Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
What (if any) changes would you all like to see in the panorama. I don't mean regarding the PT executive, or who runs it, or whether bands should go back on the streets and forget the competition altogether. This is a question for those who love panorama and want to see it do better, and what organizational/format changes could make a positive difference. I have some ideas but curious to see what you all think first.
Bugs, Most radio stations get their feed from the PA system which is mono. The PA is mono for good reason, if it was stereo and if you sat on the right side of the grandstand, you'd only hear the right channel, if you sat on the left part of the grandstand, you'd only hear the left channel. WACK does their own audio (I did it for them this past year) which is stereo. WACK's stream, I believe, is stereo. The DVD's done by WACK are stereo.
Regarding the downloads, rushing that can result in poor quality. First, it is a problem preparing downloads while still broadcasting the following bands. The digital files which would be used live on my recorder until the end of the night. I really don't like to stop the recorder to copy them until the event is over, as that increases the possibility of error in recording the next performance. My policy has been to start it before the beginning, make sure it is recording and not stop it until after the results have been announced. Then WACK makes a copy of my SD card to use for the DVD, etc. They have to edit it to break out each band adjust the levels and such.
Also there are significant rights/copyright issues with downloads (as opposed to streams, live or on demand.)
If the radio stations had a sense of professionalism or shame they would not be taking a feed from those guys doing the sound. They are horrible.
Also, I've seen many live shows where the audio was available immediately after the show. The Today Show, Good Morning America and others have a professional quality YouTube audio/video of their concert series as soon as the acts are finished - and in the case of the audio - it's immediate playback.
Trinidad needs to up their game. As for issue with the rights - welcome to the entertainment business. No excuses. If they can't do the job get people who can.
Bugs, I worked for ABC before I retired, and I can tell you that it's much easier to do things like that if your audience is in the millions, you have advertisers paying commensurate amounts for those ads, both for the live broadcasts and on the webpages, and you can afford to pay for the equipment to do it and the staff it takes to operate the equipment (and sell the advertising, and maintain the websites). It is technically possible, but not with the equipment we can afford. I did the audio recording and feed for WACK in 2017 as a personal favor for Kenny Philips and WACK with my own equipment which I've purchased out of my pocket over the years, and I can tell you that WACK is not in the same financial ballpark as Disney who owns ABC.
I've used my experience to exploit modern technology to find equipment that, with limitations, can produce professional quality recordings at a price I can personally afford. I rarely get paid for my efforts, my payback is having a quality recording to listen to after the event and making a few of my friends happy to have recordings of their performances. The technological advances which have made my recordings possible have only happened in the last 10 to 20 years. Before that it would have cost much more than you or I could afford to make recordings with that technical quality.
By the way, the equipment to do such recordings is now available for what amounts to the cost of a tenor pan or two. There is some learning curve, like anything else, (for me, no where near the learning curve to becoming a proficient pannist!) Most of the information is on my website for anyone to read,
Regarding the PA, first, yes, it would be nice for the stations to get a stereo feed. I know that Yoichi and Katz who also record the Panoramas have made stereo feeds available to some radio stations. Given UTT's financial issues, I'm not certain they will be able to continue (They are employed by UTT and use some of UTT's equipment).
I've always thought that Rent-A-Amp has done a decent job considering the constraints of the venue and what NCC is able to pay them for. They do a much better job than the company doing the sound at Brooklyn Panorama which has been typically awful. (The sound in Brooklyn was great this year, no PA system and a relatively small audience.) Other sound companies in Trinidad have made a real mess of pan events. And for good technical acoustic reasons, it is much more difficult to do good PA of acoustic bands like pan than it is to record them well.
There are two other matters affecting Panorama sound in Trinidad: There was not one cent spent in designing or constructing the grandstand for acoustics. It isn't as bad as the old grandstand, but it isn't good. So that puts limitations on what you will hear there. And much of the amplified sound woes regarding Panorama are self inflicted by the steelbands and their leaders. The layout of the instruments on the stage violates most of the principles of micing for good sound amplification. There is no isolation between the different instruments.
Finally, back to ABC and such. The music you see on ABC is a show, a performance, not a competition. It is by professional musicians who have done a technical rehearsal so the audio and video techs have all their shots planned, their mics and the (much smaller number of) musicians properly oriented and miced for good sound. And these days, most of the backing tracks you hear isn't even the "musicians" on the stage, it is a pre-mixed recording being played back from ProTools. Sadly, sometimes even the vocalists are lip-syncing. I don't think you want that for Panorama!
It's about simple know-how. Either you know or you don't. A teenager could remote control a DAW in real-time and create the audio mixes for the live broadcast, recording and Internet stream for Panorama with an app while physically being located in China or Brooklyn. Pretty much any moderately priced DAW allows you to do that.
In the past you could simply have used a transformer splitter on the mics and create multiple different mixes on multiple consoles for broadcasting, live sound and recordings with separate engineers. You could still use this old method today, but probably few people would need to go this route anymore.
A few years ago NBC had a program called Sing Off. It was a live musical competition, that was broacasted live, judged and the viewing audience was allowed to purchased the performances on itunes immediately after the show ended.
Again Trindad needs to step up. And those guys doing the sound, and recordings are no good. Did you hear how many times the volume went up and down? And that's just for starters.
You make it sound so simple. I've worked in this business for over 50 years, much of it in network television, and I'll tell you, those who find it "so simple" are too often the first to fall on their face when the slightest unexpected problem occurs. Again, the US TV networks have loads of money and very experienced talent to throw at any issues. Most live programming has multiple back-ups set up. In many cases, it is well rehearsed, so any problems are worked out in advance.
Regarding your teenager in China, first, how is this guy going to do this, given the state of Internet connectivity in Trinidad? Have you actually tried to do anything bandwidth intensive on the Internet in Trinidad? I have, and it is an exercise in frustration, it is so slow and unreliable. That issue is much bigger than Carnival or Panorama.
You've neglected to say how you would mike the Panorama. And the simple miking I use for recording will not work for PA, you'll get feedback. Again, the lack of any set-up time or rehearsal for each band combined with the issues created by the arrangement of the instruments in a band makes for serious issues.
How is this guy in China going to have any idea what signal is on any given fader, so he/she can do something more than just open all the faders and hope that what comes out actually sounds good. And even if he/she does have some idea of what is where, with no rehearsal/sound check for a band, the arrangement will be partly over before it is properly mixed, if at all. My orchestral technique works reasonably well at capturing the sound as heard by the judges as there is nothing to mix, that all happens acoustically. But as I said, it fails miserably when used for sound reinforcement.
Actually, splitter transformers are still pretty commonly used in TV production here in the USA, but they are expensive (at least good ones are) and you really can't split more than 3 ways without loading down the mics which causes problems. Also generally they are only used when there is one entity like a TV network or sound company using all the splits. At Carnival, you have different people doing broadcast, PA, and recording. Who is responsible for the splitters? What happens if someone tries rearranging something in the middle of the event and injects hum into everyone else's feed. Don't laugh, its happened.
And given the reality of the situation, and the economics involved, I don't see the NCC or even less, Pan Trinbago hiring anyone to produce the overall audio feeds, and I don't see most of the end users being willing to sign on, particularly if they are going to be expected to pick up part of the expense.
Once again, this doesn't answer the first issue, how are you going to mike this thing, particularly for sound reinforcement?
So NBC had Sing Off. First, was it even NBC's show, or did they buy it from an independent producer? Second you had a singer, maybe a duet or even a quartet singing to what was in all likelihood a pre-recorded pre-mixed backing track. Rehearsed in advance. The audio guy knew who was singing into each mike (probably wireless mikes) and what levels would give a good mix. In fact, with today's automated consoles, the audio guy probably stored the levels for each contestant in memory during the rehearsal and called them up for the "live" show, with only a little trimming needed. Try to do that for Panorama...
Given that simple setup, it is pretty easy to have someone else capture the performances to prepare the downloads. I'd also like to know how much they had to pay Apple to get those performances up that quickly. Itunes won't even put up material from individual performers; unless you are a major record company you have to use a consolidator like CD Baby, and their turn-around is usually more than a week.
Also, how do you know if it was even live? Many "live" shows, for instance "The Chew" on ABC are actually shot a few hours early to allow time for production, like graphics, to be applied before broadcast. Some daily shows are only recorded on several days, and played back on a later date. "The View" is not live on Friday, they typically record a second show on Thursday to air on Friday. And the "live" music you see on "The View" is almost all recorded in advance, sometimes days in advance. Loads of time to fix screw-ups.
I repeat, I did the recording for the 2017 DVD of the Panorama. I can tell you the audio levels were never adjusted during the Panorama. Now Kenny had to set an overall level when he merged it with the video, but I have a copy of the final product, and I never heard the level go up and down. Please tell me at what times (minutes and seconds) in the recording where you heard the levels go up or down, I'll check that on my master recordings, and on the product sold by Kenny. If I don't find level changes, I'll post clips of a few seconds either side of the time and everyone can judge for themselves.
Again, I am "the guy" who did the recording, and I take offense at your claim that I am "no good". If I screw up, and I have on occasion, I'll be the first to admit it.
BTW, did you buy a real copy of the DVD produced by Kenny of WACK and sold through Pan Trinbago, or did you buy something sold by a pirate on a street corner here in New York?
You seem to be constantly giving reasons for why things have or can go wrong. Again Trinidad needs to up its game and get people who know what they are doing. Some kids with an Xbox, IPAD, Sony Playstation and a good Internet connection can run rings around these guys.
And what I heard was no good for a Trinidad Panorama recording in 2017 given the technology is available. Someone needs to take control of the situation and make Trinidad ready for prime time.
Fellow WST Forum member Russell Providence recently posted the statement below. I believe this applies here.
"I believe that most of us who complain about what's wrong, are also highly appreciative of what's right. I believe that many of us would prefer what's wrong, especially if we're implicated, to be ignored. That's regrettable, because if we choose not to highlight, or address what's wrong, how then do we expect what's not right to be corrected?"
Well, if you think you can do it, or any part of it better, perhaps you should volunteer your services to do it better,
I don't want the job or your job. I want a better product.
Do I have to be a cook to know when a Roti doesn't taste good?
PJJ how about there be no more than 80 players per side too?
Noah, I would love to have bands roll down the drag for the preliminaries like it was back in the day. I believe this will have a tremendous impact on the young people as it did me back in the day.