16 October 2007

the devil's in the dvd extras

like most other gibberishes on the inter-web, the youtube has many redeeming facets, and no, not just watching lovingly rendered williwaw bits. but it does have its troubles, and when you're a complete uke nerd trying to deduce every finger movement of a Roy Smeck short, fidelity is everything, and Smeck's fingers might move too fast for uncompressed 30 fps film, let alone the distorto-world of the youtube. so when the opportunity strikes to see someone play all close up and vivid-like, it's downright keen.

Case in point: a value-added documentary for a documentary - a meta-doc? - entitled in the edges: the grizzly man session, currently showing on one of the satellite stations, the sundance channel, or more conveniently as a dvd extra to the documentary film grizzly man. it's another hyphenated-but-still-dangling-preposition making-of chronicle of a two-day recording session for Werner Herzog's take-it-or-leave-it film. the session is helmed by Henry Kaiser, huzzah!, with a whole lot of footage of Richard Thompson playing electric and acoustic guitar: close-up, long takes, enough to study his signature bends, open voicings and other fodder for the oh-please-me set. there's also the methods of film scoring; (paraphrasing) okay, now we need something very similar but in a different tuning for exactly 36 seconds. jinkies. and Mr. Thompson does it all with aplomb (of course, he's scored for films before). it is just a making-of doohickey, but watching Thompson play is worthwhile. maybe not worthowning worthwhile, but worthrenting worthwhile.
note: williwaw has had one venture in scoring: the introduction to the fine film, rock that uke. truth be told, I never saw the final cut, so don't know how it came out, but a fine film, of that I'm sure.

older films often suffer from poor syncing and/or dubbing to get a clear idea of what's a-happenin' with the talented folk's fingers and strings. heck, there's been cliff edwards appearances (yes, i scan every one of his appearances for the chance to catch him play) where he's not even playing the same instrument as the recording he's strumming along to. hmph-a-dickles. but a while back, a rare one graced the satellites that has several scenes of Josh White playing the good folk blues, including some very in'eresting side-of-thumb slide: The Walking Hills. rest of the motion picture ain't too bad either, but the Josh White scenes are pure gravy. one of 'em is on that detail-obscuring devil, the youtube (not available for the embeddin', alas).
perhaps of note: having recently watched many a bit of musical youtuberie with sync troubles, it's interesting to your local perceptual psychologist how the amount of audio-visual delay allowed for music, say, the striking of a drum, before it becomes disorienting is much shorter than for speech. speech is highly redundant, which allows for greater asynchrony, although when the delay is increased past threshold, the audio and video become separate streams, and tax the cognitive load ever so much.

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