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What's On Deck? CBC Radio Computer Columnist, Sue Braiden.

Using Your Computer to Make a Music Video

A few years ago I began my search for local music artists who were using their computers to produce, promote and profit from their work, and was amazed by the sheer volume of talent I uncovered. But there was one artist who stood out because of his sheer drive and innovation: Windsor artist, Mark Hewer.

Mark not only uses his computer and the internet to market himself like nobody's business, he uses them to launch and polish grand collaborations with other music artists around the world. In addition to his own prolific work, he has a number of compositions and performances he was a part of creating with people he has never met. Never satisfied to rest on the status quo, Mark's added a new notch to his musical belt: this month he's released a music video, the result of a trans-atlantic collaboration that included a "Bono-esque" vocalist from Germany. The result is a polished, cinematic production that Hewer believes may be the first of it's kind.

Tune in on Monday, December 29th when I sit down with Mark Hewer to learn more about how a local business man launches a music career through the net, and conjures up a global music video with music video with other artists he's never met.

Headline: Using Your Computer to Make Music Videos

with special guest Mark Hewer

Mark Hewer

Back in 1999 the internet was still a shiny, virgin utopia. You could download almost anything for free, and a guy named Michael Robertson was determined to make it possible for independant music artists with big dreams but no cash to cash in. His digital oasis was called "", and for a time, it truly was an innovative and inspiring place to be. A number of Windsor artists called it home, uploading their music and -- wait for it -- actually being PAID when someone simply listened to their tracks! What began as a novel new way of finding fame and fortune turned into a growing, online ecology of music artist wannabe's entwined with established names, like digital pioneer Alanis Morissette, all in an effort to get their five minutes of fame while conquering cyberspace.

A Growing Culture of Creativity
Sounded like it was worth featuring on my show.

I was fascinated by what seemed like the exception to the "if it seems too good to be true ..." rule, and decided to dive in and cover the growing online music phenomenon. Being a soundtrack composer, I turned myself into a guinea pig, downloaded tools that let me annotate and digitize my own music, and then uploaded it to my shiny new artist page online. Within three months I was heading up a benefit CD project with music artists from around the world. Without ever spending a dime, we created two CDs to raise money for kids with cancer, and it worked.

It wasn't long before I started to realize that this amazing little music site had grown big, and that virtually every corner of the earth was represented in the charts. I watched the Windsor listings, and quickly noticed one particular artist who had consistently lodged himself at the top of the charts. Mark Hewer entrenched himself as a staple of Windsor's music at, and over the years developed a reputation for proving that not only do nice guys NOT finish last, they're the ones climbing the charts because they're collaborating with other artists who inspire and challenge them to grow.

When I first covered the way independant music artists were using and the internet to launch themselves to fame, the response was overwhelming. It struck a chord with people who had only imagined being able to put themselves out there to be heard, without the benefit of a budget. Good, bad, and just plain awful, we flocked to the net to upload our music and burn our CDs. I was getting more and more requests to do a follow-up, so I put out the call to music artists who were using their computers to produce, promote and profit from their work. The show was scheduled to air on September 9, 2001. Standing and watching the burning towers, I got the call: "Sue, you've been bumped". It was a long time before I felt able to come back to that piece I'd prepared, but I did, and when I returned, I found one not-so-surprising music artist still standing: Mark Hewer.

Collaboration as a Catalyst ...
Mark Hewer In the time that had passed since I first met this online music pioneer, he'd never stopped reinventing himself. He was the same prolific balladeer I had met in 1999, and had continued to collaborate with other artists, experimenting with sharing ideas, and music and lyrics through the internet to create whole songs. Not only was Mark successful online, continuing to be paid for downloads of his track, but his CDs were appearing in mainstream music outlets, like HMV. Hewer's ability to morph to fit a niche, and to relentlessly market himself and his music were impressive. By the time he joined me in the CBC studio in December of 2003, he was able to boast what was probably the first trans-atlantic music video collaboration. It was already on the air in Germany, and on it's way to Canada.

Daniel Iorio "Swayed" was a polished, cinematic gem, the result of a collaboration with vocalist, Daniel Iorio, from Montreal, Canada, and guitarist, Mike Burn, from Germany. This trio came together when Daniel had heard another of Mark's songs on the internet, and decided to put lyrics to it. The partnership worked, and resulted in Mike Burn coming onboard to add the finishing touch. What surprises me is the total lack of artist ego when you talk to Hewer. Where most artists would be white-knuckled at the prospect of someone else messing with their work, he completely trusted Iorio and Burns, and the collaboration has certainly worked.

The secret to the collaboration's success? The people Mark connected with were vetrans in their own right, and absolute masters of their craft.

Montreal vocalist, Daniel Iorio, spent 7 years as the front man for a band called 'ecclestone', opening for acts like April Wine, Nazareth,Yes and Mudmen. Like Hewer, Iorio's no stranger to the power of the net, using internet indie booster website to propel the band to #1 not once, but twice, and being featured on MakeaStar's 'Best Of' compilation CDs.

Mike BurnThen there's Mike Burn, the guitar impressario, and reigning king of the now-defunct Hailing from Frankfurt, Germany, Burn is also an essential installment on a number of web radios, and even NBC TV Europe. Burn was the production brains behind the "Swayed" music video, right down to hiring the model.

There is an unusual level of trust between the three artists, who Hewer says don't touch each other's work when it comes in. Things click. Mark conjures up ear candy with emotional appeal. Daniel weaves in lyrics and vocals that are an instantly tight and delightful piece of the digital puzzle, with Burn adding delicious little jazz guitar riffs to wrap it all up. The result is a score that makes it difficult to tell that these three guys have never met, nor even spoken outside of the internet, let alone having performed this digital alchemy in three entirely separate places on the map.

Tools of the Trade ...
Mark Hewer Mark Hewer is a seasoned performer, part of the band circuit from as far back as the 80's. He plays drums and keyboards live, and records them, but also uses some of the more recognizable industry-standard tools for arranging and digitizing the finished product. "Cakewalk" is a tool of choice for Mark and a number of other artists who turned to simpler, less expensive mediums for getting their stuff out there. There was a time when it would have taken five-to-six digit budgets to record even the most basic production, but not now. More and more artists are downloading tools for under a hundred bucks and going the "bedroom to basement" production route. The ability to store music and video digitally means it's easily shared, and with the burgeoning population of high-speed connections to the internet, it's getting easier and easier to do exactly that. Tools like Cakewalk's "Music Creator 2003" let you connect any instrument to your PC and record audio and MIDI tracks using instruments, vocals, or audio loops. You can also write music for CDs, sheet music and home videos. Internet. Music Creator 2003 includes Pyro Express CD Maker and WAV Ripper, Virtual Sound Canvas DXi soft synth, Dreamstation DXi soft synth, and an ACID audio loop library, making it a robust tool for recording, editting and adding effects to your music.

While Cakewalk is a tool that can be downloaded and applied to audio projects, it doesn't solve the do-it-yourself-video problem. While guitarist, Mike Burn, arranged for a professional production in Germany, there are tools that independant artists can get of the shelf to produce their own music video project. Software such as Apple's Emmy Award Winning "Final Cut Express" and "Final Cut Pro" have become the defacto industry standards for even big-budget movie production. For those looking for a non-Mac alternative, there's Adobe's "Premiere" suite available for PCs with the Windows operating system. While these applications can be run on today's more robust home computers, they do come with a learning curve, but like most dreams that an independant artist might have, can be conquered with enough drive and imagination.

(See below for more information about the software, or visit my "Hollywood-in-a-Box" feature with Gavin Booth to learn more about cameras and techniques).

A Word of Advice ...

I'll offer a Jurassic closing of sorts, paraphrasing the warning that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". For any music artist who is serious about making a living at his or her trade, it's a healthy exercise to take a personal inventory of both your skills, and your limitations. If you're great at songwriting and performing, but not well-equipped to tackle the video production end of things, take a page from Mark Hewer's book, and collaborate. The one true strength of using the internet as an artist is it's ability to propel you into the midst of thousands of other great right-brained warriors. While it may be cheap and easy to pull off a do-it-yourself demo, or even the finished product, consider spending time connecting and talking and learning from other people who have walked the path before you. If you're lucky enough to find someone else you click with, you might just find yourself putting out the next great trans-atlantic music video from home.

Calling All New Media Music Moguls ...

Are you a Canadian music artist with a story to share about how you're using computers to produce, promote and profit from you work?

Drop by our "New Media Music Moguls" forum to tell us about it!

For the Digital Music Artists
Music Creator 2003 by Cakewalk
Music Creator 2003 by Cakewalk
$ 49.99
Pyro 2003 by Cakewalk
Pyro 2003 by Cakewalk
$ 49.99
Pyro 2004 by Cakewalk
Pyro 2004 by Cakewalk
$ 49.99
For the Digital Movie Mogul
Final Cut by Apple
Final Cut Express 2 Retail (for Mac)
$ 384.99
Final Cut Pro 4.0 (for Mac)
  Adobe Premiere 6.5
Adobe Premiere 6.5 (for Windows)
Adobe Premiere 6.5 (for Mac)
Adobe Premiere Pro (for Windows)


A Note from Sue ...

Click here to visit Sue Braiden's personal website Happy New Year!

with a renewed commitment to the Great White North ...

gentle listener :)

Well, it's another new year of consumer computing, and that means more innovative products, some handy new gadgets, and a slew of companies emerging and departing.

In order to celebrate the launch into 2004, you can look forward to a new "look and feel" for the "Edible Computer" website soon! Have some ideas about the things that you think would be most useful? Particular topics? A better way of getting around? I invite you to visit the Listeners' Picks forum to tell me about it.

One of the big changes in 2004 will be a renewed focus on Canadian-based innovation! (Click here to read more about why I think this is important, and how you can participate). I'm always looking for stories to share about great new Canadian consumer computing products and services, and people who are showing breakthrough innovation in the way that they use their computers. Know of someone I should be covering? Drop me a line and let me know who they are, and what they're up to at the Am I Looking for You? forums.

I'm always grateful for your feedback. I want your experience as a listener, and as a visitor to the website, to make your journey as a computer consumer easier and more valuable.

Have a terrific Monday morning, and let's keep talking!


VIDEO: "Swayed" (click to watch)
ARTIST: Burn/Hewer/Iorio

Want to Ask a Question?

If there's one thing I'm sure Mark would tell you, it's that connecting with other artists to "learn by example" is a great way to go.

Do you have a question for Mark Hewer, Daniel Iorio or Mike Burn? Whether it's about their new music video "Swayed", the tools they use, or some other aspect of how they've used the internet to collaborate to produce, promote, and profit from their work, there's bound to be even more interesting things to learn.
Click here to talk ...

What Did We Talk About During the Last Few Shows?

Monday, December 15th, 2003

A Very Apple Christmas

It's the last computer column before Christmas. Still looking for the perfect family computer to put under the tree or give during Hannuakah or Kwanzaa this year? It's an "all Apple" line-up! My picks? You can still tune in to find out what I recommend, and what special guest, Paul Rousseau Paul Rousseau, an Executive Committee member of "AppleSPICE", the Windsor & Essex County Macintosh Users Group, has to say about all things Apple.

click here to learn more ...

Monday, December 1, 2003


listen to show in Streaming Audio:
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Thinking about buying a home computer this Christmas for your creative teen? Gavin Booth calls today's home computers "Hollywood-in-a-Box" for students and young film makers, and even used his own to help make a full length feature film right here in Essex County. Tune in to this week's Computer Column on Monday, December 1st when Booth talks to computer columnist Sue Braiden about how he used his PC to launch a film career that now has him working with Grammy award winning Detroit music artist Eminem, and hosting an online screenplay writing contest in 2004.

click here to learn more ...

Monday, November 17, 2003

CitiStat: A Chance for Citizens to Tap Into Public Service from their Home Computer?

During the recent city election Mayor-Elect Eddie Francis promised to implement a program called "CitiStat". He said it was a key strategy in his commitment to delivering a more open and accountable public service. It was the topic of much debate in the weeks leading up to the election, and lingering confusion about exactly what this program does.

Why does Mr. Francis think applying an American-based model is going to work here in Windsor, and exactly what is it going to cost us when he does?

click here to learn more ...

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Monday, November 3, 2003

Turning Your Knowledge Into Cash: Are You the Next Online Professor?

So you've been laid off, you're bored with your job, you've retired, or you're just plain ready for a change. Maybe it's time to cash in on that noggin' of yours! With online learning booming on the internet, and a host of virtual campuses looking to connect their tools with your know-how, a brand new career may be as close as your home PC.

If you missed this show on Monday, November 3rd, you can still check out the website to learn more about how you can cash in on your "knowledge collateral". Want to know which electronic campuses are inviting you to teach? Which ones have the best tools? The best opportunities to earn a profit from your special brand of knowledge? From raising ferrets to raising the Titanic -- whatever your talent or skill, there's a market, and I'm going to help you find it.

click here to learn more ...

Monday, October 20, 2003

Flash Mobs ... Social menace or future champion of collective community action?

From PDAs to cellphones with text messaging, as the latest round of gadgets hits critical mass in the consumer computing market, a fountain of innovative social applications seems to spontaneously erupt. The latest trend? "Flash mobs" -- gangs of pranksters whose collective action is fuelled by a variety of mobile computing gadgets.

Are "Flash mobs" to mobile computing what Napster was to "peer-to-peer networks"? Social menace or future champion of collective community action? Tune in on Monday, October 20th to learn more about how this latest trend in consumer computing is taking hold in wired communities in the U.S., and is beginning to catch on globally.

Suddenly feel the urge to join one of these secret societies on one of their next clandestine events, or simply learn more about what they've been up to? Here are the online hangouts of some of the more notorious "Flash Mobs" ...

Rheingold and company's

Rather just talk about it? Social menace or future champion of some collective community action? You be the judge over in the "Edible Computer listener forums". I'm inviting listeners to share their own ideas about the kind of future innovation that the "flash mobs" trend might lead to.

Want to know where you can find detailed information to help you protect yourself? Check out my shows on dealing with the latest round of viruses and tools to stop them in their tracks and clean up after them when they're gone. You can also help yourself to tips and tools by visiting our Virus Alerts, Tools and Tips and Hoax and Scam Alerts forums.



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