Month: May 2014

Day 26: Put Down The Textbook

Over this past week I’ve been doing a lot more freelancing work, both audio and video. It’s amazing what happens when you throw yourself out there, meet people, and make connections. This week entailed sitting down with multiple people to plan out a few projects to record their EP or Single, as well as some film shoots. I haven’t had as much time to do anything else because of it.

Put Down The Textbook

There comes a point when you need to put what you know into practice, and over this past month I’ve forgotten about that every now and then. I love learning, growing, and being challenged, but sometimes putting yourself to work is the best way to accomplish these things; sometimes you just need to make stuff.

I’ve noticed that I remember things better when I learn them under high-pressure situations; and no, that doesn’t mean studying for an exam. What I mean is when your filming a concert, and you need to setup the shot before they start the next song. Or filming a wedding and making sure everything is going as planned, as the bride walks down the isle. It’s under these circumstances that I so often go back to in my mind, and remember how I overcome adversity.

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Day 24: Sometimes You Need A Teacher

This past while, I’ve been finishing my Pro Tools 10 Essential Training course on Lynda.com and I found that I learned how to troubleshoot my sessions better.

What Is Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving, often applied to repair failed products or processes. It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again.” – Wikipedia (Because I love Wikipedia)

What I Learned

Pro Tools handles your computers RAM in a way I never really knew about. Knowing about it will now help me be able to streamline my computers processing power in different types of recording sessions. One thing I never knew about was how the undo commands in Pro Tools were stored in your RAM. (But I guess all undo commands in any program are stored in your RAM, so I learned something new all together) You can have a max of 32 undos stored, but each one thats being stored takes memory away from other memory intensive tasks.

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Day 22: Are You Moving?

Since I began this project 22 days ago, I’ve noticed some changes in my life; some I never expected. One of my original goals was to see if I could become self-employed in 90 days. Hence the “Day ##” markers on each post. I’m looking back at the past 22 days and thinking, even if my goal remains unfulfilled, the bi-products of my project would be equally beneficial.

A Change In Thought

Considering, I don’t have a Netflix subscription anymore, in times of boredom I’ve noticed that my longing for creativity has increased beyond changing the batteries out of my TV remote, and thinking I should probably buy some rechargeable batteries. I don’t want to compromise my time as much as I used too; the little time we’ve been given. To spend it with people, creating art, helping others.

The other day, I was walking to my friends house for a bible study, and I had multiple “ahah” moments. Nothing that’s needed to be shared on this blog yet. But, ones that definitely had me thinking more outside of myself. Instead of “what does Sean need” it became “what do people need”. It didn’t dilute the question, as I am no less a person as everyone else. It just allowed me to think bigger. When you think inside of yourself in terms of what I want, and what I would enjoy, you stop growing. No one ever grows, or stretches because of what they already know or want. It is when you find out what others want, and that you don’t, which makes you question everything that you stand for. If you’d ever think there was a better you out there, you’d probably assume he knew something that you didn’t. How else are you going to know it if you are only comfortable with what you already know?

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Day 19: The Internet: Quality Control vs. Freedom Of Speech

This past week, I’ve been browsing the internet, trying to understand the impact such a vast and complex resource so easily accessible must have on modern day society. I’ve grown up in a time where the amount of memories of the non-internet days grows slim. Although, there’s a few atoms bouncing around in there that know what I’m talking about…

In a previous post, I talked a bit about how I started experimenting with some audio gear I had access to when I was younger. However, I never really mentioned how I learned what I know now. It actually went something like this… People-> Google-> YouTube

The Best Manual Around

Most of what I know came from the internet, not from a physical book. Now, I say that my learning started with people, because it was originally my Uncle, Dad, and Mom, who got my started with my first pieces of gear to experiment with. But after that, I had turned mostly to the internet to further my learning. Whenever I encountered an issue, something I didn’t know, or heard something on a record, and wanted to do the same thing, I would google it. This would usually lead me to some sort of video on YouTube of some guy or girl showing the viewers how to do it, and I’d fumble my way through the steps till I mastered the skill myself. Great! Sounds pretty easy, right? … well, not when YouTube is loaded with a whole lot of cat videos, and people who don’t know what the heck they are talking about. This is where Quality Control vs. Freedom of Speech comes in.

Now, do I believe that people can post blogs, videos, tutorials of whatever they choose? Yes. Even if they don’t know much about it? Sure. It’s not that big of a deal to me. The big deal is… how can I sift through all of that, and find the tutorials that I actually need? The quality ones.

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Day 17: Night On The Town

I was out late with a friend last night, experimenting with some night photography in the city of Vancouver. I’m preparing to eventually take a timelapse of the night sky, so I thought this would be a good time to experiment with my camera in low-light conditions. Taking photos of the landscape, lights, and architecture helped me realized how privileged I am to live in such a beautiful city.

The Ends vs. The Means

Being in a generation that’s so closely knit together with technology, I think the idea of going out, exploring, and reseting is a vital aspect in helping foster creativity. The original desire that brought me to take photos and videos, record songs for musicians, or experiment with coding never really had to do with the skills themselves, but what they could accomplish. You don’t fall in love with hammers, saws, and nails, because you just love hammers, saws, and nails. You fall in love with them because of what they can do; build tables, chairs, cabinets, houses. So it is with why we learn what we learn.

I encourage you who is reading to take a look at your life and ask yourself whether you’ve strayed from the big picture… what you originally set out to accomplish. Have you been too caught up in what you’re doing, versus why you’re doing it? I’d like to end this post off with a picture I took last night.

The following is a photo of the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, BC.

lionsgatebridge

Day 15: Education Is Going Down The Drain

Education is going down the drain, and into the ocean…. the ocean of the great internet abyss.

Being a student for almost 15 out of 20 years of my life, I’ve seen the methods in educations change right before my eyes. In Grade 1, they told us we needed to know cursive handwriting for high school. Then in Grade 3 they said we’d still be using long division in high school. Grade 4, they said if we didn’t know how to use the library, we wouldn’t be able to research anything… and then in Grade 5 they started us on a typing course to accelerate our typing speed. In Grade 6, they showed us how to use an online search engine. In Grade 7, the typing course was debunked as its uses were minimally beneficial in the increasingly technology-savvy students. So then in Grade 8, when everyone in my english class asked the teacher “when are we going to use our cursive handwriting that we learned in Grade 1?” there was, of course, no easy answer.

Things change. And yet people talk as though it wasn’t happening right now. I wish I was there when they released the Apple 1, they might say, or, I wish I’d been around for the first cellphone, the first car, the first rocket ship… You can go on and on, talking about all the things you’ve missed, while sitting here watching the newest and greatest thing pass right before your eyes. Education is one of these changing things. I believe this will change the world…. so why are you looking away?

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Day 12: A New Course: Pro Tools Essential Training

After learning some basic PHP coding, and experimenting with some new filming techniques, it’s time to move on to a new course and dive into some uncharted knowledge. In my previous post Making Up For Lost Time, I stated that along with wanting to learn programming, I’m also a film geek and audiophile (audio geek). This post will explore a bit more of my passion for film and audio.

My Audio Roots

Between the ages of 10 to 13 I learned to play acoustic guitar, and when I was 13, my Uncle let me borrow his small sound mixer, which I ended with me experimenting with audio almost every day. The computer in my parents family room ended up being pulled into the middle of the room during the daytime, just so I could get to the back of it to compare the microphone and line input as I was trying out my Uncles mixer, plugging in different mics and guitars. Sometimes things sounded okay, and sometimes not so much. You gotta understand. I was 13. I had no idea what I was doing. But I was hooked.

By the time my 15th birthday arrived, I was set on buying my own small mixing board. My Mom ended up buying me one for my birthday (wooo!), and then I bought a pair of knock off SM58 microphones with newspaper route money.  After that, recording gear just kept falling into my lap, either through gifts my parents have given me, gear I found at church garage sales, or people who owned gear and didn’t know what to do with it… so they gave it to me… Awesome, right?

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Day 10: What Can You Do In An Hour?

I’m proud to say that I finished two courses on Lynda.com within the first week of my 90 day challenge. The first course was a 14 hour introduction on the PHP programming language with MySQL. The other was an hour-and-a-half course on how to shoot a hyperlapse with your DSLR camera. If you don’t know what a hyperlapse is, you can refer to my previous post Making Up For Lost Time.  You might be thinking that’s an insane amount of time, and that you yourself could never put in that much time into learning some new skills between work, family, and friends, but one great feature Lynda has is the ability to play videos at 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, and 2x the speed. In total I spent only 9 hours watching these courses over a series of 8 days. That’s a little more than one hour a day…. not too bad, if you ask me!

What Can You Do In An Hour?

When I used to watch Netflix, I would spend anywhere between 1-3 hours a day watching TV shows, or movies. This past week I was able to create my own mini web application that could create, update, delete, and read database entries, helping me create a dynamic website. I also learned how to film my own hyperlapse while on vacation, allowing me to have a keepsake for the future… not to mention, gaining more personal experience with my DSLR! For only an hour a day I was able to seriously amp up my skills while having fun at the same time. Watching movies and TV shows for 3 hours a day never came close to the amount of “entertainment” I had this past week.

So now I want to turn the tables: what can you do in an hour? Read a few chapters in a book. Watch some video tutorials on a topic of interest. Learn a song on an instrument. If it helps, take a look at what you are currently doing about an hour a day? Is it worth spending that much time on? Could you give it up? If you learned one song each day for 7 days on your favourite instrument, instead of playing an hour of video games a day, by the end of the week you’d know 7 songs, and be able to host your own concert at a local coffee shop. Hey, you might even earn some money on ticket sales. What would the hour of playing video games do for you? Get you a better high score maybe?

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Day 8: Astoria/Cannon Beach Hyperlapse

Over the past weekend I’ve been on the Oregon coast taking a little breather from life, but it’s allowed me to experiment with a few of the different videography techniques I’m reading about. If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know that I am both a film geek and an audiophile. This trip has allowed me to step away from programming for a bit, and explore some of my older roots. I also mentioned in my last post, that I would be experimenting with shooting hyperlapses; filming a time-lapse in a moving vehicle. The following video is a hyperlapse while on the road in Oregon, going from Astoria to Cannon Beach… we end on the beach. You can check it out below. Hopefully, I’ll be able to experiment a bit more in the future. The video was shot mounted on our minivan, with photos being taken at 5 second intervals. I was using my Canon T3i with my 18mm lens, and shot with an aperture of f/8. The video was assembled in Adobe Premiere. Make sure to view the video in HD through my Vimeo profile.

Hyperlapse Oregon 2014 Astoria To Cannon Beach from Sean Witzke on Vimeo.

Day 5: Making Up For Lost Time

In my first post I mentioned that I intended to learn a series of computer programming languages, and a few other skills “here and there”. Well the time has come for the “here and there” post!

Now I love the creative arts, and am passionate about music and film. I love creative expression, and helping others express themselves through the arts. I think it’s this passion which originally sparked my interest in learning some programming languages. At the start of my experimentation with programming, I felt a bit like an artist looking at a blank canvas, but as I began delving deeper into programming, a painting began to emerge; it truly is an art form requiring practice, dedication and creativity!

And I believe that programming, like any art form, give us a glimpse into eternity, as it parallels the space of the infinite: no project is ever the same. Now hopefully down the road I can talk a little bit more about what I do in the space of musicianship, music production, and audio engineering, but today, this post is reserved for the film geeks!

Take Everything In Moderation

Now, I wanted to get something straight. This blog is not meant to belittle film… or Netflix.  I  enjoy a good movie, or a suspenseful TV series, (in fact, I had to quit a series mid-way into it’s second season when I canceled my Netflix account). But the thing is, I was always left hanging… there is a time and place for everything, and always a time to watch a good movie, but on the other hand, I  it’s time to start making good movies, instead of just watching them. Anything in excess can lead your life into unbalance; movies, video games, friends over family, etc. And right now I’m trying to make up for lost time spent in front of the T.V. screen.

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