Bokaro P ni Naritai, vol. 27



(Images used for review purposes only.)

I want to be a Vocaloid Producer, vol. 27, 1,500 yen, plus tax.
Coming down to the wire, now. 3 issues left and counting. I just wish I could get some free time to sit down and work with MMD and Singer Song Writer and try to use them for my own projects. I really hate it when life gets in the way of the things I want to do.

New magazine features:
In the 4-panel comic, Rana is showing her teachers that she’s knuckled down and is finally learning from them. Robo-panda in particular is proud of her, but when she trips and falls on her face, he adds that she hasn’t changed all that much. The classroom section talks about orchestras and “orchestration”, and discusses the use of the mixer, reverb and chorus effects to pan instruments to make them seem to come from different parts of the stage area. The highlighted genre is “goth”, and the featured artist is Mothy Akuno. The MMD tutorial section has a fair bit of discussion by Cort on what works and what doesn’t for camera setups (i.e. – don’t do barrel rolls with the camera POV, do use “s” curves for zoom-in/out moves). The last two main pages introduce Blackmar and Kaori (both characters are shown on the cover above). The final page mentions 6 more Rana videos created by the readers.

New DVD Features:
Two new MMD models: The Ice Continent Stage (ice and penguins!) and the data files for making the Blackmar dance video (which is basically just Rana, Robo-Panda and the other two teachers doing an arm-waving dance to the Blackmar theme song). Plus there are 6 voice samples of Kaori to use in Vocaloid and SSW, somehow related to the below youtube video. No pickup song this time.

Kaori Youtube video

(Kaori diary video.)


(How to do Camera Work.)

Tutorials:
Vocaloid:
The video starts out talking about goth music and how it uses strings, violins and pipe organs seen in classical music, in a minor key, with the focus being on modulation. The first modulation approach for the melody is to go from a minor to a major key. I don’t really understand the other method, but part of that’s because I’m not ready to. Anyway, the idea is to get a “middle ages Europe” feel to the music. There’s nothing for the student to emulate, just more lecture. The demo song is “Shoukoku no Yami” (The Small Country of Darkness”). It opens with a harpsichord and gets the initial guitar right for a gothic feel, but the drum track is pure simple rock and kind of destroys the goth element. Rana’s vocals aren’t necessarily bad, but the bouncing, jumpy patterns to the notes don’t work for me. Bottom line is that while “Shoukoku” starts and ends with the harpsichord and does lend the music a certain atmosphere, this isn’t a real goth song.


(Screencap from the included Blackmar dance video.)

SSW:
“How to write classical-influenced gothic music.” The first step is to determine whether to use the piano or the harpischord for the intro, and we’re given the chance to compare the results between the two, although all of the music has already been pre-written (we’re just changing instrument voices for the tracks, which is part of the joy of MIDI codes). This is followed by changing the rock organ to the Drawbar, percussive and church organs for contrast. The editors settle on the church organ because of it’s softer attack. The standard MIDI instrument bank doesn’t have that much variety for string instruments – the song uses “Pizzicato”, “Cello” and “Strings” tracks. The “Cello” track gets changed to Cello (from Strings), while the mod to the Strings track is to move the notes down to go from closed voicing to open voicing. This is followed by messing with one element of Rana’s vocal track (where she says, “Ne, do you want to hear about this?”) by applying Delay, Reverb and Graphic EQ from the Mixer. The Delay settings get adjusted a little, but the presets are used for Reverb and EQ just to make it sound like Rana is talking from the back of a long hall. The video ends with a replay of the finished song.


(Ion Rana with the Ice Continent dance stage, and the “bikkuri” motion file.)

MMD:
This is a continuation of the “how to do camera work” lecture from the last volume. While the editors state that there’s no one way of doing things, there are techniques that work better in certain situations than others. Everything that follows are guidelines, like how to apply a fixed shot; when close-ups should be above, below and at eye level; and how to time zooms and pans (storyboard them first). The “don’ts” include doing too many 360-degree rotations around the subject, z-axis barrel rolls, and linear zooms (make sure you use s-curves for slowing in and out of the zoom). The tutorial ends with the Blackmar dance video, and a mention of the Ice Continent stage set. The dance video just uses one fixed camera shot, showing that you can ignore most of what Cort talks about.

Additional comments:
Nothing much to add here. I wish the publisher would add more MMD props, though. However, I am encountering some weirdness with MMD. When I import Rana, one of the dance stages and then a pre-made dance motion file, part of Rana’s model data suddenly vanishes when I try saving the movie to an .avi file, and occasionally MMD then locks up. The only fix is to save the video project data, exit MMD and starting MMD again.

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