Analog vs Digital

This is not a post comparing the merit of analog vs digital. Analog is better. I am, however, a digital being. That is my reality. Moving on.

When I was studying music at the Contemporary Music Center in 2007, our Creative Director Warren Petit shared with us a reflection from the days when recording studios used tape-based 8-track systems. When using an analog system, Screen shot 2013-05-31 at 11.07.49 AMthere is a rhythm that develops as the vocalist records a cut and then pauses for a minute while the tape rewinds. With a digital system you can loop record a section and record the same take over and over again without a pause. Warren waxed philosophical about both the physical benefits of the "sing, pause, sing-again" rhythm as well as the added time that the singer has to reflect on the lyrics and bring a more patient, thoughtful performance to the microphone.

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy with 12 TEDxBGU videos, a MSIH Graduation video, two remaining "Day in the Life" videos and an extended cut of a video I made at a Screen shot 2013-05-31 at 11.11.04 AMconference in Akko last year that will be entered into an NGO film competition in Jordan in two weeks. The frantic pace often makes me wish I had two dedicated systems at my disposal; one computer for editing and once computer for rendering and uploading so that I could move on immediately from on project to another without losing the hours it takes to render out a final version of a video an then upload it to YouTube. What I'm realizing, however, is that the rhythm of "edit, render, upload" is actually a useful process over long periods of busy work. Because the render process is so processor-intensive I can't edit at the same time so I'm forced to do all the other things in my life that I neglect when I get this busy. Oddly enough, the relaxing activity I frequently turn to during this forced editing hiatus between TEDx videos is watching TED videos on my iPad while I clean and do laundry. I just can't get enough of those.

I could go on about the importance of rest, but that would be an obvious cliché. I think the more important idea worth sharing (nailed it!) is that the relentless pursuit of cramming more work and more results into a smaller amount of time, while not necessarily an intrinsic detriment to quality, does require changes in how you approach your work if you do not want quality to suffer. Recording engineers switching from analog to digital systems would ruin the vocal chords of their vocalists in short order if they did not re-examine their method in light of new technology. As equipment improves in power and efficiency, I'm sure this will require countless reflections on how to re-balance life and work as output capability increases. These reflections are certainly a critical part of maintaining quality and longevity throughout any career.

Enjoy this inspirational nugget.