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Vodafone Ireland – Web Site Redesign

Vodafone website re-designLogged on to the Vodafone web site a few days ago and met the redesign. At first I was amused with the cleaner more accessible interface but then into the “Web Texts” section which I mostly use, I was purely disappointed.

The old version Vodafone web site you could click an alphabetical letter A-B-C-D and so on… and the contact list would jump to that section of names, also your contact’s number was displayed to the right… well to me it was like a personal phone book.

Now its just your contacts nickname displayed, no number at all, so to retrieve a contacts number you have to open up Vodafone Mail (I cant stand using that) and browse through your contacts clicking here – there and everywhere … just for the sake of a number!

Ok then thumbs up for the new de-cluttered web site and the more accessible approach, but the “Web Text” function for me is a step back and looks like “work in progress”

Anyone else?

Shooting the video “Darling” for Steve Whelan

Canon MV300 Steve Whelan who hails from Youghal in Co. Cork, Ireland released his album “The Last Walk” this year. He is a well know singer/songwriter in the area and as a test project I asked him if he would be interested in making a video. So here is a quick run down of what I done…

1st Shoot Info:

We settled on the song “Darling” so with no script or plan we headed to Youghal Beach to try out a few shots. Steve had his guitar I had my Cannon MV300 a very basic dv camera (pictured above) and with Shane Supple in car. We just played around and had a bit a fun canning about 20 minutes of footage. Most of the shots were filmed from an opened window at passenger seat in Shane’s car while circling around Steve on the beach, by the way we had the song blasting on the car stereo so Steve could lip sync – we got some strange looks from strollers but didn’t care.

2nd Shoot Info:

I gave Steve a shout one night and headed to Claycastle Recording Studio. I filmed him in a room with just a red bulb next to him. This red bulb caused a lot of video “noise” in the shot but it looked alright and the idea was to keep things simple so we did.

3rd Shoot Info:

The girl in the car at the start of the video and is my niece Terri McCarthy. I had my Canon handycam in the car one night and filmed about 1 minute of her driving the car.

4th Shoot Info:

Put Steve in front of a green screen and filmed him syncing to the song. We filmed it twice and took the best bits.

Other footage:

The carousel shot was old footage I had from a shoot for Perk Family Entertianment Centre. It just seemed to work so I left it in.

The footage of the beach I created in After Effects. I took the hi-res beach shot and virtually zoomed in on the photo then I set up the timeline so it recorded from zoomed in to zoomed out then I just reversed the timeline, this gives the effect of a plane flying over a beach… (nice trick!)

So armed with all the footage I edited the video using Adobe Premiere Pro and made the decision to go with black & white because

  • 1. It suited the mood of the song.
  • 2. The footage had mixed levels of exposure from the different shoots so going black & white pulled them together.

Ingredients:

The end result was a success, nothing ground breaking but I learned from the experience that you dont need lots of €€€ to shoot a music video.

    • 1 Canon MV300
    • 1 Guy with Guitar
    • 1 Guy with car
    • 1 Girl in car
    • 1 Green Screen
    • 1 room with red bulb
    • Software
    • Patience
    • Zero Budget

= 1 music video

Result:

The video has so far recieved over 5,511 views on YouTube and good feedback for Steve. Click here to watch it on YouTube

Thanks to Steve Whelan and I hope you enjoy the video…
Darling – Steve Whelan

The Police – Croke Park – Dublin – My Review

The Police - Croke Park - Dublin - ReviewGot back from Dublin today after going to “The Police” at Croke Park. Being a teenager during the whole pre/post “punk” “new wave” age of late 70’s early 80’s The Police was the band I always wished I could go an see. The Police headlined Leixlip Castle at the “Dublin Festival 1980”, which was their first (and became their only) show in Ireland. I remember dreaming of going to that show but was too young at the time. So here I was 27 years on and finally getting to see the band.

The Support:

Support band on the night were “Fiction Plane” with lead singer, Joe Sumner, son of Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting – “Keep it in the family”
I have to admit that I didn’t feel keen on hearing the support band as a few of us preferred having a few scoops at the bar and just to note I did stand patiently in a queue with around 100 people ahead but the bar flew through us at €5 a scoop. Around 8:00pm The Police were on stage.

The Gig:

Kicking off with “Message In A Bottle” a classic and on to a good mix of old and new “Driven To Tears” was a stand out for me with drive and melody as was “Wrapped Around Your Finger” with Stewart Copeland playing bells, chimes, gongs and other percussion. I noticed the crowd looked a fair bit bored at the less popular songs but things swung into spirts again with “De DoDoDo De DaDaDa“.

Things got a little messy around us about a half hour into the gig with 2 fights breaking out to the right and left, we were sitting on the Hogan Stand, Upper Tier – 1 guy totally acting the dickhead and escorted away by The Police sorry the Gardai (pardon the pun) and another guy fuelled up on booze to the point that he wanted to take on the stadium… there was shouting and abuse but it sorted itself out eventually. tg!

Then there was Sting’s dragging out the songs with singing “Roxanne OH!” for a more than a bareable few minutes +  crowd reaction. Sting was’nt going for the high notes on any of the setlist tonight and there was a drop in key for many of their hit songs. Well I am musician aswell – ” Oh sorry a drummer really” 🙂 does that count!??? Enevitably “Every Breath You Take” was the big crowd pleaser of the night.

Recap:

I suppose thinking about it now it was nice being there with some “living legend” musicians and I’ve gotta give thumbs up to Stewart Copeland for the inspiration in rhythm, but the whole Croke Park thing (82,000 approx) was just too much for comfort. I would have preferred to see them at the Point.
The stage design was a bit bland but the side video screens helped in capturing the atmosphere of just 3 guys on stage. This was a no-nonsense, no fireworks, no bells or whistles – straight on gig. I was glad to have gone but wouldnt return or “been there, done that,  but would’nt buy the T-shirt”.

Heres the setlist below. It’s about 90% accurate …

the police tour 2007 set list

 

The Aftermath:

After the gig we headed to “Barrys Hotel” bar for a drink and one of the lads mentioned that a pint of Guiness was only €3.40! and that was in Dublin. The bar was old and the toilets were stinking but we chatted away regardless about the gig. After an hour or so we parted and headed for the dreaded “Waiting on O’ Connell Street for a Taxi syndrome” this was a nightmare!

We waited for over an hour and a half for a taxi to come along with a huge crowd and witnessed fighting, verbal abuse and racist remarks and that was just coming from the taxi queue. We all agreed that Dublin must be a shithole to live in and we’d never complain about waiting for a local taxi ever again.

Well thats me done with Dublin and stadium rock for a while…!

Leaving MySpace

Finally deleted all the posted comments and friend contacts I had built up over the past year and a half on my MySpace page. The feeling was great! I no longer have to accept, respond or comment to people inside that heap of **** anymore.

After hearing about MySpace from a musician friend of mine I went about signing up to see what all the fuss was about, at first I thought it would be a nice to keep in contact with all the muso’s (Musicians).

When at gig’s I’d get the “Whats your MySpace page?” and if you didn’t have one you would get that kind of “Whaaaaat! ..look .. it’s simple just go to so and so and put in your name and email and so on etc. etc..”

After a few weeks of setting up my account and adding friends and the like, I guess curiosity got the better of me and I had to have a look under the hood to see how this monster is coded and try to ultimately customise (laugh!) it.

From the tasteful div overlay method of Hyaline Skies to the “Try not Make My Page Look Like a Tripod Hosted Website Please” I have tried them all by changing bits of CSS here and there and trying to be a little clever about it…. This became hard work so I gave up trying to re-invent the wheel and pulled out, clearly out of frustration with the whole thing. The only MySpace page to get it somehow right in my opinion is by this guy Mike Davidson using clean html/css to what is allowed by MySpace guides and rules.

I don’t want to come down on many of my friends that use MySpace (100 million can’t be wrong) as a tool to try and promote their music as it is just that a “Tool” but the whole model is a cheap tacky mess and that’s just an opinion but its’s “my opinion”.

To finish, do you think Rupert Murdoch’s empire could spare a little change of the $30 million per month they earn on Google Adsense alone (and thats old news) to do a little house cleaning on that MySpace monster? I don’t think so….. Here’s to all their 100 million + users who feed them with content, music and videos.

“IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT ” Any attempt to improve on a system that already works is pointless and may even prove detrimental.

>> Click here for farewell picture <<