ADR in Action

Summary

With extra time in class, I decided to try another audio replacement project. You may have seen my last post ‘Film Sound Design – Sound for Intensity’ where I replaced sound effects from a movie clip. This time, I tried a little ADR.

Film Before Visual ADR

As you can hear, there is a lot of background noise that needs to be taken care of.

 

Film After Visual ADR

Coming Soon! Having issues with a copyright claim…

I synced up the video with the audio and cut the best one out to upload.

 

ADR Process

Screenshot coming soon!

 

Audio ADR Preparation

For this project, since the line is short and the actor recited the dialogue well the first time, we used audio ADR. The actor listened to the original audio looped and repeat with it for clear sound that could be synced with the video. This made some pretty good audio takes to use because after the actor repeats the line in a loop, it becomes more of a rhythm than a reading of the line; making it relatively the same as the original.

 

ADR Terms and Notes

Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR) – Rerecorded audio to replace the audio of the video.

  • Fixes technical problems
  • Replaces vocal performance
  • Makes a TV safe cut
  • Creative purposes
  • Usually recorded with large diaphragm condenser microphone

Post-Synchronization – Dubbing the sound over a video after it has been made; used a lot for dubbing.

Partial ADR – Must be recorded with the same mic, mic placement, and environmental reverb so that when clips are edited into the video it doesn’t sound off with the video sound. Not recomended.

Visual ADR – Having an actor watch the muted video and record the lines while watching it. Better for if you want to change the performance slightly.

Audio ADR – Having the actor listen to the lines and repeat with it while recording. Better for exact audio video fits.

 

Audio Post-production Terms

Equalizer – A tool that boosts or cuts the amplitude of specific frequency of specific frequencies.

High Shelf – The boosted area in a clip of sound that an equalizer has been used on.

Low Shelf – The area in a clip that an equalizer has cut the amplitude.

High Pass – Lets all the sound below a certain frequency be audible and cuts everything else.

Low Pass – Lets all the sound above a certain frequency be audible and cuts everything else.

Combing Effect – When the audio is duplicated and played up to 15 milliseconds after the normal audio, giving the audio a comb effect.

Delay Effect – When the audio is duplicated and played from 15-30 milliseconds after the main audio to present a chorus effect.

Echo Effect – When the audio is duplicated and played more that 35 milliseconds after the original audio to present an echo effect.

Reverb Effect – Like the echo effect, but instead adding varying pitches and more duplicates at different delayed times to present more of an effect of random and decaying echoes.

Chipmunk Effect – When audio is recorded at half the speed and played back at twice the speed to raise the pitch by an octave.

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

One things I learned was that YouTube editor doesn’t like me very much. After a little while trying to edit the video in YouTube editor, I ran into the same problem I kept running into several posts ago; copyright claims that don’t exist. However, I did learn a lot more terms and techniques used in ADR which will help me as I always want to use it to make my audio better. I also got more practice in editing and post-synchronization. Overall, this project was short but rewarding.

Film Sound Design – Sound for Intensity

Summary

Sound is a big part of what makes films good nowadays. For intense scenes, usually it’s the sound effects that shock you into a jump or remind you that something is happening. Gunshots, punches, thunder, even the smallest movement of cloth can make every viewer feel the movie in a whole new way. For this project, I decided to try it out for myself, using sound effects I created. The Earthquake scene from ‘The Wind Rises’ has intense sounds that all pile on top of each other for the intensity of the clip. I went out and used usual and unusual foley and sound effect techniques to put into the movie clip myself, and this is the final project.

 

Film Before Foley and Sound Effects

As you can see, a lot of the intensity is in the sound. The earthquake itself is the main noise, but if you listen closely you can hear a lot of other small noises that come with it.

 

Film After Foley and Sound Effects

The noises I used should sound pretty familiar. For the simple things that I can access I just recorded myself, and for things like the train tracks and electricity that were probably dangerous to do on my own I used a healthy dose of creativity in objects and some pitch/speed correction. Once added to the video, the audio blends in well (probably because the visual is tricking your brain but still). I’m proud of my final content and how I got to it.

 

Foley Process

Foley Process Brainstorm

In my brainstorming section, I thought of things I could use for sounds. I highlighted the fact that I wanted to learn about foley and how it is recorded in this project. At this point I also knew that I wanted to make my clip as original as possible, meaning that I wasn’t going to replicate the sounds in the original, but rather watch the muted clip and add sounds that I think will make it look more intense.

Planning Project

I made a list of all the sounds I at least wanted a sample of, and where I could get them. Then I made sure to put down which days I could record them. I ended up using my phone’s microphone to record all the sound because I think the background noise it picks up adds to the sound effects; it has an MEMS condenser microphone. I also ended up recording most of the sounds on Tuesday and recorded extra sound effects with things on location because I saw objects that gave me new ideas for sound.

Screen Shot

I used iMovie to cut the clips together and change audio. I was able to easily take pieces I needed from the samples I recorded.

Sound Library

Breaths – ADR recorded myself

Coughing – ADR recorded myself

Various yells and mumbles – me and others, recording ambience in the lunchroom

Grabbing objects – I grabbed a wood plank; rubbing my hands together

Sound Effect Example

Rumbling – elbows on a shaky table, rocks

Elbows on a rumbling Table

Pebbles – rocks and pebbles, some edited to bring varying pitches

Sound Effect Example

Objects hitting each other – I recorded some pillows hitting each other and objects hitting pillows

Flags – waving around pieces of paper

Sound Effect Example

Fabric rustling – I recorded my shirt fabric rubbing against itself

Zaps – soft, dry leaves rustling and pitch made higher by about 70% and silencing editing so it comes out in short bursts

Screenshot of sound editing

Ambience – recorded next to an air conditioner with a low quality microphone

Footsteps – I just recorded my own footsteps and piled them on top of each other to sound like lots of people

Cracking – chipping tree bark and tearing apart dried, fallen leaves

Tree Bark

Fabric – foley I recorded myself

Metal Clanking – a fence; metal on metal clanking

Metal Fence Clinking

 

Audio Signal Chain Terms

Audio Signal Chain

  1. A microphone converts the sound energy into analog electric signals
  2. Signals are carried down a cable
  3. Signals reach the preamp/recorder
  4. Signals are converted to a digital file

Single System Audio Setup – Audio records directly into and with the camera.

Double System Audio Setup – Audio records separately from video, if audio is recorded with the camera anyways, it is used as sync or scratch track.

Quantized – Split up into many samples and having those altitudes measured. More measurements lead to more accurate sound.

Sampling Rate – How often the sound is quantized, measured in kilohertz (not the same as pitch or frequency).

  • 11 kHz – low quality internet audio
  • 44.1 kHz – CD audio
  • 48 kHz –  digital video audio
  • 96 kHz – twice as good as digital video audio quality; high audio quality

Bit Depth – The amount of amplitudes of different value that each sample can be (actual number can be found by calculating two to the bit depth power).

Preamp – A device that boosts the signal of the microphone so audio can be recorded. Preamps found in and for cameras are usually louder than in double system audio setups.

Line Signal – A strong audio signal, often coming from a mixing console or playback device.

Mic Signal – A weaker audio signal, uses a preamp to create a stronger signal.

Headroom – Extra space for audio to avoid clipping.

Unbalanced Analog Cable – Simplest and cheapest type of cable. Has a ground wire and a hot wire for audio without sound from outside sources.

Balanced Analog Cable – Used more for professional microphones. Has a ground wire, the hot wire, and a cold wire. The cold signal records sound reversed in polarity, then at the end is reversed back and added to the hot. This cancels out any interference with the wires.

Impedance – A measure of the devices resistance to AC current. Measured in Ohms Ω.

Inverse Square Law – Sound dissipates according to the inverse square law. The power of the sound wave decreases by the inverse of the square; if the distance between the microphone and source of sound is doubled, the sound will dissipate to 25% of what it was before.

Proximity Effect – When the bass frequencies are boosted because of how close the source of sound is to the cardoid microphone. Fattens the sound.

Boom Mic – A microphone (usually shotgun) on the end of a pole to allow the source of sound to get closer to the mic.

Lavalier Mic – Small microphones hidden on the source of sound to get sound easier and move with the source of sound. Used a lot in live performances.

 

Foley and Sound Effects Terms

Ambience – psychological cue for space. Sometimes recorded on location.

Library Effects – Prerecorded sound effects

Foley – named after Jack Foley, can be broken down into three categories; footsteps, cloth, and props

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

This project has helped me produce something I have never even come close to trying before, and I think I did pretty well. Sound effects has always been something that fascinated me, but this project and the things I learned with it has really opened my eyes to the world of foley and prerecording. It’s so crazy awesome that something as small as a touch of a hand can make a visual seem so much more real. This will definitely be something I hold onto as I go on to create more videos and films. At first I didn’t think I would be able to find sounds for so many sound effects, but the hardest ones to find just needed a little pitch correction and effect. I not only learned a lot from this project but it’s also helped me be more creative in sound and sound design.

Bass Recording Project

BASS!

Summary

Bass is the undertone of almost all western music. In this project, we’re exploring the techniques used in music and how to apply it ourselves. I took a song I know well and I added my own original bass using flat.io line to figure out hands-on how bass affects music.

My Bass Line

Dream a Little Dream w Bass part 1

Dream a Little Dream w Bass part 2

I wanted to play with all the techniques in bass lining in this piece. I didn’t want to focus too much time on the melody so I just took the basic melody of ‘Dream a Little Dream’ by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong as used before in my posts and added bass to see how it would modify the song. At first I used the simple inversion technique, starting with the same tonic note an octave down and moving the bass up as the melody went down. Then, in the third measure I just did the same melody an octave lower, using roots. In the fifth measure, I used notes other than to tonic to sort of harmonize with the melody using the bass. In the last three measures, I played with scales and walking bass techniques to find an interesting sound that played with the music.

Bass Terms and Notes

  • Just playing the roots of the chords as a base can already change the sound of the song incredibly
  • Organs were one of the first instruments to play base, and must be played at least an octave below the main melody
  • Another base technique is to mirror the melody by going up when the melody goes down and going down when the melody goes up
  • Because of the synth bass’ ability to vibrate bodies with the right speakers, it became a strong link to dance and club music

tonality – describes the whole package of ingredients that makes western music sound different from other types of music

root – the lowest note in the chord, usually the tonic

walking bass – a seductive bass line consisting of mostly scales or moving parts that doesn’t exactly correspond with the melody

chromatic scale – an octave of black and white keys in order, usually more sophisticated and dark and usually descending

inversion – using a different note from the chord other than the tonic as the bass note

bass riffs – also referred to as ‘bass filler’ or ‘bass run’, connects parts of a song with a solo of bass

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

I had never done barely anything with bass before (I mean I have, but it was the basic long, octave-lower tonic notes that anyone can learn by listening closely to any song). Today however, I learned so much more technique to be used with bass. I also learned so much more history, which helped me grasp the concepts and techniques better. I didn’t run into any issues with this project, because bass is fairly simple for me so far, but also very important.  Knowing these bass terms and models will help me very much with my composition of music because, as seen in this project, it affects music subtly but immensely.

Making Beats

Beats

Summary

We’ve made melodies, we’ve made harmonies, but something that is behind the majority of popular music that we have not practiced making yet is a beat. More specifically, this project we used free online resource to make a rhythm you can tap to. First we looked at songs like ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder with great drum rhythm examples that push and move a song. Then I went onto Drumbot to create my own original beat.

My Beat

Screenshot of my Rhythm

 

(If something’s going wrong, click here)

 

I wanted to make a beat similar to most of the intoxicating sounds I hear in a lot of the alternative and calm electronic music I listen to (think ODEZSA, Hippie Sabotage, The Acid). I wanted to find some interesting sounds and put them together with a basic beat and I knew that at the end of the eight measures I wanted a small beat drop with a single click-type sound. I started by setting up all the sounds I wanted in my beat and then I set them down one by one, slowly modifying each so they would fit with each other. When I finished my sound, I wanted to add another element that I had discovered on this software earlier. I made the two different pitches of bongos in two different ears. Although not directly noticeable, if you listen closely you can hear one bongo sound (labeled in the screenshot as ‘other bongos 2’) slightly more in the left ear and another bongo sound (labeled ‘other bongos 5’) more in the right ear. Then with the final click and rim shot at the end of the 8 measures I did the same thing but stronger – the click was only in the left ear and the rim shot only in the right. Even though the final beat isn’t exactly as “intoxicating” as I’d hoped, I’m definitely surprised by how much small elements affected the overall quality of the beat.

Rhythm Terms

Rhythm – A strong, regular, repeated pattern of sound.

Beat – The beat or PULSE in a piece of music is the regular rhythmic pattern. Like the beating of your heart; heartbeat.

Tempo – The SPEED at which a piece of music is to be played.

Accent  The STRESS given to a musical note.

Duration – The period of TIME during which a musical note is HELD OUT.

Meter – A specific rhythm determined by the NUMBER of beats AND the TIME VALUE assigned to each note.

Syncopation – The musical rhythms in a piece of music that accents a normally WEAK BEAT (off-beat/up-beat).

Cross Rhythm – A rhythm used simultaneously with another rhythm or rhythms. The use of two or more rhythms simultaneously.

Duple – When the meter of a piece of music consists of TWO BEATS per measure/bar.

Triple – When the meter of a piece of music consists of THREE BEATS per measure/bar.

Quadruple – When the meter of a piece of music consists of FOUR BEATS per measure/bar.

Accelerando  A gradual increase of tempo in a section of music.

Ritardando – A gradual decrease of tempo in a section of music.

Rubato – A flexible tempo in a section of music.

What I Learned

Before this project I had only ever played around in GarageBand, but now that I have these new resources and tools I know I can do so much more. My favorite part of my rhythm was the bongos being mixed with a basic electronic beat and the fact that if you put headphones on, each ear will have a different experience. I had some trouble exporting the file from Drumbot, and I had to look up helpful tips about the software, causing me to learn a lot more about the software than if I just played with it with no background knowledge. Now that I know how to use it, I’ll be able to use it more often and effectively in the future. The final rhythm I created I am happy with, but I know that I’ll create more in the future that can stand alone even stronger.

How Music Works – Rhythm

Drum array

 

“[We] have an instinctive sense of where the pulse may be even if it’s inaudible”

 

As humans, we one of the only animals in the world that can hear our mother’s heartbeat in the womb – the first rhythm we ever hear. This could be why we are also one of the only animals that like to dance around and create new kinds of music. The heartbeat is not only in ourselves, but in music. The pulse is a heartbeat-like repetition with the same periodically timed beats. All songs have a pulse, whether you can hear it or not.

Beats are often divided within themselves into two or four mini-beats. In theory, though, they can be divided however you want to. Waltzes are examples of beats divided into three’s, with a 1-2-3 repeat loop.

Half notes are called minims, quarter notes are called crotchets, eighth notes are called quavers, and sixteenth notes are called semi-quavers.

Accent is the stressing of certain notes to put emphasis on it. Humans do it naturally, imagining an accent on any beat even if every beat is exactly the same. Composers in the past have always been experimenting with changing and shifting accents within songs and melodies. Humans also very much like syncopation, which is playing or singing off of the main beat. Syncopation became famous during the rise of playful jazz, but it’s been around a lot longer. Good uses of syncopation make the music sound more like a human made it and less like a song made by a machine with rules and harsh regular beats.

Rag time music was birthed out of an artist trying to imitate marching bands on the piano; on the left hand there’s a beat, and on the right is the main melody and harmony covering up the beat and in between. However, it was not until Jazz and Swing music that syncopated music didn’t still have rules on how to use it. In Swing music, the syncopation is lagging just a little bit behind, bringing a mischievous cheeky feel to the song.

During this same time in Cuba, a new type of song emerged that inspired many different types of dance. Cuba took aspects from all of the techniques we’ve talked about and put them altogether with aspects from their own music. This made a very fun sounding and almost sensual genre of music. In Jazz music, the syncopation is holding the beat behind, in Cuban song the bass line and melody are both going slightly faster, anticipating the beat.

This is only a glimpse into the world or rhythm, beats, syncopation, and even more. However, after learning the basics, you may already start to notice these techniques in your everyday music and life.

 

Watch ‘How Music Works with Howard Goodall – Rhythm’ on YouTube

Harmony Recording Project

[harmony-01]

Summary

You may have seen my last post “Melody Recording Project’ where I created a melody after learning about the structure of what goes into making a melody sound good; this post, we decided to take it a step further. This time, I made a melody and then added harmonies and background chords. This melody is a little strange as the phrases aren’t really repetitive but instead the period repeats every few measures and has more awkward rhythm. Then the chords in the background push it along and add more emotion to it. This is what I came up with in the end.

My Harmony

My Harmony Notation

For my harmony, I was more focused and playing with the harmonies so my melody is pretty inconsistent (sort of like an off-beat Lana Del Rey song that only really muscially make sense when it gets to the chorus, except that it was made in flat.io). At first my focus was finding chords in the background of each measure that would push it along. For about every other measure, I took the first note of the measure (usually the tonic or mediant and submediant notes) and I went a third of the way up and placed a note, and then a third of the way down and placed a note. For the other measures, I only went one direction, or I did the high and low harmonics without the same note being replicated. In the first phrase I also played with having something in the background that only lined up in harmony with the melody every few notes. For the second phrase, the melody needed to be focused on, so I just added some background chords to keep it simple. I tried to also do some “ask and answer” sounds with an echo of the same melody a few keys lower and such like that. I tried to build and release some tension by adding a few dischords before triads. Some stuff sounded good and some didn’t sound that great. I picked from the good sounding harmonies and added it to my melody and overall I’m happy with the results. It is in the key of E.

Harmony Notes

  • three note chords are the foundation of Western harmony\
  • finding harmonics can also tell you which notes will sound good in harmony with the fundamental note
  • minor chords are more fragile and harder to harmonize with
  • with each note there are six notes it can harmonize with depending on what feeling you want to make with the song
  • dissonance doesn’t sound that bad to us anymore because of the fimiliarity we now have with it and our brains learning to automatically correct it ourselves

drone – a continuous note that is played underneath any melody that is sung in that key

harmonics – hidden notes behind the fundamental note, like all the hidden color in white light

triad – a fundamental note with the two harmonic notes supporting it

polyphony – intermingled harmonies that mix with the melody to harmonize

progression – forward movement

tonic-dominant relationship – the harmony between the note and the note 5 semitones above it

passimezzo antico – an A minor to G minor to A minor to E minor to G minor chord progression (tonic to dominant)

passimezzo moderno – tonic, dominant, and subdominant chord progression, the most used chord progression

dischord – a harmony of notes deliberately from the wrong triads

dissonance – lack of harmony; a noticeable clash in notes

passing notes – notes that clash with chords but don’t sound dissonant in the song because it is passing through and carrying onto the next chord

suspended notes – letting a note linger over a chord it doesn’t belong to creating a sort of tension; usually only correcting itself at the very last moment

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

After I had created my melody, I really enjoyed it, but the rhythm was one that was very hard to work with. I had to play around with the notes in the third and fourth measure a lot until I could imagine a good sound to add in. After the melody was produced, I heard that it sounded very chipper, and although I loved the melody I was going for something a little more heartbreaking or nostalgic. I added some more minor chords underneath to try and get this affect. This sounded good, but the strange rhythm still didn’t seem to make very much sense. Finally, I added more ‘fun’ behind the melody, almost like a backup melody that was harmonizing with the first one in lower tones. This gave the song a sort of fighting element, like the harmony was competing with the melody. This was also cool, but not what I was ultimately going for, so I kept background chords in some measures and kept the echo-like harmony in others. In the end it sounds like a great motive, but it needs more to become a complete theme and make sense with itself.

Melody Recording Project

Summary

Even the simplest of melodies follow some rules of melody structures. My class watched several videos and tutorials that explain how melodies sound better and how melodies can vary. We learned about tonic, dominant, supertonic, and other types of notes that build and release tension in the melody. We looked at examples of leaps in and steps in songs and how they move the song along. After that, we were tasked with our own melody making project. I took a look at a famous and beautiful melody by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald; the chorus of ‘Dream a Little Dream’. After taking apart that song and which rules it follows and which rules it bends I decided to take note and make my own original melody with similar aspects. 

Lesson Melody

Class Melody by Jamie Henke in ‘How to Write A Melody?

It repeats a pattern of quick steps to big leaps. It starts in the key of C and although it stays in that key, it ends with the tonic note an octave higher. There’s a lot of tension building and it gets pleasantly awkward at the start of the second phrase with the split up of the 2 beats into three quarter notes (which was hard to replicate in flat.io because it automatically would only let me use eighth notes, so I had to use connectors to make the notes the same length and just written differently). The tonic note was not used that much within the melody, in fact not very many notes are repeated, but the rhythm is repeated similarly in the second phrase as it is in the first phrase.

One of My Favorite Melodies

Dream a Little Dream Notation

Dream A Little Dream Melody Analysis

It follows a pattern of Major, Minor, Major, Minor until the last note, which is always Minor except in the last measure when it ends in tonic. Every other measure in the first phrase start with an eighth note of a rest. And the first and third measure in the first phrase are exactly the same. The second Phrase follows a pattern of starting in Minor and ending in minor (other than the final whole note). It uses only one leap and only quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter notes with extra time for most of the song. Variation is small but enough. There’s a rather equal spread between green, red, and blue notes, which may be why it’s such a calm and stress-free tune.

 

My Melody

My Made-up Melody

The tonic note is at the beginning of the song and the end, and the beginning of every other measure. It follows a simple pattern of small leaps with a quarter note, eighth note, and another quarter note, and then fast little steps with sixteenth notes. The second phrase has some easy harmony parts on some notes. The beginning of each phrase is the same. There is some variation in notes every other measure much like ‘Dream a Little Dream’ with most variation in the last two measures of the sentence. I also added some flat and sharp notes at the end of the first phrase to make the notes closer together to release the tension built in that first phrase.  In the first phrase I used blue notes (notes that move the melody along but don’t push it; supertonic, mediant, submediant), then in the second phrase I made the leaps just a little bit more green (dominant, subdominant, leading tone; notes that push the melody and build tension). I essentially made the second phrase the same structurally as the first, but with more tension build and release. The final step riff down to the ending tonic note releases the tension built throughout the melody. It is in the key of A.

Melody Composition Terms and Notes

  • People can sometimes recognize tunes they’ve heard when they were in the womb
  • Some melodic principles are universal
  • The five notes most used in song (called pentatonic) are also the 5 black keys on a piano
  • ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ is an example of the Aoelian mode that is to display solemn and sorrowful

pitch – the measuring of how high or low a musical note is

interval – the distances between runs, in western music, the smallest is a semitone.

modes – scale groups that evoke or sound like emotions or occurrences

sharpen – to raise by a semitone

flatten – lowering by a semitone

false relations – modified modes put together with sharp and flat sounds that creates a harsh harmony

blue notes – bending down notes

diatonic – using notes that have not been altered

theme – a long, more flowing melodic idea

motive – a short rhythmic idea

period –  eight measures, a musical sentence

phrase four measures, a piece of a musical sentence 

antecedent (Question) Phrase –  The first phrase, like asking a question, sets up for the next phrase

consequent (Answer) Phrase – The second phrase, almost like answering the question phrase one said

scale degree

  • tonic – Begins and ends the scale, determines what key you’re in and what the other notes will be [Stop, “Home”]
  • supertonic, mediant, submediant – Have a moderate level of tension, won’t get the same feeling of rest [Rest]
  • dominant, subdominant, leading tone – Have the most “forward moving force”, most tension [Go]

steps any movement using half or whole steps

leap – any movement using intervals bigger than a whole step

conjunct motion Melody built primarily out of steps

disjunct motion – Melody built primarily out of leap

repetition – using repeated material that can create a link between two phrases

contrast -Writing two phrases that contain and create tension and are different from each other

variation – half way between repetition and contrast, with some repeated parts and some varied parts

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

This project was mind-blowing and definitely eye opening. When I took this class, this was exactly the type of information I was interested in knowing. After only one look at the process of information, example, and then doing it myself I already know how to make a melody that doesn’t suck and how to move a song along if it’s been stuck. All it takes is looking at the note you’re working with, a look at the start of the period, and then deciding how much tension you want to build after it. 

Learn More Yourself!

How to Make a Melody – Jamie Henke

How Music Works with Howard Goodall

Hot to Write a Melody – Art of Composing

The 4 Critical Parts to Writing a Melody – Michael New

Creative Commons and Copyright

Creative Commons

“It can be that easy when you skip the intermediaries”

 

In 2001, The White Stripes released an album titled “White Blood Cells”. Steve MacDonald of Redd Kross, took that album, added base, and re-released it changing the title to “Redd Blood Cells”.  He started this, without consent from Jack or Meg White, but later they assured him they were okay with it. So how do we, as normal people get consent to modify or use an artist’s content without just randomly bumping into them as Steve did?

Everyone’s seen the big ‘C’ for ‘Copyright’. It means ‘All rights reserved’. It means ‘don’t use or change this without permission’. It means ‘if you do, I could get you in trouble’.

By the late 1980’s the U.S. law decided that all works should become copyrighted as soon as they were created. Of course, some artists were happy about this; but what about the rest of us? The one’s who’s jobs depended on gathering resources, mixing songs, using other people’s content to promote or create our own? Suddenly, all doodles and simple made up melody’s were stamped with the big ‘C’.

Creative Commons is the easy way out. It’s for artists who need something but don’t want to use a lawyer to get it. It’s not meant to compete with Copyright, but to work with it. Not all artists mind if their work is being used for other purposes and ‘CC’ offers the in between of free-for-all and not-at-all.

The double ‘CC’ is for Creative Commons. It means ‘Some rights reserved’. It means ‘you have permission’. It means ‘use it, but don’t call it yours’.

Hear it in Creative Common’s own words.

The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Less is More

“You know what you’d have if you had two more hours? You’d have two more hours of overwhelming stickiness”

 

Being productive is something we all struggle with. Lots of times it’s for many reasons: too busy, no motivation, no inspiration, no creativity. However, the times we are least productive are when we have too many things to be productive with. When we have so much on our mind that we are not fully invested in our current task. That is what takes away the magic of the outcome of our productivity and just makes it another tick box in the checklist we imagine in our minds.

David Allen says “if you’re already in a creative mess, you have no room to make one”. To be fully invested in current projects is important to make them rich with concrete ideas. Stress comes from having too many things on your mind, and this leads to everything opposing productivity. You lose the ability to focus.

Fixing this is quite simple. Time management is not the (only) key, because you will always have the same amount of time you had before. You will always have the same deadline. Write down what you need to do to get it out of you’re head, that’s one of the most helpful things to do. Then you won’t be thinking about it while you should be focused on something else.

To finish the task – to ultimately be productive, you need to figure out the outcome before you figure out the steps. What are you trying to achieve? Then you build a bridge to it. Blindly looking for inspiration and for help to discover what you want is unhelpful and will only put more on your mind. Looking for a specific goal will narrow your road a lot more so you know which steps to take.

Finally, for the little things you have to do regularly, build a map. Look at all of them and make sure you have reminders and simple steps you can take each time so you don’t have to think about them again and again and always. Make sure that they’re something you can do easily when the time comes, and not something you have to check for and create a new process for each time. With these simple steps we can begin to master the art of stress-free productivity.

Your Elusive Creative Genius

open minded

“And that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish”

 

Many people feel fear, it’s a common emotion in humans and brains to be afraid; especially of failure. In the past, creative minds who put out extremely influential work have all seemed to suffer from their own minds after. Because of this, the reputation of being a creative mind in this society is now also linked to being a depressed or suffering mind. But instead of just accepting this notion, we should all be encouraging the minds of the creative to live and create even more, instead of letting them do their passion and feel used up after that.

In ancient Greece and Rome, creativity was thought of as divine spirits who spoke wisdom to them. Greece called them daemons, and Rome called them genius. Because of this common knowledge, creative minds were never fully blamed for their work. After the renaissance, this changed, and creativity was completely of the person; it went from “having a genius” to be “being a genius”. This definitely can put pressure on artists.

Creative processes are different for everyone, but many can agree that it does often feel like something other than their own creativity. For poet Ruth Stone, she would say a poem was running after her over a landscape, and sometimes she would catch it on paper in time. Other times it would pass through her and look for another poet over the landscape. She even said there were times when she was so close to missing it, she had to write the poem backwards just to pull it back on the page. Most artists can agree to some degree of this.

Instead of being psyched out by this pressure, we can think of it as a loan. An extra piece that boosts our performance at our job that comes and goes if it pleases. We can’t control it. All we can do is show up to our job, do it, and maybe once in a while it will be divine. This way, we may be able to encourage our creativity and inspiration to survive all failure or fear of failure.