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Painting the town red, white and blue

Coronation sign

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I love a piano
I love a piano

The old piano roll blues
The old piano roll blues


Although the day of the coronation turned out to be grey and wet, Hitchin's shops and town centre made an effort to celebrate the occasion by putting out the bunting and waving the flag. I took the opportunity earlier in the week to take some pictures.

Piano Day

In previous years I had marked World Piano Day by posting a YouTube clip played by me - previously with the word 'piano' in the title. Piano Day falls on the 88th day of the year - the reason being that there are 88 notes on a standard piano keyboard.
After 'I love a piano' and ' The old piano roll blues' I didn't know any more so needed to think again.

George Bogatko

Band organ

When I was tinkering around with MIDI music files (see my MIDI page) I found a delightful little march called 'Painting the town red, white and blue'. It was written by Stephen Kent Goodman for what was described as a 'mechanical band'. I downloaded an amazing arrangement by mechanical music guru, George Bogatko (pictured on the left). It simulated what was called a Band Organ - we would call it a fairground organ and you can listen to it here.

Painting the town red white and blue
MIDI arrangement by Georg Bogatko

Lead sheet
Lead sheet

Piano transcription

In order to create an audio-visual presentation of my coronation week pictures I decided that 'Painting the town red, white and blue' was just what I needed. It is fortunate that the colours of the British flag are red, white and blue - the same as those of the US flag described in the music's title.

I could have attempted to play it by ear, but I took the opportunity to extract the melody line from the MIDI file and create a piano lead sheet.

LH camera
Bass end camera

Phone on stand
Mobile phone on stand


Recording setup

I used a similar arrangement to the one for the Old Piano Roll video. A camera either side of the piano, the bass end one focussed on the keyboard and the treble end one giving a wider view of me playing. The tripod mount and tilting bracket allow me to mount a couple of mobile phones on microphone stands. I used my trusty Zoom H2n sound recorder on a stool to capture the audio.

Zoom H2n sound recorder


Assembling the video

I use Corel Video Studio to assemble the video. The multi-camera mode can be used to synchronise the audio track from the Zoom with the images from the two phones.

To provide some variety to the presentation I prepared five complete videos to be switched in and out during the performance. The left-hand and right-hand camera full screen shots werre the first two. The third one was the slide show of street decorations alone full screen. The final two were split screen with the piano shots top left and the slide show bottom right. To make these last ones I needed to create intermediate videos of each piano shot fitted top left against a plain blue background. These were used to create the split screen pair using overlay layout.

LH camera overlay RH camera overlay

Piano shots overlaid on blue background as intermediates


LH camera RH camera Street displays

Full screen shots


LH camera plus street RH camera plus street

Split screen shots

Final assembly

The final step was to combine all five video sequences into one composite using the multi-camera editing screen. This allows me to synchronise all the video tracks to the sound track and to choose the shots to be displayed as the video proceeds.

Multi-camera editor screen

The top left box shows the source videos. The top right box shows the current output image. Underneath the top boxes is a time line showing the current position. The top row of the bottom box shows a time line of which source is selected at any moment. The lines below represent the position of the source videos against time. The yellow line at the bottom is the sound track.

Video editor screen

Clicking OK from the muli-camera edit screen goes back to the regular video editing screen where I import the results from the multi-camera session and render the video compilation.

YouTube Video

So here is the finished video, hosted on my YouTube channel.

Release date Thursday 28 March 2024 - International Piano Day

Hitchin Index