Tag Archives: youtube

Space: Within our Reach… or, Redefining iCloud

A while back, I saw this news item about Lenovo & YouTube’s Space Lab project, and was reminded of an equally, if not more-so awesome father-son team who sent an iPhone into space by themselves. Best of all, they have video of it from start to end. It’s truly inspiring, gives iCloud a new meaning, and is worth a few minutes if you don’t mind being totally blown away.

Adrian Peterson Orange Peanut Awesomeness

I love it when real life and entertainment collide for humorous effect, and social media is especially great for that.

My favorite example of this lately is Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson’s now-famous post-game confession of his passion for orange peanuts.

This comes courtesy of Bad Lip Reading. If you haven’t seen their full set of YouTube videos, your life is not as rich as it could be.

Culture Jamming? Orange Peanut!

The best part of this is when Peterson was presented with a real-life orange peanut at an autograph session. And he was a great sport about it. Look at that smile.

Adrian Peterson Orange Peanut

Image via tchrox

Importantly, as USA Today notes, “The craftsmanship on the peanut is spot-on.” Excellent.

What do you think? What’s your favorite example of real/online/entertainment world convergence? Have you ever participated in culture jamming? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Who’s Been Commenting?

A great reward of blogging is making connections with professionals whose work I respect. Here’s a look at some recognizable figures commenting at rsmithing.com in the past 12 months. Check out the posts to see their remarks:

Mack Collier

Mack Collier

Mack Collier commented and said thanks in my post, Blogchat: Sundays on Twitter. As a strategisttrainer and speaker on social media, Collier helps companies better connect with customers. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time has helped businesses of all shapes and sizes better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. [Mack’s Site]

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss commented a couple of times on my post, Last Book Read: Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. Strauss is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and also writes regularly for The New York Times, having repeatedly made its bestseller list with books such as The Game, Emergency, and Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. [Wikipedia]

John Boswell

John Boswell

John Boswell generously answered my questions in this post: Interview with MelodySheep and Symphony of Science Mastermind. Boswell is the artist behind autotune projects Symphony of Science and MelodySheep, gaining international recognition and millions of YouTube views for his inspiring musical tributes to Mr. Rogers, Bob Ross and Julia Child, among others.

Mike Sager

Mike Sager

Mike Sager said thanks for my quick post inspired by his writing, From Music and Words into Movement – The Fun of Art. Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He has been called “the Beat poet of American journalism, that rare reporter who can make literature out of shabby reality.” [Wikipedia] In thirty years as a journalist, writer at large Mike Sager has immersed himself in the lives of pit-bull fighters, heroin addicts, Tupperware saleswomen, and an actress named Roseanne. [Esquire]

Jay Baer

Jay Baer

Jay Baer stopped by after I reached him on Google Plus to weigh in on my post, How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview. Baer is a social media strategist, author, speaker and President of Convince & Convert. Founder of five companies, he’s worked with over 700 brands (including Nike, Cold Stone Creamery, Sony, ExactTarget, and ConocoPhillips) since 1994, including 25 of the Fortune 1000. His blog is ranked among the world’s top marketing resources, and was named #3 social media blog in the world by Social Media Examiner. [Wikipedia]

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal noted his use of contrast in my analysis of his work: Contrasts Make Connections. Madrigal is a Senior editor at The Atlantic, author of Powering the Dream, and has previously contributed to WIRED, covering science and technology as a contributor to the Wired Science blog. [Twitter]

Also engaging via brand representatives were McDonald’s Corporate in: Fast Food and Fast Lessons in Public Relations and, as a bonus from 2011: Delta Airlines in my post, An Airline Gets it… Right?

What do you think? Have any well-known figures or organizations commented on your work? Have you ever had any brushes with celebrity? Let us hear from you in the comments.

My Best Concert Ever: Bauhaus

The best concert I’ve ever seen was Bauhaus at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. [setlist] [discussion] I’ve always been a big fan of their music, yet they broke up long before I was old enough to go to concerts. So I only had references from others’ experiences, and the occasional glimpse of a video to experience anything resembling a performance.

Note: although embedding has been disabled by request on all these videos, they still play at YouTube and are definitely worth checking out. Just click that “Watch on YouTube” link.

Going to see the band after they’d reunited was not just a personal thrill, but the show itself was absolutely phenomenal. Their performance was right on, and Peter Murphy‘s remarkable voice only seemed to have gotten better with time. The lighting and set design were breathtaking, yet intimate and appropriate for this band and their dramatic aesthetic.

Bauhaus In Concert = Chills

It gives me chills just to think about it now, and I still have frozen in my brain, and probably will forever, images of every song as they came to life before my eyes – these pieces of music which we’re so compelling-yet-mysterious now happening in front of me and a room full of 1000 people. The experience was an electric, hair-raising religious one.

I was never a totally goth kid growing up, although I did appreciate the music and style. I was more into metal and punk than new wave or alternative when my musical tastes were forming, but I’ve always appreciated many types of music. The unifying factors I do appreciate most, however, are creativity, skill at craft, and overall dedication, all of which Bauhaus and my other favorite bands have in abundance.

What is your best concert ever? Is there a band you would like to see but haven’t yet, or may never get to see? What would be your fantasy best concert? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Interview with MelodySheep and Symphony of Science Mastermind John Boswell

MelodySheep autotune creator John Boswell’s musical magic: Bruce Lee, Bob Ross, Mr. Rogers & More

John Boswell

John Boswell, aka MelodySheep, aka Symphony of Science

To say John Boswell grows ideas in the garden of his mind is at once an understatement and yet highly appropriate. As you may have seen on CNN, Forbes, NPR, or especially YouTube, Boswell creates infectiously catchy pop songs from such unlikely sources as Julia Child, Billy Mays and  Yoda – all through the magic of autotune technology and his incredible talent for musical montage.

The results are simultaneously hilarious, touching and highly enjoyable, as evidenced by the millions of views his videos have been racking up lately. I recently asked Boswell a few questions about his process, and his responses follow. Do yourself a favor and check out his full catalog, available for download at MelodySheep.BandCamp.com.

rsmithing: How did you get started in music, and what instruments do you play?
John Boswell: I started off as a keyboardist and turntablist for a metal band in high school – definitely an unorthodox way to begin, but I learned basic music theory and how to combine different elements of music, both of which paved the way for the work I do today. I play mostly piano and guitar but dabble in a handful of other instruments, like mandolin and accordion.

rs: Have any of the subjects of your videos seen them, and what have their reactions been?
jb: A few of the figures I have used in my videos have been in touch with me, and their reactions have been entirely positive. I think what I am doing can be considered a mostly positive endeavor to begin with, and it’s always fun to see yourself given the remix treatment.

rs: What’s been your favorite composition so far?
jb: It’s hard to pick a favorite piece of my own, but the Ode to the Brain video is definitely near the top. It was a blast to make and I learned so many things in the process, which is always a plus. The music came together really well too, which gave it all the right ingredients for a solid video.

rs: Happy Little Clouds got a million views in one weekend. What’s it like to get so much attention so fast?
jb: It’s always great to get the sort of recognition that the Bob Ross video got, and I always appreciate the comments coming in and love hearing people’s reactions. Attention spans on the Internet are very short though, so once one big thing is happening it’s crucial to think about what is going to be next and how it can be different and better.

rs: Which composition has been the most challenging?
jb: The most challenging video thus far was most likely the Bob Ross remix. His quiet voice and tendency to mumble, combined with the constant sound of his brush on the canvas, made it hard to isolate good vocal samples. Luckily he was philosophical enough to provide enough clean quotes to use in the song.

rs: Why did you go with a pay-what-you-like model, and how’s that going for you?
jb: I believe music should be available free to those who want to listen but cannot afford. There is still enough generosity in this world to make pay-what-you-want worth it to artists, although there has to be a critical mass. Anybody who works hard enough can reach that point, as I have demonstrated.

A big thank you to John Boswell for answering my questions. Check out his stuff here:

What’s your favorite autotune mix? Who would you suggest for John’s next project? Let us hear from you in the comments!

iPhone Video Editing: The Black Keys Live

The Black Keys, Charlotte, NC 3.24.12

The Black Keys – Charlotte, NC, 3.24.12. Shot & edited with my iPhone.

I’ve always loved rock concerts and live music. One of my first concerts was Mötley Crüe at the nearest coliseum as a young metalhead, and I documented the event with my trusty Kodak Disc camera.

As more evidence of that device’s role in digital ancestry as a forerunner of today’s tech gear, I now document shows with my trusty iPhone 4, using its 5-megapixel camera and HD video recording capability. It’s absolutely mind-blowing, the quality of video this thing produces from a live show, even from the nosebleed seats, where I caught The Black Keys over the weekend.

I’m no Scorsese, and there are plenty of higher-quality videos from this show, but being able to record the event as I remember it and highlight the dramatic parts for later enjoyment – and then share that online… without even reading an instruction manual… it’s just magical for a music lover.

Have a look at what I whipped up in an hour – even though I was watching from high in the stands, I’ve tried to add some dimension with edits, pans and transitions, highlighting the best/most dynamic visual moments.

iPhone Video Editing: The Splice App

All transitions, titles, sound fades, pans and zooms were done with the iPhone using the app, Splice for the editing. It’s fast, intuitive, and great for producing a quick highlight reel. Some reviews say it’s unstable, but I haven’t experienced any of that. Within minutes of downloading it and tapping on a few buttons to see what they do, I was making a decent compilation video with titles, overdubbed music and transitions. I do not work for or promote Splice; I’m just wowed by this kind of technology.

This, Too Shall Soon Be Primitive


The Kodak Disc

The Disc was great back in the day, and I’m sure 30 years from now something will be around to make the iPhone look obsolete (remember when bag phones were impressive?), but for now, it’s a gratifying experience to put together a quick video in minutes that matches my memory of an awesome show.

Bonus: Also saw some Fun. this month:

What do you think? Could you see yourself using a smartphone for video editing? What other uses do you see for this technology? Have you ever edited video via your smartphone? If so, what app(s) do you prefer? Are you active on YouTube, Vimeo or other networks? Share your links and let us hear from you in the comments.

Real Talent: Jamie Laval

Jamie Laval Sitting

Jamie Laval Sitting, foot tapping, violinning. Click for full size.

It’s a funny thing, talent. For those who have it in abundance, especially in the arts, that’s about it. So, you’re a child prodigy writing symphonies as a teen? Yep, gonna’ die before 40. Brilliant painter? Yeah, cuttin’ yer ear off, no doubt.

But this past weekend, I had the unique experience of  attending a private concert at the home of friends to enjoy the music of Mr. Jamie Laval. Not only does he play a mean fiddle (or violin, depending on the style of music), but he manages to operate all four limbs in perfect sync to sound the beat. And not only does he achieve all that, but between tunes he illustrates the scene with wonderful detail, giving us a deeper appreciation of the material. And not only all that, but he also is a friendly, articulate guy who, by my humble estimation, has his act together. At least enough to wow everyone in attendance on this evening. From his official bio:

ONE OF THE premier Celtic violinists on the international music scene today, Jamie Laval creates rapt audiences with his intensely passionate performances of traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany and Quebec, rendered with hints of classical refinement and ethnic music from around the world. Jamie has also collaborated on numerous television, film, and CD recordings, including Dave Matthews’ Some Devil, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wild America, and recent live performances include the NBC Today Show, as well as a private appearance for Her Majesty the Queen.

Definitely get in touch with him if you own an Irish pub, appreciate four-limbed rhythm & fiddle, or if you just want a CD. Jamie is talented, and is the real deal.

Photos by me, using Hipstamatic Nashville HipstaPak & Noir post-processing 

Jamie Laval Standing

Jamie Laval Standing. Click for full size.

Have you ever attended a house concert? Do you play an instrument? When is the last time you heard a song and it transported you to another time and place? Let us hear from you in the comments!