The "What's Har Been Working On?" thread...

edited December 2014 in HitFilm User Gallery
Hey, everyone else seems to have one of these kinds of threads so I figured it's time I should too.  ;)
After working on the rather complex, detailed music video for my solo release 'B'ak'tun 13' for almost 2 ended up going on the back-burner when a number of new music/recording projects started taking up my time, forcing me away from the visual end of the spectrum for a while. D'oh!
But with the pending arrival of my recording band's new album that's been in the works for years, I've now tasked myself with working up some music videos for it before our label releases it (release date still TBA). 
First off, a quick, simple but seemingly effective teaser music video (only about 40 seconds long, which has had our fans howling in frustration...well hey, teasers ARE meant to tease! LOL), using the opening music from one of the tracks on the new album.
This was worked up primarily in Hitfilm Ultimate 2 with some final editing and a touch of Magic Bullet Quick Looks done in Vegas Movie Studio. My bandmate Scot Solida (who also writes for Computer Music Magazine) did the stop-motion puppet animation that's visible as quick silly flashes towards the end. 
Granted, it's not overly exciting visually - but based on fan reactions so far, it seems to be fairly effective for getting their attention and building anticipation, which was the main point. Currently working on a much more involved full length (7+ minutes) music video for the song that's featured in this teaser. 
More to follow soon...thanks for watching!  :)


  • edited June 2014
    Can't wait to see the finished product! Looks great so far.
    I really enjoyed Into The Maelström Live too. Nice flowing, spacey music.
    I could float on stuff like that all day!
    So was that a Chapman Stick you were playing in that vid? 8 strings?
  • HarHar
    edited June 2014
    Thanks!  :) 
    I do actually have a 10-string Chapman Stick (you can see it in the photo below on its stand, off to the right), but on that live video I was playing an 8-string guitar, a Schecter C8 Blackjack tuned F#/B/E/A/D/G/B/E. I've been getting into the whole extended-range instrument thing lately and also have a 6-string bass, which is actually not too far off from the Chapman Stick as far as range, and I like playing it touch/tap style the same kind of way.  :) 
  • Thanks for the info! I was thinking Chapman's usually have 10 or 12 strings so the 8 threw me off. I had no idea there were 8 string guitars. So the two extra strings are on the lower end? Interesting. Almost like having a bass and guitar in one package.
  • HarHar
    edited June 2014
    Yah, though some people do go for a high-C tuned version instead, B/E/A/D/G/B/E/C...good for doing bird-calls, I guess.  ;)  I like sometimes drop-tuning the F# to an open E like Tosin Abasi does, E/B/E/A/D/G/B/E, to go even deeper.
    They actually do make an 8-string version of the Stick....two, really: the NS/Stick and the Stick Bass. 
    I had considered selling my 10 at one point and getting the Stick Bass version, but then I got the 6-string bass and changed my mind...and it's a lot cheaper.   :)
    I also have a normal 8-string bass - it's the one second from the right in the rack in the photo - but that's essentially a 4-string bass but doubled with octave strings...kind of like the way it is with a 12-string guitar.
  • edited June 2014
    "...good for doing bird-calls, I guess."  Or attracting dogs, maybe. Gee, a C seems a little high. In orchestral terms I suppose that would make it a piccolo guitar. :)
    Taking the F# down to an E I can see.......but I love a good bass sound fat enough to sit on. That's just my preference.
    Wow- the sticks are a bit pricey....although what musical instrument isn't these days. I'm still working with a Korg X3 from 20+ years ago- yup- it's still working but the buttons are breaking and there's no replacement for them. A guy at a local music shop was able to rig something up which lasted for a time. I even found a company in Australia that replcates the hard disc drive 'cause I had to replace that once. It's from a time before there was a standard number of pins on the connector so it has one more pin that what you'd find on synths today. I can't afford a new Korg (I do love Korg) and I'm sure there's no trade-in value in either my X3 or DS8.......the DS8 goes WAY BACK! Almost 30 years. I got my DS8 for around $800 and the X3 was $1,500- top of the line at the time. Korg's latest keyboard, the Kronos, not to be confused with any planet in the Klingon territory- lol, goes for $4,000 or $3,500 if on sale. Even used ones are going for almost $3,000. Whew. Too rich for my blood.
  • The X3 physically looks a bit like my Korg N264; still have mine and last weekend got a 2nd tier to stack it over that Privia in the photo. Still works great, though these days I mostly use it as a synth action MIDI controller, than for its own sounds (which do sound great).  I used to have a Korg Polysix and Lambda waaaay way back when as well.
    Yep, the Sticks are definitely not cheap....I ended up selling off a number of my old keyboards from the 80's to be able to afford it when I got it. Now the only one from back then I still have left is also a Korg, an old RK-100...that's mostly just a display/museum piece these days though as I don't play out on keys live anymore.  :)
  • Yup- that's going back a ways alright! I've been thinking of possibly investing in a computer synth program and use my keys for a controller. It just seems like it would be a daunting task to learn everything involved. But it's a little cheaper route. Have you checked into or use and computer synths?
    I may not reply right away- I'm leaving work momentarily.
  • Yep, that's actually what I use both the Privia and the Korg to control - been using various soft synths for about as long as they've been available. As much as many hardcore vintage hardware synth users - of which I used to be one myself, going back to my first, an ARP Odyssey - will flatly deny that any software based one can ever sound as good, I've been more than happy with the quality of the sounds you can get from them now, especially for recording. And my back feels much better not having to haul them around either.  ;) 
    Really, it's not that hard to to learn how to use at all, especially since many of them have UIs that are based on the older hardware layouts and controls. As I don't really do much with actual synth sounds per se for my own music anymore (the guy I record with owns a giant analog modular synth that stands taller than I do  :)) ), much of the keyboard based sounds I go for with software these days are things like piano variations (i.e. virtual versions of the old Yamaha CP80 electric grand, etc), Mellotron or occasionally B3. If you know your way around the panels of the old synths, you should have no problem working your way around the software versions too.  :) Korg even has many of their vintage synths available like this now:
  • Sorry I wasn't able to get back to you sooner. Once I got home I got busy with family stuff and didn't have time to get online over the weekend. Sheesh- I'm almost glad to be back at work. lol
    That Korg Legacy Collection would be sweet! Only a $200 download- which is far cheaper than a new synth. I will investigate the soft synth stuff further once I get my computer rebuilt. I'll have tons of memory, hopefully 2 graphics cards to run HF2U, new mother board and OS etc. 
    I always get a little overwhelmed when learning some of the new tech. I have a Roland digital  8 track studio/recorder and it took me about a year to finally get comfortable with it. It operates a lot like a computer as well as the classic sound board and I had just started learning my computer shortly before I got it- so I had a steep learning curve.
  • If you're comfortable working with NLEs for video, you'll probably find yourself on familiar ground working with DAW software too.....think "tracks" instead of "layers" and you're pretty much there. Even Sony Vegas/Movie Studio originally started its life as an audio recording/editing application.  :)  
    Working with virtual synths, percussion, samplers, etc can become pretty addicting....just like with video software.  :))  You'll find quite a nice variety of stuff out there available in a wide price range, including quite a few free options as well....and just like with video software: everyone has their faves and flame-wars abounds when it comes to opinions. ;)   And a lot of well known audio hardware companies are in the game too, like Eventide. Speaking of which, they right now have a new channel strip plugin available for free until July 8th:
  • I am definately going to have to check this out! Thanks for the tip. :) 
    The addicting part is also what I'm afraid of- considering how addicted I've become to HF2U.
  • Nice! Looks good!
  • Thanks Null Unit!  :) 
    Started working this weekend on the full length music video for the song that was heard on the teaser; right now mainly gathering source material...have some fun ideas for this. Wanna try to have it ready coordinated with the new album's release.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    As you said--a teaser is to make you wanna see more, so...
    Sheesh, you could have at least let the beat kick in!
  • Hehhehe - yah, it's definitely a teaser in the truest sense of the fan's response was "Great, now I have blue ear":))
  • HarHar
    edited July 2014
    UPDATE: since the teaser went up I've been putting a ton of work into the full-length version of the music video (around 7 minutes), and very happy with how it's been coming along so far.  :) The other half of my recording band has been contributing raw source material to use from his own studio (he's based 1500 miles from in Kansas), and for a guy who claims to be very anti-music-video - even he's been getting excited when he saw some of the test renders.  :)) So far so good!
    I feel like I've gotten the general workflow between Hitfilm, Vegas, transcoding AVCHD footage to Prores (using ffmpeg, works great) into a fairly smooth....well, workflow. Of course, that also means the momentum kicks in hard and I end up staying up until 3AM a lot....  ;) 
    FYI for any music gear junkies: the video also displays lots of old skool analog synthesizers the singer/synth player uses, including his gigantic Synthesizers.Com modular synth that stands something like 7 feet tall.
    Here's a quick screen capture showing the results of last night's greenscreen shoot in my studio after being wonderfully handled by Hitfilm - and yeah, I know I still need to tighten up the chromakey mask a bit more. LOL
    (and hey look: lens dirt! Hope Simon will approve...  :) )
    (it's funny: I've gotten so comfortable working in Hitfilm now that I find myself going to it for working on various still shots as well!)
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    Nice frame. Still looking forward to the rest of it.
    I, too, have found Hitfilm useful for stills. There's been quite a few times where I came into Hitfilm to build elements then exported PNGs to bring back to Photoshop.
  • Nice frame. Still looking forward to the rest of it.

    Thanks! I'm hoping to get a lot of it done over the next two weeks (I have a nice 4 day long weekend coming up next week). Sadly, it won't be up to me when I'll be able to publicly release the full completed version...likely we'll have to do so in a coordinated manner with our label since the album the song is on hasn't been released yet, and we're still waiting on a date for that from them. Hopefully soon - the album's been in the works since our last one in 2007!  @-)
    I, too, have found Hitfilm useful for stills. There's been quite a few times where I came into Hitfilm to build elements then exported PNGs to bring back to Photoshop.

    Yep, that's exactly what I like to do as well!  :) 
  • HarHar
    edited July 2014
    MUSIC VIDEO UPDATE: still no actual footage available to see yet, sorry! But have been pretty much throwing every available moment I have into completing the video, which has had me pushing things until 3:30AM over the weekends and up waaaay too late during the work weeks. As of last night (7/21) I'd say I'm finally into the home stretch, maybe at around the 96% point towards completion and working on the final minute where everything starts to really kick up in intensity along with the music itself. :)
    Below is a quick screenshot of how everything has been laying out so far in Vegas Movie Studio for the final editing - that was during the last weekend and has since gotten much more crowded and chaotic looking. Coming from an audio/synthesizer background I'm very comfortable working with envelopes, and prefer to manually build smooth transitions, jump cuts, reveals and cross-fades/dissolves this way using track/clip composite level envelopes to have a fine degree of control of opacity over time. Not saying it's the best way to go about things, but hey: it works for me. ;)
    The music video is making use of a lot of footage shot in our two recording studios - many vintage synths and open reel tape decks in Scot's along with him doing the vocals, and various guitar-related things in mine including the greenscreen footage seen in the earlier screenshots (Scot's never been a big music video fan and it took some convincing to get him to agree to even be visible in this at all; me, I'm a total ham and have no such issues :)) ). There's also some archival live footage of when we performed as a duo at the Kansas City Electro-Music Festival in 2011, as well as even older material from a much earlier version of the band when it had more members, and some cool stop-motion animation that Scot did (the guy's a killer graphic designer and does our album covers as well as for other recording artists).
    I worked up a number of approaches and methods using Hitfilm, Vegas and a couple other things for this, including:
    • a kind of "3D diorama" effect from still images using the "2D photos into 3D" Hitfilm tutorials ideas,
    • a "shatter rig" I set up as a Hitfilm project to blow apart specific freeze-frames in a particular manner,
    • a slideshow effect created by exporting individual frames from Hitfilm and then using Manycam (webcam software, actually) to quickly and easily create a cool cross-faded slideshow look,
    • audio-controlled atomic particles (obviously a perfect concept for use in music videos ;) )
    • a kind of "virtual nixie-tube display" effect combining a photo of a real unpowered nixie-tube, and turned into a glowing array within Hitfilm,
    • some simple point-tracking effects; I had originally planned some more elaborate ones using Mocha Hitfilm, but ended up not really needing something that involved
    • some rather over-the-top gaudy light effects because, hey: it's my music video and I can be tacky if I want to... :))

    One thing that I still really wish was available in Hitfilm is the ability to see audio waveforms in the composite shots! For me it's a critical need as far as being able to tightly sync specific audio events to visual ones. Thankfully I can do that in Vegas.
    I plan to keep burning the midnight oil through next weekend to try to make a push to complete this ASAP, and will hopefully be able to finally post the finished product here soon! But as mentioned, that'll still ultimately be down to when we get the green-light from our label to go public with it, so as to best coordinate with the new album's release.
    Sleep? What's that....? ;)
  • I can't wait to see it! Looks like a lot of work is going into this project.
    Great- you mention midnight oil and now I got "Beds are Burning" going through my head! :(
  • Great- you mention midnight oil and now I got "Beds are Burning" going through my head! :((

    Funny, the exact same thing happened to me too after I posted that and read it back. D'oh!   :))

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    Har, I'm looking at your screenshot of your Vegas Timeline. I'm assuming the envelopes on the top three tracks are your opacity keyframes? I also do a lot of opacity keyframing in Vegas (as well as audio levels) and I'm gonna quickly share one of my techniques here. I may work for you, it may not.
    Often, instead of playing around with envelope keyframes, I'll split my clip where I want the change and drag the in/out handles for a fade and drag the gain/opacity line to where I want it. The gain lin shows how much gain reduction I'm adding right at the line, so it's easier for me to read than wherever Vegas puts that info when doing envelopes.Then I'll drag my in/out points to overlap the last section of clip I've split off from and let the auto-crossfade do the work for me. This is usually faster for me than envelope editing, and it's a workflow that's uniquely Vegas, since every other NLE treats a clip overlap as a trim, not a fade.
    Just a thought. Don't try it now--never change workflow mid-project! But it might work for you.
    Now, finish the video, damn you! ;-) *cracks whip*
  • HarHar
    edited July 2014
    Triem23: thanks for the tip! :)  I actually used to do that before, but over time I just found working with envelopes personally more intuitive for these kinds of things....again, probably due to my using envelopes in other things for decades (when you start seeing analog synth ADSR curves in your sleep, you know you've maybe been doing something too long...  ;) ). Working with them in Vegas has become second nature to me so I find it a faster and more flexible way to to accomplish things. Of course as with all such things, Your Mileage May Vary.™  :D 
    I've mostly been setting breakpoints for this project based on specific audio events in the song, so I'll line up the playhead right on that point on the waveform, then go up to the clip and insert the envelope breakpoint from the right-click context menu and then work from there. That lets me quickly set fairly precise start/end points for the envelope, and hovering the cursor over the points shows the values so I can match and repeat elsewhere when needed. Sometimes I'll start off by setting up all the multiple breakpoints besides just in/out ahead of time, and then come back to adjust them as needed.
    The thing about those top three tracks are that they mostly run the duration of the full video itself - two are of me on guitar shot from two different angles (with slightly different backgrounds and lighting composited in), and the other is the singer's face, with all three having their own audio track that we played/sang against to sync up later with the video's main audio track. By having those envelopes in place, it lets me quickly see at a glance where things have happened.
    That said, I do often split the clips at similar points but for a different reason: I often like digging into the pan/crop/zoom screen in Vegas to keyframe in some subtle or sometimes not-so-subtle motion into a specific clip. I've always really liked the way Vegas handles that.  :) 
    And yep, I'm chomping at the bit to get this done too! And so is my poor ever-suffering wife: it's bad enough when she has to hear me endlessly repeating small segments of sound when mixing/mastering an audio track, but with video editing, she has to listen to even smaller segments of time repeated again and again and again and again. She's since taken to wearing headphones as soon as she sees me starting to work....  :)
  • HarHar
    edited August 2014
    UPDATE: the video is finally FINISHED.  :)


    After about 30 minutes of pure nail-biting terror due to crashes - apparently the video project in Vegas was so complex it sent my GTX570 with the giant cooling fans into the red - it finally exported (with me rocking back and forth and begging the whole time "Oh god please finish...please please finish..."), I got to watch the whole 7 minute video full-screen at 1080 for the first time straight through without needing to do RAM previews, and was thrilled with the results.


    So where the heck is it, you ask? Right now it's up on a password-protected page on my Vimeo channel, waiting for us to hear back from the head of our label concerning when we can make it available to the public, since it's for a song on our next album that's not been released yet. To say I'm impatient as hell and chomping at the bit to get this thing SEEN finally would be an understatement. :(  I'm hoping we'll hear something back this weekend (lesson here for any musos who dream of "getting signed" - even when dealing with an indie label, you still have to deal with these kinds of things sometimes).


    In the meantime - for the fun of it I worked up a quick peek under the hood with side-by-side comparison of before-and-after of one of the greenscreen clips in its original state, and the final result after the magic of Hitfilm does it's thing. :)  I think I managed to pull a really good chromakey mask even though the greenscreen might not have been as properly lit as I'd wanted and got a nice cold, stark feel by grading within HF itself (I had originally planned to use DaVinci Resolve, but ultimately was very happy with the results just within Hitfilm!). This being a music video (which basically translates as "anything goes"  :)) ), I had fun going over the top with the Light Rays and Lens Dirt on this. I got the idea to use the Gamma effect to get the cold blue-ish feel, after seeing it explained in Axel and Simon's tutorial on the VCP star effect.


    Hoping to hear something back soon so I can unleash this thing finally.  @-)




  • Anyone got an extra bit I can chomp on? Pass it over here, please. :)
    Har- I am also looking forward to seeing the vid. Glad HF worked so well for you. I've done a few green screen tests myself and HF does do an excellent job even if the screen isn't brilliantly lit. It doesn't look like you're 6 feet in front of the screen either or is that just a trick of the camera?
  • HarHar
    edited August 2014
    Correct, I think I was only about 3-4 feet in front of it - that direction in my studio didn't allow for much more room.
    The lights (a pair of Chromo CI-160 LED units) were low to the ground aiming upward and I managed to work their angles in a way to minimize shadows thrown up and back (I was intentionally going for a harshly lit look), though a small amount still occurred against the screen in what would be the right side of this image - but HF just seemed to say "You call THOSE shadows? HA!" and had no problem still delivering a really nice key. :)
    Thankfully my camera op for the shoot - my wonderfully patient wifey - was willing to put up with my endless "OK, how does that look...any shadows? Damn! OK, lemmie move that light.....OK, how about now? Hmmm....ok, what if I move this over here and that over there.....and how about now?" :))
  • That image looks good! Cant wait to see the final video.
  • I need to get me one of them wifes. I'll bet they really come in handy! ;) lol- just kidding to the wives out there.
  • HarHar
    edited September 2014
    UPDATE: the frustration continues with the Christus & The Cosmonaughts music video released still stalled as all the album release matters get finalized.  :(  Sooooo - I'm now back to work on my own solo music video I had started last year and had ended up putting on backburner to focus on the CaTC one and other projects. And since this is entirely a self-release, the only person who decides when the finished video finally gets seen is me, dammit.  :D 
    In case you don't remember: here is the teaser I did a while back for this in the early days of production, done almost entirely in Hitfilm:
    I've since done quite a bit more work on it, including fine-tuning that Earth-reveal shot, more modeling in Blender, a lot of panoramic backplates using Vue Studio, and taking advantage of my own increasing experience with all of this stuff since working on and finishing the other video. I still need to do the live action greenscreen footage shot, which I'm hoping to tackle next.
    Here's a quick sneak-peak of how things are coming along. In this particular sequence the pre-reentry/orbital view of Earth was made in Vue (compared to the teaser, where I used an actual NASA image of Earth mapped onto a 3D sphere), where I modeled the full planet-sized sphere with atmosphere and sent the camera on a long descent down from "orbit" through that cloud layer....the render in Vue (which for some insane reason at the time I decided to do at 60fps) took about 5 days to complete, even with multiple computers set up as a network render farm.  :)) The glowing rotating Mayan pyramid was a model from TurboSquid, that I opened in Blender and rendered back out as that wireframe. The animated "Mayan HUD" elements I did using BluffTitler, which I tend to use for most of my text-based work.
    Knowing how things are going, I'll bet I'll have this video completed and released before the other one...  ;) 
  • Oooooh - the Mayan Pyramid looks interesting. I'll be checking back to see exactly how you're planning on using that. 
    The earth - even though you spend ages rendering it - looks like it was worth the effort! Your network render farm sounds hardcore - had you set it up because you've done a few things before where it's taken days to render? 
Sign In or Register to comment.