Saturday, September 10, 2011


I have always had a passion for television ever since I saw Muffin the Mule when I was four in 1947. I dreamed and in fact tried to become a TV director only to be turned down by the BBC and in NZ by NZTV but thanks to the NZ Arts Council I was eventually allowed to make "Dance Tales Story Ballets" TV series that was bought by the BBC and one episode went on to finish as a finalist in the LA Monitor Awards for technical editing excellence.

So I had my wish. Admittedly I was forced to have a male directer who was exceptionally good by the way because the TVNZ boys would not take orders from me! They really wouldn't and it was humiliating to have to ask the director to take a shot for which I was paying the bill. I was eventually put on the credits as joint directer the one and only time this has ever happened.

So now with the advent of computers iMovie and Garageband I can learn to do at home what then cost $1,000 an hour in a studio. I am retired and not in the best of health so I amuse myself making little 'drafts'. Like lollipops. I used to make TV programmes that sold on DVDs but now that has dried up as the general public likes to get its entertainment for free and DVDs are soon to be a thing of the past.

I can only do about three or four of these little YouTubes a year as they take so long to make as now the powers that run things have made it almost impossible to make anything. The copyright laws and the YouTube logarithms are so strong that one photo or tune or even lyric that might be in copyright and one is bombarded with fearful warnings of litigation and expulsion.

To make sure I own the complete copyright has meant I virtually have to do everything myself  and beg everyone else  for permission to use their work. This is easier with actors and dancers  that I know but is now impossible with music photos lyrics and virtually anything else. Besides the fact that it takes months for a publisher to answer an email they want vast amounts of money which in today's climate is impossible to recover. Music, CDs and DVDs do not sell.

Coupled with that the very easy editing programs like iMovie 6 and now Final Cut Pro 7 have been removed in favour of far more difficult to use versions that mean life is a whole new ball game. To actually export a a full quality programme one now really requires a PhD. To get a high quality HD YouTube is not that easy.

This means the DIYTV has become exactly that. Unless I can Do It Myself it doesn't get made. I have become very self indulgent through circumstances.

The above YouTube The Rhein Legend is a project using Motion. This has the reputation of being on of the most challenging software applications. I have to have some sort of project to I chose this one danced by my daughter  a long time ago. I asked her permission and she was gracious enough to give it.

So to make even this  tiny project I have to do everything and I mean everything from writing out the music and arranging it in Garageband, to singing and mixing it, making a creative storyboard, editing and adding the illustrations myself. If I need photos and art work I have to do these as well. This time I had to translate and write original English lyrics too as I was not sure of the copyright.

Technically the video includes virtually every effect that Motion has to offer.  It is a Sampler  of effects. From Chroma Keys, Alpha transmissions, generators, particle emitters, colour correction, time alterations  and 3D titles which are very difficult to work as one loses one's equilibrium very easily plus a host of others like text on a path, transmissions as well as abstract iTunes visualizer footage.

OK I may not be a master of all but I think  what I have achieved is quite  is quite remarkable. Had I been younger I could have done the dance too but not as well as my daughter but I know enough about dance to do the choreographic edit.

So it was somewhat disappointing when I eventually put my effort up on Facebook for my friends to see that only one of them actually left a comment and a like! There was a deathly silence! Nothing!

I seems David Hockney is allowed to practice on his Facebook friends with his iPod art and allowed to be less than perfect but I am not!

Was I too much? Probably. I have a way of being infuriating on occasions. Can't help it. It is my major flaw. I know how to make people jealous.

I dared to ask one friend if she enjoyed it? I got a reply back saying that the singing was not up to standard but the visuals were quite attractive! I have never felt to deflated and small in my life. She then went on to say that she felt it was not her place to point out faults in what I enjoyed doing. It was highly patronizing but I suppose I asked for it. When you say 'please don't kick me!' the temptation to land a good swipe is so irresistible but I was not amused.

I mean I know this is not a masterpiece but come on I have done everything but the dance! Anyway Benjamin Britten liked my voice - but then he liked Peter Pears's too!

I tried out a piece on tulips to gauge reaction  and received lots of likes and comments! I think I get the picture! Facebook is not the place to present one's serious work. It ought to be but it isn't. Anyway I have learned my lesson and I shall not repeat the exercise.

Ah me! One shouldn't let criticism stop one. 30 years ago I used slides and video tape in my theatre productions to howls of derision from Auckland and even the BBC - now it is commonplace.

Today with technology pushing forward one has to be in touch. This means continual upgrading of skills. The world is now for those who can use the technology and those who can't are left behind. The power it affords those who are able to express themselves one line is not to be ignored.

I have to upgrade IT skills all the time. This year new camera with DOF, changed from tape to HD, upgraded  all editing programmes and music applications and next year it will be web applications.

Perhaps one day my friends will appreciate just how much work I put into the two minutes videos and feel sorry that they could not bring themselves to push the Like button.

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