Hack the optical illusions of the Stef Show


The Stef Show: Using Green Screen to Create the Fab Collab Scene.

When she was in sixth grade, Stefanie Schmitz didn’t give much thought to playing the clarinet. “I just chose it,” she explained. “I didn’t really know what to choose and it became a lifelong passion.” She learned the saxophone in high school to join the jazz ensemble, but the clarinet returned to her musical focus during her college years at UCSD. She then graduated with a degree in music with a focus on clarinet.

Still, she said, “I never really saw that music would be a career all along, I could never really imagine it. So after that I was kind of lost. I didn’t really like playing classical music. I didn’t like being in the wind ensemble. Your part is somehow buried. Then I started discovering these other styles of music with smaller groups where you take a solo and have a moment and express yourself through different types of music. “

Gypsy Jazz and choro – an instrumental genre of Brazilian music that emerged in the 19th century – was what attracted them. She discovered the latter shortly after college when she began playing the drums in a samba community that introduced her to different styles of Brazilian music. By 2009 she had founded her own choro Group, and by 2012 she had given up her main job to devote herself full-time to playing and teaching music. She has been juggling bands and students since then, but things got a lot trickier in March 2020 when the pandemic broke out.

Fortunately, their student base actually grew a bit during the shutdown, when a few older players “wanted to resume the clarinet after not playing for about 20 years”. She also took on an ambitious challenge: to play a song every day that is streamed live on Facebook. And in August 2020 she rolled her first episode of The Stef Show, another live streaming company that would involve musical collaborations with a variety of their peers. (Since their streaming technology has not yet reached the point where remote live collaborations are possible, the general format of The Stef Show includes guest musicians who submit their own recorded video performances, and Schmitz plays with them in the live broadcast.)

The production of the show meant a steep learning curve for Schmitz and her friend Cody Rush. They had little experience with greenscreens and video editing, so they had to learn on the fly. They came up with some fascinating low-tech hacks: One example was playing video on a stationary iPad near the main camera to view the pre-recorded performance clips. “I put a green picture on the iPad screen, and then we glued green paper around the edge so that the whole iPad would disappear when I cut away the video,” says Schmitz. However, there was a small problem with this setup: When Schmitz walked behind the iPad, it also disappeared. The early glitches were eventually fixed, and by the October 2020 show, Schmitz and Rush were creating optical illusions by using the green screen to display musical instruments and pumpkins that seemed to float through the air. Keep an eye out for more Videotronic hijinks in their upcoming November 21 episode.

The Stef Show May not be a nationwide viral sensation, but it serves as a vessel to keep your friends, family and colleagues connected during unconnected times. “We started this sing-along element a few months ago and my three year old cousin Sam thinks I’m a superstar now because he sees me on TV. My cousins ​​will send me a video of him singing with me during the show. If that’s my only fan, then I feel like I’ve already done it. I got this little child excited about music. “


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