Cheltenham – The Land of Acoustic Videos

So the long Easter weekend for me was spent in Cheltenham, or more specifically – Winchcombe, with a bunch of musicians, or more specifically – Red Kites, to record many acoustic videos, or more specifically – few. It often seems to be the case when, without the ominous presence of a looming deadline, a group of people with perfectly admirable intentions of being productive and focused suffer from a bit of the “eyes-bigger-than-your-stomach” syndrome and overestimate just how much they’re going to get done.

Not that we we’re being unrealistic mind you. The end goal was to record 4 videos, and over the same number of days that target seems more than achievable. I was thinking that after the initial setup was done we could rattle off 2 – 3 tracks a day but inevitably distractions and fatigue reared their all too familiar heads and what could have been a glorious production schedule was thrown off course. Oh well!

We still managed to get 3 recordings down but after a quick glance at the footage, on a personal level, I’m only happy with 2… The style for one of the videos was to use a single shot throughout the entire track, but unfortunately it was this recording that I made a bit of a mess of the white balancing and my camera work is pretty shonky. Though I’ll cut myself some slack in so much as it was the first time I’ve ever used the camera to record video. Hopefully I can work some post-production magic to salvage it.

Keep an eye on Red Kites’ YouTube channel over the coming months to see the final versions.

The Bid for a Building

As part of the whole “we need to get a live music venue in Woking” thing, Elaine (the progenitor, visionary and all round head honcho of the Phoenix Cultural Centre) has recently given a presentation to various companies in hopes of securing some support and funding for the project. Or at least I think that was what the presentation was for… being the “techie” I’m not really that up to speed with all the business end paper pushing and council pleasing that is involved with a venture of this nature.

Regardless, I was still in charge of creating a small leaflet to be handed out that would give that various potential stakeholders a quick insight to what Phoenix is all about. In addition, and much more within my comfort zone, I provided a 30 second “promotional” video to further enforce this point.

The feedback I got from the few volunteers at Phoenix seemed positive and (now the presentation has already happened), from what I’ve been told, the companies seemed to respond positively as well. Hopefully this is all shaping up nicely into what will eventually become Woking’s first proper live music venue. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the petition with the council goes down well.

At the moment the only place to see the video is on Phoenix’s FaceBook page (you may have to scroll down a little bit). However, eventually I’ll be getting round to making a YouTube account for the centre and will upload it there, meaning I can then stick in on this site as well.

Gongs and Bowls and Health and Well-Being

This week has been very busy for me. I think I may have collectively spent significantly more time out of the house than in, and I’m including my time asleep with that. For the most part I’ve been at the Phoenix Cultural Centre putting my new found interest in photography to use.

On Wednesday there was a spiritual healing, Tibetan Bowls and Gongs event at the centre. The event was run by a very friendly couple who specialise in clairvoyance, tarot reading and other spiritual feel good things. After the performance they were interested in getting their hands on the pictures I had taken and, after looking through a few photos on the camera’s display, offered me an opportunity of paid work at more events they are taking part in. How could I say no!?

As the week progressed Friday continued in a similar vein with a tai-chi/chi-jung class. The event organiser was similarly interested in seeing how the pictures had turned out and I have sent them on to see what he thinks.

Saturday was rather uneventful. The centre was open for busking and creative work, for people to come in and find out what it’s all about and the couple from Wednesday also returned to promote themselves. Unfortunately only one member of the public entered, or at least for the few hours I was there, so not the most successful of days.

Sunday boasted an open-mic event, similar to the regular fortnightly open-mic nights on Mondays, but geared more towards families with younger children. The afternoon was enjoyable and despite my willingness not to, I was coerced into playing a couple of songs.

My attempts have updating the Phoenix website haven’t been entirely productive but I’ve managed to update a few things and generally make it tidier (see link above). Hopefully before long I’ll get the pictures I’ve been taking over this last week uploaded to both that site and a select few for my own.

Volunteering

Within the last couple of weeks I’ve started volunteering at a place called the Phoenix Cultural Centre in Woking. The main goal of the centre is to provide a building in town that can be used as a live music venue, as well as a place for the community to go to experience arts, comedy and cultural things generally.

My role within the centre is essentially that of “technical person”, so I’m looking after all things audio and video related, as well as updating the website (despite my lack of any coding skills). As such, I have purchased a camera (the Canon 600D for those who are interested) and, as of yesterday, will start arriving at as many events being held as I can manage to take pictures. Eventually these pictures should find their way onto the website and start to give people a better idea of what kind of thing the Phoenix Cultural Centre does. My long term goal is to build up enough material of events happening at the centre, as well as interviews with the founders, event organisers and participants, to create a couple of promotional videos. These videos will then hopefully provide more awareness and bring in more people.

I’m must admit I’m pretty excited about all this. Not only do I get an opportunity to do something I enjoy but there’s potentially a chance for this to turn into a full time job if the centre gets the building it’s after. But even before then, I’ll be slowly building up a list of contacts of people who might be interested in freelance audiovisual work, as well as meeting people already in the field.

The coming weeks are going to be interesting!

Phoenix Cultural Centre

The Panufnik Legacies

Of the various videos I have edited for the London Symphony Orchestra over the last couple of months, one of them has managed to find its way to YouTube!

The Panufnik Legacies is a scheme for upcoming composers to get the opportunity to have their music practiced, fine-tuned and finally performed by the LSO. The video is just a quick introduction with the composers who talk about their time with the scheme.

Check out the video on YouTube, or my portfolio page.

To Set In Motion

I have recently completed my first to-order Motion graphics project! Though it was for a friend and so I did it for free, but it all counts, right? They have recently started a Let’s Play channel on YouTube and I thought I could help spruce it up a bit by helping design a quick intro title movie. Unfortuntely I don’t have the necessary tools to upload the graphics in isolation directly onto this site, so if you want to check it out, head over here: FireKittyPlays, and watch the latest video.

For legal reasons I should point out that; sound effects were taken from here: FreeSFX, and the explosion was found at Detonation Films.

London Calling

I find myself once again comforted by the warm embrace of the London Symphony Orchestra. This time, not in a fleeting moment of happiness and belonging, but for a whole two months! Well, I say two months, I’m only actually working two days a week but details, details…

Outside of that, life trundles along with an ever-familiar sense of tedium and repetition. Meaning, despite my best efforts of trying to tie down a full time job, no one seems to be interested in me. Still… I’m soon to be working twice a week on reception at the hospital; which isn’t exactly living the dream but provides me with some funds to help buy things. Not that I’m in any desperate need to buy things.