4-Cast - Production, comments, etc.

The in-production process and notes regarding the upcoming 4-Casts. 4-Cast is (of course) the only podcasts on the web dedicated strictly to barbershop harmony.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

I realized it's been a while for a blog post so...

There's really no reason for this post other than to assure everyone that we're both still alive and we've not given up on 4-Cast! We've got a bunch of interviews recorded (both from international and from Harmony U) and eventually we'll get them all published!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Does the 4-Cast still exist?

We get mail, we get comments, we get swamped.

I'm sitting here, in my office, waiting for Eric to call so we can finally get a recording session going and put another 4-Cast out!

We've been busy... and not just slightly busy. I've been traveling all over for work (North Carolina for a total of 22 days in the past six weeks), I've been coaching my son's robotics team who finally came in third at the State competition last weekend, I've been going to a new potential chorus, my wife (the artist) had a booth at a local fair - so I had to make sure her web site was all set up, plus family, holidays, etc. Eric has been extremely busy at school (Nursing) and had family for the holidays plus chorus commitments (2 1/2 hour drive each way to VIH.

We've had several recording dates set, that then had to be cancelled because of one thing or another, so...

In any case, no we're not really gone... just a LOOOOOONG vacation.



Friday, November 03, 2006

In case you're wondering

Yes, we're still alive... just both of us have been so swamped that it's just plain stupid. We're working on everything all at once, so therefore everything gets delayed. And as much as both of us enjoy doing the 4-Casts, our priorities have to place our families, jobs, and quartet (in my case), slightly ahead of this.

You'd think that making a 4-Cast wouldn't take that much time wouldn't you? Hoewever, each time we get one out, you're looking at the result of at least 5 or 6 hours of work, or more commonly, 10-12 hours of work (that's post-recording time). Plus, we have to make sure we're both available to record, the bumps and commentary (that's why you got the Jim Clancy one with a weird commentary from Las Vegas).

Speaking of Las Vegas, yes... to answer anyone's questions... we'd both been enjoying adult beverages prior to the recording. We probably won't do it that way (walking and conversationing) ever again, but it was a fun thing to try. In addition, you get to hear a bit more of it, since we've still got an interview that we did on The Strip with three SAI members that we met during that walk.

Hopefully, that interview, the interview from Allan Webb in the UK, and another, shorter one, will be in number 17!

- Alan

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It's been a while for a blog entry

Yep, I know it's been a while - a long while in fact.

I've been busy and we've been busy too! I had a great time at international until Eric got there on Friday and ruined it all...

I mean seriously, I was just sitting and enjoying the competition, and he shows up and suddenly we have to do some work! We had to get up Saturday morning, head to the Webcast studio, host the college quartet contest on the Webcast, then go out and try and set up interviews for later! Good Grief! This was supposed to be a vacation!

OK. So actually I (we) enjoyed the whole thing. In spite of having a cold from Sunday through Friday, I enjoyed the competition rounds. I was proud to watch my friends from the FWD (including Raymond Davis' quartet - Late Show) do well in the competition. By Saturday (with drugs) my cold was basically gone, and we had a blast in the studio talking to the college quartets. The worst thing about it was how fast the competitors went through the pattern. We had maybe a minute and a half with each quartet! Not really enough to get to talk to them enough. (Or, for that matter, to let some of the odd Alan and Eric personalities get really started -- maybe that's a good thing.)

And what a great contest this was... the choruses were fantastic. No comments here on my opinions of the controversy over Westminster vs. the VM, just let it be said that Allan Webb wrote the definitive post to the harmonet in his "paradigm shift" post. The quartet contest was just as fantastic! Max Q and Vocal Spectrum both pushed the top up very high. And to me it's no surprise that there was only 6 points between them. Both did an outstanding job and I (for one) am really glad that I didn't have to judge the contest.

Top that all off with the fact that we got three episodes of 4-Cast out in the same month (June) and you can understand that we're tired!

So - when's the next one coming? Not sure exactly... we don't have any full interviews recorded yet. But we do have them contacted with a bunch of people - Royce, Kim, Trinda, Rick, etc. don't worry - we're calling you soon!

- Alan

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DING DING DING We Have A Winner!

Congrats to Larry Gassman who properly identified the mystery song as “Have a little talk with myself…” as sung by Max Q on the album Discovery! Well done Larry and your prize pack will be shipping out soon. Stay tuned for other fun contest on 4-Cast, the only podcast dedicated strictly to Barbershop Music.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

No, I dont have a Glass Jaw

After the release of #10, I have received several emails asking if whats the deal with getting hit in the face and if I have a glass jaw. So whats the dea? Well, I was standing in line at a local grocery store when I over hear a scuffle began just a short distance away. At first I thought it was die hard fans discussing CASA and BHS but I soon realized that was not it. It appeared as though a small chorus or “gang” had decided to engage a patron of the store in a heated debate that got out of hand. In efforts to defuse the situation, I was suggesting that everyone relax and that the local authorities were contacted. It was at that time that one of the "chorus members"- I think he was a baritone clipped me in the jaw dislocating it. Not surprisingly, the "bari" expressed an interesting viewpoint and told me many anecdotes and used colorful metaphors. I just don’t know why people always pick on the 6'4" Wisconsin kids (yeah that’s me). After we communicated about his choices in words and actions- I thought I would change the topic and see if he admired the custom paint job on a few vehicles... he did not, even though I showed the paint to him in great detail- positioning his head in close proximity of the vehicles finish. Later that evening I did have the chance to see him again @ a local ER as by this time I could not open or close my jaw. He was fully engaged in conversation with the local authorities and I didn’t think that further communication was necessary between him and I. So I talked (grunted) to the Sheriffs... his court date is coming up.

I am bummed that the communication style that was incorporated was of a physical nature. As of today, the elderly gentlemen who being attacked is in fine condition, as is my jaw. We needed to postpone 2 recording sessions and Alan did not have to hear me talk for almost a month!

So now you know, the rest of the story.

OH BUT # 11 will be yet another GREAT installment of 4-Cast!


Thursday, March 23, 2006

I like Realtime and all, but good grief!

OK... It's been a while...

In fact, it's been a really long time. There's reasons for that which have to do with work commitments, barbershop commitments, school commitments, etc. But, if you must know the truth, the real reason this one's taken so long to come out is that I had to edit the Realtime interview one speaker at a time, 30 seconds at a time...

Back in the first episode I pretty much promised myself that I'd never try to run two dissimilar minidisks with four mics ever again... Now I've done it again and this time Eric and I have made a promise to each other that we'll NEVER do that again... It doesn't matter how tired we are.

There's several parts to this so bear with me. There were 7 of us at breakfast that morning, and we had 4 microphones. That means that the mics needed to be placed to pick up more than one person. Unfortunately, it was a buffet type restaurant (at the HQ Hotel actually) that had a LOT of ambient noise. That means that in order to make it sound right to you, I had to only turn up the specific channel (there were four) when that channel was needed... or rather, I had to listen to each channel and turn it down when it wasn't. That means that the 50 minutes of recorded material had to be gone through 4 times just to get the volume right. Then there's the problem that the recorders imported into the computer at different speeds... enough so that after about two minutes of conversation, two of the channels were chorusing the others and making it sound really annoying. Thus those two channels had to be tweaked on a semi-regular basis. All in all, it took me about 9 hours of editing to get just that 40 minute section that you can hear on the 4-Cast done. The good news? it sounds pretty good now!

BUT... none of that matters, because it's FINALLY here! That's right - 4-Cast episode 10 is on the web and if you're using iTunes, the odds are that it's already downloaded to your computer.

We didn't put much of the other stuff in this episode. There's no tag (there was going to be, but I didn't get it from our guest artist in time). But there are some great new musical pieces! Brian Plunkett (of the Noise Boys) came up with a whole bunch of new stuff for us to use. Much of it is in this one, but there's a bunch more small stuff for later too. Thanks Brian!

We do have a fun interview with Antiques Roadshow that features past Society President Roger Lewis. Since this is being a technical rant, I'll point out that if the Roadshow interview sounds tinny, its because the air conditioner in the room had to be filtered out and it only did a relatively good job.

Since it was so late, we decided to get this one onto the web without much of the normal extra stuff. Plus we didn't have all the announcements planned very well, so there's a bunch of talking points that will be on the next one. The good news on the next one? The interviews (Tony DeRosa and Gary Lewis, and Men In Black) and the tag (Men In Black teach it) are already there and the editing is very straightforward and mostly done.

In other news, I had a chance to sit down with the new society president Drayton Justus (and Bill Cale - FWD Pres) this past weekend at the FWD prelims. Eric wasn't there, but our good friend Bruce Sellnow filled in for him. Nice guy and I think everyone will be impressed with him. That interview will be up in 4-Cast #12. We also added a roving reporter to the team... Allan Webb travels overseas on business a LOT and has promised to do some international interviews and send them in for us.

All in all, sorry it's been so long and all but we're still here, and we're coming out with more!


PS, Eric PROMISES he's going to blog something about his jaw (and maybe more)... If he doesn't maybe I'll have to do it for him.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

#9 finally... and Midwinter next!

Well, as I'm sure you're aware, #9 finally did go out. The new Apple software that I was using finally did work after I turned offdeleted the advanced features that are supposed to work on OS-X v10.3.9, but don't unless you upgrade to 10.4 <rant>I love Apple, but there's a problem in their marketing strategy... $79 for the new iLife that will work on 10.3, yet upgrading to 10.4 costs $129 -- You'd think they'd want everyone on the current operating system even more than they would want the app upgraded... But I digress...</rant> In any case, it's obviously out and I hope that our listeners haven't given up on us ever getting anything out on time.

In any case, our next one is being edited now... It will have the interview with Realtime in it, and we've got some awesome new sound bits and tags from Brian Plunkett of the Noise Boys.

Speaking of the next one, all of the stuff from that one is from interviews we did at MidWinter... but we did more at midwinter than just interview. We were contacted a couple of days before Midwinter to see if we wanted to something for the Friday and Saturday night shows. Thursday night/Friday morning we finally figured out what we were doing and then we ran around all day Friday filming and taking pictures. The Friday night thing was pretty short (about 6 minutes) but it had a couple great bits. This was shown at intermission to the audience. Eric compiled the video bits that we used (we took out the stills for space reasons) and you can see that clip here. Hope you enjoy!

- Alan

Monday, February 06, 2006

What a Pain in the ****

OK... Ignore my last post...

At 1:30AM Saturday night I finally started the new software's "Mixdown and conversion process". It looked like it would take a long time, and since I had to get up at 6:00AM to leave for rehearsal at 6:30, I just let it go, thinking I'd get up and post it in the morning.

At 6:00 I got up and went to the computer... It appeared to have finished... but was NOWHERE to be found... so I started it again with a different setup... Again... it vanished... Finally I left a note on the computer for my son (Karl, he's 12, and is a member of our chorus and is playing Harold Hill in his school production of the Music Man in two weeks) to call me when he got up and left for rehearsal at 7:15 (Yes, 45 minutes late... I had a 4 hour drive and figured that Sunday morning traffic would allow me to make ou some of that... I ended up arriving 15 minutes later than I'd originally planned.)

My son called me about 8:30 and I walked him through the process... with the same result... Finally I just told him to save everything and close it up. I got home at about 10:30 last night (after driving 8-1/2 hours and rehearsing for 6, on 4-1/2 hours of sleep) and was too tired to look at it at all... This morning I got up and our internet connection was down...

Finally it came back up and now I have to go to help Karl's School Board with their singing...

Maybe I'll get it figured out and out this evening?


Sunday, February 05, 2006

4-Cast #009

Here we go!

4-Cast #009 is finally out. (Well it will be in a few minutes). I finished editing at midnight and Eric's doing one last piece then it will be on the way out to everyone!

Hope you enjoy!