Is Instagram as lame as it seems?

So I started an Instagram. Dunno what I’m gonna do with it. Started it just to figure out how it works, what the hype is, if it has any advantages or usefulness…

And after being on it for one day, I’m finding so many shortcomings that I wonder if I’ll even bother posting more than the one test foto that’s already there.

1. I find it laughable and embarrassing that Instagram doesn’t support 16:9 widescreen fotos. What do they gain by forcing everything into square images? Every foto and video that I take is in big ol’ widescreen (or bigger = panorama). It seems that the primary recommendation as a work-around is to use a free app called Squareready, where you can make sure your fotos aren’t cropped and post them to Instagram in their original widescreen (or any other) aspect ratio. That’s what I did, and it worked fine.

Also, is there a way to view pictures posted to Instagram in their original dimensions? I have just a regular 15″ laptop, but if I click on a foto which is originally 4000×2248 (as pretty much all my fotos are, unless it’s a frame grab from one of my videos, in which case it’s still 1920×1080), I expect it to fill pretty much my entire screen. Can’t seem to find a way to do that, which is a significant mark against it. If nothing else, is there a way to download fotos in their original size (as you can in FB)?

2. Why do they make it such a pain in the ass to post fotos taken by some camera other than my phone? Why can’t I upload fotos directly from my computer? I have an iphone 4, and if you don’t know, the camera on that phone is garbage. (Never mind that I’m wi-fi only, so the vast majority of the time, the phone isn’t even connected to the internet anyway.) So I’ll never post any fotos that I take with that camera. Anything that I post will have been shot on my Canon handheld and transferred to my computer and processed in DxO Optics. So after that I’ll need to transfer the foto to my phone first in order to post it to Instagram? Do they not have a desktop version?

3. Is there anything I can accomplish with Instagram that I can’t with FB or Ello? Does Instagram do anything better than FB or Ello? Does Intsagram have foto albums or groupings the way FB and Flickr do?

4. As you can see from some of my blog posts, I don’t hesitate to write exhaustive, sometimes overly-long posts (like this one!). Which is kinda weird, because personally, I’m very much an introvert and really barely talk at all. But this is one of the reasons I dumped my Twitter, with their famous 140 character limit. And now I see that Instagram has a slightly more generous 300 character limit. At least FB got a clue some years ago and upped their limit from 256 to the current 63,206 characters per post limit. I grew tired of posting something to Twitter and only being able to write ‘go to my blog to get the complete details for this’ with the direct link. And I’m not gonna bother posting anything to Instagram if I’m forced to do the same thing. Sometimes my blog posts are very short and to the point. But there are other times when I like to explain stuff and those explanations will undoubtedly exceed 300 characters by a significant number.

Then again, Instagram posts differ from regular WordPress Tumblr Blogspot posts, yes? Instagram isn’t a blog, per se. It’s just a repository for fotos. That’s fine, but why would I bother with Instagram if FB and Ello (and WordPress and Tumblr and Blogspot) do the same thing, but better?

So follow me on Instagram or not. Still don’t know whether I’ll be bothered to post to it or not.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of a wasp-

long wasp1

I rescored a couple 80s horror movies. Help me get them screened.

After posting my first batch of originals in early August, I’ve been working on a couple other projects, and now those projects are done, so I want to tell you about them.

I added original music, sound design and sound effects to Demons, Lamberto Bava’s classic, gore-ific zombie flick from 1985, as well as a lesser known flick Elves from 1989, which is a low-budget and completely bizarre movie about some little, vicious troll-gremlin type monster and something having to do with Nazis and it all revolves around a hot, young blond woman and stars Dan Haggerty (well after his Grizzly Adams days) who plays a down-and-out Santa at a dreary department store at Christmastime. I also remastered the original audio of both films for my versions.

Here’s how this all came to be.

I’d done a couple fan edits of Demons in the past, just for personal use. This amounted to cutting out all the scenes of that quartet of punk rockers aimlessly driving around Berlin. Those scenes are totally inconsequential to the film, so I axed them. I trimmed some other very small bits, but nothing as substantial as the punkers. Well, I had it on the flatscreen the other day, and something I hadn’t noticed before hit me- a couple of pivotal scenes are largely devoid of music. I don’t know how it was possible that I didn’t notice this until now, 30 years after the movie had originally been released and after having viewed it dozens of times. In fact, it’s the most famous scene from the movie – the transformation scene with the teeth and fingernails – and the climactic finale scene with the rooftop battle which are both are bafflingly light on music. So, I set out to fix that by composing my own and inserting it into the movie alongside those great Claudio Simonetti compositions and the 80s heavy metal songs.

The two songs I made for those scenes came together quickly. But upon watching the film again with a keen eye (ear) on the soundtrack, I started noticing all sorts of scenes that could be touched up with some added sounds or atmospheres. So, in the end, what I did was analyze the movie from beginning to end with an emphasis on the soundtrack, and filled in the gaps that I felt needed filling.

To give you a much better idea of what I’m talking about, I threw together a couple A/B before-and-after comparisons of those two famous scenes (using low res files; my master copy is 720p)-

Big difference, yes? The music in those scenes may come across as a bit too heavy or relentless or poundingly aggressive, but those are but a few minutes of a movie that is 90 minutes in length (well, actually 80 minutes now that I’ve excised the scenes of the hoodlums). I added all sorts of sounds to the rest of the film- sounds that are much more subdued and atmospheric, but appropriately spooky and creepy and ominous. So don’t expect the entire movie to be wall-to-wall industrial strength pounding drums and distorted synth bass lines.

I am very happy with the results with this first attempt of mine to rescore an old movie. So, I thought I’d do another. I selected Elves not because it had any scenes in it that were egregiously in need of music, but rather I thought that I could make great improvements in this movie by adding just some atmospheres and other minimal synth parts. So I started doing that, and, like Demons, I got a little bit carried away and ended up adding a decent amount of sounds throughout the movie. All told, though, I’d say that I ended up contributing less music to Elves than Demons. But still, the impact of those sounds is significant. I’m not gonna say that I’ve transformed the movie into a whole new thing. In fact, unlike Demons, I didn’t edit out any scenes from Elves at all. But with both of these movies, I like to think that I’ve improved upon the material that was already there.

And now I say to myself, ‘ya know, I’d bet there’s a bunch of people out there who might really like to see one or both of these. I wonder if I could find anybody who would be willing to screen them for a public audience.’ Having seen Demons a couple times over the years at Grindhouse at The New Beverly in Los Angeles, I know that movie has a sizable fan base. Elves, probably not as much, but it’s definitely one that fans of that era of horror flicks would like.

So that’s what I’m working on now- finding a venue that’s willing to screen these. And this is where I can use your help. I’ve contacted some people at theatres in my current city, San Diego, but none have expressed too much interest. I have some contacts through some of my LA friends, but I’m still coming up empty. So I’d be super stoked if any of you, my readers, might have any suggestions or know of any people who I could contact in the hopes of getting either of these versions screened.

My original idea was to do a Kickstarter to raise the funds to rent a theatre for a couple hours, and I still might do that, but I thought I’d first try to leverage the power of the internet and ask my network of social media friends. I’m hoping to find some place in San Diego, OC, LA or the Inland Empire, but I’d be happy to trek to anywhere in the region if need be. I don’t know if I’d be open to sending off the movie to some remote location where I wouldn’t be able to attend the screening. I’ll want to be there in person, and would even be hip to doing a Q&A about the work I put into my version.

I might also add that neither of these reworks are commissioned or authorized by the original filmmakers, composers, producers or movie studios or anybody involved. They’re simply a couple personal projects of mine in an attempt to challenge myself to find out if I could do it. And now that both final versions have surpassed my expectations, I thought some of you horror fans out there might like to see and hear them as well.

Hit me with any suggestions in the comments of this post, or drop me a note at brianhumorless@gmail.com, or find me on FB.

Super. Thanks for everything.

Brian, Dancu and Humorless Productions

[audio] Autechre live in Toronto, 9 May 2001

 

Autechre live at Steam Whistle Brewing Company, Toronto, 9 May 2001.

This is another Autechre board tape that I post-produced into a concert recording- gave it a lot of crowd sounds, some room ambience, and remastered the actual music as well.

There are a handful of Ae board tapes from the 2001 tour out there, and this Toronto performance is one of my favorites, so I wanted to give it some special treatment and really fix it up.

Most importantly, there was a nasty bit of digital clipping immediately after the 6 minute mark which I fixed up manually, which required about a half a day of tedious pencilling out flattened waveforms in Soundtrack Pro, but it’s worth it.

I’ve seen the venue listed for this show as being the Steam Whistle Brewing Company and also The Opera House. I don’t know which is correct, or if both are correct, or if one is more accurate than the other.

Presonus Studio One for arranging, DSPing and mixing. All mastering done in Soundtrack Pro.