Day: May 11, 2010

Hairy dude in the hall, redux.

It’s “asking the opinions of those who are not me” time again.

As you may or may not know, I played a solo show at Mackenzie Hall back in march. A lot of people were there (a lot more than I was expecting), but there were quite a few ladies and savage men who wanted to be there and were unable to make it, generally due to illness or a lack of geographical proximity. It’s kind of difficult to get to Windsor for one night if you live halfway across the globe. Chances are I will play my own stuff live again at some point, but it’s probably not going to be anytime soon, and it definitely won’t be happening again this year.

I posted video footage of the whole show over HERE, but I realize it can sometimes be a pain in the ass to stream twenty-something different songs on the internet, and not everyone has access to a computer or the internet at their leisure.

So, I got to thinking…what if, for the people who weren’t there but wanted to be (or even those who were there but wanted to relive the evening in all of its ragged glory), the entire show was available on CD and DVD? I have video of every song performed that night. One or two songs are missing maybe twenty seconds, but pretty much everything is intact, complete with between-song banter. Josh also shot some footage for potential use in I Am Not a Seagull, though very little of it ended up in the film. Jay even recorded at least some of the show on a digital audio recording device of some sort, and while I haven’t heard what he’s got, I imagine the quality is pretty good. Between all of these sources, there’s more than enough material to put together both a DVD and a CD documenting the show.

I would probably look at getting the audio remastered for best possible quality. Some of it has to be sourced from video cameras with tiny built-in microphones. The quality is actually a lot better than you might expect, particularly the first dozen songs or so where the little Flip camera was used. There isn’t really any ugly distortion or compression there. I think some good mastering equipment could help it along and make it a bit more robust.

The second half of the show shot on the other camera doesn’t sound as good, but here Josh’s footage can help. While he didn’t get all the songs, at least three or four of them from the second set are there in full, and the sound quality is good. It’s a bit more compressed than the Flip camera’s audio, but it’s also a lot more present and full-sounding, and again this is where a good mastering job comes into play. You take all these different sources, find the best-sounding version of each song, and work on bringing the best out of it while combining everything into a unified whole. Maybe it’s even possible to combine more than one audio source to mix a more upfront sound with a good amount of audience noise and ambiance.

It’s a bit of a complicated job, and not one I’m really set up to take on myself, but I think I might talk to Dwaine and see if he’d be up for it. Then I would just take the final audio tracks and sync them up with the relevant footage, again using the best overall source for any given song. For the first half of the show it would probably be almost entirely the footage Johnny Smith shot, and for the second half it would be supplanted with some of Josh’s footage.

Obviously the end result isn’t going to be a high-budget pro-shot affair that looks like The Last Waltz, and the audio version of the show won’t make your hi-fi piss all over itself with delight, but it’ll sound pretty good, it’ll look pretty good, and it’ll be free to whoever wants it.

One potential issue: I don’t think fitting everything on one DVD would be a problem, but I might be a little torn between spreading the audio-only version out over two CDs (because it’s too long to fit on one CD), or cutting out a few songs to squeeze it onto one. I wouldn’t mix up the sequence of the songs or get rid of between-song banter, but there are a few songs that might not really be missed by anyone if they were dropped. “Crustacean Cancer Survivor”, for example, probably wasn’t one of the better performances of the night (I hadn’t rehearsed it at all, which didn’t help), and “Bent Bird, Broken Wing” might fall into the same category. I wouldn’t drop anything from the DVD. Just the CD portion of things. Then again, maybe it’s best to leave things alone, warts-and-all.

I guess my question is two-fold:

1. Would you be interested in a DVD/CD set of the Mackenzie Hall performance, understanding that it isn’t going to look or sound like the most professionally-produced thing in the world but it’ll get the point across well enough? Here’s an example of what you could expect (from Josh’s footage, with significantly better sound quality than the version I first posted here back in March):

2. Are there any songs you would get rid of, or do you think it’s best to keep everything intact even if a song didn’t come off as well as it might have?

Any feedback is welcome and appreciated. I think I’m pretty sure I want to do this. Just want to see if enough people would be interested in owning it to justify the expense (I’m not sure how enticing DVDs are compared to CDs when it comes to free stuff). Theoretically, you’d be looking at a two-CD/one-dvd package with a booklet containing pictures, ramblings, and other such stuff. THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE will remain the priority, but I might look at getting this DVD/CD set put together sometime this year. Theoretically.

Let me know what you think.