Hands on Mixing with an iPad part 3 – Avid & Lemur

iPad and Media Composer: Liine Lemur

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for an upgrade.

It’s been almost a year that I’ve been editing shows on Media Composer and mixing them using an iPad running MIDI Touch and Touch OSC. These tools have made working with audio on the Avid substantially easier. But there have been some rough edges; the connection would go to sleep sometimes, requiring extra taps to re-start communication between the Avid and iPad. Solos and Mute buttons required double taps to trigger and turn off. And then, the faders themselves were a little fiddly; it was difficult to make small adjustments. And it didn’t look quite as cool as I wanted.

The iPad has been a small revolution for musicians in innumerable ways. From easier access to sheet music, to GarageBand as the new four track,to a recent app that provides a 48 track DAW environment, and not least, the sort of programmable MIDI gear I’ve been using to make theses tools which work with Media Composer. In 2004, the closest equivalent would have been a JazzMutant Lemur, a very cool, very high end device. Daft Punk, Bjork, and many other top acts use these devices live. Completely customizable and programmable, multitouch before most people even knew you could do that, I totally wanted one,for no good reason, and now, that very same software runs on the iPad. The same tech that rocks stadiums, I am using to rock rough cuts that are routinely 10 minutes too long. If you’re interested in more general info about Lemur and the iPad app, here’s a nice writeup.

iBooks, Annotation, ePub and iCloud syncing

A journey through the exciting world of taking notes on novels, textbooks and such.

I’ve been looking for the best way to annotate digital reference sources I get for a while. Lots of technical manuals for Avid, Boris, FCP, my air conditioner, etc, are available in PDF format, and with the mountain of applications available to annotate PDFs on the iPad, it’s easy to make a folder on Dropbox and simply sync all my PDFs. The files are readable by a variety of apps, and I have ready access to them from anywhere I’ve got an internet connection. I’ve been using this system for a couple of years and it works well.

But there are some kinds of reference works that aren’t great as PDFs – basically, anything longer, without a lot of pictures. For instance, for my current show, my copy of One Minute to Midnight. If digital files had spines, this one would be cracked, and if it were a paperback, it would have more pages with dog ears than without. There would also be post-it notes all over it.

Using the iPad for video post: Storyist

In documentary and the reality shows I’ve worked on, everyone uses Microsoft  Word for writing. No one loves it, but they use it because the client requires you to deliver the script in a table with cell numbers on each line, to make it easy for the lawyers, I suppose. But the truth is that now there are plenty of writing tools  that are designed to be a bit more helpful to a writer than simply being a fancy typewriter. Tools that help you visualize overall story structure,  manage research, and work on the writing all at once.

For almost a year, I’ve been using one of these tools on my iPad (and desktop) called Storyist. The other big app in the category is Scrivener, and that’s the one I used first.