In this problem solving I encountered, there were some bumps while working in my Final Major Project, but I managed how to turn things around without letting myself and/or anyone down who were involved in my project.
Pre-Production: Logic Pro X
When I was working on my song with Logic Pro X, I faced some difficulties in the song that I couldn’t make it perfect in terms of:
- Experimenting House and Afrobeats together
- Balancing volumes, dynamics and the FX.
So what I did in a solution to this issue was I carefully listen to the House beats and the traditional African drums to anaylse a right rhythm to match both of the instruments before playing them together to hear the perfect result at the tempo of 122BPM. Which was another problem I solved was to measure the BPM of Afrobeat and House music to place it at the right pace, tempo and the rhythm.
I carried on going back on the Logic programme after hearing reviews back from the directors of the dance company to adjust the volumes, dynamics, FX and advanced mastering FX while I added a few new tracks to support the Kick and the chords.
When I heard some instruments like the Vintage bass and the piano melodies and the chords, they sounded louder than the drums, I have to change the velocity to make it less noisy than originally before.
In this picture I’m showing now (inserted above) is an example how I changed the velocity volume that would show red, orange and yellow to green by turning down the velocity numbers so it would sound better when it’s turned down not turned up, otherwise it sound terrible.
I have to admit the difficult part of the process while I was re-tweaking the song was the 909 Kick’s dynamic loudness. When I heard the original draft version, I couldn’t hardly hear any loudness from the 909 Kick so I had to use the compressor, the EQ and a little reverb. However, since it wasn’t too loud enough, I have to add in 808 Kick to support the 909 Kick and I turned up the Automation as loud as I can hear (inserted above) while I added the Audio Unit Dynamics Processor (inserted below) to adjust the loudness of the 909 & 808 Kicks as well as the African drums 1 & 2 and the Vintage Bass.
Another problem in the process is when I have to replace the chord synth with a similar synth patch instrument as there was nothing I can do about that. This was due to the Logic programme I tweaked in their office was the different version when I originally made the track from the college’s Logic version. The only solution to that issue was I have no choice to pick another synth patch instrument without reasoning with the directors. The original synth I used in the previous draft version was called ‘Knocking Echoes’ (inserted below), but in the recent version, I replaced it with the similar synth was titled as ‘Short Worm’ (inserted below). I liked the previous synth version as it sounded more like crystal balls falling down to the ocean somewhere either Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. While the other version sounded more like futuristic progressive tech in the tunnel while it echoes endlessly.
Pre-Production: Casting Dancers
A friend of mine introduced me to the dance company and I showed the directors my original composed experimental song. They liked the song and agreed to allow their dancers to be in my music video. They confirmed seven dancers two weeks before the production date. I wasn’t able to watch the dancers perform before casting due to time constraints. I had to take what I was given. The dance company provided one caucasian dancer and six black African/Caribbean dancers. So already I can see that my video would not be as culturally diverse as I would like. However, there are people who would judge anyone on the book cover, I thought for an excuse was to say to use your imagination, I can say these people are culturally diverse through their backgrounds of their family, faiths/religions and personalities. That is my solution to say if people watch my video and ask me about, I would answer back to say they are culturally diverse.
The rehearsals have been a real challenge as I only had one rehearsal as this was due to the hold up of the music production and a few dancers didn’t turned up due to personal commitments.
I had a formal discussion with one of the directors of the dance company about my concerns, of time-wasting regarding the dancers either not turning up on a particular day to start rehearing before filming. I didn’t want to chase a lot of dancers as I needed to stay formal and professional to keep my distance from them as it was not my rights to enforce them to start rehearsing. So I thought the directors was going to tell them to come to rehearsal on Thursday and Saturday. However, the dancers wanted to do rehearsals on a Saturday morning as not many dancers turned up on Thursday evenings. The days and timings was the main issue with rehearsals.
So that is considered the only solution according to my schedules and their schedules to make sure it’s not clashed. I could have wish there would more rehearsals but I can’t always guarantee their time keeping as they might have their own schedules. I had no problem on their dancing.
The filming went successfully, but there were few hiccups on the shooting and I was unable to carry the heavy equipment due to my incident on my ankle. So my solution to this issue was I asked a friend of mine to assist me in filming, setting up the equipment and switching the lights on and off.
One of the other problems I faced was the capacity of the dance studio as originally it was meant to be in the sports hall. However, the hall was booked on a priority of a sports team using the hall until 12pm. Since they cannot wait that long, I have to film the dancers in the dance studio as a solution. If it weren’t for the dance studio, I would have gone for the multi-purpose room they often called it but it has less space for the equipment and the dancers to move around.
The second problem of the day was I filmed the dancers on a tight angle shots as I tried to test it out in front of the mirror but it wasn’t big enough for everyone to appear in front of the camera. I tried to make sure that the camera does not appear in the shot in the mirror while filming dancers from left to right in a very tight angle shot like in this picture (inserted above). It would been easier to film the dancers in a 360° angle shots in the sports hall as originally planned because the sports hall has no mirrors so I could film the dancers around them easily.
Before filming, my original idea was to have six dancers to appear in video, but because of last week’s plan of the first rehearsal, I had only four out of six dancers have agreed to appear in my video as planned. On the day of filming, I noticed that one dancer from last week haven’t turned up due to school exam’s preparation. However, I was surprised to see that three additional dancers wanted to appear in my video and I didn’t have time to complain about it but to move on as normal. That meant I had to give three other dancers the release forms to take it home and sign, but I didn’t get my folder with me as I forgotten to bring it with me. As there wasn’t enough time to talk, I went ahead of filming without any complaints.
After filming was finished for that day, I knew it would be risky to chase all the dancers to get the release forms back from them by force. I reminded one of the directors of the dance company to call their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) to sign the release form for the dancers who are mostly under 18s and only two are 18 and over who can sign it for themselves.
My original idea for that day was to use the microphone to record the quiet atmosphere intro at the beginning of the video. Due to lack of time, I didn’t hardly use the microphone at all when every dancers were rehearsing in a tight schedule for their important shows sooner than later. Also I was going to use some filming equipment e.g. rail ramps to push the camera on a trolley gently. But again due to restrictions of time consuming, I have to pan the camera on a tripod left to right.
I was going to use extras to film their favourite hobbies they wanted to grow up regardless what background they’re from. However, due to the hold up of the music production and getting the rehearsals ready sooner the later, I have to go with an alternative plan to film three dancers who appeared on the day to film their freestyles to my song. I only used the camera and the tripod for that day because I had limited access for only two equipment while rest were unavailable to use. This was due to my friend has the key to open the cupboard to allow me to use it, but he wasn’t in on that day. So I have to go with the only access that I can get. The result of the alternative plan went very well than I imagined and I thanked the dancers who took part in the filming for that day.
I was promised to start editing the clips over the weekend since I couldn’t have time last week, however, my friend who normally allows me to stay over until late at night haven’t been there for a week due to personal issues he had to deal with. I have to go with an alternative plan to edit the clips over half term to finish it up before 6th June.
In retrospect, I could have added more depth to my music video by going up close to the dancers with the camera to get interesting shapes and movement. But again due to timing issues, I couldn’t do that hardly at all when I was in the filming phase that I have to stand still with the camera as I was the only one with the experience to know how to use the camera. I have to admit that there were shaking moments when I was filming, I accidentally shaken the camera jiggering left to right which is my fault as I was nervous with time restrictions may had gotten into my head and made a little shaky moments while filming the dancers. What I did is to calm myself when I was nervous, I have to think positive thoughts to calm my nerves down without overthinking it too much as it can be overwhelming.
The editing is one of my favourite parts when it comes to post-production of any projects, including my Final Major Project on Adobe Premiere. I could do the editing at my college as my teacher suggested to use the Media’s computer to edit the track and the clips in and out of my college hours. It seems a good idea to do it, but I prefer to use youth club’s Windows 8 version of Adobe Premiere where I normally do my projects recently and previously outside of college. The reason why I prefer my first choice is because I would find it difficult to transfer all of the files on my USB back and forth between youth club and college where the latter has only iMac’s version of Premiere. So my solution to not get myself stressed and getting my USB full up is I have to use youth club’s PC version of Premiere where I feel more comfortable than doing it at college.
There were some problems I encountered when I was meant to edit the clips after filming like my previous projects, however I had limited hours to use the room where I normally work on a PC, so the solution I came up the plan is to use limited time to work on the music video within five days and over sixteen hours from Tuesday to Saturday.
Another problem I encountered was the video clips I noticed were in grey/bleach colours as this was due to the lights in the every shots from two weeks ago had auto corrected the visuals in the camera lens to display the outcome as a same clip but in a different colours. So my friend who saw my work have showed me a trick to colour FX all the clips from two weeks ago except for other clips that were recorded seperately that don’t need colouring at all. To speed it up without rushing, I copied and pasted the colouring FX to every clips to stand out perfect as I can.
On the day of the performance I had several problems to overcome. Firstly, I got the date and day of the performance mixed up. I thought the performance date was the 6th, but in actuality it was on the 5th, and it was on the 5th that I realized this. This meant I had to drop everything I was doing on that day and immediately got ready. This placed me in a situation where I had to think quick as time was of the essence. I had to clarify my thoughts and prioritise to get everything organize by the time of the performance.
Secondly, whilst setting up for the performance there were technical difficulties, I couldn’t get sound output for the music video. That’s where my teacher told it was unnecessary to get the sound, and instead, play my set at the tempo of 122BPM along with the video, this would synchronise them together perfectly. Even though I thought I was going to present my project video again, my tutor informed me that I didn’t have to do the presentation again as I’d already did it in the college before half-term. Even though, there were technical difficulties, I was able to improvise on the spur of the moment and still utilise both my video and my DJ set of songs to complement one another, people loved it.
Despite the rush, I managed to organise myself and put on a good performance, the feedback I got from the audience was very positive. I learned that I was able to work under pressure which you will also have to do in the industry.
To conclude the problem solving, I have to admit that this was challenging and a bit stressful when I was going through the obstacles of the weekly planning. These problems have turned around in a good solution, but there were other things had not been solved in the process due to lack of time.
It is better to solve problems in their early stages so that they don’t grow into major problems that will cost time and money. Good planning and management of people and equipment mean there are fewer problems, more creativity. Solutions can always be found, especially if problems are small, the bigger they get, the harder it is to solve them.