Your Weekly COVID-19 Update: April 11
Things I Did Not Expect To Be Doing Right Now Edition
This is the third installment of my weekly COVID-19 update. In the previous two weeks, I’ve discussed the impact that the current pandemic has had on other businesses but not my own. I tend to focus on others as opposed to talking about my own experience in general. Let’s change that this week.
Before I talk about what I AM doing currently, I guess I should share what I was expecting to be doing. Mid-March through the end of May is one of the two busy wedding seasons of the year on the Emerald Coast. If you were to tell me at the beginning of the year that March 7 would be the last wedding I would likely DJ/MC in spring 2020, I would probably have laughed. I just glanced at my calendar today and was reminded of a wedding I had scheduled that got postponed. But that is the current nature of things.
From no more than 50 in a group, to no more than 10 in a group, to the “stay at home” executive order, gatherings are no longer part of what life is currently. Weddings and private events have been canceled; nightlife at bars and clubs are dead. Remembering how things were almost a month ago and seeing how they’ve changed provides such a stark contrast.
And now, here we are, in a whole new world. A world of staying at home unless you are out exercising or going to get groceries and other essentials (unless you are an essential employee). As a DJ, I don’t fall into the essential employee category. BUT that doesn’t mean I haven’t been productive. I’ve just been productive in different ways.
1. Live Streaming
If you have a friend or someone you know who is a DJ, you’ve undoubtedly seen them go live on social media platforms. But, don’t let the seeming ease of going live fool you. There are so many factors you have to overcome. What video are you going to use? Because of the rise in live streaming, you can’t find a webcam retail right now. Like anywhere. If you want to buy one, you’re left with either knock-off brands or used webcams that are at least twice their normal price. Fortunately, we all have mobile devices and most laptops have webcams included.
It’s The Music!
And then there’s sound! For a DJ set, the sound of the broadcast is much more important than the video. It’s surprising how much of a challenge it is to make it as optimal as possible. This challenge is even greater if you’re using a phone to live stream. You can’t use a standard headphone jack (TRS) because… (NERD ALERT!)
the problem with using a phone to live stream sound is the phone recognizes the TRS jack and assumes it is only supposed to send sound out, not receive it. That is why the headphones you get with the microphones in them have TRRS connectors, so you can send and receive sound simultaneously. One way to make your current setup work through a phone or a computer through the headphone jack is to get a TRS to TRRS adapter.
Video Killed The Radio Star
I’m a fairly tech-savvy guy by nature. While audio has been more complicated than I expected (because I just assumed it should work lol), learning about how to make the video part of live streaming work has been kind of fun. There’s a program called Open Broadcaster System that allows for all sorts of unexpected and fun things you can do with video. If you’ve watched all of my live streams, you’ll have noticed how they have changed with each subsequent broadcast. And I haven’t even brought it to its full potential yet!
2. DJing For Uplifters Online Bootcamps
DJing for bootcamp workouts at the Niceville location of Uplifters isn’t new, But instead of DJing for a bootcamp workout in person once every couple of months, I’ve been DJing for the live streamed workouts that are put together for their online community. Check out this blog to learn more.
I started out DJing 5 days a week for the first two weeks and then transitioned to starting the week on Monday and finishing it off on Friday. In addition to making sure the music sounds good for a live audience, I’ve had to adapt to the algorithm that Facebook uses to stop live broadcasts with copyrighted music. One way I’ve reacted to this new challenge is I’ve begun incorporating royalty-free songs into my sets. But this is a good thing. Searching for new music is one of the things I enjoy about DJing.
Another interesting aspect of live streaming is the lack of an audience. During the production of the online bootcamp, there are only three to five people in the room with those doing the workout watching it online. There’s not the usual “conversation” that occurs when you’re mixing live. You don’t get to see the reactions to the songs you play. You just have to trust and go with your instincts on what you feel is the right song to play next.
A benefit to the work that I’ve been doing for my own live streams is I’ve been able to share and apply the things I’ve learned to help the Online Bootcamp production team. It’s a good feeling to have experience in something that is valuable, even when you don’t fall in the essential category.
Not The Only Changes
While these are the two main new additions to my schedule, they aren’t the only activities that have become more regular. With the extra time, I’ve been able to organize my music, write more blogs (like this one), go over general business practices and revisit goals. That’s the beauty of having more free time. It’s FREE, so you get to choose how you’d like to use it!
What are some new things you’ve started to incorporate in your regular schedule that you couldn’t have imagined being a part of it a month ago? I’d love to hear about them! Comment below! While this isn’t the most optimal situation, we can adapt to and overcome it to continue productive and be better once life returns to normal.