Mixing Music with Logic 9

Mixing Music with Logic 9

Bill Cammack demonstrates how to create a static mix of a multitrack music recording using Logic 9.

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303 ReelSolid.TV s03 ep021 – Patti LaBelle – “Making a Difference”

Clip from an episode Bill Cammack edited of “Living It Up with Patti LaBelle“, which airs on the TV One cable/satellite television network. Episode = "Making a Difference".

Content / Production Value / Popularity

In the internet video game, there are lots of ways to call attention to yourself, your product or your website. Kfir Pravda writes:

“And we didn’t talk about audio and video productions. Yes, you can sit in-front of your webcam and talk. But unless you are extremely attractive, or funny, or interesting, no one will watch your stuff besides your mom and friends. Not necessarily a bad thing, but let’s set the expectations. And hey, being interesting, attractive, funny, interesting – doesn’t it sounds just like creating content in every other medium? Yes it is! The fact that your content is online doesn’t mean it can be crappy. People will notice if it is crappy. Really. Most people don’t care if they get their content from their laptop or TV – they just want good content. So all this Web 2.0 myth that everyone can just put his or hers content online and immediately people would watch it is far from being true.”

This is absolutely true. Even having good content doesn’t make you exempt from creating a pleasant, immersive environment for your viewers. Unfortunately, a lot of internet video isn’t made with the viewer in mind at all. It’s made with MONEY in mind, specifically, being CHEAP with money and not actually caring about the QUALITY of the video they produce AT.ALL.

Here’s the problem with internet video…. When someone puts a video on youtube, for instance, you can trace the IP, but you have no information about the person AT THAT IP that clicked on the video. This means you can’t prove demographics. If you can’t prove demographics, you can’t sell advertisements to companies, because there’s no guarantee that men between the ages of X and Y that own lawns and might buy lawn mowers are watching this particular video or show. This means the only way you can sell ads is by impressions, basically using a shotgun tactic and saying “This show gets 300,000 downloads a day… SOMEBODY in there has to be of value to you”. Of course, there are banner ads and sponsorships, but I’m talking about specifically advertising on individual videos. You can do pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll… Either way, you can’t get the big money from potential advertisers because you can’t prove WHO’S watching your show.

This means that video shows have to rely on revenue sharing or generalized, group advertisement plans that you can opt in or out of. There are lots of studies that show that neither of these generate much $$$ unless you do something that goes viral and gets millions of hits. The odds of doing that consistently are slim and none… and slim left town.

This means that in general, people aren’t getting much ROI from posting video to the internet. This is why the focus changes from creation and “production value” to ‘The Bottom Line’. The Bottom Line is to spend less than you get back from revenue sharing and other opportunities to have your videos made. This is how we end up with situations of people creating video that’s total and absolute *GARBAGE* that somehow makes it to the internet attached to a company’s brand. The company is more interested in NOT PAYING for the video they get than outputting good videos and receiving respect and accolades for their accomplishments. THEN, when they get dragged through the mud by someone who chooses to point out the obvious fact that the Emperor has no clothes on, they wonder how this happened to them. :/

Actually, there’s another term that comes into play here. It’s called UGC, which stands for User-Generated Content. Essentially what this means is that people not associated with your company upload video that they’re hoping will become part of your show. Rob Czar & Corinne Leigh make fantastic use of UGC in their show “Thread Heads” (ThreadBanger.com). Their fans are inspired by watching Rob & Corinne’s episodes and send their own footage in to the show. Sometimes, this is just them showing what they made, and sometimes, they create their own how-to videos. This is the way UGC is supposed to work and is a demonstration of what happens when viewers join an interactive internet community and become not only fans but passionate subscribers.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know the difference between UGC and *GARBAGE*. The reason UGC looks the way it does is because THERE.IS.NO.BUDGET. None. Whomever did that did not get paid a dime to make the video and then uploaded it to youtube or wherever for free. Also, the UGC creators do NOT come with the stamp of approval of the company’s brand. The indication is clearly that “These are fans of ours that potentially know NOTHING about video at all that wanted to participate in our show. We appreciate what they’ve done and will post their videos in this episode”. This is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from stamping someone with your brand’s seal of approval and then letting them release garbage.

The first problem is that your brand appears to have ZERO taste in video creation. None. No guidelines were set. Nobody had to approve the videos before they went on your site. There’s no minimum quality requirement to post videos under your brand’s name. Clearly, this is a horrible opinion for people to have of you and your company. This also comes back to budget, because clearly, you didn’t pay anyone to EP (Executive Produce) your show. If you don’t have any EPs and you don’t have any producers that know what they’re doing when it comes to video and ESPECIALLY if you don’t have any EDITORS that might be able to salvage something out of the UGC-esque garbage you’ve selected people to produce, doing video might not have been a good idea. Stick to audio next time.

Second, your company looks CHEAP. It’s obvious that in your efforts to create video for the internet, you’re not willing to put one red cent into the production, because it looks exactly that same as all the other made-for-free video that’s on the net, whether it was shot by an elementary school student or a soccer mom watching her kids from the sidelines. The problem with this is that nobody else is going to want to put videos on your site alongside who KNOWS what other garbage productions are coming down the line? Also, this is known as half-stepping… Getting involved with something, but not wholeheartedly. Another poor look for your brand.

Third, you’re insulting your audience. Outputting garbage video is the equivalent of having a store with desirable merchandise in it and letting the letters fall off of your store front… or the letters don’t all don’t light up… It’s like “No… We’re not going to respect YOU, the viewer by offering you an entertaining or immersive experience….. But come in and buy, ANYWAY!”

The argument against production value in online video is that “Content is King”. They want you to focus on what’s being said… Not that the framing is off… Not that the sound is horrible… Not that the people drone on and on and on and on and on incessantly… Not that the graphics abruptly smash on and off the screen… Not that the company was too cheap to buy a tripod so the video shakes around like Saving Private Ryan. Again, that’s what AUDIO’s for. Make a nice .mp3 file, upload it and call it a day. Video is supposed to ADD to the experience, not SUBTRACT from it. Worst-case scenario, do it like when the news has a correspondent on the phone from another country. Put a decent-looking still frame on the screen of the subject of the video and let the audio run under that.

The reason companies continue to output garbage is because their hits are coming neither from content nor from production value….. Their hits are coming from *popularity*. There’s no reason to do ANYTHING decent when it comes to video because the people tuning in are already fans of the people making the videos. You can tell this by looking at the comments, which are invariably positive and don’t mention ANYTHING about the quality of the video itself. There are only two reasons this would happen. Either comments are being edited/removed or, as Kfir stated above, the only people showing up to the broadcast are your friends and family. That’s all well and good as long as you have THOUSANDS of friends. :/

So, that seems to be the key to internet video these days. Play to the bottom line by neglecting quality and treating video like it doesn’t need to be entertaining OR even *watchable*. Draw people to the show through popularity, and if your product’s garbage? Who cares? You already increased your page view and video play statistics to sell to the advertiser….

A job well done. :/

~Bill Cammack

Twitter: BillCammack
Social Media Category: billcammack.com/category/social-media
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298 ReelSolid.TV s03 ep016 – G. Garvin & Malinda Williams

Clip from an episode Bill Cammack edited of "Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin", which airs on the TV One cable/satellite television network.
Episode 53 — From Miss to Mrs.

Connections (Passing it On)

Christian Payne aka “Documentally” is a photographer and blogger who was commissioned by the UNHCR to photograph the plight of Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

I edited Christian’s work into a video that we’ve recently completed, and he posted this video, thanking me as well as others for what we’ve done:


Seesmic Member Link | Non-member Link

Initially, this post was going to be called “Thanks for the Thanks”, because I definitely appreciate Christian’s authenticity and heartfelt statements. 😀 “Cheers for that”, as they say over there in the U.K. 😀

However, that’s really a private communication between Christian and myself that happened to be expressed on a public medium (both his video and my text, above). What I think would be more useful to my 40 readers, according to Technorati (minus however-many registered search engines :p) is to talk about the process of creation, in this case, dealing with video, and the difference that it makes when you’re actually emotionally invested in what you’re doing. Also, I wanted to give Christian some more background on how we ended up working together.

I’m a video blogger, which essentially means I film videos and put them on the internet. We have our own little “echo chamber” of friends and colleagues. I first became aware, sort of, of Phil Campbell on Dan McVicar’s social site “Late Nite Mash”.

Bill Cammack & Dan McVicarBill & Dan in NYC
In November, 2006, Dan collected music pieces from Phil and other members and made a “mash-up” with video footage I sent him of New York City nightlife:

I say “sort of” aware of Phil because at that time, social media wasn’t advanced enough for people to get to know more about each other than what they typed on a page or a picture or video they posted. At this point, we not only have the technology to do our own video shows, like Phil’s “The Gravity”, but there are more and more live services popping up… Ustream, BlogTV, Yahoo! Live, LiveVideo, new services all the time, where we get to see a lot more about people than we used to.

So anyway, I got to know Phil Campbell as a quality guy who STAYS on top of the game when it comes to social media and is simply a treasure trove of good ideas. 😀

Next in order, Andrew Lipson gave me an invite to this (at the time, invite-only) video-messaging application called Seesmic while I was an audience member of the Jeff Pulver Show. I checked it out, but it really wasn’t my type of conversation going on between the beta-testers, so I just watched Seesmic like a television show instead of participating in the watercooleresque banter.

There were a couple of people there with strong personalities and methods to their madness. The most animated and volatile of them was this character named “Documentally”. 😀 Most people, once you’ve seen four videos of them, you know their range… or at least the range they’re willing to bring to the world-stage which is Seesmic or any other site where you post videos that people can watch from NYC to Zimbabwe. With Documentally, you never really know what was going to happen in one of his videos. He might say something intelligent and serious. He might say something batty and off the wall. He might say nothing at all. He might roll his truck and videotape the situation as if he’s the first reporter on the scene! 😀 It was clear from the “Documentally” character that Christian Payne had A LOT of range to his personality, and there was a lot of entertainment value in his videos.

So being a morning person, I tend to chat with the European folks (who are 5/6 hours ahead of us) before the Americans wake up. I’m chatting with Phil Campbell and he mentions that his friend Christian had a project he was working on. I let Phil know I was aware of Documentally and was willing to chat with him about the project. In skypeing with Christian, I got to meet the “hang out at the pub” version instead of the “Seesmic character” version. He’s a nice guy, and as he put it in the video, he’s “someone I’d like to call a friend”. 🙂

I really meant to talk about the actual project, but I’ll do that some other time. This ended up being a post about connections. One of the benefits of social media is that people get to learn about each other at their own pace and according to their own level of interest. Another benefit is that we have checks and balances inside our “echo chamber”. For example, Dina Kaplan and I have 102 “Facebook Friends” in common! :O … Even if you spit that into 50 friends and 50 acquaintances, that means there are *50* people that I can contact right this second and ask them a question about Dina. I’d probably get 15 responses back, and they’d all be approximately the same, because that’s how Dina carries herself. She’s consistent.

Liz Gannes, Bill Cammack & Dina Kaplan
Liz Gannes, Bill Cammack & Dina Kaplan

Through social media, and also by meeting in person @ Adam Quirk‘s event named Vloggercue in Brooklyn, I developed an impression of Phil Campbell as a stand-up guy and a good judge of character. For Phil to bring up Christian’s project to me, I’m automatically *infinitely* more inclined to hear more about it. Yes, it helped A LOT that Christian already had a strong social media presence. Yes, it helped A LOT that the photos he shot for the project are rich and full of emotion, intimacy and meaning. However, the *main* thing is connection… passing it on. Social media offers us the opportunity to get to know each other, asynchronously… and then follow up to find out how the real person matches up to his or her online persona.

Do NOT Tamper With Your Comments!

I told my ex-girlfriend not to lie to me… I mean, she was still my girlfriend at the time, and now she isn’t. The reason I told her that was that I was catching her in small, seemingly insignificant lies. VERY VERY small lies… Not even worth telling, to be sure. I explained to her that the most important thing you have in a relationship is trust. Without TRUST, you have nothing at all, because any communication you have with anyone will be tainted… untrustworthy… disbelieved. Lying to me about small things is WORSE than lying to me about important things, because it’s not necessary. If your character can’t stand up to the smallest criticism and you feel the pressure and need to LIE, then you CERTAINLY don’t have the stomach to tell me the truth when it REALLY counts.

WHAT does this have to do with “Technology”, you ask?… Because the same holds true in many situations, *including* posting on the internet. The way a lot of blogs are set up, including this one that I’m posting to right now, after the main entry, there’s a section for comments. This is the place for viewers/readers to weigh in and let you know if they agree OR disagree with what you said, and why.

The benefit of having comments is taking a post from being a soliloquy to being the beginning of a conversation. It’s like having a lecture and then at the end, opening up the floor to any questions your audience might have. *YOU* are just as responsible for and will be held accountable for what happens in your comment section as you will be held accountable for what you post in the main entry. Just like I told my ex… (paraphrasing, hahaha) the way you carry yourself in dealing with comments can make or break your credibility in EVERYTHING ELSE that’s MORE IMPORTANT than your comments section…..

Let’s take a very simple example that everyone should be able to follow:

Let’s say you have a company that sells widgets. Let’s say your business blog is “widgetblog”, and is a blog about widgets. Let’s say you also author “personalblog”, and what you post there has NOTHING to do with widgets, and only to do with your personal life. Unfortunately for you, you can not separate these three things if people know that you’re connected to all of them. Similar to a chain, your credibility is only as strong as the *WEAKEST* link.

Now, let’s say you post that “the sky is blue”. Let’s say that several people post “I agree, the sky IS blue!” and those comments are not tampered with. What do you do when someone posts “the sky is actually grey”? This person has now added their personal opinion to the discussion that you started. Do you leave this dissenting opinion on your site so that people can see the HONEST, TRANSPARENT format of how the discussion actually unfolded?…. OR…. Do you log in as “admin” and CHANGE THAT POST so it now reads “the sky is blue”?

Let’s say you get five more “blues” and two more “greys” and even a “red”… What now? Do you log in AGAIN, and tamper with your comments AGAIN? When someone comes to your post the next day, will EVERYONE be in agreement with your position? Is that fair? Is that HONEST? Is that *transparent*?

Now, in most cases, you can get away with this underhanded behavior. There’s only one thing you have to do to maintain your credibility and look like people agree with you….. Be. Faster. Than. Everyone. Else. That. Reads. Your. Blog!

If you come to your blog, and the dissenting posts have been sitting there for an hour, consider the possibility that SEVERAL PEOPLE may have ALREADY READ THEM and will see you for who you really are and what you’re really doing if you tamper with your comments. :/

What’s the problem if you get caught tampering with your comments?…. “Trickle Up”! 😀

If you get caught tampering with comments on PERSONAL posts, your credibility is *SHOT*. You can NOT be trusted. If you can’t be trusted with the comments on your personal post, you can’t be trusted in what you POSTED either. Why tell the truth, when you could make up a convenient lie to make yourself look good? Now, your entire personalblog is tainted. Meanwhile, you’re the same person that writes and moderates widgetblog. Why should we believe that you’re willing to risk your business by allowing people to have opinions contrary to YOUR best interests? Now, the posts AND comments on widgetblog are tainted.

Meanwhile, you’re the owner of the widget company. Why should your character in doing business with someone face to face, shaking their hand and looking them in the eye be any stronger than when you’re posting a business or personal blog? So, unfortunately “this person is a liar” trickles UP to where you don’t want it because you didn’t have the stomach to leave your comments alone and perhaps POST A REBUTTAL? Stand up for your own statements? Explain to the dissenting commenter why you think you’re right and they’re wrong? Seriously. :/

Assuming you feel you’re prone to resort to underhanded tactics to make yourself look good in the future by tampering with people’s comments today… Here are some things you can do that will still make you look like you have something to hide, but there’s no PROOF, like when a statement that was “X” for 45 minutes, suddenly becomes “Y” merely by clicking ‘refresh’ in your browser. :/

Turn Off Comments – Your word is law and that’s it. Anybody who comes to personalblog or widgetblog will get what YOU have to say about things, and that’s it. Nobody else has any say.

Turn On Moderation – Make it so that NOBODY’S comments make it to personalblog or widgetblog unless YOU approve them. That way, when everything ends up positive, you just look like you spun the situation by only letting the comments through that you liked. This is DIFFERENT from changing people’s posts because there’s never anything negative for people to see in the first place, AND dissenting comments don’t become agreeing comments with the same person’s name on the top, posted at the exact same time.

Delete Dissenting Comments – MUCH, MUCH better than changing what people had to say from “X” to “Y” is deleting their comments altogether. That way, you look like someone who can’t handle the truth instead of someone actively cheating to make it look like everyone’s on your side in this situation.

Don’t Blog At All – Really, I don’t understand why some people post things on the net in the form of a blog with comments, when they don’t REALLY want to hear what people honestly think about what they’re saying or doing.

Maybe two years ago, I read something I thought was interesting on someone’s blog. I thought it was very interesting….. as well as COMPLETELY WRONG! 😀 I explained to her very professinally and clinically WHY she was wrong by posting a comment on her blog. Eventually, I got an email from her saying that she was going to erase my comment, and suggested (to her credit, because I hadn’t saved my post anywhere) that I copy it and post it on my own blog and link to hers.

I wrote back to her, thanked her for not deleting my post FIRST, and explained to her (in not so flowery terms) that I thought she was lame for having a web site where all she wanted on it was her opinions and people that agreed with her position. She was doing a disservice to her readers, because with all of them commiserating and rallying around the flag, it was the blind leading the blind, and they were never going to get to the solution to their problem, because they had the question wrong in the first place.

Since then, I’ve come to realize that many people post NOT to START a conversation, but to appear as if they’re an authority in something. They think that as long as they post something and nobody disagrees, they look intelligent or wise. I now realize that a lot of people use the internet to make themselves feel better or to doctor the results so as to convince themselves that they’re in the right and someone else was in the wrong.

That’s all well and good, however, if that’s the type of person you are, don’t think that people aren’t figuring you out. Don’t think that you’re getting away with tampering with comments or juking stats scot-free. Your credibility’s taking a hit, and you may find out down the line when nobody wants to buy your widgets that it’s because more people than you know saw you tampering with comments on some seemingly insignificant post and decided that your credibility as a businessperson has been seriously undermined by your personal character.

Bill Cammack • Cammack Media Group, LLC