SxSWales Launch Party: The Review!

Useless Filler Content:

Wednesday 8th May saw the final project of my university journey end with support for my friend, and mentor, Sam Bradshaw.

Four years ago, I wanted to improve me. I wanted to be someone else, something else. My dream of working with children and becoming a teacher, as one was the case, was set in motion when I met Paige. She showed me a place I could meet people and gain the necessary knowledge to move forward.

Fast forward a year, and teaching was gone from my dream pool, and was replaced with nothing. I did not know. Creative Music technology (CMT) appealed to me as it was everything I was. A course that was build or tailored and suit me. A jack of all trades course. This, coupled with Sam and his DJ enlightenment, brought me here. One of the heralds of the SxSWales Festival.

My Role:

It was up to me to hire the best of the best for the launch party. To bring a new and exciting experience to the students of University of South Wales (USW), and launch the SxSWales festival into orbit. Well, into full swing in The Zen Bar.

Knowing the venue usually put on live acts, I decided a DJ night was possibly the best, if not the easiest, to organise. Having me being able to fill the spot as back up should a DJ fail to be found. But I wanted the USW students to enjoy what inspired me into the folds of entertainment. After all, we are all creatives looking for inspiration, right? Enter DJ Sam Tweaks.

The Plan!

Due to university being the pinnacle of the overall event, we (CMT) wanted to ensure it all began at the university. We wanted the Zen Bar. We considered a ticketed event, but due to us wanting more ‘bums on seats’ it was decided the best option was for it to be free.

I was aiming to have an after party for when The Zen Bar was finished. This was originally planned for Porters, but due to cost and timings, timings being ten pm before anyone and costings being that Porters is not a ticketable venue, it was not viable.

The Allergies were consulted and were happy to play the event for us, but would have cost five hundred pounds to hire for the night. This would have been recuperated through sales, at a ticketable venue. This is an event for the future of The Mighty Fozzy Entertainment.

 

 

The Review!

The Good.

People:

Huge thank you to Lloyd George for his support with organising a sound engineer. The engineer was a real gentleman, and a wizard behind the desk. Provided everything the DJ needed, and it sounded great. He seemed to really enjoy the tunes.

The DJ (Sam), came along, played tunes all night and really enjoyed himself. No credit can be taken by me for that as he would have been doing it at home anyway. As he is a friend, h DJ’d the gig for free as a favour to me. This kept the cost of the event to £0. As per his normal performance, we were professional, dance, interactive with the audience. He worked really well with the sound engineer, and did everything that was expected.

The audience was typically that of the venue. Students came for happy hour then left for their assumed night out. The DJ had a set of songs ready for the period of power (term I am using for the part of the party where people are most likely to boogie). These were impactful.

Venue:

I had organised a parking space for the DJ, within the grounds of the university, so that he had easy access. The set-up space was plentiful, the access was great, and the people supportive. I have already mentioned the sound was fantastic, and stayed so throughout the evening. We also fed the DJ and he gratefully enjoyed his burger.

During the first hour, the DJ was playing mainly to people who had been in the venue as we arrived and were readying themselves to leave. Within this first hour, support from CMT came in the form of the Nostalgia team. They were there from the start till finish and I love them and want to say thanks to them for their support from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, guys. A few other classmates supported throughout the evening, but either came late, or left early. We all have lives, it is understandable and no problem at all that they only came for a brief moment. I did not go to any other event due to work commitments, so me being negative in this instance would be heartless.

Throughout the evening we had roughly sixty to seventy people through the door, students came and went. In relation to sales on EventBright, and yes I bought tickets from there for the Launch Party to, we had sixty pre-ticket sales in relation to the amount that came to the event. We have a visit from one of my DJ colleges, who had bought pre-tickets, and also a few friends of our lecturer? He was streaming it live on Facebook, so it was inevitable that his ‘friends’ would come say hi. Again, a huge thanks to Lloyd for being there throughout, and also to Matthew Evans for his support.

The music was great, the sound was great, the audience was expected.

 

 

The Bad.

Promotion:

To be honest, I could have promoted the night much more efficiently, and ‘spread the word a lot more proactively. The other teams put up posters and gave out printed tickets. I could have taken this approach, but due to the venue not really being a public venue, I was a little restricted. Being a NUS venue, I could have avoided this restrictively around the university campuses, included the other universities around Cardiff, and also leant a little more into the faculty members for an audience. Another avenue of audience would have been high school or secondary education lecturers. Given the genre of music, the venue, and how comfortable the Zen Bar is; it would have been a great opportunity to invite teachers to come and see what is on offer at the university as an extra curriculum activity so that when asked by their students looking at their futures, there was a genuine experience that could have been exploited.

Personal:

Being a DJ, I could have performed. I have the experience and ability and could have planned a performance from me. Being my profession, it would have been easy for me to tick this box for my portfolio, and also work as part of my performance assignment. There was missing introduction of the evening, so those members of the university who were there, did not realise who or what was happening. They would have known it was a DJ, obviously, but did not know it was part of the SxSWales Festival. This was my fault. It was my event, I should have at least introduced the DJ at the start, and said thank you at the end. My reason for not doing this is because as an events DJ, I believe the music does the talking. I priced up a banner, large enough to go form a backdrop for the DJ. The room itself could have been light or decorated a little more towards what the event was. Being vinyl, and the DJ having his own tracks, there could have been a merchandise stand for him to sell records. This would have at least given him a little revenue for the event. The live stream was good, but due to my set up, the original stream ended after two hours of streaming and I had to reinstate it. This meant anyone who was watching the event, parents of our students who live quite a few miles away.

 

 

Conclusion

The night was a successful gig and launch into the SxSWales festival. Lloyd looked to have a great time, as did DJ Sam and the minimal audience we had. The luxury of what we did was the live stream. Providing an online access to the gig from any and all portable devices. We had forty plus views throughout the evening. This was a great way for us to support DJ Sam, with a medium for others to view his work, a platform for him to play in an environment he is comfortable, and an easy system that is both affordable and user friendly. Thank you if you were part of this support system, and I hope you have a lovely day.

Foz

One Marvelous Scene: The first Avenged!

There was an idea… And Nando V Movies jumped at the chance to do the same. He brought together a group of valued movie essayists to write their take on one scene from the MCU in preparation for Avengers: Endgame. I did not have time to write mine before the movie, which is amazing BTW, go bloody watch it.

The full essayist list can be found via the bottom of this post.

The first Avenged.

Yensin. My scene I have taken is the whole set up of Iron Man’s arch. If you consider Tony Stark, you see that most of the flashbacks or story telling shows him as selfish, narcissistic, but brilliant. Then comes three things. The dilemma, the build, and the outcome.

Dilemma: The Yensin dilemma is Tony having to trust a man, in a cave. This man, as far as Tony is concerned, is not helping him. We see the flashes from him floating in and out of consciousness during the surgery. We, the audience, know Yensin is saving Tony’s life. But at this moment, Tony does not, and his reaction is correct. He wakes up, with a car battery attached to him, after being blown up, and the man he saw ‘torturing’ him, is there. This is the start of Tony and his arch of losing the selfishness he has. He now has to learn to trust Yensin. However, a suit for one, for Tony, not Yensin, is where he goes next.

Build: Tony now has a design that he wants to build so he can save the day, and escape. As Yensin points out later in the scene, it was always meant for one. So, even tho Tony is going to ‘save’ them, it was him, looking after number 1. He trusts Yensin enough as a helper to build the suit, but once this is done…so is our poor saviour.

Outcome: This is the bit I love the most. Given the dilemma and build, Tony now has an issue… Not enough time, and through Yensin he learns what self sacrifice looks like. The scene goes off with Yensin picking a gun up and running at the enemy to allow Tony enough time for him to ‘suit up’. By the time Tony gets to Yensin though, he has been filled with bullets.

This brings me to the point… My favourite part, the first Avenged. Yensin is avenged by Tony.

OK, OK, he was going to do all that anyway, but he takes Yensin and his memory away from it. Remember, Yensin told Tony about his family to later say he was going to see them now he’s dying. Tony avenges Yensin later in the film as his first ‘act’ as Iron Man. Heading to Gulmira, and doing his iron man thing.

Disclaimer, I’m not a movie or film essayist, and have not ever written one before as you could see. But I welcome any thoughts, and hope you see where my head is at with this.

Here’s the One Marvellous Scene playlist link 😘 subscribe to these guys, they know their stuff.

Live Streaming Project: A teensy little update.

Live Streaming Project: A teensy little update.

I have successfully streamed and recorded a trial run using my set up. It’s decent enough for a DJ, small production company, and even video casting.

The problems I have encountered, and how I will overcome them!

Back in year 1 of CMT I was introduced to hacking. May sound like I’m going to get your online details and steal your identity, but no. This particular type of hacking is in the form of technology based, physical equipment. I was introduced to Arduino… And Teensy.

Problem 1: The speed of the laptop I used for the test is actually terrible. It takes about fifteen minutes to load a basic program, like documents. I think the timer is about seven minutes when you right click, and that is a long time to wait for a simple menu. So, imagine what happened when I plugged in four rather powerful webcams. Fantastic guess there guys, yep, you are right. None worked. To overcome this, and if you have similar issues, I recommend you try this first, I had to lower the resolution down to almost watch face size. The results though, the lower the resolution, the more of the cameras worked. When I had the resolution at 1364 x 768, only one camera worked. Two worked at 908 x 512, and when I got to 496 x 278 I had all four cameras working. However, as you can imagine, 496 x 278 picture quality is that of opening your eyes under water. We’ve all done it, and it’s fuzzy. Yeah, you could see the pictures, but it was not the quality I was after.

Problem solved! So to speak.

Problem 2: Changing scenes without using the laptop. Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is free to use and as of yet, I have not found a suitable controller for scene switching…or have I?

I have set up my scenes and used the in software ‘HotKeys’ to set up numbers 1 through 4, 9, and 0, to represent scenes. 9 is the stream take-over, which is a scene that is basically the thumbnail that shows to allow viewer to see the stream will begin soon. 0 is the end credits or after scene. And 1 through 4 are various camera angles sent up. For example, one camera has been cropped on two scenes, as it’s a wide shot if covers two people on a sofa. By cropping the shot on two separate scenes, I can use one camera for two angles. Win!

But, I’m stuck with the laptop camera being available but, it just watches the person directing. Insert Teensy here!!!

I’m gonna build one. I’m going to use a teensy I bought for a past project, program it to allow buttons to send a keyboard signal, probably numbers. This way, the scene changes can be controlled by the host of a live broadcast, much like most video tubers have. Obviously mine will be a lot lower budget, and made out of what ever I have available to had. The first trial run of this will be on May 5th, for the marathon, mentioned in another blog.

Problem 3: I’m having a little trouble with audio. Getting sound into OBS is easy, also I have microphones and a USB mixing desk so that is all good to. However, having the mics in frame, is not the professional look I’m aiming for. I want them either off camera, or completely hidden/blended in with the scene. I’m probably going to go with lapel microphones, with extension cables to the mixing desk. Each extension will be in place before the guests, actors, tubers, are in place, with all levels tested. This is not the best way to get the best sound out of the situation, but as mention many times, I’m aiming to be affordable to people like me, who just want to do what the professionals do, but to an average Joe budget.

The Controller

The design is simple. A teensy, six buttons, a few cables, and a hand holdable case…to which I have an old harmonica that is broken, but has a useful case.

The Plan: Once the coding of the teensy is done and tested to ensure it controls 0, 9, and 1 through 4 on a standard qwerty keyboard, I will drill a few holes in the box to fit the teensy, buttons, and USB cable. Then, I’ll temporarily attach everything and test it. Once happy, I’ll glue and re-glue all the bits inside the box, and then before completion, I’ll cover the box in sticky back decorative plastic or stickers, and glue it shut. I’m still deciding if I’m going to ‘pad out’ the inside to give it some dexterity while being held. This will be decided during test phase.

UPDATE 1: I failed with this, I wired the buttons wrong. So, I found a Twitch Switch tutorial on YouTube, and I’m going to follow that.

UPDATE 2:

I bloody did it. Well, huge thanks to www.nuts&bots.com for the tutorials, design, and code.

Here is the fully working, progression photo blah blah for ya. Enjoy. Also, if you want one, email me, and I’ll build you one to.

Yep. I branded it too. 😂

A marathon of a set!

On May 5th I will be working… Bloody hard. Could say equally as hard as those amazing people running in Newport’s Marathon.

First of all, I am really hoping the weather is fantastic. Not for me, but those fabulous nutters running the big ol’ race. Although, as I’ll be helping provide tunes on the corner of the Lysaght Institute junction, I want a nice, rain less day.

Are you running?

The whole point of me being there is to help you guys, get through the trek. As it’s over 25 miles, and we are on mile 2 & 24, I am taking requests!

If you are running, or cheering for a runner, come down to Lysaghts and see one of the cheerers. Give them a song to play for you or someone you are cheering on, and we’ll get it in for them, as they pass. For those unable to make it to the station, I will be live streaming the day below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9_EVwjPtWI

Live Streaming Project: A teensy little update.

Live streaming Project: An additional service.

Current project:

A few years ago I was tasked with supporting a friend with a podcast. It was epic, and fun, and called Let’s Chat Geek. You can find more about it in the projects tab. It occurred to me that being able to offer a streaming option as a service, would come in very handy for people who just want to ‘do’ what ever it is they’re doing. For example, Shane @letschatgeek, just wanted to sit in front of a mic and talk. He was happy controlling the Web-based business side of the podcast, but needed a techy to do the producing bit. Cue Foz.

When I joined, I had limited knowledge and equipment to carry out a podcast. So, I purchased some cheap mics, a cheap Macbook, and a cheap mixing desk. I learned it was not difficult for me to do what was needed. We achieved what we wanted. But, it was recording the show, then I would do a little editing, and then Shane would upload it.

What next?

Over the years, I’ve thought about filming, and producing, and editing film. I bought a decent camera, and took some epic photos:

Yep, all me. Not bad, huh?

This was the start. Luck would drop another opportunity on my lap when Time & Space Productions contacted me asking for editing assistance. Thomas met me a few years back at an audition, that didn’t go anywhere. But, it brought me to him. He sent me some footage and asked my to edit the footage into a ten to fifteen minute show. So, I did…with additional extras. The show required an introduction, title cards, credits, sound. Pretty much, the whole nine yards…so I complied and The Mighty Fozzy Entertainment was born. If you want to see what editing and additions I did, check it out in the projects tab.

Where are we now?

Hale to the Ale is on series two. Currently in preproduction. I have been tasked with finding a faster, more professional way to film. And I think I have found it.

Through DJing, I have noticed a lot of DJs live stream their performance over Facebook. Through my gaming, I know there is a way to do this through other means. One, the biggest of all, YouTube. Recently, I have been playing around with different webcams, through Open Broadcast Software (OBS), and old laptops, and I think I have found the next way of filming. By the way, everything I do is to a budget, for this my budget was one hundred pounds. This budget is yet to be reached. I purchased four HD webcams, a USB 3.0 splitter, and a midi key controller. These, in collaboration with OBS will be perfect for streaming.

Our first test, using mobile tethering, will be during Newport’s marathon on May 5th 2019. If this date has passed, see my YouTube page for the video.

The luxury I have for this, is that it ticks a box in university. I have to complete a performance for one of my final projects. The external examiner will be watching the stream. Hopefully, he or she would have read this, and will know that I will be replying to comments in the stream during the day. No, I’m not taking requests unless you are a runner.

So, tune in on May 5th for the first test of the stream, and May 8th for the second trial of it.

If you want to know more or want to learn about this service, contact us via the contact tab.

This post is in progress, as the project is ongoing. Thanks for reading 😘