On side B of the first ever multimedia episode of the “Prog Hog” podcast by yours truly we start out soft and crank up the intensity as the episode progresses, ending with 2 Germanic bands giving us a great spanking to finish the show with. As far as the visuals are concerned, you’ll notice that I change the camera angle for each song and that the camera is no longer rocking and rolling around like a drunk ship on a cyclonic sea, to the sound of the music. Instead, the camera is stationery while the sound drives the trippy background visuals like it did on side A.

So let’s explore the episode real quick:

Track 1: Kino – Leave a Light on
John Mitchell is a British guitar player and vocalist with songwriting and recording credits with:
It Bites
Lonely Robot
and too many side projects with other legendary artists to even begin to capture in one short blog post.
Watch his live concerts and see a man in perfect, total control of not only his instrument, but also his voice as you hear him singing on track 1 of side B. Anyway, I have huge respect for the man. His work on *Frost with legendary producer Gem Godfrey is where I first learned of him and my respect has only grown since then.
As for the visuals, this song is Blue and Red (probably a lot to do with American Politics at the close of 2020) while our buddies, the Coroney virus dance around in neon. I have an Nvidia Studio laptop so I have significant horsepower at my disposal, but even so, I use EEVEE for rendering out these songs because Cycles would make it impossible to push out even a monthly show. Of course using EEVEE introduces limitations such as, limited or no reflections. In this case, the reflection you see in the lid of the “turntable” is not real. It is in fact a video.

Here you can see a second camera in the lid of the turntable

To fake the reflection I stuck a wide-angle camera in the lid of the turntable and rendered its angle of view.

Then I put the rendered video back as an image plane and et viola!

Faked EEVEE reflection which was quicker to render out from 2 different angles for the 8800 frames than it could ever be for even one view in Cycles.

Track 2: Unitopia – More than a Dream (live in Europe)
Aussie band Unitopia has a positive new-age kind of spin to all their songs. I respect that in an age of cold reasoning and scientific coolness toward the human condition, of which I myself am a proponent. They’re a great technical band, with good musicians, encouraging lyrics and the singer’s voice carrying its own. Oh, and they have a mellotron. If you don’t know what that sounds like, you can hear it come in clearly at around 10:25-10:40 of the episode. The stringy sound you hear is a mellotron. For the visuals, this song got green and magenta with lots of noir. In exploring mix RGB options with the noise textures I got a nice contrasty outline of inverted luminance that I quite liked.
I know that makes no sense whatsoever.
I’ve also come to realise that the computer I use to create the visuals gives me a too bright output, so whatever I create on this machine is always too dark when viewed on any other device.
Because of the hours involved in creating this, it is what it is and it ain’t gonna be fixed.
The lesson will be learned and that’s it. Subsequent episodes will be better.

Track 3: Talky Talk with MrOfnoctonod
Boxing Day traditions are discussed and also the songs of this episode, while our buddies, the Coroney virus dance around in neon. For the visuals I did something brand new to me in creating and animating a pair of trippy “eyes”. I’m quite pleased with how their “blinking” turned out. I’ve been watching more and more tutorials on procedural texturing so this is all shader driven.

2 planes with shader driven eyes

Oh and empties. I use empties for rigs all over the place now. It makes parenting and transforming so easy and non-destructive. Don’t worry if you don’t know what I mean by any of the talk of the visual stuff, or of the empties. It’s meant for people who use the open-source 3D animating software known as Blender.

Track 4: Phyria – Mono Chromatic
Phyria is a German hard rock /progressive band that followed me on Instagram, which is how I came to know of them. Their album “the Colors Among Us” is where this track comes from. I liked them instantly.
As for the visuals, I don’t really have much to say. I’m not super impressed with the textures I used now. They’re kind of boring. But time was pressing and I needed to move on….to:

Track 5: Phi – Dystopia
From Austria, the prog metal band Phi.
I love this song, Dystopia, especially the closing lines which I originally misunderstood:

In narrow valleys
Encircled by the mountain range
In searing fields
And chilling heights
We carry on

I thought the singer Markus Bratusa was singing “And chilling hate”
For me that interpretation rings especially true if I were to comment on the life of a young white South African farmer in particular, although it also rings true for any young white south african business person too. I know this might be hard for the liberal left to digest but as a white person born in the 70’s and 80’s onwards, we are victims too.

As for the visuals, on this track is where the fun really begins.

I configured the trippy visuals to react to the music in exactly the same way I had done with the previous 3 songs but then added a manual control element that wasn’t present before. I controlled the scale of the noise effect manually, setting the timeline to record my actions as I used my mouse to scale up and down the effect.
I’m very satisfied with the result, and am delighted to have gained a new tool for animating sound effects which I intend to build on from here on.

Anyway, that’s it for Side B.


PS – I would be thrilled if you could do a voice over soundbite for me. Anything pig and pork related, preferably…