First Gig with Aerodrums

First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby joncfox » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:37 pm

After a few weeks of practice and a couple of rehearsals with one of my bands, we played two sets yesterday using Aerodrums exclusively. That is, I did not bring any traps or congas. Worked great. A few people in the audience were quite perplexed watching me play. One musician in the audience (a bass player, actually) was poking everyone to her left, right, behind and in front of her and pointing at me and looking quite quizzical. Afterwards, many people approached me with questions. Interestingly, no one asked to try it!

After my initial nervousness, I found myself more relaxed and using lots less effort than I would with physical drums. At the end of the second set, I felt I could play on for hours.

The sound was great, there were no computer software or computer hardware problems. Wonderful fun!

A couple of minor performance issues I encountered:

In my initial setup, without the rest of the band there, wall sconce lighting behind me did not register in the Aerodrums setup, even when the sconce was turned up full.

During performance, our guitarist was seated pretty close to the camera/lights and said the lights were dazzling his eyes. I put a short piece of black electrical tape along the offending edge and he was happy. I placed the tape so it would only block the sideways light-splash. This did not affect my drumming until the lighting guy increased the sconce brightness. When the sconce was bright, my Aerodrums cymbals started sounding off randomly. I think what was happening was that the tape reduced the light reflected from the wall around the sconce, so it was now affecting Aerodrums. Once I realized what was happening, I just had the lighting guy turn back the sconce until it no longer registered on the Aerodrums screen, and then my drums responded fine again.

For side-splash of the light, something like what are called "barn doors" on video flood lights will be helpful. I might make something curved out of a thin piece of aluminum sheet metal and paint it black. Or maybe cut up a large black plastic funnel to wrap around the camera and light? That way, I can control the shading more carefully and allow the light cone its full width and height, while eliminating side-splash.

Or maybe there are lights available without so much side-splash? The light lost to the sides is of no use to Aerodrums anyway - only the light in front of the camera is needed.

Also, I don't want my sticks to get messed up, so I tavel with them in the original Aerodrums white box. But that is silly since they don't need to take up so much room. Something to protect the delicate reflective ball ends while in my backpack along with my laptop computer, cables and power supply will be helpful. I might make something from PVC caps and tube, slit down the center with a hinge on one side and a lock-clip - or maybe you have a 'stick-protector' idea already?

Richard - when you carry your 'Aerosticks' in your backpack, how do you protect them if the backpack gets squished?

Now that I'm more confident with performing, an on-stage YouTube video will be next....
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby Richard » Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:20 pm

Congratulations Jon! It looks like you're the first person to perform a live show using Aerodrums. Really great to hear you pulled it off and thanks for the valuable feedback.

Myself and Yann are very curious about how you and the camera were positioned with respect to the guitarist. Perhaps you could send us a quick sketch or a photograph if you have one? These are definitely issues we want to understand well so we can provide advice to others who want to gig with Aerodrums.

As for transporting the sticks, to be honest, any time I take them in my backpack I am very conscious of the reflective balls getting squished and have to be careful. Using the white plastic separator that comes in the box helps prevent the balls from pressing against each other but obviously that is not enough. We have some ideas for 'stick protectors' such as a plastic ball that can attach to the tops of the sticks but haven't started work on this yet.

We really can't wait to see a video of Aerodrums on stage. Best of luck with the next gig!
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby joncfox » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:55 pm

I took no photographs, but I've attached a crude drawing to give you the general idea. It is a top view of me sitting on my Roc 'n Soc next to my guitarist. I hope that clarifies. You can see how the light spill from the LED camera lights hits the guitarist sitting to my right.
Attachments
TopViewStageSetup.jpg
TopViewStageSetup.jpg (67.43 KiB) Viewed 13866 times
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby BrettHeaslewood » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:48 pm

Image

Problem solved ;)
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby Sipaliwini » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:59 pm

Funny, but not good enough ;) . It was good that Jon was able to be almost as close to the audience as his guitarist. It's something that is hard to do with a real kit.

I don't have time right now but Richard has planned to reply to Jon in more detail and with congratulations for being the first to use Aerodrums at a gig.
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby joncfox » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:13 pm

When my guitar player moved forward, like in your modification of my crude drawing, his music stand and his microphone fell off the stage, and he didn't like the way his feet dangled off the stage either. So I put the little piece of black electrical tape around the right side of the LED lights. Then he was happy, since he needed his music stand for some of the new tunes. We'll be playing another venue soon with a much bigger stage, so I can go in back of all the players like a more typical drummer setup. However, drumming out front has some real advantages - especially when using something new (like Aerodrums) that people want to see.
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby Richard » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:47 am

Thanks for the sketch Jon. It makes sense to have the camera pointing towards a background that is predictable and can be controlled such as the side/back of the stage as opposed to a placement where other musicians or the audience are in view. At the same time you yourself want to face the audience and avoid facing away from the centre of the stage. Given these constraints I think your stage setup was probably as good as you could have hoped for.

It was quick thinking to come up with the electrical tape solution and your ideas for making a funnel to fit on the camera sound great. You will need to take care about the design here though. If it is done in such a way that the inside of the funnel is visible to the camera then the funnel will likely show up as a very bright object in the camera image which Aerodrums won't like. If you pick a material for the funnel that reflects very little light then this might be okay but I think the preferable solution would be to design the attachment so that the camera can't see any part of the funnel.

Related to this, we're investigating the option of switching from visible light to infrared light to reduce discomfort when looking at the light without sunglasses. However, if we find that IR is not safe then we will consider incorporating something like the funnel idea in the next version of Aerodrums to minimise "light splash".

Looking forward to hearing how things go with the next gig!
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby klaushouz » Tue May 06, 2014 5:27 pm

we're investigating the option of switching from visible light to infrared light to reduce discomfort when looking at the light without sunglasses. However, if we find that IR is not safe then we will consider incorporating something like the funnel idea in the next version of Aerodrums to minimise "light splash"
Hi, month ago, you mentioned this . Any headway yet? Thanks Kris
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby Sipaliwini » Tue May 06, 2014 7:07 pm

We haven't reached a conclusion about IR safety, it will take a while because we are not experts on that topic.
The batch that is currently in production doesn't have the funnel light guard idea that Jon suggested, the moulds had already been made when the discussion took place.
It will be some months before we come to a decision on this. It is also linked to whether we keep relying on the PS3 Eye camera or include one of our own in future versions.
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Re: First Gig with Aerodrums

Postby klaushouz » Tue May 06, 2014 9:37 pm

Thanks for the quick reply. My suggestion would be to hire a IR expert to get the right parameters to feed YOUR OWN CAMERA now. I have found that when a I start a project , that takes off above expectations, I hire the experts I need to keep the momentum going. You will build a fiercely loyal customer base AND keep any future competitors off balance. All that you've done so far has been exemplary. If you can get Version 2.0 out in the next couple of months, you will become a MAJOR player in the industry. Like Fractal audio and LINE 6 (I own both). I for one am very excited for you. Opportunity fueled by highly skilled pros = Good Luck. I wish you Good Luck. ~Kris
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