Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wintersleep at the Capital Music Hall in Ottawa on 28 October 2010 and the Panasonic ZS3 captures the entire concert!

I’ve posted snippets of this concert in the past. I was limited back then to uploading shorter songs and so I broke it up. But this concert is excellent when viewed in its entirety. Jon and I stood in line for an hour near the very front (about 5th or so) and thus we were able to run in and grab a prime recording location.

The Capital Music Hall is a big empty space with a stage and two balconies on each side. No chairs anywhere in sight (although a few cushioned benches can be dragged from the wall to the open railing on the balconies. Not comfortable though it turns out.

So I gave Jon the corner and I stood beside him, thus getting a perfect view of the stage from above, which is an excellent recording location in my opinion. It also allowed me to rest my arms on the top of the rail, which improves the stabilization.

This is a recent remastering as I found that Sony Vegas Platinum HD 11 handled Tommy and the Daltrey medley so well that I just had to redo this concert. I had mastered a complete version in the past with audio edited in Nero Wavedit, but I could never get the audio properly aligned again, so I gave up.

Since both Vegas and SoundForge can edit audio directly inside the video, I was able to easily rebalance the audio. The Panasonic has excellent stereo microphones that have excellent auto leveling (much better than the F550EXR) and manage to record all tones without ever getting muddy. All I had to do was to apply a fairly strong equalization and a bit of reverb to get it to sound terrific (hint: turn it up :-)

For Wintersleep fans, this concert has it all. I posted the set list to, which I replicate for you here:


The remastering was very quick as I knew how to get the best sound from my experience with Tommy. But the rendering was unbelievably slow …


Yeah, it really ran for 14 hours and almost 8 minutes for a lousy 97 minutes of video. That’s just under 9 minutes of rendering per minute of video … not an impressive ratio.

Now, Vegas has a dog slow rendering engine … everyone knows this. I run a 6 core 3.8GHZ overclocked Thuban AMD chip and it makes no difference whatsoever. I’ve seen tests that show that the latest Sandy Bridge chips do not affect the speed. Rendering to a RAM disk, which is orders of magnitude faster will not improve the times. This is what it is.

So what is going on? Well, several things:

  1. If you watch the application while it renders, you can here the disk chirp once for every individual frame! This is a classic computer science problem, where optimizations at the micro level have no effect because the macro algorithm is a complete dud. Rendering a single frame at a time and sending it to disk is simply a joke.
  2. You can tell it to use 4 cores at a time to multi-thread but if you do it is very likely to crash every time you try to render. It is a known problem and everyone mentions that you must restrict it to one thread. Again, bad computer science. This is old stuff and Sony chooses not to address it. Bummer.
  3. I am running it accelerated by my GPU. I can see no difference and again this is a known problem. CUDA is the NVIDIA multiprocessor standard and apparently CUDA is not fast in Vegas. No real advantage to using it, although it is possible that buying an expensive card to get about 450 cores might help. I have 64, which is a joke. There is some news that buying ATI will work better as their Open GL implementation really does help the rendering. Perhaps one day I’ll blow a few bucks to find out.

And after all that suffering, I still prefer Sony Vegas over anything I have ever used. It leads the parade for consumer editors because Sony have allowed many professional features to trickle down from Vegas Pro, and that makes all the difference. This thing is an absolute joy for non-linear editing. Just amazing. The best hundred bucks you’ll spend if you like to fool around with video. Just be patient when rendering. (With 6 cores and only one busy, I don’t even notice it when Vegas renders so I can just let it run.)

So here is the video. I suggest that you play this through your PS3 in 5 or 7 channel simulated surround on a nice big screen. It does a pretty darned good job of simulating the concert experience :-)