Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life - URT "Green Wine" show clip


One of the common themes in the SDC helmet cam clips is the music. In case anyone missed the memo, the music has one thing in common (save a few samples from early on in my clip-editing life): they're performed by bands associated with one of my two brothers. Between the two of them they could be a band - they compose, sing, and play guitar, bass, and the drums.

Inevitably riders will ask one another what kind of music each listens to when pedaling on the trainer. I can honestly answer that my brothers' music has been motivating me for years and years and years - I listen to them in the car, on the trainer, and when I watch, well, the helmet cam clips.

Ultimately I made them using my brothers' music because that's what I find inspires and motivates me.

Unfortunately I only ever managed to video one brother at one of his band's last gig in Chicago, IL. Because of a mistaken assumption, I thought I'd have a clean recording of the sound (via a third party). However this wasn't the case, and since I didn't worry about sound quality in my own recording, I never took into account sound quality when videotaping the show. For example, for parts of one song i put the camcorder on top of the amps lining the stage.

Obviously that didn't do well for the sound.

It was worse when I reviewed the clips - the muddy sound was terrible, the volume just overwhelming the tiny built-in mic.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda. But there's only one take in life, and in this case the show sound was pretty bad.

Frustrated, I gave up trying to make a clip out of the very long, very awesome, very emotional show. I had no way of fitting the two together, not well anyway, not with the applications I had at hand.

Then along came iMovie on the Mac, with all sorts of high end editing capabilities. Suddenly the sub-second synchronization required of a music video came within reach. I found I could synchronize the live footage with a studio recording of the same song.

Although I find that there's some lag in playback (compared to the "master" in iMovie), it's still a lot better than I could ever have dreamed.

The show video has a limited harvest capacity. After I did "Deepest Knife" I went to do another and found, to my dismay, that somehow things just didn't work out. I seemed to have forgotten all that I learned while doing Deepest Knife. I also happened to pick a song that closely matched the studio recording, making compiling the video much easier.

Disappointed I set the whole URT thing aside. I still had the imported clip in iMovie but thought it hopeless to create another clip.

When I had the issues with iMovie I moved back to the old machine. My old projects were there including a few optimistically created and named URT clips, projects that existed in title only.

I picked up Green Wine because I really like the song and because someone in the audience was yelling "Green Wine!" until they played the song. I started editing it and things started flowing. It took a number of edits but it's about where it'll get. To make it more... complete, for lack of a better term, would mean sacrificing other "harvests", borrowing significant footage from songs I hold hope of completing one day.

I hope you enjoy this clip. It's a fun song, yes, but it also represents a significant amount of work on my part. Sub-second synchronization doesn't matter in bike race clips but when dealing with a live concert it matters a lot.

My apologies in advance for any synchronization errors, weirdness with guitar or bass playing stuff, etc. That's all me, in my editing.

With that caveat please enjoy:


Rob Daykin said...

eeek, blending studio sound and live video, cringe.

I've recorded loads of gigs as a sound engineer, and depending on the room I either

plug a feed from the mixing desk into the camera so the camera records sound and video synchronised. I use this if the audience is a working mens club where you absolutely do not want audience input at all, just the live band.


If you do want the room you can with some desks plug in a room mike (pointing to crowd) which is then run through the desk to a seperate submix for the camera feed (I use the second monitor channel on the desk).


Alternatively you can record from the desk to hard disk/DAT/whatever and let the video camera pick up ambience. You then need to carefully synch and remix the sound, which is why I tend not to do this.

If the desk is not accessible (or they don't put everything through it, like drums, which we did on those occasions we didn't use sequenced drums or prima donna guitarists who refuse to be mixed or recorded) then maybe getting an external mike for the camera and putting it somewhere away from the camera might be possible, being of course aware of loose cables and health and safety. Unless you have a broadcast quality camera the mike on the camera will be usually quite poor.

And for those who've never been obliged to play gigs in an English working mens club on a Saturday night, I envy you. It leaves scars, not all mental. The stories I could tell (shudder)

Julian Toumey said...


I'm a long time follower of your blog and I've grown to love the music in your helmet cam clips. Anyway I could get my hands on a URT album?


Frank Mendez said...

I'm gonna echo Julian here. Is there anywhere to purchase the music in your clip?

Aki said...

Rob - thanks for the tips. In this case I wasn't necessarily thinking of taping the show but I figured at some point that it was the last one and therefore I should. I thought we'd have a proper recording through the soundboard I guess but that never happened. Now it's a matter of making do with what I have. With no other tapes of the band that I know of it's a bit tough.

Julian, Frank - if you Google "URT It's Alright" that's the one CD released between all the bands. I have to ask my brothers about the other pieces including many that were never put to CD etc. For those it's difficult because although putting it in a clip is fine it's another thing to collect money on them (hence no YouTube ads on my clips, hence I don't sell the songs, etc). The songs belong to the collective band members and they're scattered all around the country now. Many of the songs, except Linus, date to the 80s and 90s. Not a great answer I know.

Frank Mendez said...

Sweet! Thanks! So, this is just one of your brothers, right? Did the other continue making music? Or were they both in the same band? Also, I saw your post on YT about your back. Hope you have a quick recovery.

Julian Toumey said...


Thanks for the suggestion! Found it right away on Amazon and purchased a copy. Excited to hear it.


Aki said...

Frank - URT is one brother - he's also in Marshall Artist, Linus, Zen Men, and I think he did a stint in Shovel Full of Dirt. The other brother played in Shovel Full of Dirt and Tunnel Of Love. Both are basically done. Linus is recent, last 5 years, and Tunnel Of Love was pretty active until recently (look for a favorited clip of them in Germany or something - ToL bro is playing drums).

Julian - great to hear that you got a copy. There are other really good songs but they don't match well with bike racing stuff. I'll let you listen without pre-judgment stuff clouding your mind so I won't say any more.

atsuko said...

Geez, what a great song!