Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Openshot Not All It's Crashed Up To Be

OK, I was up just about all night.

My timetable has devolved into this: Depending upon the time of day or night that I wake up (pick an hour from one to 24) I will choose my activities, accordingly.

The other morning I was up at 5:30 AM, and went right to work on a video.

I might have slept a few hours in the afternoon but was awake towards the evening, and noticed that one of my neighbors, Carlos, had his door open with his stereo jamming; probably to "advertise" the fact that he indeed gets a check on the first of every month and that, yes, It's a party in Apartment A108!
So, I grabbed the guitar, and did some Mel Bay songs from the 4th chapter of Grade 1. These, I will post, as soon as I polish them up, somewhat and/or come up with some spin to put on them.

The Mel Bay course has been a Godsend, as they tend to reign me in and force me to use that side of the brain -the one that reads off of sheet music- and the simplicity one might expect in of songs from a "Grade 1" book can be a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, as the bar is set higher for a musician who has been playing for 40 years, who should not only be able to play songs like "Tenting Tonight," but be able to jazz them up some.

I then, upon hearing the commotion in the hallway, viewed it as kind of a smoke-screen in the sense that I could be tooling away in my little studio without having to worry about being heard by anyone who might be out in the hallway, or any of the neighbors with their broomsticks.

I really get a paranoia that there is someone outside my door with their ear pressed to it, and, though it isn't a totally irrational fear given that I'm in a building full of cohabitant skeezers -I'm sorry; chronically homeless and/or mentally ill people- who are perhaps trying to determine how good a musician I am so as to gauge how much they should try to skeeze off me and how outraged they should be should I not acquiesce. This is something that I really need to work on in self analysis...why do I feel this way?

I think I have a conflict of inner values due to the fact that I go out and pour my heart out for the random tourists at the Lilly Pad, and when I'm playing, I'm just concerned with trying to sound good and put out a good vibe; but then when I get back to the apartment, I not only clam up in that regard, I become aware of the fact that I have more love for Joe and Mrs. Blow who chance upon me at the playing spot than I do for the murmuring shades that skulk the hallways of Sacred Heart. I feel like a hypocrite.

An analogy would be a priest who speaks a wonderful mass with an inspired homily and people are converted and see flashes of light and pass out and everything. And then when the guy gets back to the rectory, he's standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, muttering: "Goddamit, how many times have I told him to put the cap back on the Mountain Dew tight enough so it won't go flat! He's doing it on purpose, I know he is, the f***ing jerk!" and then when the other priest, his dorm mate, enters the room, they just exchange icy stares, and he takes his glass of flat Mountain Dew with him into his room and slams the door behind him.
About 5 Miles Away; Sing As Loud As You Wish...

But, the problem is, if I were to try to befriend a lot of my fellow Sacred Heart Apartments residents, I would feel the same discomfort, and like I was casting pearls before swine, breaking the guitar out in the smoking/lounge/skeezing area and playing.

There would be all kinds of insincere adulation, preceding a request for a cigarette, money or food.

And there would be all kinds of feigned concern for my well being, articulated through questions like, "So, do you do alright out there, you make enough to get by?" preceding a request for a cigarette, money or food.

And there would be some false flattery and perhaps an invitation to go to one of the female skeezer's apartments to play a song just for her etc.

It is just a culture of people that are constantly sizing people up, observing them, looking for weaknesses, probing for them, seeing what they can get from the person.

And, as I sit in my place at night, when it's quiet enough so I can hear water coursing through pipes and the occasional thump of a clumsy foot on the floor above me, it's hard for me to ignore their presence and focus on music.

But, then again, the weed doesn't help in that regard...

The Recording Above

The Open-Shut Editor

I was doing fine with the Openshot editor and had a marvelous idea: I would record a video of myself playing guitar, singing and playing the harp, much like I do at the Lilly Pad, while the sound was being captured by Audacity.

Then, I would play along with that first track, adding a second part, while recording video of that. Then, I could let the audio track play while the video jumped to the shots of me playing the different instruments.

I managed to (as you see in the video) do this as far as the first track and then an added bass guitar (I was playing the guitar like a bass, pretending it was an octave lower, before I used Audacity to drop the pitch down an octave, apply a low-pass filter, compress it and add a bit of slap back echo before inserting it back on the video where it sounds kind of like a bass) and I had grand plans to add a snare drum, lead guitar, backup vocals, etc. and record video of all of them, so that I could switch the video around to like 8 of me (I could even dress differently for each part) and even apply effects and fading in and out and....
But, alas, the Openshot editor began to crash after every other command that I gave it.

The only way I was able to post the video above was by opening the editor, changing one thing; saving my work -very important because- and then watching the program crash as soon as I tried to do the next thing. It just goes dim and then fades out. When I bring it back up, the last change I made is there, and then I can do one thing like move the time line needle; then, I would have to save my work because, after then next mouse click, it's dim and fade time...

This could be because the files that I'm using are too big, but if that's the case then I can forget about making videos of 8 of myself all jamming on the same track...er

There is, though, yet another alternative free video editor out there, which was mentioned by some of the technical people on the forums who were helping the people with Openshot problems. "You can always switch to "Kdevid," (or something similar) they advised.

This Linux system is a thrill a minute. Earlier, I tried to download the latest update (thinking that, who knows, it might cure Openshot) and I was told that I didn't have enough room in the /boot directory to install the updates.

That's when I really started to think that I had screwed up the system by swapping hard drives back and forth; like Windows had written to the boot sector and so did Linux, and now there wasn't enough room.

Well, I Googled the problem and was able to learn that, whenever Linux updates, it keeps a copy of the previous version, to fall back on if the new one crashes. Trouble is, they pile up. I had like 4 deprecated kernels in my boot directory. I deleted them and was able to update the machine.

I went to my video to try to do a few things to it, and the program soon crashed.

I wanted to have the spots where the picture goes from one of me to the other timed with the sections of the song more closely (like when I start to sing the next verse, having it jump to that shot from wherever else it was) but doing that would have been a painstaking process of moving the cursor to look for such a spot, saving my work, moving it again and crashing the program, reloading the program, making another stab at finding a spot to switch pictures, saving my work....etc...

I hope you enjoy the video. I think I'm going to share this one on Facebook. It is very close to sounding like I do at the Lilly Pad, little mistakes included, except for a little bit of holding back due to not even wanting to give skeezers an excuse to knock on my door "..Was that you playing? you sound good...hey, do you have a cigarette?"

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