got an Olympus OM-D E-M10 (first gen) which in cameras is in my opinion the equivalent to what our Corolla is in cars. It will do the job, and get you the picture. Not the best, but a quite acceptable one.

But the A7 Mk2 is the one that really interest me, even more so since I realized that both of our Olympus film bodies (OM-1 and OM-2) are having problems with their shutters, and ruin many potentially good (and expensive) film shots. So yes, a “digital back” for my OM Zuiko 50mm/1.4 would be great to have.

Or maybe an FM-2; could even be better. But that wouldn’t accept my Zuiko lens AFAIK.”

So beside my full-time professional job (still having to earn a living for us all), and beside my honorary work in the school’s parents’ association, I’m quite busy at the moment. Holding on to the next task, like: make a DVD for the parents of the other young and aspiring musicians – and for their teacher of course.

But being busy, and being together with the young ones keeps you young as well – or so they say 😉

Thanks for reading.

Jacob Collier

Meet Jacob Collier, rehearsing with the WDR Big Band in 2015:

More info about him at the German and English Wikipedia pages, more music at his Youtube channel.

Like Snarky Puppy, he’s a two times Grammy winner – one for this:

Found him through Aimee Nolte’s video about microtonalism, here:

Thanks Aimee!


Update, from June 8th, 2017:

Jacob plays some real nice double bass, or “Oma” as we sometimes call them in German. I’ve read or heard in some interview that he got that one as a present when he was 14. Lucky him! See here for instance:

Also on this really grooving track, after some 2+ minutes a capella (which are awesome as well):

Incredible musician. Oh, and if you listen to his “interviews” playlist on Youtube, you’ll notice that he has perfect pitch (“absolutes Gehör” in German). Which means that if he sings an arpeggio, you’ll find that he had the exact notes when checked on a piano. Here for instance. Awesome once again:

No wonder even Quincy Jones was impressed, and became his mentor. What a career…

Speaking about being with the great ones; here he is with Snarky Puppy, on their “Family Dinner Vol. 2”:

and on stage as well, somewhere in England, showcasing that a Melodica is all you need if you’re that good:

I love this concert

Snarky Puppy live in Paris, in exactly the same lineup of people as they played here in Frankfurt. But the list of songs is very different, except of some of their “hits” of course (they didn’t play “Lingus” here for instance).

What I also like here are the shots which show the audience – a few people more than the 1.300 people which attended the concert here. And boy, these parisiens and parisiennes know a good groove when they hear it; love their reactions!

Snarky Puppy is very much a band of musicians and for musicians – so not everyone likes them. But again, there’s no average age of the audience, all kinds of kids from under 20 up to old guys (like me) of 60 and above. Which probably shows that although the band members are young (some are less than half my age), and although they’re standing on the shoulders of giants (of my youth, I remember quite a number of good jazzrock bands), there’s still a market for good old handmade music. Which gives kinda hope for the future, after all that disco-hiphop-sampling-stealing-whatever “dark times” of computer-produced snippet stuff… Oh, and the instruments: there’s also nothing better than the originals, from the good old B3s, Minimoogs and Rhodes pianos up to the brass and the violin.

Long live Snarky. Ordered their “We like it here” CD/DVD yesterday, from their own GroundUpMusic website, and it’s on its way already. And cheaper than at the big online retail stores, even if you count in the shipping from New York.

So please do as Michael says here: support the musicians. Especially the younger ones.

Thank you for reading.

Snarky Puppy World Tour 2017: Frankfurt

So yesterday I was at a concert of my current favourite band and 2 times Grammy winners, Snarky Puppy. In case you’re interested, you can purchase the whole concert here (FLAC). And on one of their pictures you can even see me…

So – how was the concert? In two words: good. LOUD. Guess it was ok at the mixing console, close to which I stood later, but more at the front of the stage, the sound volume over the whole spectrum (in my opinion, especially the higher parts) was VERY high.

They let their guest start first, which was the really sweet Becca Stevens. She presented some songs from her latest album Regina with a little help from “Maz” Maher (voc), and Michael League (b, voc) from Snarky.

And after a short break to move their stuff off the stage, Snarky played, with

Chris Bullock – tenor sax, flute, & alto flute
Mike “Maz” Maher – trumpet & flugelhorn
Justin Stanton – trumpet, Fender Rhodes, & Prophet
Bobby Sparks – organ, clavinet, Minimoog, and Motif
Zach Brock – violin
Bob Lanzetti – guitar
Michael League – bass & Moog bass
Larnell Lewis – drums
Nate Werth – percussion


1. GØ
2. Beep Box
3. Outlier
4. Thing of Gold
5. Tarova
6. Grown Folks
7. Tio Macaco
8. Young Stuff
9. Shofukan
10. Sleeper

I was pretty close to the stage until about 22:00 (10pm), after which I was out for a short cigarette break – and so I heard the rest of the concert from the entrance which was about as far from the stage as the mixer – where the sound was much more pleasing. Michael’s Markbass Casa was still pressing through his 8×10″ cabinet, but now the highs weren’t as shrill anymore. Much better.

The audience was about 1300 people, and as usual with Snarky, aged from under 20 to over 60. And also as usual, some of their greatest hits were sung by the audience, like “Thing of Gold”, or “Shofukan”, or even the only cover song of the evening, Steve Wonder’s “Always” by Becca & her band, where “Maz” turned out to be a really good vocalist as well.

Definitely a band to hear. Don’t miss them.

P.S.: Just downloaded their concert, and I’m glad I did – it’s awesome. The recorded sound must have come from the mixing console; it’s much better than it was close to the stage (and also better than at the entrance door of the hall). So if you haven’t done so already, listen to them at least on Youtube – but I can definitely also recommend that Frankfurt concert.

Oh, and by the way: if you looked at the linked photo above, did you also see the Focusrite interface on that Hammond B3? It’s a smaller version of the one I have…

And now – something for the bassists

Here are two very basic but nonetheless useful lessons for beginning bass players. The first one talks about the two most common mistakes done by slap players, the second deals with the single most important thing to learn. Oh, and the example music is great as well; in the second it’s “Autumn Leaves” again. Look and listen if you’re interested:

Scott is doing this for a living, apart from being a session musician – so if you need that kind of advice from a real working pro, consider to join (and pay) him for what he does.

Oh, and his mentioning of “scales and arpeggios” reminded me of a must-see movie especially for musicians. So the following two are from Aristocats, and remember: you have to practise your scales and you arpeggios before you can even try thinking about performing the second one:

Yeah. Cool cats they are. Enjoy.

Thanks to Paul Davis, and to others

Just listened to a very interesting talk of about an hour or so from Paul Davis, (co-) founder and inventor of programs like Jack and Ardour.

Found the report and the video on the Libre Music Production site, here. The video is also available on Youtube, and Paul’s keynote speech starts at about 2:22:32 into the video below:

So thanks for everyone involved, and to Paul again for the tools he’s working on since so many years. And thanks also for pointing me to such interesting and exciting things like Faust, or the Sonic Visualizer (parts of which you might have seen in Ardour as well).

What makes this talk so interesting is also that you see this presentation of about an hour to understand the state of audio on all systems, not just Linux.

Oh, and thanks also for letting us know that even products like a Behringer X32 console are plug & play not only on a Mac with its Core Audio, but on Linux as well. Long live class-compliance!

Merçi encore to the Université as well.


Some links, mostly for Zuleikha

One song, so many different interpretations. I showed this one already:

Which is from this album:

Here are just a few more:

The original, in French:

Which is from this movie, also in French:

There are so many more versions. Find out more about it on:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn_Leaves_%281945_song%29 (English)
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Feuilles_mortes (French)
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn_Leaves (German)

or here:



Update from Sat, May 20th, 2017): Here’s another one, played beautifully on a solo Godin guitar by Walter Rodrigues Jr.:

You don’t need much…

No sir.

1. The first piece you can see here proves that you don’t need 4 strings – 3 are enough, if you open and end a piece on a gimbri.

2. You also don’t need a lot of chords – sometimes one chord is enough to totally rock da house. Hear the second one, which Marcus announced in perfect French.

3. and 4. They continue with Miles’ “Tutu“. Marcus, who is about two and a half years younger than me played that in 1986 with Miles, and here (at around the 33 minute mark) they swing like the devils, and play some really nice hard bop and cool jazz lines, just as if Miles would be present. And during the bass solo they switch to Marcus’ own “Blast”, the opening track from his 2008 album “Marcus” (and also on his 2007 album “Free“).

No, you don’t need much. Just keep practising for some 40+ years, and play as much as you can. See his discography.