Tag Archives: music

The Race – Backstory

This is the story behind The Race

 The Race (Radio Edit) 



 Christmas 2003, “Number One Son” gave me the very first Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1, that he had picked up while studying abroad in Japan. It had not yet been released in the states.

Image courtesy of Steves Digicams 

The specs were impressive for the day: 5 mega-pixel, 3.6″w x 2.4″h x 0.8″d (91mm x 60mm x 21mm), 6.3 oz. / 180g. Click on the camera image for a review and detailed specs. My cell phone in 2004 was the standard flip phone. I don’t even recall if it had camera. If it did, it was worthless.

This was the first camera I could carry in my pocket. I could take it everywhere. With the USB cable I could relatively easily transfer pictures from it to my computer. I had QuickTime Pro on my computer and realized that if the pictures were numbered sequentially QuickTime could turn them into a movie. I began to experiment with stop action animation and time lapse photography. The Race is one of my best.

I had to build a holder for the camera in order to mount it to a tripod. The actors were my sons’ Warhammer figures, Russian toy cars I had collected in the 90s while working there, other toy vehicles, a cat toy, and a robotic spider.

The entire video at 6fps (frames per second) is only 30 seconds long. I filmed the actual race first on the 19th of June and then decided to film the starting line sequence the next day to extend the length. I initially used the Beatles Birthday as the soundtrack. The final 30 second cut lived on my work computer for over a decade, copied over with all of my files each time I got a newer PC.

Last week I decided to try to get it onto my iPhone. I guess I could have done a USB iTunes to iPhone transfer, but that would have meant upgrading the decades old iTunes that I never use at work. So I emailed it to myself via Gmail.

It opened fine on my iPhone, but the sound would not play. I opened it in iMovie and then managed to add Birthday to the soundtrack. Here I digress. For reasons unknown iMovie would only recognize recently purchased songs on my iPhone. Here I digress again, I just discovered that you don’t get the iCloud download icon in Music if WiFi is turned off. I can’t find the setting in 8.1.2 to make it visible. Back up one digression, so I repurchased Birthday and used it.

However, when I attempted to save it back to my camera roll I got an error. After many hours of frustration I decided to look for video format converters on the Apple App Store. I ended up buying two: 

The Video Converter – Convert videos to and from file formats! by SmoothMobile, LLC https://appsto.re/us/rD2p1.i

MConverter Medias Converter by bill santiago  https://appsto.re/us/59UVL.i

I am not endorsing either of these … and there are many others to choose from.

The original version of The Race was in MOV format and needed to be converted to MP4 format. Once done, I could export it to the camera roll. Then I decided that Born To Be Wild would be a better fit. So I redid the 30s clip again.

Now to upload to Vimeo.

All for 30 seconds of audio. How do others get away with uploading entire songs, albums, music videos, movies?

Alas it is what it is. So I searched iTunes for Royalty Free Music, found 

Instrumentals for TV Productions, Podcasts, Movies, and Jingles by Royalty Free Music https://itun.es/us/MZVNv

and chose the first recording for the soundtrack. It was 99 cents.

I liked the song enough that I created the looped versions in order to be able to play the entire song

I don’t know anything about DRM (Digital Rights Management), but I have to assume that that 30s clip of  Born To Be Wild had a DRM tag that immediately told Vimeo “NO NO NO”. I suppose it could have checked a Shazam-like audio database, but how does that explain all the other entries the are longer and more blatant. I assume there is a way to strip off the DRM tag. I need to investigate this.

There has got to be an affordable way for individuals to license mainstream audio at an affordable price for use in homemade videos posted to the web. See my rant https://contrafactual.com/2014/12/14/21st-century-i-p-2/

Anyway back to the making of The Race. It was old-school “arrange the figures, take a photo, move the figures, take a photo, repeat” … 181 times. I couldn’t walk the next day – my thighs were in agony. 

Speaking of old-school, if you haven’t seen it check out the 1979 Wizard of Speed and Time by Mike Jittlov



I’ll (click)

be (click)

seeing (click)

you (click)

Happy Stewball

We are big PP&M fans at Cat Beard Manor. Today while eating the Christmas Feast, Number One Son comments about this and how he can never listen to John & Yoko’s Happy Christmas without thinking of Stewball the racehorse. This is old news, yet new to me. It is similar to Kingston Trio Patriot Games vs Joan Baez God on Our Side.

Peter Paul & Mary Stewball 45 1963


John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)


Happy Stewball (War is Over)


Happy Stewball … Everyone

Number One Son

Ye Olde Kid Sister wrote this song thirty years ago when #1 son was born. Last week she put this video together.

Leaving for the wedding in a few hours.

– – –

I wrote this song in October of 1983, just before I met my nephew, Tom, for the first time. And I thought that now was the perfect occasion to get out my old cassette player, make a digital copy of the song and add a few pictures. Congratulations, Tom and Jane! I love you, Nora



Just ran across this on http://www.loopinsight.com

A fellow with the handle JOSIV5 has posted a number of classic Beatles songs with the instrumental portion drastically suppressed. You can still barely hear it in the background, but for all intents and purposes this is the Beatles Acappella.


Enjoy …


JOSIV5 isn’t the only one, another fellow … bauersnarky is doing the same thing.

Bee seeing you …

Two Steps From Hell

I lied. I’m blogging again. This time in a new category. Music. Epic Music.

If you watch movie trailers you have heard their work. If you watch movies you have heard their work. Click the image below to go to their website.


An email on a Russian dashcam video, leads to a reposting on Contrafactual, on which I note that I like the soundtrack of the video. JeonicDe replies that it is Strength of a Thousand Men by Two Steps From Hell, which I download from iTunes in the form of their Archangel album. I am listening to it as I compose this post.

Download Archangel to your iPhone and Bluetooth it to your car stereo. Your daily commute will be heroic. Or listen on head phones as you commute on the train or bus. Your commute will be epic. Or listen at night with a good Single Malt. Your relaxation will be majestic. To quote the Two Steps From Hell website: