machinery (impressum HDR)

Measurements, Tables, CD Information, Pictures / Photography

Last updated: 2022-11-05


Table of contents


Measurements

Durations

Unless noted otherwise, durations are without eventual applause. I may correct them for excess blank trails at the end (or at the beginning). Therefore, they may deviate from the actual (CD or download) track duration.

Metronome Readings

I determine these either by tapping into an OS X application such as “Subdivide”, or tapping into an iOS app such as “Pro Metronome” on an Apple iPad or iPhone. Alternatively, I calculate them by measuring the time for a given number of beats. In either case I look for a section without too much rubato. And typically I skip the very beginning of a movement.


Tables

Most metronome & timing tables are MS Excel spreadsheets. I export these to PDF and then convert into a suitable graphics format (typically PNG). How I do the color coding in MS Excel is far too quirky to explain here.


CD Recording Information

CD recording information is from the CD booklet, whenever possible. Actual recording dates from the same source, if available. If none is available, I may take the ℗ year information from the media, the sleeve, or the booklet as recording date. This information may be incomplete or incorrect, but I typically don‘t do extensive research to find out about the exact recording date and location. If you happen to stumble into errors, please let me know via comments—thanks! Ideally, besides the ℗ and © information with the CD description, I would like the blog to show the date when the performance happened (studio or life), not when the recording was released. The release date sometimes is years after the performance.


CD & Booklet Front Pages

For ripped CDs from my collection, CD & booklet front pages are typically scanned. I process them with Adobe Photoshop using the following procedure:

  • scan at 1200 or 2400 dpi (HP OfficeJet Pro 276dw MFP)
  • straightening & cropping
  • where necessary, remove spots etc., image repair
  • Gaussian blurring (“Filter” -> “Blur” -> “Gaussian Blur”, just enough to remove dithering pattern, typically with a radius of 3 – 4 pixels). I may follow up with selective sharpening (“Filter” -> “Sharpen” -> “Sharpen Edges”)
  • I may expand the Color gamut, using “Image” -> “Image adjustments” -> “Curves”
  • scaling down to 150 dpi (final size between 700 x 700 and 1500 x 1500 pixels),
  • saving in high-quality JPEG format

Concert Photos

Where possible, I try accessing / downloading official press photos to illustrate concert review posts—copyright information is provided in the caption and in the EXIF information for each picture.

“Casual” (Smartphone) Concert Photos

In most concert venues (i.e., with most organizers), taking photos during performances is strictly forbidden. Where this is the case, I (or a family member) may try taking shots during the applause only, or before the performance starts. This is typically done using an Apple iPhone (models 5s, 6, 6plus, 6s, 7plus, X, 11pro). I strictly avoid using flashes, and with the bad lighting in most concert venues, such iPhone shots are very modest quality (unless it’s a concert at daylight). With such photos, I will only display small images.

“Proper” Concert Photos, Equipment

Occasionally (where I know I will not run into trouble), I carry along a “real” camera. These offer much higher quality in poor lighting conditions:

  • 2016 – 2017: Nikon D810 — taking pictures with very little noise, could sometimes even be used during a performance. Mostly, I just used it during the applause.
  • 2018-01 – 2022-06: Nikon D850. Here, I could take pictures in live view mode, i.e., without any shutter noise
  • From 2022-08 onwards: Nikon Z9.

Again, I never use a flash in concerts. Where possible, I use a tripod, as this largely simplifies post-processing (stable field-of-view). The lenses I use are one of the following:

  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II / VR-S Nikkor Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 (with Z9)
  • Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM (rarely)
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED IF VR (rarely, exceptions only)

General Remark on Concert Photography

I’m not the concert photographer. I’m merely trying to capture my visual impressions as a (normal) listener, i.e., I usually take photos from my seat, or occasionally from a nearby position. I don’t try (nor do I have the opportunity) to capture interesting action shots: after all, I’m usually busy taking notes, reading the score, etc.—and (unlike some concert photographers) I try to work such that I cause as little disruption to other listeners as possible.

Photo Post-Processing

I may crop “official” concert photos that I receive from organizers, but I will not otherwise touch the images, other than possible reducing the resolution, in order to limit the file size, i.e., to avoid excessive slow down of the Website.

As for my own concert photos: I typically adjust the contrast / color gamut for optimum screen display. Besides cropping, I may use software to correct the geometry (perspective distortion). I may retouch unwanted reflections or otherwise distracting details, but I never use software to smoothen facial skin, to do “software make-up”, or the like. Rather, I usually try collecting a large number of pics, such that I can select enough images showing the artists the way the might want to present themselves, avoiding distortions, spontaneous disfiguring grimaces, closed eyes, and the like. Whenever possible, I work with RAW image data, using the following software:

  • Adobe Photoshop (current version)
  • DxO Photolab (current version), including
    • DxO Optics Pro (lens-specific correction of distortions, color aberration, etc.)
    • DxO ViewPoint (perspective corrections)
    • DxO de-noising (PRIME, DeepPRIME and DeepPRIME XD)


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