Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Fine Doobie Afternoon

Last year it was the "free" concerts at Universal. This year it was the "free" concerts at Sea World Orlando. I qualify the word "free" because in order to get in and see the acts you had to buy a year pass, both times at a discount. When the Universal discount passes expired, something funny happened; the prices went up significantly (not so funny) and the quality of the acts went down (still not so funny).

Then Sea World Orlando started advertising their Bands, Brew, and BBQ series, with park pass prices that were considerably less than what we would have had to pay to renew at Universal. We finally broke down and purchased them for the Doobie Brothers Saturday show. We signed up at the tail end of the promotion just to see the Doobies.

There aren't that many shows left, and I doubt we'll go and see them because we've got commitments on those weekends when the final acts come to Orlando. But at least we can go back to Sea World and enjoy the animal exhibits. We haven't been to Sea World since the mid-90s, when the girls were in middle school.

Doobie Brothers

There was a lot to like about the show. It was a two-hour show that started at 4pm. It's nice to enjoy a show when there's still enough good daylight. The show was well choreographed and highly polished and every member of that band worked their asses off for two hours. They played plenty of fan favorites. There were no gaps between songs and no goofing around. Every song was performed nearly flawlessly (there were some off-notes, but who really cares?). These guys were first-rate pros.

Doobie Brothers

Look! I Found My Pick! - Tom Johnston, Doobie Brothers
Look! I found my pick!
The band really worked with the audience. I've been to too many performances (many at Universal) where the audience and the performers were kept apart. Sea World's venue allowed the band to "walk out" into the front audience, and added a dimension of genuine warmth that I found missing at Universal.


This is just a minute out of two hours of high-intensity performing. If you're a Doobie fan, you've got to see and hear this tour.

Crowd - Doobie Brothers

There was quite a crowd at the performance. Sea World's venue allowed everyone to sit comfortably, and the amphitheater gave everyone a good view of the performers. Universal's concerts are all standing room only, enforced by rather terse, bordering on rude, security that are on duty all over the place. At the Sea World Doobie concert I saw nor heard any of that. Everybody was there to have a good time and enjoy a great show. If the Doobies come back to Orlando next year I hope they perform here. I know I'll come if they do.

Technical

I wanted to go to the concert and enjoy the music, so I took the E-P2 and the 40-150mm 'R' zoom. If we'd gotten there sooner we could have sat up front in handicap, but we didn't and we wound up in the middle section of the amphitheater. So I shot with the 40-150mm pretty much zoomed out to 150mm.

The video was taken with the E-P2 hand held, with me desperately trying to keep it as steady as possible. I'll be so glad when my E-M5 finally arrives with its in-body five-axis image stabilization. Neither LR3 nor LR4 can process video, so I took a walk on the wild side and downloaded a 30-day evaluation of Sony's Vegas Pro 11 64-bit. I thought about using the Adobe product, but it's too entangled with other Adobe products I neither need nor want. I tried to use Microsoft's Movie Maker, but it wanted to take over and do everything that LR was already doing for me quite well. In the end I used Vegas to produce the modest little video you see above.

My needs were simple: I wanted to add a fast fade-in and fade out at the ends and I wanted to trim the length of the video down a bit. And then I wanted to save the results and push it up to Flickr. In the end I figured all that out, rendering to Internet HD 720P (Quicktime Movie), producing a file about 72MB in size. This compared to the original AVI file size straight out of the camera of over 300MB.

I'm a rank amateur when it comes to video post processing, so I'm going to be working a bit with Sony Vegas for the next 30 days.

As for the video itself, I'm not all that thrilled. The sun was setting and shining onto the stage such that when Tom Johnston stepped out into the sunlight his guitar was completely washed out. I could compensate for that in a still image, but not having any experience with video, well, I need to learn if there's an equivalent video method for pulling detail out of blown highlights.

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