FX Video of the Day: Travelers "Snowball" Apes Katamari Damacy

There’s nothing like the occasional reminder that commercial effects pros get to do stuff we can’t. Today’s example: a real-life Katamari Damacy, starting with a single person (ouch) and rolling through a city, courtesy the Travelers Insurance group. The results are stunningly realistic, particularly at the beginning: there’s a sense of real physicality to it, which is hard to do with things that are physically impossible. Why so well done? Read the list of credits: none other than Kiwi Lord of the Rings vet Weta Digital (motto: “Industrial Light and what?”) did the effects. No Fat Clips has full details, …

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Product Demos: RET NS2 Electronic Drum Kits, Universal Audio DCS and Upcoming Monitor Master

Two readers have sent follow-up videos (well, one a sort of slide show with audio) regarding tools previously mentioned on CDM, so it’s time to check in and see if we can learn more about these products. Electronic Kits Get your kit on. Some readers lamented that the Zendrum MIDI controller was a compact unit with pads rather than arrayed like a traditional drum kit. True, that’s part of the point — supreme portability — but if you like your MIDI triggers in a conventional configuration and still want something expressive and unique, you should have a look at the …

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Live 6 Video Features May Inspire Bizarre New Ableton YouTube Culture

Live 6 now lets you work in arrangement view with video as easily as with audio. That could mean you’ll be seeing lots of homebrewed Ableton Live music videos online very soon. Live 6 isn’t any VJ app, in that you can’t use the video clips in Session View — a feature I’ve heard users long for since Live 1, though since this is a music app and it’s easy enough to wire Live up to a real VJ app, I think they can wait. But because the arrangement view is fairly flexible in its own rite, made more so …

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YouTube Roundup: Album Leaf, Lego Breakbeats, DJ with 45s, Museum of Techno

In celebration of Google’s acquisition of YouTube, CDM’s Adrian Anders has rounded up some of the best YouTube videos, from more Museum of Techno madness to mashups with legos, DJing with 45s, and behind the scenes of music production with Album Leaf. First, some musical inspiration: Anders: The Album Leaf – Making The Album “Into The Blue Again”, featuring Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv on the beats. A really cool look into the creative process for one indie, electronic music influenced band. Kirn: This band has really been one of my favorites of the year, between Eustis, a detailed …

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Roland Monster Workstations in Video @ Keyboard TV

For more on the Roland workstation line I’ve been talking about this week, check out the video clips at Keyboard’s recently-launched video site: Keyboard Magazine TV No direct links from the site, so you just click through to Hot Gear @ NAMM. You won’t see the E-80 workstation I was ranting about; instead, there’s the much more tastefully-designed G-70, which has a feature set that makes a little more sense to me. The “pretend you’re a guitarist” auto-strumming Guitar Mode works really well in the demo. You’ll be able to see how you can hook up the VIMA to an …

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Zendrum Hand Percussion Hardware + BFD Jazz & Funk Samples in Video

Drummer John Emrich loves the Zendrum, the unique, handcrafted MIDI drum controller featured on CDM previously. Here’s what he has to say about it: “Without a doubt, this is the most dynamic MIDI unit available for percussionists. You’re not going to find another trigger unit for drummers that will give you this much control over dynamics.” He isn’t kidding, either. I expect it’d take some practice with the Zendrum just as with any other controller or instrument, but close your eyes, and Emrich’s performance on the Zendrum using sampled sounds sounds like a real kit. Open your eyes, and you …

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Synthesis + Booze: Moog Bubbly, Moog Beer, Toasting Little Phatty Serial One

Lift your glasses and toast your synthesizer, because evidently drinking and synthesis just go together. First up, the folks at Moog Music have put out a limited edition bubbly with their new Little Phatty synth on the label, as pictured here from the Moog Music newsletter. They have reason to celebrate: the Little Phatty synths are on their way out of Moog headquarters. Keyboard Magazine evidently got serial number 1; I don’t know who nabbed it (Steve?), but I look forward to the review. I don’t know what was in that bottle, but I learned last week from a friend …

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16th Century Music Tech: 11-yo Sirena Huang on Design Marvel of Violin

We hear lots of discussion of how to make better digital instruments. But to fully understand instrument design, it’s often best to look at instruments from around the world that have evolved over centuries. (Hey, these synthesizers and such, by comparison, are mere infants.) Here’s a fantastically virtuostic performance from 11 year-old Sirena Huang, via June Cohen on the TEDtalks blog. Following the music, she discusses in frank terms why the instrument is such a timeless design. She’s got a smart audience for such thoughts: the performance comes from the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference, a legendary gathering of “thinkers and …

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Raymond Scott’s Electronium, 50s-vintage Automatic Composing-Performing Machine, Sits Silent

Raymond Scott’s Electronium is one of the great, odd sound inventions of all time. Scott developed the machine as an automatic performance and composing machine, a great, mechanical algorithmic music creation device. For an official source of information, be sure to read up at the Raymond Scott site, which has this fantastic music demo: Electronium Music Sample The idea of the machine, with no keyboard and the ability to “automatically” create music, is still a bit radical today. The sonic results are as whimsical and fresh now as then. But it’s the underlying technology that’s impressive: the device “suggests” musical …

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DIY Commodore 64 Bassline Video Action; C64 Orchestra and Composer Interviews

It’s one thing to talk about the MIDIbox SID, a DIY project that turns the fat warmth of the Commodore 64’s synth chip into a powerful beatbox/bass synth. It’s another thing entirely to see it in action — Roland ain’t got nothin’ on this. Also airing on YouTube: the C64 Orchestra renders classic music from the 1980s in full orchestral form. To be honest, I was hoping “C64 Orchestra” meant a room full of SID synth players, but perhaps that’ll come next. It’s especially worth watching to hear 80s C64 composers Rob Hubbard (Commando, Master of Magic, etc.) and Jereon …

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