Don’t get caught out by the 2012 wireless mic switchover

Don’t get caught out by the 2012 wireless mic switchover

We’re now edging closer to the digital switchover deadline at the end of 2012, which will see Ofcom selling Channel 69 to free up some bandwidth for digital TV and mobile data. That means if your wireless mic system still relies on the channel, you don’t have much time left.

It’s not all bad news though – we’ve put together the above animation to explain a bit more clearly how to future-proof yourself with new Channel 38-friendly equipment. It doesn’t need to be daunting, and we’re happy to talk through implementing new systems for any workflow, whether your kit is for live music recording, news gathering or anything else.

 

We have a range of Channel 38-ready kit available at Jigsaw24, including these Sennheiser G3 GB systems. Get in touch with someone on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com to find out more. You can also keep up with the latest audio news and offers on our Twitter (@Jigsaw24Audio) and Facebook page.

 

 

Reason masterclass goes down a storm

Reason masterclass goes down a storm

To everyone who came along to last week’s free Reason masterclass, we’d just like to extend our thanks for making it such a success. Gratitude also goes to Propellerhead, who were great on hosting duties at Confetti Studios in Nottingham, and guest speaker Gary Bromham. We’re already gearing ourselves up for our next session!

Reason has always had a very hardcore following, and its expansion in Reason away from a purely synth-orientated workstation to a fully fledged DAW with comprehensive audio recording and mixing features has only broadened its appeal further. Unsurprisingly, seats at the event filled up pretty quickly.

Sometimes it seems there’s no shortage of product demonstrations or clinics for all manner of music software suites. The real value of this sort of masterclass is that it’s not a simple run through of a feature set; instead, producer Gary Bromham took us on a trip through Reason 6 via his own real world projects, showing off a host of features that really open up the possibilities for professional level production. Among the hot topics were the mixer (based on an SSL 9000, and discussed by a producer thoroughly familiar with physical SSL consoles), the new effects (Pulveriser, Echo and Alligator) and the incredible timestretch algorithm that allows free control of tempo from within Reason with audio playback speeding up and slowing down in perfect sync.

Gary also demonstrated how various aspects of Reason accommodate his own production techniques, honed over years of working in traditional production facilities. Examples of these were the Reason mixer’s flexibility for sidechaining, use of channel filters to control compression, creating summing mixers, parallel processing, being able to patch just one component of a rack effect and more. The consensus amongst us Reason users in the audience was that we all discovered things we had no idea Reason was capable of, as well as some top tips that everyone was keen to try out for themselves.

So a big thank you to Propellerhead and Gary for the masterclass! Rest assured, there will be more of these in the future, so stay tuned for details…

Click here to find our more about Propellerhead’s Reason 6 , or to keep tabs on any upcoming masterclasses Jigsaw’s involved in, get in touch. Call 03332 409 306, email audio@Jigsaw24.com or head to our Twitter (@Jigsaw24Audio) and Facebook page.

Making a music video with DAOR

Making a music video with DAOR

Metalheads DAOR wanted a professional video for their debut release, and the director they approached was also in the market for some new kit. Luckily, bassist Andy is an account manager at Jigsaw…

DAOR’s riff-laden, frenetic (N.B. quite “sweary”) metal has earned them support slots for the likes of Napalm Death and Raging Speedhorn. They wanted a music video for ‘The Truth, The Way, The Gun’ – from their 2010 EP release ‘From the Bleeding River’ – that reflected their style but also had a polished feel.

They contacted Phil Berridge at Creative Junkie Media whose professional directing, shooting and editing have launched his videos onto the Scuzz music channel. With an idea in mind for how to achieve what he and the band wanted from the video, Phil decided he should invest in some new equipment. He then found out that, as well as laying down destructive bass for DAOR, Andy Crawford is an account manager at Jigsaw by day, specialising in audio and broadcast equipment sales.

Phil was already using a Panasonic AG-HMC151 AVCHD camcorder for shooting his music videos, but needed some extra equipment to meet the style of the film. For the tracking shots, he bought a Hague D5T tripod tracking dolly kit from Jigsaw. This affordable system is lightweight and small in form, so it would be ideal for shooting on location and in tighter spots. The director also needed a range of lamps that would keep the band looking good without saturating them, and consulted with Andy to get the perfect kit for the video.

Phil said: “Jigsaw has given me a great customer experience with brilliant advice, great pricing and negotiation on large purchases as well as doing me a fantastic deal on a set of professional Kinoflo lighting, which I was in desperate need of for one shoot. I have to thank them for their sound advice on how I should delegate the small amount of cash that I had to get a wide range of gear which was still capable of providing professional results.”

Hear more from the DAOR boys over at DAOR.co.uk.

To find out about the equipment used in filming the video, contact the broadcast team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. Keep up with the latest broadcast news and offers by following @JigsawVideo on Twitter or heading to our Jigsaw Video Facebook page.

 

Review: The Roland JUNO-Gi synth

Review: The Roland JUNO-Gi synth

Unboxing the Roland JUNO-Gi has a distinct feeling of deja vu. Physically it takes its looks from its sister, the JUNO-Di, and much of the internals are similar too. Yet Roland has managed to come up with something a bit different than before…

This time they’ve aimed their workstation at people who have, or are hoping to have, real skills on the keyboard. The people who will love the Gi are people who just want to play (alone or with others) and record their performance with the minimum of fuss, and without needing a computer to do it. Not that Roland are Luddites where computers are concerned. In fact, when the JUNO-Gi is plugged into a Mac or a PC via its USB port, it can function as a MIDI and stereo audio interface for your DAW software. Not bad!

But what if you don’t want to use a computer, or want to take the keyboard to a rehearsal room and leave the computer at home? Here’s where the Gi has a neat trick up its sleeve. It features an 8-track digital audio recorder, capable of recording not only your keyboard performances, but also guitar and vocal parts. There’s an XLR mic/guitar input and a stereo line input on the back which are the same ones which work as an audio interface with your computer. These can act as inputs to the recorder, either dry or via a chain of effects – the guitar effects chains are by Boss and feature some very tasty amp and pedal simulations.

You can build up one or two tracks at a time to get your ideas down (up to eight in total), then transfer the 24 bit 44.1k WAV files to your favourite software for mixing. Or just mix right on the JUNO-Gi, as there’s an 8-track mixer with effects on board, and files are recorded on to an included 2GB SD card in the back.

Sonically, you never need to worry about Roland as they know what they’re doing, but they still come up with a few nice surprises. The Gi has double the wave memory of the Di, and that means an even better grand piano sound, and an incredible arsenal of over 1300 instruments. Sounds are organised into categories like ‘Piano’ and ‘Strings’ to make them easier to find – essential with that many at your disposal. As well as the pitch bend/modulation lever and the patented D-Beam “waggly hand” interface, there’s a full vocoder mode too. Kraftwerk, eat your heart out!

The Roland Juno Gi is perfect for a music performance space, but it will also suit someone who just wants to play a keyboard with as many sounds as possible and no complicated menus to go through to find them. Keyboard recorders often just record performances over MIDI, so the Gi’s ability to record a vocal, acoustic instrument or electric guitar is brilliant – particularly because they’ve made it so simple. It makes you want to give up the programming and get back to playing again!

To find out more about the Roland JUNO-Gi synth workstation, call 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with the latest audio news, reviews and offers on our Twitter (@Jigsaw24Audio) and Facebook page.

 

Teaching with video: The conversion of Saul

Teaching with video: The conversion of Saul

Well, every so often we decide to put our money where our mouth is and borrow a class for a few hours. This is what happened when we spent the day at Parish Church Primary School in Lincolnshire, using film to teach a year six class the story of the conversion of Saul armed with a video camera, a clapper board, six Macs and a lot of enthusiasm…

We used an adapted industry workflow to give the children an idea of how Hollywood does it!

Step One: Concept

We began the day by mind mapping “Journeys” in order to give the story of Saul some context. The children worked by themselves, considering the journeys they had been on, how they travelled and what feelings they associated with travelling, leaving and arriving. This could be done using software like Mind Manager 8 but we chose to use pens and paper. After a couple of minutes, we discussed the results in brief before asking questions about famous journeys in the bible. The response to this was very positive but we would recommend having a pretty encyclopaedic knowledge of journeys in the bible if you ask this question!

When telling the story of St Paul, we asked plenty of questions to ensure that the students understood the events, with a particular focus on how the characters might have felt. The class was then split into groups and asked to summarise the story into scenes which were then written on the board as a master list. The list came in handy when deciding on what the most important scenes to film, but it helps if you already know what you want the children to pick! We tried to limit the video to 7 or 8 scenes, and it’s worth bearing in mind that when trying to explain that not everything in a story can go into a film, Harry Potter is an invaluable analogy!

Step Two: Scripting

The class thought about the most important parts of the story and the best way to show these to the audience. They had the freedom to illustrate these points however they wanted – for example, the idea that Saul was not a nice man was illustrated with these lines on the road to Damascus:

Saul: Guess how many Christians I’ve killed

Guard 1: I don’t know, four?

Saul: Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha. No. More like twelve

Guard 1: Oh, that is a lot!

Step Three: Storyboard

A storyboard is effectively a cartoon strip with an image for every scene. Armed with our 8 scenes, we began to build a simple storyboard. In the interests of being frugal with time, we used stick men to demonstrate how each scene would be shot.

The most important things to decide and storyboard were who and what would be in each scene, and where the camera was going to be (a wide or close up shot etc).

Step Four: Casting

We asked the students who they thought was involved in the making of a film. With a few leading questions, such as “who decides what that actor wears?” and “where does the noise of the horses hooves come from?”, the children were able to come up with a pretty complete list, which looked something like this:

  • Actors
  • Director
  • Editor
  • Soundman
  • Cameraman
  • Special Effects
  • Producer
  • Runner
  • Costumes
  • Props

Once we had the list we assigned roles to our eager volunteers.

Step Five: Filming

If everyone is clear on their roles and the cameraman knows how to press the record button, filming is easy, but we did find that having any more than fifteen students involved at any given time caused absolute chaos. Watching recorded scenes on the camera’s LCD screen and doing retakes on a couple of shots allowed the children to evaluate each other’s work and offer constructive criticism. They responded to this maturely and with pertinent comments.

We then edited the film as a class in iMovie.

Step Six: Watching

We premiered the film as a class, complete with popcorn (actually, it was watched three times, at the student’s request!). This was followed by a small awards ceremony honouring the best actor and best crew member.

Some additional activities…

Where would all the blockbusters be without some good marketing? We asked the children to make a promotional poster for their film using Pages. We showed them examples of other movie posters and talked to them about what things made posters good: bright colours, tag lines and images from the film.

They came up with some great taglines, which ranged from “Saint Paul the movie, the best movie you will ever see”, to our favourite: “SAUL WAS A JEW WHO TURNED INTO A CHRISTIAN. HE WAS BIT BY A SNAKE AND TOOK ALL OF THE VENOM OUT OF ALL THE SNAKES. WHAT A MIRACLE!!!! OH DEAR!!! SAINT PAUL HAD HIS HEAD CHOPPED OFF”. Perhaps overly informative, but definitely an attention grabber!

Oh, and by the way,

If you are using an external mic while recording, try to make sure it has batteries in it. (We learned the hard way and ended up subtitling half the film!)

To find out more, get in touch with us on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For more news on technology in Education, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter and ‘Like’ Jigsaw Education’s Facebook page.