OK, so here's the latest brainwave I had. I have a separate midi track going to the midi channel of my librarian software. All it does is, at the end of the song, it sends a simple letter which is translated by Bome as a down arrow key or whatever I need to go to the next song. Once that happens, everything starts all over again with the "execute" of the next song. At the end of the set, everything stops. I haven't made any allowances yet for requests. I don't think it's worth the trouble. For a real band, yes, but not for me. Everything I do is very complicated and orchestrated. I am going to have two cameras, one focused on each side of my keyboard. Those will be used by the VJ as part of the video display behind me. I also have some awesome fractal video software. It has an automatic mode and it responds to keystokes. I will program it with my 0-9 and a-z keyboard and Bome will turn the midi notes back into characters for the fractal software.
I have also added some video techniques which you may find interesting. I have discovered a program which creates beautiful fractals in real time and I plan to feed that screen output to a Numark VJ video mixer. The VJ can record a performance into a midi track. The kind of information that gets stored is movements of the controls, like start this clip, merge it with the fractal feed, fade in the camera feed and so on. I have watched a lot of UTube videos on the VJ. There are bigger and better video merge machines out there but this one does a ton of stuff and I think it will suit me fine. I have to program all my video actions before my performance, so that means playing a recorded song, either the original or my version, and see what kind of stuff I can come up with that looks good. I have a feeling there will be many many tries before I get something that looks good. We'll see. I might get somebody else involved that has some experience with this stuff.
The lights are also just midi tracks in RealBand. It's just that they have to be all recorded and set up ahead of time... for each song specifically. If the lights are going to change colour at the bridge, obviously, that's going to be different for every song. The lights are controlled by an interface called DMX. The interface in turn is controlled by software that responds to MIDI input and will pass on instructions in the DMX language. That way, a MIDI track in RealBand, playing along with my song, of course, can control my lights at the right moments in each song, dimming them, changing colour and switching to white at the end of a song. I have a large 4 light unit on a tall stand right in front of me called a 4Bar. Well, there are 4 lights on a bar, hence the name! It is by Chauvet. On each side of me is one large Chauvet Rain 56 light on a stand. All these lights are tied together by the DMX network.
When you think of electrical power and computers, the quality of the power is always an issue. Computers are very sensitive to poor power quality and so is musical equipment, being computer-type devices themselves. I haven't done a huge amount of research but it wasn't hard to see the benefit of buying a really good Balanced Power Conditioner. One that I liked a lot is the Furman P-2400 IT. Let me just paste here a little of what they say on their web page. The Furman P-2400 IT is a symmetrically balanced power conditioner, designed for the most critical, ultra-low noise installations, provides unparalleled AC noise reduction and 100% isolation from the power grid for the lowest noise floor possible. The Furman P-2400 IT features over 80 dB of common-mode and over 50 dB of differential-mode noise reducti on for recording, mastering, and broadcast studios, or anywhere noise-free performance is critical. With 100% isolation from line, neutral, and ground, the P-2400 IT is also ideal for breaking AC ground loops without rewiring or hiring an electrician. Sounds good or what?!
I don't know if you have heard of a video wall. It's not just a bunch of TVs on a wall. It's one image shared by a number of video screens. They are now building TVs special for video walls so that they can be put together almost seamlessly. The one I like is the Samsung LFD, made especially for this job. The surrounding bezel is extremely small and secondly, it is very thin and light, weighing in at only 16 pounds! The wall concept was developed by the U of California at Irvine. I want to make sure I get technology that all works together, so I am only interested in a manufacturer that makes the whole thing, from TVs to the controllers. These monitors go up on special stands and because of the relatively low weight, I am going to have two video wall setups, one on each side of the stage behind me. The alternative is two very expensive projectors, two very expensive white screens and two very expensive girls to put them up. No, just kidding, girls won't be that expensive. Just KIDDING!! I think this technology will be amazing on stage. The seams will be so inconsequential that I'm sure most people won't even notice the separations. They might even thing the lines are just in the video to give it the cool look. I think the TV screens will stack into boxes very neatly face to face in pairs and rolled in and out of the truck. I haven't decided for sure yet, but I might have two separate computers controlling each video wall so that the images can be different. I don't know yet if people may find that too distacting. I will test it out first and get some opinions before I decide.
I have found an awesome pitch bend controller that behaves like a touch strip. It's called a VMeter and it does more than just respond to your finger pressure. This is what the website says about it. The VMeter is a "USB MIDI touch strip that provides nuanced musical control and visualization for DJs and other laptop musicians. Blue LEDs react to volume, touch or MIDI. The versatile touch strip is actually several controllers in one, giving you new ways to "play" effects and tracks.". I have a couple of situations where I want a side-to-side action for sounds like a wailing guitar solo. Something that will simulate the severe bending of a string while holding a long note on the guitar. This thing would be perfect for that. I don't like the pitch bend control on most keyboards. It's a wheel and it's at the far left! Who needs something way over there that you need to work with your less skilful arm and furthermore, you have to involve your shoulder and whole arm to get the motion because it's forward and back. Exactly the opposite of what you do when playing a steel guitar. I am going to find a nice little spot for one of these things just below my lower keyboard and within easy reach of my left hand. You can centre the effect initially and then bend up OR down. Whatever works for that sound. So, I'm pretty excited about that one.
I think that's about it for new stuff. Do you have something to add? Are you using the APC40 or the padKontrol? What software are you using? Drop me a line, if you have a minute. I look forward to hearing from you. Contact Me
Black Box Band