Saturday, October 22, 2011

I do not like cleaning paintbrushes! You may have noticed I use really, really cheap brushes, and I have hundreds of them. This way I can clean them about every 8 weeks. But then I have to restore the damaged ones. No problem! Here's a video about how to restore damaged brushes. By the way, many thanks to Philip Hone Williams for the tip, a couple years, it has served me well!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

How I Make A Painting Video

By request, I made a video about how I make painting videos. I've upgraded to an HD camera, so the new videos will be better and more detailed than previous ones, but the general set-up is the same.

Coming soon! New, longer, hi-def painting instruction for streaming. Stay tuned. Everybody who has previously downloaded a video will get a special discount too. :-)  Thanks to those of you who wrote asking for more videos - they're coming.

Software: Windows MovieMaker. Hardware: JVC GR-D30 hd camcorder, Flip HD video recorder, Sony Cybershot 7.2 Mp, a bunchload of lights.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

How To Record Music and Video In Your Living Room (For Free)

An artist wrote me this morning to say he liked the music videos, how did I record the music and then sync it up?  I wrote back this long email, and so I figured while I was in the mood to type, I would offer the explanation here also.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a musician! I am sure that my amateur mixes make sound engineers everywhere shudder with horror. But, I've learned a lot and each one gets better than the last. Plus, I spent NO MONEY on this. It was free, though that was partly because I already had some stuff lying around.

So here's the email I wrote to my buddy, expanded and clarified a little, which has to do most pertinently with this video:

I'm glad you like the videos. It's actually not very hard to do the schlocky living room setup I'm doing and then mix like an amateur. And I've gotten a couple folks who've asked to produce more professional sound for me from it so it seems worth it.
I had bought a toneport ux-1 about 5 years ago and a crappy mic, a Shure bg-31. So I just had that lying around. It's no longer made, but the equivalent is called a Line6 Pod. You can plug a mic or instrument cable into the toneport, and it connects to my mac via usb. I use the mic for voice, the drums etc, and plug the ukulele and bass in directly via cable. That goes into Gearbox on the mac (it's a program that works like an amp) and then into Garageband which came installed on the mac. Garageband lets me add track after track in layers, moosh them around, re-record pieces instead of having to play perfect straight through.... etc. 
While I'm recording I also use the webcam on my Mac and record video into iMovie, which also came preinstalled on the mac. I made a video about how to cut together all the videos here:  The whole process takes me about 10-15 hours: laying down each track, mixing, editing together the video.  Used to take about 6 hours when I was only recording 1 track, and that's mostly because I am a terrible musican and had to have like 30 takes.
My friend Kevin Trudo does a similar thing using a camcorder firewired into a PC. MovieMaker 2.6 on the PC (NOT Moviemaker Works, which is a crap program, but you can always find the 2.6 free download online and load it concurrently.) He uses a pro recorder, just this digital thing (Samsung Zoom) with 2 mics on top that gets really nice sound: Read a review on CNET here.
To get video that isn't in the 15 feet my mac's camcorder can see, I use either the camcorder setting on my digital camera and then import that video, or the Flip video camera we have lying around.  That's how I got the video of Lulu climbing the doorway for the Don't Worry Be Happy video.
On my pc, MovieMaker will export into HD. On the Mac, I don't have that option (iMovie '08) which is sort of a bummer.  That's a future upgrade.
I could go higher quality on the videos or the sound, but this is convenient and I actually spent no money on it at all. None. I figured since I didn't know anything about it that I wouldn't even know what to invest in. It does all right. Though I think I will be looking into a condensor mic - I don't like the sound my mic gets.
I hope that helps! I know you already have superior equipment around - you should get some stellar results.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Make a Grid for Drawing or Painting Without Lines

Grids are so useful for laying out an underdrawing, but they have the unfortunate side effect of being, well... grids. Especially with works on paper, trying to erase a grid creates a whole new set of problems - incompletely erased lines and altered paper surface spring to mind.

Here's a method I use to get a removable grid onto the paper without using a projector. I was doing this today for a portrait, so I thought I'd put up a quick demo... Ever use this? Got other methods? Please leave a comment.

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