Last of all, my performance as IRIC, or Infinite Reggae in Infinite Combinations, performing my cover of Joanna Newsom’s classic, “Bridges and Balloons”.
Some tech notes: There were a lot of steps involved in creating this video and the resulting performance. First of all, the background music. This was created wholly in Ableton Live 7. I first imported Ms. Newsom’s performance into Live. Fortunately I had already beat mapped it a long time ago for some other aborted project. I lowered the pitch to my desired key. Then, using Ableton’s notorious ability to turn wankery into art, I jammed over the basic performance on guitar, bass, piano, and drums. My limited musicianship for each of these instruments was negated by Ableton’s ability to rapidly isolate the ten seconds from each run-through which sounded really good and re-combine them, “Live” as it were, in “Infinite Combinations” as it were. Ableton’s the best for a lazy musician such as myself. Thirty hours of tweaking and arranging later, I had the musical backing for the video.
Next up, the video itself. Basically, the bulk of work for the video was done in Adobe Premiere. Throughout the editing together of these videos, I have had a lot of trouble with Premiere. Notably, it hates Xvid-encoded AVIs, which most of my content was stored in. Thankfully, there is an amazing plugin for Premiere which allows AVISynth to act as a frameserver into Premiere. If you are having trouble getting Premiere to handle any kind of AVI content, I highly recommend it: Premiere avisynth import filter.
Finally, I had to create the Karaoke part. For this, I used Karaoke Builder Studio, which I think is what the pros use. The output looked just right. I had never made Karaoke before, so this was a treat. This program is old and weird. It’s designed to make traditional CD+G Karaoke CDs. During my youthful Karaoke obsession, I had always assumed that the glitchy-ness of Karaoke discs was due to scratches on the physical medium. Not so! The program creates glitchy output, wonderfully so – look for the screen artifacts in the videos shown here.
Once I had created my base track, I downloaded a CD+G DirectShow filter (I think this one). Then, I created an AVISynth file which referenced the resulting CD+G file and loaded it using DirectShowSource. It was harder than this, there was an extra step and my memory is a little blurry of that week… getting the CD+G file to load into AVISynth was tricky. Doom9 had a guide on how to do it, though, worked like a charm after I finally read it through VERY CAREFULLY. “Filter Graphs?” I dunno. Oh wait, I found it. I hope to recreate this step and post a tutorial in the future. Anyway, once I had it loading in AVISynth, all I had to do was load it into After Effects using the AVISynth/Premiere plugin mentioned above, add in the scrolling IRIC graphics and song title (I admit I created them in Photoshop at low-rez and used After Effects to make it look crappy and genuine rather than doing it in the Karaoke editor proper) render the whole thing to an AVI, import that AVI into Premiere, key out the background color provided by the Karaoke software, and overlay the whole mess over the video I had edited together. Cake, right?
At any rate, I hope you all enjoy it. And I hope to make more of these. Now, at least, I know how. I have included below the original video in case you ever want to perform this song in the privacy of your own home.
Thanks to everyone for their kind words about this performance. It was scary but fun.