Case Studies/FREE - THE JOURNEY
The project was basically run by a core group of 3 people with a like minded vision of creating something out of the box. Keeping in mind the old adage "If you want something done right, do it yourself" a group us of decided to see this thing through by efficiently multitasking. Owing to our varied backgrounds as both musicians and creative professionals, we were able to strike a balance between delivery and deadlines. Many may wonder why deadlines for a creative non profit collaboration? Apart from the obvious effective usage of time and resources, we felt that unless you put a date to something, it very rarely comes out. This may involve some time sacrifice, but we found that the production was more cohesive since people were focused on an end product rather than on ideals. The deadline gave little room to go off on tangents. This however in no way impeded our creative abilities. If anything, we think that it juiced us up and made us think about solutions rather than problems.
The music itself was a breeze. The Plan - "Lets rent a studio and jam!" The recording room itself was only about 12 feet by 12 feet. Arjun, Aum, Rakesh and Boskey squeezed into the tiny space. I was in the mixing booth and Praveen in the vocal booth. The studio had a terrace with an amazing view of the backwaters and the city.
To be honest I don't think, any of us really had an idea of what we wanted to do or how we were going to accomplish a half way decent recording when we didn't even have material. Day One ended with us doing about 5 hours of recording. Day two started early and was much more productive than Day One. I think that the band was much more focused. We recorded for 4 straight hours with small breaks.
Back in Chennai, India, we started the review of the material. No one had really heard anything till then.It was just suppose to be a fun thing with no serious expectations. So what did we have? 3 hours of coherent to vaguely coherent music. We didn't have a sound engineer at the time and didn't want to spend money on an experiment that was done more for fun than work or profit. We decided to edit the music ourselves. Now its important to remember that there wasn't really much we could do. The drums were already mixed and the guitar/bass/key tones were already in place. The most we could do was some leveling and a bit of mastering. To make things interesting we added a couple of voice samples.We proceeded to cut them up into songs in our free time and completed the audio in 2 months. We had 1 hour of music - about 17 songs. The music however, sat on our hard drives for over a year and was previously never released.
A friend of ours had referred me to Creative Commons, an online community that shares creative work - media that can be reused (depending on the licenses). So we got online and based on the themes of the songs, we downloaded video content from blip.tv that could be adapted. To our surprise,many of the videos looked like they had been shot / designed just for the music. In some cases we followed through on the concepts with multiple videos edited together around a central theme. Videos were edited to fit the music on Sony Vegas Pro. Now we've been Final Cut Pro users for the last 4 years, but when I used Vegas 9 I was astounded by its ease of use, flexibility and render speeds. I think that its by far the best editing software for quick turn around projects. We did our post production with After effects to give the product an original unifying look and re-optimized the videos to strike a good stream / quality balance.
I would like to mention here that optimization was quite a task. First of all movies from blip.tv are normally in flv format. We suggest converting them to MPEG2 for editing and upload. We scaled up the footage first to 720x480 using OJOsoft total video converter, but you can use any good converter. The results were encouraging. Very little pixelation or drop frames.
The result of this effort is FREE - THE JOURNEY, a 15 song - 53 minute audio video compilation. We have released it on Facebook, Blip.tv and YouTube. This is the first time a Creative Commons project of this scale has been done from India and probably (we think) one of the bigger ones worldwide. In the process we have also launched our own YouTube channel - Creative Collective TV
Music by LBG-Bonfire Collective Collaboration Arjun Janakiram: Bass, Aum Janakiram: Guitars, Avneet Janakiram: Guitars, Boskey: Keyboards, Praveen Heinrich: Flute, Harmonica, Percussion, Rakesh Khanna: Drums
Recorded at Studio, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
Mixed at The Lab – Audio Production Unit, Chennai, India
Mastered by Udaya Kiran, The Lab
Video Post Production: Apptitude
Produced by CC TV (Creative Collective TV) – A MMU Communications Initiative
Executive Producers: Avneet Janakiram, Arjun Janakiram, Aum Janakiram
Pondicherry -A Stop Motion Project by Shaun Dsa Source: Individual, The Ancestors Tale by Ian Elsner, Ritournelle by Lachamplure, 188.8.131.52 by MoleCabal, Clockfish by ExploderFace, Pagen envy by Qutub, Abstract by Mengtime, The Red Dancer by Patsylai, Faces5, Faces9, Faces6 by Hmotro, peteherroncomArchivedVideos by Peteherron, MorningStorm by Apperceptions, TimeLapse by JumperTV, TimeLapseTest by Squampton, WhatKindOfShape by Gosmedia, ParticlesSampleVideo by Lostmarbledvtemp, Y by Speculativism, ScaryPumpkin by VideoJester, Grendel by Pacfolly, FaceIt by Marquisdejolie, SpiderWeb by ErinNealey, ScaryHole by AngryBeth, LaSpirale by Dziit, GrooveUrbano by Fabioramosnascimento, EPPElectroPlasmaPulse by MindsiMedia, Water by DotAtelier, Animation by HassenMalek, LINES by Mxpccw, Source Blip.tv
Most of the footage used have a CC by NC-SA license. Others had a commercial license So we decided to also release FREE under CC by NC-SA. The music is available on Jamendo under the same license.
The reasons for doing this are manifold. First this is a creative body of work founded on the core principle of doing "art for art" and not for money. As a creative outfit we wanted to flex our muscles and push the envelope without any restrictions.That means no whiny clients complaining about what they thought they were getting.We were our own clients - we knew what we wanted and how we were going to get it.
Secondly, the collaboration with talented artists and film makers from round the world made the project all that more interesting. As creative professionals, there is always this ever growing desire to work on material with new people. However, time and money constraints prevent most of us from entering into collaborations that can turn out work in a reasonable span of time. Creative Commons gave us that opportunity.
Fun Factoids about FREE
1. The recording was done in 12 hours over 2 days. We left Kerala with 3 hours of audio which was further vetted down to 1 hour 10 minutes.
2. The Music took us 2 months to sort through and edit due to time constraints. The videos took us 2 weeks.
3. All the songs have retained their original names
4. No overlays, no retakes, just some voice samples
5. Its the first ( to the best of our knowledge) Creative Commons project of this scale done from India
Facebook event : http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=101072603292010 (Oct 7th -Dec 31st 2010)
Youtube Channel : http://www.youtube.com/user/creativecollectivetv
Music Downloads: http://www.jamendo.com/en/album/76667