=656= Word: Perfection vs Character

I recently stumbled upon this statement, “character is the deviation from perfection.”

Which is rather interesting for me because I do both photography and audio engineering.

What is character though? Hmm, I see character as somewhat like a handwriting. You can ask 10 billion people write the word, “Apple” and you will get 10 billion “Apple” that looks different. In the same way, you can ask 10 billion people take a photo of an Apple and you will get 10 billion photos that look different as well.

How come newly weds are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a photographer to take their wedding shots for them? In our day and age, cameras are everywhere, why don’t they just use their phone cameras to shoot their wedding photos? Apart for the photographer’s ability, the difference is the look of the photo, the character of it.

In photography, character can be seen in several ways. First of all, I think the most obvious character of a photo is bokeh, or background blur. I always hear people say, “can show me how to take a photo that has the subject in focus and the background blur?”

As if that the only thing that defers from professional photo and phone camera photos is the background blur. HAHA! How can something such as bokeh, which is basically a monopoly of expensive cameras be imperfection?

Just think about it for a moment alright? Blur is having the image not clear. Do our human eyes see things blur? Of course not! So if you want things “perfect” it would be that everything is in focus and clear. However, with everything in focus, images generally look flat. Blur may hide detail, but accentuate what is in focus. Bringing what you want in focus and what you don’t want out of focus gives an image subject isolation, hence character—making the world look different by blurring things that you don’t want.

Next element of character for photos would probably be colour. How would colour contribute to character? Let me start with white balance. Our human eyes sees “white” in different lighting situations, be it tungsten lighting or fluorescent lighting. Cameras are less forgivable, it will capture light as it is if the lighting is tungsten, the “white” will be orange, if the lighting is fluorescent the “white” will be slightly green.

Colour also play a huge part in mood setting. For example, you will often see a horror movie with eerie green lighting to invoke a creepy feeling in you. Orange tend to make you feel warm. Blue makes you feel cool and distant. Often movies will colour grade their shots to make it look coherent.

Not only that, the amount of colour or vibrancy also play a huge part in mood setting too. With a high saturation the picture will look fake and surreal. With high vibrancy, it will look bright and happy. Low vibrancy, makes it look dull and sad. No colour(black and white) also would create a different feel altogether, often dramatic and powerful.

Contrast, the separation of whites and blacks, kinda gives the image grounding. High contrast images are dramatic and impactful, while Low contrast images seem floaty and light. 

Grain also seems to play a part in character making. In essence, grain isn’t of the image, but a result of the film physical limitations. The funny thing about this is that people nowadays add filters to their perfect images to give it that look and character. Texture may not be of the image, but it may give off a certain aesthetic that you cannot get otherwise.

It is a funny thing. If we do not have bokeh, colours, contrast or grain, images would never have taken off. Photos would be just used as a tool not art.

It is also the same with audio. Easiest example is distortion. Distortion in itself is basically signal being too hot for the hardware that it drove the signal to clip. Distortion is a by product of a hardware overload. However, you hear distortion in songs everyday. People spend top dollar to buy expensive overdrive and distortion pedals to get that sound. Once again, imperfection for art. 

If you want perfection for music, just use programmed MIDI. You will hear that the notes will be perfect, the note strength will be consistent, so different from a musician physically playing the instrument. However, programmed MIDI is way too robotic. It is really the flaws, the squeaks of the guitar, the extra sustain of the ringing piano, the wash of the cymbal that makes a song more heartfelt.

Don’t get me started on mics! HAHA! I am going anyway! Are there even differences in microphones? Just think about a phone call, is the sound quality of the phone mic better? Or is a professional mic better? Having the right microphones for the right instruments are so important.

Being imperfect is being human, embracing character in art is embracing flaws. Perfection may be good, but it is everything but heartfelt. Truly, character of a piece of art is the handwriting of the artist, without character can we really call the product art?

-Kelvin-

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=655= Thanksgiving: IPPT Gold

HAHA, I finally did it. I got the first IPPT gold of my life.

Let me review all the IPPT I have done so far.

Before everything let us start with pre-enlistment NAPFA test:
19 push-ups
52 sit-ups
11 minutes 30 seconds

I spent a month training before getting this score, which I was pretty proud of because I was better than two of my classmates. However, after that, I stopped training altogether and when I enlisted, I could barely do one push-up.

First IPPT (Leopard)
2 push-ups
25 sit-ups
11 minutes 40 seconds

Hillarious lah, looking back, only doing 2 push-ups is really such a joke. Even with the added no counts, I probably only did I dunno 6? I am really appalled at how bad my upper body was.

Second IPPT (Leopard)
8 push-ups
36 sit-ups
12 minutes 20 seconds

With my push-ups still under the 1 point mark, I decided to help my friend in running instead. He got his pass, so that was nice.

Third IPPT (Leopard)
18 push-ups
48 sit-ups
11 minutes 4 seconds

My Encik warned that if I don’t pass my third IPPT, it will be very hard after field camp, because the physical fitness will go down while the combat fitness goes up. I trained rather hard, forcing myself to do push-ups everyday for a good period of a week, on top of the exercises that the company has scheduled for. It was a really tiring time, but somehow, I managed to push through. 

Fourth IPPT (MP Basic Course)
37 push-ups
53 sit-ups
10 minutes 10 seconds

I enjoyed myself utterly in this course, because it really proves that discipline can be high even with welfare. There is really no need to scold for no reason, scolding with reason not only helps us think before we do, it also helps us be proper thinking soldiers. Fitness can be cultivated too! My running was cut by almost a minute because of the constant cadence runs on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Push-ups improved more than double! I also did my own regime for IPPT, forcing myself to do 100 push-ups(not in one go) per day. It was painful, but honestly worth it! First time getting a silver man! 🙂 It was also the first time gold was in sight at 82 points. Cut another 3 points and I would get my gold.

Fifth IPPT (MPEU)
38 push-ups
56 sit-ups
9 minutes 44 seconds

Ok this is now a special one, for this happened today! To prepare for this IPPT, I went on a diet, cutting down on snacks and sweet drinks. Then for two weeks, I did alternate between statics and running. My push-ups still being in the 30s is honestly very discouraging for me because I really trained quite hard for it. 😦 thank goodness my sit-ups improved by 1 point, making the required timing for gold to be 9 minutes 50 seconds. Honestly, if you asked me, that was quite impossible for me. So far, in my training in two weeks, the fastest time I have gotten was 10 minutes 19 seconds. Which was why I wanted to improve my push-ups. When I finally ran and got 9 minutes 44 seconds, it was a miracle man. I was so happy. The 100plus provided never tasted so good.

After the run, I decided to spoil myself with canteen food instead of cookhouse. HAHA. Then I celebrated with my mum at Wicked and Garlic, which have dope pizza and pasta by the way! 

Thank you God for the amazing journey to my Gold! 🙂

I never thought I could get the gold, but I finally got it! 🙂

-Kelvin-

=654= Word: Thanksgiving of the Day

Ok, maybe I should explain what the unnumbered posts are.

If you follow this space for long, you would know that I used to have a segment that I stopped doing because it was tedious, “Thankgiving of the Week.”

The purpose of that segment was to give glory to God for whatever small blessings he has given me. However, I found it difficult to maintain it, because the time spent on my phone grew lesser and lesser.

As of recent days, I feel rather disconnected from God. I need to get back connected. I realised that my physical and mental state when I do QT is rather important. Being disciplined to rest so that I can give God my best time, is rather challenging for me, but it is of upmost importance.

Perhaps I should try to keep a praying schedule, to pray every few hours. To meditate on God’s word.

It is tough, but necessary. Come on Kelvin, buck up a little! Pray! Talk to God more will you?

God, please bring me closer to you. Help me to love you again Lord.

-Kelvin-

Thanksgiving of the Day: 10/4/2018

10/4 Thanksgiving:
Woke up rather early, took my own time to change
Parade didn’t go very well, but it was still acceptable I guess
Maintained my 2.4km time
Cookhouse was delicious today!
Driving went well! So happy I cleared two subjects.
Drove out of the driving school by myself today
Went past G2 in the car! Haha!
Went back home, had plenty of rest
Food at ahma house is always good
Watched a lot of episodes of the 100
Rested very well

=653= Word: Nodding

In my unit, we tend to have a nodding drill culture. We aren’t in a platoon that can command, we need to nod then execute the command. It is a practice that in some ways difficult to manage.

It requires attention, if you just don’t pay attention, one person would execute earlier than the other. It requires faith, we cannot hesitate, once we hesitate, the drill won’t be executed accurately.

One would have to read one’s facial expression very well. Alerting him before nodding.

Well, today’s problem was because of me. I screwed up because I wasn’t paying attention. I need to learn how to focus. Though focusing so long is rather challenging.

I also have been thinking about another statement, “you cannot expect him(higher ups) to call a contractor to fix just ONE thing what.”

Erm, that is the problem. Something that can be fixed immediately, should be fixed immediately. Why, you ask? 

It is a simple concept, think about a room, this room has 4 aircon units to cool this room. One aircon spoils and it cannot cool air. It is now up to three aircon units to cool the room. The 3 aircon units will be working the load meant for 4. Not only will it not be as efficient—the area covered by the spoiled aircon wouldn’t be as cool as those cover by the other three—it will be overworking the 3. Are you seriously telling me that you will wait until all four units are spoiled before fixing all of it? 

Why not fix the one spoiled aircon and extend the lifespan of the other three? It would ensure a better cooled room for a longer period of time too.

Just be fair alright? With so many damages, I doubt the contractor would only come down once. So what is the difference anyway?

My mum made a comment that made me wonder, “you have a lot of opinions nowadays!”

Really? HAHA, I thought I always did. I know that ever since I learned from Kim Lau, Steven and Robin, I have learned to have an opinion on things. Music producers needs to have a direction and preference.

Maybe I always did, I just grew a bit more vocal about it.

If not, have I grown a bit too opinionated and arrogant? 
I dunno, I hope not. God, keep my patient and slow to anger(or irritation that is.) 

On a lighter note, my dreams of having a music video was shattered,(AHAHAHA melodramas much) the couple I had in mind to act for me rejected me. Nooooo….

Now I have so much trouble thinking of who to ask. I might just change the concept of the video entirely. Who knows. Oh well, let me just get my music production down first bah!

Everyday with you is a good day Lord! 🙂

-Kelvin-

Thanksgiving of the Day: 9/4/2018

9/4 Thanksgiving:
Actually wanted to do CPFA, but ended not doing it, but did PT with Lance.
Nice chat with Lance about stuff.
When we cleaned the staircase, we got praised by RSM.
Parade rehearsal went pretty well.
Spent some time with Greg eating cookhouse and cut hair.
Unexpected welfare.
Well rested.
Touched my drums for the first time in a long time.
Came up with some fun beat ideas.
Ahma looks better today.
Home cooked food is always great.
Did a lot of push-ups today.
Walked back to camp with Lance and had a nice chat

Thanksgiving of the Day: 8/4/2018

8/4 Thanksgiving:
I woke up late but someone woke up later than me
Had a nice chat with Clarence on the bus
Breakfast was good
Had a very nice long nap
Duty had some unforeseen welfare because the fans were being fixed and they had an exercise that allowed us to go off post for a while.
Finished watching Riverdale up to the latest episode
Have some time to do some work figuring out how to use Logic Pro effectively
Got back and did speed training with Glen
Had a pretty cool chat with him over dinner, reminiscing over secondary school.
Had a nice chat with Darryl in bunk about driving.

Just a man struggling to live a God led life in a God strayed world