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Sunday, March 31, 2013

••◊ Kirtan - The Yoga of Music (Documentary Short)

My back has been killing me from sitting at my editing station.  I hate editing.  It always feels like I'm trapped in a suffocating cage, surrounded by a computer monitor and studio speakers, while I wonder what's going on in the real world.  You know, the real world where people actually go out and experience things...where I carry around a camera, lumberjack-style, and hang with interesting people exploring unusual ideas.  The place that doesn't feel quite like life is passing you by.  I hate editing.

That said, sometimes I have to edit projects because I'm the only one who is willing to do it.  That was the case here.  I talked about my earlier exploits with the equipment on loan from Video Gear at this link.  This project was originally meant to be a quick shoot to test out the equipment, hand off the footage, and post some screen shots of the footage with my usual assortment of pragmatic review comments.  As with most of my life, it didn't exactly go according to plan.

First, the band hired a live sound recording guy to bring in his rig to record the show.  He had a yet to be released piece of equipment from Roland that he decided to take into this concert as a beta test.  I'm a bit practical and always test equipment before asking a client to rely on it, but that's just me.  Much to the chagrin of the band and myself, that wasn't the case here.  Due to an obscure setting in the software associated with the new recording gear all the levels were recorded way too low and the live concert audio recording had to be scrapped.  This meant I had to spend a few days finding concert audio, recorded on the FS-700 shotgun mic - no less, that was somewhat acceptable and piece the snippets I had together into a montage...add a bit of eq and reverb so it doesn't sound like total garbage, and just accept what I had.  The double edged sword of this error is that the editing possibilities were severely reduced.

The lack of music tracks to draw from also meant that I had to take my single camera footage and try to make the edit look like a multi-cam footage.  That took time, as I shot the project thinking I would have plenty of music to draw from.  To fill out the footage I invited Naren, the lead singer, to my house and we recorded a quick 20 minute interview in my living room.

As with any documentary, this was a good chance to learn something new...a new experience in the "real world."  Realistically speaking, the breadth and depth of my sense of spiritualism consists entirely of casual exclamations of "holy crap!" and "oh my god!"  Kirtan (pronounced: Keer-tahn) is the spiritual music of India.  Essentially what Southern Gospel is to the USA, Kirtan is to India.  I'm more acclimated to concerts with coffee tables or mosh pits.  That obviously wasn't the case here since the audience sits on the floor and sings along with the band; heads bobbing back and forth in meditation.  It's the Indian equivalent of 80's head banging!  The band has the subtitle "The Yoga of Music" on their website.  My first thought was "what the heck does that mean?"  I've seen laughing yoga, but this is stretching things even further...at least I thought at first.  Naren explained it pretty well in his interview.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...get to the video, right?  Enjoy and don't forget to head bang, Indian style.




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