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Topic: My new promo video

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  1. #1

    My new promo video

    I've had a great time the last few days putting together a video demo of my SFZ instrument "The Autoharp."

    Now that the broken programming in ARIA has been fixed, and Plogue has released their free SFZ player, Sforzando - It's time to promote the instrument again!



    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: My new promo video

    Very cool promotional video, Randy! Curious. What video-editing program did you use to create it?

    To be honest, I haven't seen or heard an autoharp in use for a long, long time! Until I read this post and saw your video, I forgot that they even existed! I like it! And, really like what you software instrument that you created and how easy it seems to function. I'm thinking about buying your autoharp library. I would use it as part of Garritan/Aria software program. How involved is it to get it all to work together?

    Ted
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  3. #3

    Re: My new promo video

    A man with questions! Thank you, Ted, for your post, and your interest.

    Replies:

    --I use Power Director, still on version 9. It has a lot going for it, though it also has limitations which frustrate me. It's always the highest rated consumer video editing program, and that's because it's aimed at people wanting quick, effective ways to put together their home video footage. If you try to get more hands on, producing something with a bit more sophistication, and that you want total control over, then you find yourself having to find work-arounds to outwit all of its "instant gratification" routines.

    The Autoharp - This is a "Meg" table top model by Oscar Schmidt (The King of The Autoharp) I've had since the '70's. It was a gift from my parents during a period when I didn't have a piano, and of course way before computers and music software were common. They gave it to me so I'd have something to write music with. Now, these several decades later, it occurred to me to make a sampled instrument out of it, something made much easier with the advent of SFZ technology.

    I originally developed it for ARIA, then did a needed adaptation so it would also work in Dimension, Cakewalk's flagship sample player. Now I'm extremely happy because Plogue has released Sforzando, a free SFZ player that anyone can download without having to buy anything. It makes distribution of The Autoharp much easier. AND, only recently did some broken programming get fixed in the ARIA engine - something I drew Plogue's attention to when The Autoharp suddenly wasn't working after an ARIA update. All is well again, it works just as designed.

    So, yes, it would be great to work it into Garritan/ARIA projects. You just import the SFZ file, and it can reside in the same instance of ARIA right along with your Garritan Libraries.

    The segment of the promo where I have footage of playing strums with a rocking motion between two octaves - and then I repeat the music to show the use of Pitch Bend and Pedal - That is the basic operation of the instrument. Those samples are right in the middle of the keyboard, easily accessed from any standard MIDI keyboard. You could do a lot with just those several octaves, rocking, and using pitch bend for different articulations. On up the keyboard are 7th chords and minor chords. In the Nether regions low on the keyboard and high up, are extra samples, like the open strumming you hear in the Twilight Zone section of the video. Since I use every single one of the 127 available MIDI notes, you just need to use your Octave shift key to access those more arcane sounds. Single plucked strings are also available, by the way. Those work great on their own, or to add to strums to produce suspensions and other kinds of chords not in the standard set.

    You can get a complete preview of what it's like to work with this by using the link in my signature. The manual, MP3 files, MIDI files, and some notes, are all publicly available through that link. The only thing you can't access from the link is the folder of samples and the SFZ file. The link to those files is sent to you after you use PayPal.

    Hope you get this - I'd love to hear it in more compositions!

    Randy

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: My new promo video

    Good job on this promo Randy.

    Now this does sound like an autoharp.

    I've heard another autoharp sample that was nice but it sounded like the strings were individually plucked and not strummed. Yours is a true autoharp sound as it is actually played.






    Phil

  5. #5

    Re: My new promo video

    Quote Originally Posted by fastlane View Post
    Good job on this promo Randy.

    Now this does sound like an autoharp.

    I've heard another autoharp sample that was nice but it sounded like the strings were individually plucked and not strummed. Yours is a true autoharp sound as it is actually played.

    Phil
    Nice, thank you very much, Phil, for listening, watching, and letting me know you enjoyed!

    After I constructed this Autoharp instrument, only then did I see that there are other sample sets around. But they are more limited, like the simple Sound Font sets from Digital Sound Factory. For companies to put together something as thorough as I've done with this, they would have to charge a lot more than the traffic could bear.

    My sample set is mostly strums, slow, fast, up, down - articulations all switched with pitch bend. Individual notes are included, and they serve several purposes, including, as I said in my reply to Ted, for adding to chords so you can get chords going beyond the major, 7th, and minor chords I sampled. The undamped open strums are ideal for instant atmospheric work. Everything responds well to velocity too.

    You may have noticed I also mentioned in my earlier reply, that I have samples spread out over all 127 MIDI notes - not many Libraries make use of that entire range. That way, I could offer as many possibilities as I could squeeze into one SFZ file.

    Something fun is that a physical Autoharp is limited in the number of chords it can play. My model has 15 chord buttons, which is the norm. But with sampling technology, this virtual version can play all chords, removing the restriction of what key pieces have to be in.

    I really appreciate your post, Phil - Thanks!

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: My new promo video

    I don't need an autoharp for my music, although who knows in the future, but that sounds really good. It has a nice sound and the promo video is great.

  7. #7

    Re: My new promo video

    Quote Originally Posted by Chandler View Post
    I don't need an autoharp for my music, although who knows in the future, but that sounds really good. It has a nice sound and the promo video is great.
    Thank you very much, Chandler.

    I'm one of those guys who says that when it comes to virtual instruments, there's no such thing as having too many! I have some esoteric things that I've never used, but I know I probaly will eventually. Just playing around with a new instrument that you think you're not needing can give you a spark of inspiration - SO I think you should get The Autoharp, play with it, and see what happens. If you don't use it now, I bet one day you would realize it would work in a piece, and you'd know that by having experimented with it earlier.

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: My new promo video

    Hey Randy--way ta' go! This promotional piece is easy to understand, step-by-step, and (drum roll, please) informative. My only suggestion is that the text near the end scrolled by a bit too fast (for my eyes, anyway). Nice work!

    Art
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

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  9. #9

    Re: My new promo video

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    Hey Randy--way ta' go! This promotional piece is easy to understand, step-by-step, and (drum roll, please) informative. My only suggestion is that the text near the end scrolled by a bit too fast (for my eyes, anyway). Nice work!
    Art
    Thanks for the post, Art! Later on, when more people have the instrument, I'd have fun putting together a longer, more in-depth tutorial. It'd be nice to have enough customers to warrant that!

    I got inspired to put this together when I was using the instrument again, and thought of how I really needed to promote it some more. It was deflating last year when I initially released this in a way that backfired. I had all of the files available on one link, and expected the majority of downloaders to avail themselves of the PayPal donation button - Naive me! More than 200 downloads later, and with just one sale - I changed the set up so the download is only available after PayPal has been used. The horses were out of the gates though. Most people I had most direct access to already had the instrument, and of course people don't pay for what they already have. Live and learn!

    To be clear, though, you can get to the manual, MP3s, MIDI files and documents on that link in my signature. It's the instrument itself, the samples and SFZ file which isn't public.

    So I'm trying to reach a larger audience than just here at the Forum. The Autoharp was listed at KVR, and I have a listing at Harmon Central. I'm hoping the new video is found by home musicians, but it's still a mystery to me how people actually attract viewers at YouTube. There are 34 views so far, and that's after putting it on Facebook, sending it friends, and posting here. It's a long climb!

    I did use the Google ad campaign program on YouTube a few years ago to help promote one of my "Dorian" videos. It seemed like it was going to be inexpensive enough - Wrong-- $400 later, and that racked up fast, - I had more hits on the video, but no business was drummed up, so I nipped that in the bud!

    Thanks for the note about the ending scrolling text, but it's too late to change it now. You can't swap out new versions of video at YouTube. I think scrolls are hit and miss - I tried this out on two other people, because I thought maybe it was too slow. They read the text fine, thought it was a good pace, so I made the decision to stick with what I had. Scrolls are always going to be either too slow or too fast for some folks, can't win 'em all! But it's really OK, if someone else finds it too fast, they can back up, pause, watch again - and that'll be good for my YouTube hits!

    Thanks again.

    Randy

  10. #10
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: My new promo video

    I remember when John Sebastian played the autoharp. This was a top 10 hit!

    It sounds like at least the microphones were hot.










    Phil

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