The Videos, Raw and Honest

I’ve had a lot of compliments on our videos and everybody wants to know: “Did you produce them yourselves?”

Ah, yeah.

The second question comes up is ‘are they live’ and, then, ‘how’.

Here’s the process:

The master sound track is recorded to computer via the magic of electronica, through one of several varieties of condenser mic (headset, mounted, or suspended) or from the pickup inside Forrest’s guitar to the computer with a few mysterious pieces of equipment in between, namely, two soundboards, two POG2s, two Digitech RP1000 effects units, and a 404HD by Behringer. This allows us to somewhat avoid any environmental noise being captured to the track, providing we do it during quiet hours when the trains aren’t coming through every few minutes. (Train rumbles and their horn noise is, in our set-up, nigh on impossible to eradicate). Of course, because I am live mic’d with a condenser mic that loves to pick up key sounds from the flute and my breathing (and any cat walking across the floor), those sounds are just an immutable part of the experience.

The video captures on camera also catch the sound, unless we turn it off. Because of stuff too technical for me to get my brain around, sound lags the visual on video capture, destroying sync. So sound is recorded separate from video capture, which complicates my job as the video compiler.

So, session done, Forrest does post-processing on the audio that was laid to the computer while I get to start pulling the raw footage.

Forrest can get the audio finalized a lot faster than I can compile the video, which requires me to sort through the various camera angles, deciding what goes where, snipping out the parts we’ll use, then pulling them into the program that actually compiles them. Forrest can usually get the audio processed in hours, while my job takes me days upon days to complete unless it’s something simple like our tribute to Chris Cornell, “Black Hole Sun”.

Just a Flute and a Guitar

Forrest's Seagull guitar and my Haynes flute ...and, yes, that's athletic tape on my embouchure plate. It's there for a reason. :D

I quit playing for decades, my last big formal gig being a World Expo. The political requirements were way too steep to continue. I’m a wall flower in high-end social gatherings, preferring to carry on a discussion with the chair or the drapes rather than with that glittering person who just walked up to congratulate me and ask all sorts of personal questions. Classical music patrons and their ‘need-to-know’s make me squirm and look longingly for the exit.

Forrest struggled for years trying to find other rock musicians willing to commit themselves to excellence. Well, ‘rock’ musician is mostly synonymous with “in it for the sex, booze, drugs, and fame.” Then, suddenly, sometime in the last few years, Forrest turned around and realized that he had a good, dedicated musician right there in the house — a captive session musician who had no escape, never mind that she was trained in classical concert flute and piano.

So he began arranging pieces for us, and, with effort, got me somewhat familiar with electronica. Somewhat. (I’m still struggling with foot switching and remembering that the flute acts like an antenna sometimes, especially with distortion patches.)

When all is said and done, we’re not just some flute tooting along with a guitar. We really don’t do boring, and that’s all because of original custom arrangements and an audio vision of what the piece should sound like, all accomplished by our use of electronics, which can turn the guitar into anything from a harpsichord to a petulant child and the flute into a saxophone, screaming electric guitar, an organ, or a chorus.

Our goal is to make each piece uniquely listenable, even considering that we’re just a flute and a guitar making the music happen.     — D. L. Keur (Dawn)

Our Cover of Two Pink Floyd Favorites

VIDEO

AUDIO (mp3)

ABOUT THE ARRANGEMENT AND THE PERFORMANCE

Pink Floyd is a real favorite in our lives, and, of course, Goodbye Blue Sky and Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) are “best favorites” on many people’s lists. Referencing the original album of these pieces, Forrest arranged them, including the effects to be utilized, to try to best match the originals, quite a feat when arranging for one concert flute and one acoustic guitar. But, plugging us both into effects units brought the desired result. My ears cringed the first time I played the overdriven lead solo at the end of Another Brick in the Wall (Part II), but, in time, I got to love it. When I heard the end result, I knew it was ‘right’.

PLANNING THE VIDEO

When it came time to create the performance video of us actually playing the combined pieces, which we call Goodbye Brick in the Wall, we wanted the video to give a real nod to Pink Floyd, their message, along with the movie, The Wall.  Hence, the dog going from live to a frozen still at the beginning and the jolty, hand-held shots of the empty studio with music, instruments, and music stands, wires, sound boards, off and on, and so on, which Pink Floyd fans will recognize as part of their video shticks. At the last of the video, I added in the corrosive effects overlaying moving down a lighted corridor/station, also references to Pink Floyd and the movie, The Wall.

RECORDING THE VIDEO

Videoing took an evening. Thankfully, we’re pretty much able to play these things without a hitch, so were able to get the different angles we wanted quite easily. For those wondering what program we use to finalize the videos, it’s Hitfilm 2017 Pro (There’s also a free version, btw.).

Goodbye Brick in the Wall