Assorted details and philosophy are on the menu for this installment of Producer’s Notes. First the details:
If you’re using more than one camera and a separate audio chain, chances are there will be small differences between them. The color may not exactly match or the audio may not be in phase when referenced to the master audio. To deal with this I spend a few minutes with the raw video before putting together the sequence. For the audio issues, I use the SYNCHRONIZE function in Premiere Pro CC, and then visually match the phase of the master audio with the camera audio. Then I render the clip with the camera audio muted. This aligns the clip to the master audio that is used in the final assembly of the sequence, eliminating small timing issues in the video.
For differences in color, I’ve stumbled across Speedgrade, an automated color correction application by Adobe. I tried it out on the Dave Walters performance—due to be aired the second week in March—and I was astonished at the results. This is not a perfect solution for everyone, and the learning curve can be a bit jagged, but it works for me. If you are using a different platform, there are other applications out there; Resolve and Symphony to name a couple.
When I interview artists that want to be guests on the show, I always start the conversation by letting them know that I don’t think Artist’s Connection would be a good promotional vehicle for their band. This usually gets their attention. Few artists want to be without an audience, and promotion is one of the most effective ways to get one, so artists are constantly looking for ways to promote their work.
The second thing I tell them is we are not interested in advice, best practices, or any other technical aspect of their craft. This really gets their attention. When artists aren’t promoting their work, they are sharing their knowledge with other artists. They are natural teachers, and often take up teaching or counselling as a day job. I believe this stems from their inherent generosity and awareness that the artistic journey can be difficult, expensive, and sometimes heartbreaking.
So what the heck are we doing then? We’re forming a connection.
When a performing artist takes the stage, they put on a persona—Matt Jaffe refers to this as a mask. The performance is meant to be entertaining, even inspirational, and the artist makes conscious choices in costume, repertoire, and behavior to enhance those qualities. So the public is entertained or inspired and goes home feeling they got their money’s worth. The “show”, and by association, the artist, becomes a commodity. It’s not hard to lose sight of the fact that the artist has put in thousands of hours, has likely spent thousands of dollars, and has suffered thousands of failures in the process of gaining the skills to put on a “good show”. This is on top of the normal trials and tribulations that the rest of us have in our lives. They are just like everyone else, only they’ve taken on the additional task of enriching our culture.
The thing about a commodity is that the perception of its value tends to be narrow in scope and relevance. So artists are often undervalued. Rarely is their contribution to our culture considered when someone drops a dollar in the tip jar. Rarely is the public aware that the person entertaining them has just had a baby, just lost his mother, or just fell in love. And yet, would we want these folks to forsake their artistic journey and devote their energy to living their “normal”, private lives? Who would want to live in a world without art? So why don’t we place a higher value on them and their contribution?
Artist’s Connection is an attempt to improve the situation. It is my belief that if we can highlight the common thread that runs through all artists, indeed through all of humanity, then the community will have a better chance of perceiving the artist as a person providing a service to our society rather than simply as a commodity. When folks have shared experiences, shared values, or shared feelings, they are “connected” in a deep and meaningful way. This connection makes them feel better about themselves and about each other. So our mission is to forge that connection wherever possible. Maybe we can help the community place a little more value on artists and their contribution. Maybe we can make the journey a little bit easier for artists. Maybe we can make the world a better place.