The 7 inch celebration starts here…

Audio File is an idea I’ve had parked for more than five years. Yesterday I saw it become a reality.

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I’ve been a (paid) designer of one sort or another since 1988 (nearly 30 years maths fans) and yet seeing my work in print never fails to excite. Yesterday I had the opportunity, not only seeing (and filming) one of my designs be transferred to a favourite medium – the tshirt (and yes, I am still a medium) – but my 10 year old son was given a go at printing one of them too. So thanks to Graham at TayPrint, Dundee.

The design is both a celebration of the 7 inch single (I was 45 this year – 45rpm) and a reflection of how digital and the MP3 has impacted on the music industry. The centre of the design is the wave form which, just in case anyone is unclear, is unique to the song title on the shirt. Each song has it’s own t-shirt colour and will only be printed in that colour. Series one consists of Paranoid Android (1997) in blue, Seven Nation Army (2003) in red (natch) and Rock and Roll (1971)** in olive. It’s hoped that more series will follow so if you have a favourite 7 inch that you’d like to see on an Audio File shirt send me or Assai your ideas.

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I hope their are some Audiophiles (see what I did?) out there as geeky and excited about these shirts as I am. You’ll find more images and where to buy online using #AudioFileTees

The shirts will be available (very) soon, exclusively through Assai Records without whom the shirts wouldn’t exist (thank you Keith). You can find the Assai shop in Broughty Ferry, Dundee – they’re also online at Assai.co.uk

**For the nerds, I know Rock and Roll was never a single in the UK, however it was in the US (and elsewhere) in 1972. As 1971 is the year of my birth and the year the song first became available as an album track, that’s the date I’ve gone for.

You can watch the shirts being printed here:

More to follow soon…

New #Filmmaking Freebies!!

I just added a new Film Making page under the ‘freebies’ tab above. They are typical of the kinds of resources that I produce for all of my classes and workshops.

Mobile Journalism (#MoJo) is at the forefront of democratised media and content production. And with video consumption going through the roof and consumer mobile devices being amongst the best available for point-and-shoot photography and video, then there’s never been a better time to find out what they’re capable of.

If you are interested in learning about more for your business, organisation or club then please get in touch. Clients so far include, Children and Young Person’s Commissioner Scotland, NESTA, Dundee City Council Leisure and Communities, Perth Council, Fife Council, Fife Youth Arts, The Young Foundation.

 

Mills Observatory at 80

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In September of 2015 I was asked to design a large format wall graphic for the Mills Observatory’s 80th birthday celebrations.

Initially it seemed a fairly straight forward piece of graphic design to present a timeline of key moments from the Observatory’s life and beyond. Following a couple of conversations about what the wall and floor art could be the creative team were happy for me to submit more illustrative solutions to the problem.

It was a great piece to work on, 1) because I don’t often do illustration work these days, and 2) because I love anything to do with space and the planets. Large format work is always challenging but very exciting to see the final results.

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Apart from a series of information panels the two main pieces were a seven meter long illustration of the Solar System which incorporated a the timeline of ‘Mills’ highlights and a ‘donut’ shaped floor graphic which wrapped around the base of the Mills centre piece – the Thomas Cooke & Sons’ 10 inch refractor telescope from 1871 – in the observatory space itself.

It was tight getting the artwork completed, printed and installed for the October 23rd deadline but I couldn’t be happier with the results. The graphics are only intended to last a year – hopefully they’ll say up a little longer. Meanwhile pay a visit to the Mills and see what you think :)

You can find out more about the Mills Observatory here.

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Dundee – City of Design

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In January 2015 it was announced that Dundee (City of Discovery) on the east coast of Scotland, had been named the UKs first UNESCO City of Design.

About a year ago I started gathering shots for this short film, grabbing 5 or 10 minutes here and there. You can see many of the clips, as I captured them, on Instagram: #HOC_dndS4S

I set out to create a shot-for-shot comparison of Netflix’ “House of Cards” title sequence that would also celebrate aspects of the city in a form of film making that I love – timelapse. I see it as a work in progress – even House of Cards have reshot and updated sequences over the three seasons – and my film will continue to evolve as I capture new and improved shots.

The sequence was purposefully captured entirely on mobile devices. I used an iPad mini, an iPhone 4S and latterly an iPhone 6. The quality can vary from shot-to-shot depending on the device or the apps used. This is something I’ll address as I improve it.

I’m not the first person to have made an alternative “House of Cards” title sequence, but I’m pretty sure this is the first one for Dundee.

Please comment, like and share!

In 2016 Dundee will hold it’s first design festival as a UNESCO ambassador of design. You can read more at: www.dundeecityofdesign.com

 

Up Periscope!

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I feel like a bit of a ‘laggard’ today. At noon I watched only my ‘second’ Periscope broadcast.
The first was just two days ago at 23:30 as Iron Maiden (the heavy metal band) had their new tour bus delivered – a Boeing 747 – more of that in a moment…

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Periscope

In case you’re even more behind than me Periscope is an app that enables streaming video over the Twitter network – the Twitter equivalent of YouTube if you like. Periscope launched at the end of March 2015 and by mid August over 10 million accounts had been created.

That’s not to say they are all active of course (the link below claims 1.8 million daily users), however the figure that really baked my noodle was the claim that 40 years of video are being watched daily the platform (Periscope by the numbers, Medium, 12 Aug 2016).

40 years. Just under my lifetime consumed on a daily basis.

Laggard

So, feeling like a laggard less than a year after a product launches only illustrates what we’ve known for a while now (but stills takes me by surprise every now and then) which is how quickly technology moves these days.

Despite being aware of Periscope and keen to try it out for much of those 10 months I just hadn’t come up with a reason nor had I heard of anyone using it in a way that excited me. Again, “An (almost) year in review” – Periscope’s Medium page made me realise I’d had my head in a bag. There are lots of great users out there and I need to catch up.

Why now?

Coincidentally the reason I got on Twitter was because of an aeroplane. The day Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III made “the most successful ditching in aviation history” I was turned on to Twitter. Democratisation of media, etc, etc… it felt interesting to me. (Twitter’s Defining Moment)

On a significantly more mundane level a new plane was being delivered to the city airport in Cardiff, Wales (UK) on Wednesday evening. I’m no plane spotter, but this is not your average plane.

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World Tour

Iron Maiden started their World Tour today. Rather than charter a series of flights to transport band, crew, baggage and equipment, hire kit and PAs around the world, Maiden charter their own 747, slap some massive stickers on it (just in case EasyJet get any ideas) and have their lead singer fly it. I’m not making any of this up.

So, for nut jobs ‘enthusiasts’  like me, the Maiden PR team were on hand to capture delivery of said 747 as it landed in Cardiff, on Wednesday evening. It was dark, blurry at times, but on time – so shortly after 23:30 (shame it couldn’t have been 23:58, eh Maiden fans..?) fans got the first glimpse of a fully liveried (cover in stickers) “Ed Force One”. I took screen shots (above) to prove it.

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Today

Today, shortly after noon the same plane departed complete with band, kit and crew for Florida to collect ex-pat drummer Nicko and start their World Tour. Of course the the departure was broadcast again via Periscope as 10k fans from across the globe (including those in Florida) excitedly watched.

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Immediacy

Regardless of your position on Iron Maiden it illustrates the immediacy that can be created through a platform like Periscope. Any occasion, incident or events that, ordinarily, you might capture and share in a photograph can now be streamed for added impact.

What can you do?

I’m attending a “service jam” next month and I think it’ll benefit from a bit a streaming throughout the day – maybe speak to participants, capture some of the activity and broadcast some of the final presentations in real time. You can record/broadcast for as long as your batteries will allow and once you’ve finished the broadcast remains accessible on Periscope for 24 hours.

As you broadcast people can post comments that appear onscreen for all viewers to see – the great thing about this is you can respond live through the audio of your broadcast for all to hear which creates a unique way of interacting with the audience.

So, homework for the weekend for us all is to find and watch some Periscope broadcasts – come back here and tell me what you think… what will you be using Periscope for, or what have you already done?

Record Store Day 2015 Top Ten #RSD

WARNING: Frivolous non-work related post

I don’t know why this passed me by until now but tomorrow is World Record Store Day (RSD)! The short film above will give you a sense of the anticipation that is building for some music fans.

The 18th April is also my birthday (which hadn’t passed me by). I decided at the end of last year that I should finally invest in a turntable on my birthday to justify hoarding a whole stack of records – I haven’t had a record player since 2002 (?) – so it would seem that the ‘vinyl’ stars had aligned!

As is now tradition, there are dozens of RSD related special releases on vinyl that will not be available until Saturday 18th April – and even then, some of them will only be available through participating stores. So if you like your music served up on black (and various other coloured and pictured) plastic then there’s plenty to get excited about.

For more info, including finding participating stores near you, you can visit the official website.

On the official site you will also find a list of the RSD releases, however (and this is why we are here) I have already done some of the dirty work for you…

This is my Top Ten of what to look out for – I’ve listed the format and by clicking on ‘More RSD information’ you’ll find more info on that product. What are you waiting for Pop-pickers!?

– Number 10

False Hope – Laura Marling [7″ Vinyl] [NEW release]

Limited edition from Laura Marling’s new album Short Movie. I lost track of her a little after her first album but I’m loving the sound of her new stuff and so this would be a good place to get back in… More RSD information

– Number 9

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Join Hands [12″ Vinyl Album] [reissue]

This one is going in for sheer effort alone – restored track listing, artwork that was originally rejected (but preferred) and heavy weight vinyl. This looks like a very nice gift for any SatB fan. More RSD information

– Number 8

No life ’til leather – Metallica [music cassette] [new format]

Early Metallica demos (featuring Dave Mustane) reissued on a music cassette – you may never get to ‘play’ it but how could you resist? More RSD information

– Number 7

You Really Got Me – The Kinks [7″ Vinyl] [reissue]

One of three exclusive 7″ reissues from The Kinks for RSD. The grandaddy tune of heavy metal – I’d be tempted to buy this for the cover alone. More RSD information

– Number 6

Kings of the Wild Frontier/Ant Music – Adam and the Ants [7″ Vinyl] [reissue]

At the time Stand and Deliver was the AatA track for me – these days it’s Ant Music. It’d be great to hear the faint crackle of the turntable over the drum sticks intro… More RSD information

– Number 5

Detroit – Gaz Coombes [10″ Vinyl] [NEW release]

This is the latest single from Gaz Coombes (formerly of Supergrass) and while I’ve only heard it the once on YouTube it’s stayed with me. RSD is not all about reissues, it’s about new music too so this isn’t a bad start. More RSD information

– Number 4

Alone + Easy Target – Foo Fighters [10″ Vinyl] [new format]

I’m not the biggest Foo Fighters fan but Dave Grohl is the official RSD ambassador for 2015 and this looks a nice little EP of demos (including a classic Kim Wilde cover) to coincide with Foo Fighters 20 years anniversary. More RSD information

Number 3

Walk On By – Dionne Warwick/The Stranglers [7″ Vinyl] [new format]

The Stranglers deliver a great cover version. This special edition 7″ has the Dionne Warwick classic on the flip side. Neither is better than the other – just different – highly recommended! I’ve included the Top of the Pops version below but the full version runs for much longer with a classic Dave Greenfield keyboard solo. More RSD information

 Number 2

More Roar – Robert Plant [10″ Vinyl] [new release]

A life EP of from Percy’s recent tour – featuring a reworking of Whole Lotta Love – what more could you want?! More RSD information

Number 1

Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 1 – Various Artists [Double Vinyl Album] [reissue]

This one is a pure indulgence. Ordinarily buying a reissue on vinyl is less satisfying than tracking down an original (unless the original is prohibitively expensive). In this case however, owning a bright and shiny indulgent reissue of the 80s classic somehow seems more appropriate. If you were around the first time then, like me, you might be tempted – if you weren’t then you really should get this – watch the original TV add below for proof!! More RSD information

And bubbling under the Top Ten…

Take On Me – Aha 7″ picture disc (another eighties indulgence)

Bernard Herrmann – Psycho Original Score (Great for scaring the neighbours)

 

Chime in and let me know what you would (will, or do) chose..!