Tuesday, December 18, 2007

working with video

A couple of people have asked me about video equipment and using video in practice.

The camera I use is a Sony DVD camcorder (DCR DVD-108 is the model number). I bought this camera partly because it has external audio inputs, but so far I have just used the camera's own built-in microphone. It records onto this small DVDs - they only hold 30 minutes or so, but you can play them on most normal DVD players as well as computers. So I can leave my camera equipment down at the hall where I'm practicing, and just bring back a couple small discs if I want to review what I've worked on.

I mostly use video for my own benefit, to diagnose problems I can't see while I'm causing them! That being said, it's hard to resist the temptation to want to record something perfectly. So when I turn on the camera it often stops being a practice session and becomes a performance, (though usually a lonely, mediocre one!) There's nothing wrong with that - we all need to practice performing, and the video camera can serve as a more patient (and less forgiving) audience, when we'd rather not ask a real person. I just find I need to set aside some time to work on things before setting up the camera and pressing record, or else my anal perfectionist side takes over!

Most of the recordings I do get quickly erased and recorded over - that's another nice thing about these mini-DVDs, they are rewritable. I don't want to turn this into a primarily video blog, so I try to only use video here to illustrate some idea or piece I'm working on.

The video below was an excerpt from a Bach cantata I performed last weekend on a Baroque concert. It's practically unplayable on a bass with an extension, but I wanted to find a way to play as many of the notes as possible - so I devised a little extension cheat, leaving out a few notes to close the levers. I also lost a little bit of time, you might notice. It's helpful to watch for any excess or jerky movements in passages like this one, in which I'm trying to be as efficient and fluid as possible.

1 comment:

Talon Davis said...

Wow. Thanks for another insightful post. I was wondering, if you had time, if you could critique a couple of recordings I have up on my blog (though in its infant stages it may be)? It would be greatly appreciated!