Rig Rundown COVID – 19 style – online lessons using a BOSS RC-300

Typing this out in case it helps someone out. I’ll probably be posting more tips and tricks as things progress.

The Boss RC-300 can be dropped into audio mode under System settings and used as an audio interface. The intention was probably initially “just” for recording, but that means it can be used as an audio setting in other applications, like Skype. The looper cut down the overall room volume by eliminating any amplifiers. It also acts as a mixer for my bass/guitar/electric cello/electric upright and/or keys. I can put in tracks on the aux inputs (audio apps from smartphones/tablets/another laptop and/or a drum machine/metronome for when I demo concepts). The overhead mic (Rode NTK) is going through the looper’s mic input. This alone wonderful…I’m not shouting at a screen trying to be heard….which kept my voice in better shape by the end of a full day of lessons yesterday (10 lessons). I used my iPhone headphones with the RC300’s phone jack and control the volume out with the settings panel on Skype. The iPhone headphones have been the least painful to wear when you have to work for long stretches, at least in my case.

The laptop on the left handles “on the fly” scanning and uploads to a Google Drive…each student gets a folder. It also works as a Kindle and to read PDFs of textbooks.

The monitor up top holds a link to a Google Doc (one for every student) where I keep notes on the fly during lessons. Not every person needs this feature…adult students definitely not so much….but any parents who want to monitor a lesson without helicoptering can “watch” the progress on docs, real time, from my note-taking. They can also send me notes and questions, live, on the fly, during the lesson.

The computer in the front with the webcam handles all the platforms the call is made on (Zoom, Skype, and or Hangouts). This is the laptop that the looper is hooked into to via the USB port. The iPad (not in picture but usually on the stand) is a backup to make calls on in case the laptop has a problem. However the iPad is largely used as a doc reader for apps like Musicnotes or to quickly call up additional docs that I need to read.

All the monitors at different distances forces my eyes to re-adjust and regularly change focus points/focus length. I can now work standing and sitting. I worked all day yesterday, 10 lessons….no more throbbing headaches, no migraines, no eye strain, no back pain, no feeling of being burnt to a crisp when I was done. #goals

The NS CR5 Radius bass is actually perfect for working in this small space; headless means less chance of hitting a wall or a monitor, or knocking it out of tune. It’s also very light. I’m also using all-electric strings…an NS cello and my NS upright….because they can go right into the looper. Big shoutout to Boss, and to Core Redonnett and the good folks at NS Design…life is definitely easier right now because of these tools.

I knew there had to be a better way…it was just finding it.

Now to upgrade webcams. Ideally, I’d like to get my Canon Vixia camcorder to talk to the computer….without spending a ton of money on an adaptor. If folks have suggestions on hooking up a HF R600, let me know.

Artwork over my desk by the multi-talented Roger Munch.

“UPDATE on 4/15/2020 – Webcam

Update to my COVID -19 Rig Rundown post from a few weeks back (a post that was an overview of my Skype setup). Hopefully, this will be helpful info to someone. Some folks may have already used this solution and don’t need this info.

I already have two webcams, but I was looking for something with a better quality picture. I was looking into the Elgato Cam Link for my Canon Vixia HF R600, but at the time, I purchased a newer webcam instead. That cam, unfortunately, got lost in the mail, and the company is getting me a refund.

So I revisited getting the Elgato Cam Link, which is now pretty much back ordered everywhere now. Or when you do find it, there’s some crazy price gouging on the units that can be had. It was usually $100-$140. I saw prices for $200-$400, used. Oy. SO – here are some alternate solutions I explored, and what I actually ended up using

I used the iVCam app in the Apple store to turn my iPhone SE into a webcam. (This will work on an iPad or an iPhone). $9.99 one time purchase, and it is a much better quality cam than either of the two cams running on my computer.

If you make the purchase through the App on your phone, it will work with any computer that has the software downloaded. If you purchase it through your computer, it will run multiple devices with the app.

I’m running Windows 10 on a PC for my Skype machine. So, yes, this is compatible with a PC. You will have to have iTunes installed if you want the phone to interface through a USB/lighting connector.

There is similar software for the Android phones. Search YouTube and you will find some videos with software recommendations.

This is another solution that did would work well for me (more on why shortly), but might work well for someone else; digiCam is an open-source (ie FREE) piece of software that will turn a DSLR into a webcam. I hooked up my Canon 50D EOS running Magic Lantern to it; it did find the camera instantly and it was compatible with it. So that was a nice surprise. I tried the Canon Vixia HF R600 video camera next; that did not work.

I did not opt to go with the Canon 50D as a webcam simply because it would be running on battery the whole time it was working as a webcam, with no way to charge. I do have the extra large battery pack, but there is another issue that concerned me. There are reports of DSLRs overheating and shutting down when used in this way (as many an ameteur filmmaker has found out). I decided to not subject my camera to that. However…this solution is FREE, and it may work for some folks out there, especially if their camera has a way to charge while running OR if they do not have to run it for 5- 6 hours at a time.

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