Tag Archives: Flip video

String Theory 2

Armed with a Flip Video Camera, I asked a pupil to record over my shoulder while changing two strings on a guitar – one bronze-wound bass string and one nylon treble string. The idea of this view was that it would be the same as someone changing their own strings.

On reflection, I think a more scripted affair might have been better – and less savage lighting. However, this is an experimental phase and, should a better recording emerge, I will replace this one. Thanks to Callum in S4 at Knox for agreeing to have this camera-work sprung upon him.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/N57QSwOHvP8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

However, for drama, I can't compete with this


String Theory 1

I recently received a Flip Video Camera as a gift. I soon began to wonder about educational uses e.g. ensemble resource described here; close up filming of popular exam pieces; definitions on wordia etc. However, real life tends to choose the order of things and the first project became obvious today. I was encouraging a pupil to change strings in advance of concerts at the end of this term. I noticed the merest hint of a grimace. Could it be the expense? Surely not the effort? In fact it was uncertainty about the process of changing the strings – less obvious on a classical guitar than acoustic or electric. So what better way to convey the information than on video. I need to change my strings anyway. I’ll keep YouPosted.

Of paperless-chases and half-lives

One of the joys of reading and writing blogs is the feeling of things linking together. The apparent link between ideas, topics, resources etc. may be ephemeral or even illusory, but who cares? If it sparks some vaguely creative thinking then its half-life has not been in vain. The following paperless-chase occurred within the space of a few hours:

Alex Ross, award winning author of The Rest Is Noise, flagged up two interesting videos on minimalist composer Steve Reich. These were housed courtesy of Pitchfork who also have an archive of music videos, including this creative piece entitled Furr by Blitzen Trapper. The video style reminded me somewhat of Terry Gilliam and The Mighty Boosh – but also of the excellent explanatory videos offered up by Common Craft. What I feel these three sources of video have in common (no pun intended) has to do with the following phrase:

“you make it look so easy!”

This phrase, depending on inflection, can point in two opposing directions:

  • you have made this look so easy that I feel inspired to have a go

  • it’s easy for you – there’s no way I’ll ever be able to do that

Now, it’s difficult to say how much of this is in the mindset of the beholder as opposed to the intention of the practitioner, but the collage-based, low-budget (in the most positive sense of the word) work of the above people seems, to me at any rate, to embody the spirit of the former interpretation.

That’s why, a few hours later, I was inspired to see this post on the blog of David Gilmour – the technical brains* behind eduBuzz. What struck me particularly were the plans to use Flip video in primary schools. It’s clear that the aforementioned, collage-based videos are the fruit of skillful, painstaking and artistic editing as opposed merely to point-and-shoot but, nevertheless, I feel that the mood and spirit of them is what is being hoped for. It’s certainly what I imagine in my hope that primary school instrumentalists (and those responsible for them) can be convinced to film their definitions of musical concepts for wordia.

Those who have winced at the awful and forced puns I’ve contrived to use as blog post titles over the last couple of years will hopefully share my admiration for the titular imagination of this fantastic film, directed by Erik Werner. The song, by Christian Kiefer, comes from the album Of Great and Mortal Men – 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidents and the song is called Washington Dreams of the Hippopotamus.

* it is possible that being known as “the technical brains” can suggest that the bearer is at one remove from the inspiration, ideology and artistry of a project – in the case of David Gilmour and eduBuzz, nothing could be further from the truth.