Mental Chess

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Mental Chess

When it Works…

When I want to really feel humble, I play mental chess.  Software is great when it works as written, but there are those times…  Get out the chessboard!

First of All…

First of all, let’s cover a great video editing program- Filmora.  I had been using Windows Movie Maker.  It served it’s purpose when first getting the hang  of making my videos, but was outdated and I needed greater flexibility.  I’m not  the best video editor, but this thing works great!  You can download it and try it free.  I did, liked it, and bought it ($60).

Filmora has a lot of  features for video/audio formatting, effects, transitions, filters, social sharing, including direct exporting to YouTube , etc.  They have many easy-to follow videos to get one started.  You can put picture-in-picture, split-screen, fly in titles, captions, and much more into your video.  I really like it.

Sure, Filmora is not the fanciest, most expensive option out there, but it works great for me.  The learning curve was relatively flat.  This was more like playing checkers than chess.

Moving Along

So, moving along, I had a relatively minor issue with a VST plugin, and proceeded to dive in and really screw things up.  I spent a good deal of time trying to correct it.  Mental chess has begun.

Almost all computer problems can be solved by elimination.  So, you keep trying different solutions, and eliminate what doesn’t work.  This forces you to be both creative and logical.  It drives you crazy, but the process is what I call “mental chess”.   When your problem finally is solved, it’s exhilarating!

When All Else Fails…

Most of the time, I can back out of the problems, but when all else fails (as was the case here), I have to uninstall the program, then reinstall it.  It’s a pain, but sometimes there is no other choice.

Using your mind to logically solve software problems keeps you on your toes.  There’s always something to learn.  That’s what the human brain is for, after all!

©   J. Mark Witters



Gaining Perspective

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Gaining Perspective

Gaining Perspective-The Hardest Lesson

The hardest lesson for an artist is gaining perspective.  Just be happy, no matter the outcome.  Imagination can easily lead one down  an unrealistic path, and the clock is always ticking!

When you refuse to become a lemming,  you must gird for disappointment.  It’s part of the package.  Live performance provides instant feedback, good or bad.  We all crave attention, but if you are truly an artist you will have to be willing to abandon it all together for your art.  I could write a book…  Maybe I am!

How Far Have You Come?

The question of the day: “How far have you come?  In the last two months,  I’ve completely changed my website, written and produced a new song, made ten new videos,  working on my 11th blog, and learned new video software.  Not bad…

Almost nine years ago, I was diagnosed with stage-four cancer.  God healed me.  Up till then, I chased after people’s “approval” on my music.  Sure, I want folks to like it, but now, I’m just doing it for me.  Let it go, man!

Years were spent as my own worst enemy, but after cancer, I decided to be my own best advocate from then on.  It’s an isolated, yet very direct place to be.  I retired from my day job (the last one, over thirty years), and am doing this media thing.  If others like it, great, if not, oh well…  I’m doing this for me.

Look Around

If you start to get concerned about things, look around and you’ll see how blessed you truly are.  There is always someone who overcomes more and/or achieves more than you, so enjoy the ride and learn from your countless mistakes.

Just look at the Shriners Hospitals For Children commercials if you want to be inspired.  Those kids will bring you right back to earth and melt your heart.  By the way, please donate to them  here:

For a mind-blowing attitude adjustment, check out the life story of  the  highly successful creator-Jon Morrow.  If that doesn’t inspire you, my friend, nothing will!


What can you take-away from this?  The Kinks, one of my all-time favorite bands, sang “I’m Not Like Everybody Else“.   Make it your theme…   Rock it!

© 2018 J. Mark Witters

Skyypilot- Composition- Production of “Unforgotten”- (Part 9)

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Skyypilot- Composition- Production of “Unforgotten”- (Part 9)

In Unforgotten Part 9, We’ll Cover:

  • Recording Lead Guitar
  • Rendering Dry Submix
  • Lyrics
  • Recording Vocal
  • Change Master Bus Plugins
  • Rendering Final Mix
  • Mastering Mix

Recording Lead Guitar

Now, in Unforgotten Part 9, we will record the lead guitar parts using IK Multimedia’s Amplitude 4.  I chose a tone and recorded the parts, trying to get a feel going.  Look, I’m just an average guitarist.   I’m an average everything,  but exploit my  strengths and diminish my weaknesses.   The recording is my diary!  Hopefully someone reads it…That’s all you can do.

Rendering Dry Submix

Next, we will render an instrumental submix  for reference.  Disable the Waves Studio Rack, and render a dry instrumental track you can solo alongside the vocal you will soon be recording.  This is a place marker only.  We’ll mute it during mixdown.


So, here are the lyrics:


© 2018  J. Mark Witters

Gift of gold within your heart,  Measured first by charity.
True and honest from the start.  Innocence is a rarity.
Searching for a perfect deed.  Winding through a battered mind.

Is remedy addressing need more than one can hope to find?

Unforgotten analytical waifs. Unforgotten as we’re being strafed.
Unforgotten by my Savior Jesus.
Unforgotten in a bureaucratic maze. Unforgotten in a psychedelic haze.

Unforgotten by our Savior Jesus.

Window-dressing some call “life”-cold and stringent are their ways.
Whimsy blindly blows its fife.  No one will recall those days.
Landscape dotted with decay.   Time is quickly taking toll.

Emotion, more than I can say, is buried deep within my soul.

Unforgotten analytical waifs. Unforgotten as we’re being strafed.
Unforgotten by my Savior Jesus.
Unforgotten in a bureaucratic haze. Unforgotten in a psychedelic maze.

Unforgotten by our Savior Jesus.

Recording Vocal

It’s time to record the vocal…  I used a Waves Abbey Road EMI TG 12345, Waves Vocal Rider, and Waveform 4-band EQ (dropped off @ 100hz, notched @330 hz, and bumped @4800) as plugins.

Add 3 additional tracks underneath that vocal track by selecting the recorded vocal track and hitting “t” three times.  Select all vocal clips in the recorded track, hold down “control” and drag a copy of the vocal track to the track below.

We now have two mono tracks you can pan off with  effects using aux sends on each track.  I’m going with the Waves H-Delay.  I’ll pan the effect channel to the Right to answer the H-Delay I’ve got on the Drum-Percussion sub mix Left.

Change Master Bus Plugins

I decided to change the Master bus Plugins in the Waves Studio Rack.  The Waves Aural Exciter was replaced with the J-37.  The Aural Exciter  gave me a little too much high-end, so the J-37 rounded it off.

Rendering Final Mix

Well, now it’s finally time to render the final mix!  Solo-up all of the submixes and export a 24-bit Master wav file.

Mastering Mix

I use the Lurssen Mastering Console to master the Final Mix.  It has a lot of nuanced presets, so  close your eyes, listen closely,  and choose wisely, grasshopper.  Watch the meters; let it rip!

This concludes our series, but stay tuned for the music video….

Author’s note:  I have not been compensated for any products mentioned above.

© 2018 J. Mark Witters