A Step Inside the Studio of Vodou Priest and Artist Jean Baptiste Jean Joseph

Kay koule tronpe soley, men li pa tronpe lapli Haitian proverb meaning A leaky house can fool the sun but it cant fool the rain. 

No visit to Croix-des-Bouquets is complete without a stop at the studio of world-famous vodou artist and priest, Jean Baptiste Jean Joseph. Jean Baptistes Isidor Gallery has been receiving customers from all over the world for years and some of his most impressive pieces sell for thousands of dollars. Yet despite his fame and notoriety, like many of the other highly successful artists of Croix-des-Bouquets Jean Baptiste has decided to stay in Haiti and continue his work and mentorship to other aspiring artists. This is what makes Croix-des-Bouquets so special.

Stepping into the Isidor Gallery feels like stepping into a dream. The scent of incense flavors the air and the walls are filled with a riot of colorful, imaginative vodou flags intricately designed and handcrafted. The lights are low or even off, and the hot, humid heat of Haiti adds to a slightly dizzying effect. To be inside Jean Baptistes studio and to see his work, gives one a true sense of Haitis rich, intricate culture and religion. It feels like magic.

Croix-des-Bouquet Haiti

Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Jean Baptiste Jean Joseph was born in 1967 in La Vallé Bainet and was raised in Croix-des-Bouquets, a community known for its metal artisans in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At a young age Jean Baptiste became passionate for folk art and textiles. Following his dream and passion for beadwork, he worked in a small factory where he honed his skills by sewing pearls and beads onto wedding dresses. Then in 1991, thanks to the receipt of a small loan from a friend, Jean Baptiste opened Isidor Gallery in Croix-des-Bouquets.

Fast forward two decades, and Jean Baptistes beadwork is world renown. Besides his famous vodou flags, Jean Baptiste and his fellow artisans make purses, bags, vodou dolls, and various other handicrafts. Like his fellow master artisans in Croix-des-Bouquets, Jean Baptiste has been instrumental in training new artisans in his field, helping the community prosper and ensuring this beautiful form of art does not die out.

Each flag is intricately beaded by hand and displays some of Haitis most mystical symbols from vodou. Even the name of his gallery, Isidor Gallery, is named after a famous vodou figure Saint Isidor –  – who was a farm laborer like his father.

Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Isidor Gallery Haiti

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Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Some of Jean Baptistes pieces go for thousands of dollars to wealthy tourists and art collectors who come specifically to Haiti to buy his art. Thankfully, his fame and fortune has  brought attention to Haitis artisans and has helped his community thrive.

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Vodou flags have a long history in Haitian vodou culture. Traditionally, vodou flags were used to decorate the site where a ceremony was taking place or were worn on the backs of participants in a vodou dance. Today, these amazing pieces of art are being used as decoration and are displayed on peoples walls. One flag can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to make and Jean Baptiste is a leader in innovative designs.

P1070033-17 P1070036-19Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, HaitiOn a table inside his studio is row after row of beautiful one of a kind hand-beaded wallets.Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, HaitiJean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Alongside art, Jean Baptiste is also a highly esteemed vodou priest. He was identified as a priest back in 1991 and has been conducting ceremonies ever since. While there is no definite number, the Haitian government estimates that there are about 3,000 vodou priests in the country. The real number is difficult to ascertain however given the high amount of imposters as well as the unending taboo in discussing vodou. While the strength of Catholicism is always present in Haiti, vodou often still remains behind closed doors despite being recognized as an official religion in 1991. (Catholicism has been an official religion since Haitis independence).

P1070039-22 P1070041-23Thanks to pop culture, there is a tremendous amount of misunderstanding about the meaning and practice of vodou. The word vodou itself often invites images of vodou priests sticking pins into a vodou dolls to bring misfortunate upon an unknowing enemy or of someone cross-eyed, completely taken over by powerful spirits.While there may be a tiny slice of truth in this perception, vodou is actually a rather complex belief system and has been practiced in Haiti ever since the 18th century when West African slaves were forced under French rule to convert to Christianity. Instead of fully embracing Christianity, however, they learned to incorporate their own religious beliefs into the religion by assigning each Iwa (vodou spirit) to a Catholic counterpart. For example, the Iwa called Legba is associated with St. Peter. Assigning Iwas with Catholic saints was a way for the West African slaves to secretly continue to practice their own religion in disguise. A pretty amazing feat! Iwas also have a distinct list of recognizable symbols, offerings, attributes, homes, and colors. If you ever attend a vodou ceremony, see vodou-inspired art or visit a Haitians home, you will certainly see these attributes all around you. You just have to look. You will be surprised how often you will see it.Outside of the gallery is the home of Jean Baptistes vodou altar. A small fire was burning infiltrating the air with a light covering of smoke and giving the place a mystical feel.

Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Jean Baptiste Jean Jospeph, Isador Gallery, Haiti

Jean Baptiste showed us his altar and told us a little bit about what each symbol was for. On his altar, there are different symbols and offerings for the different deities he calls when needed. Some prefer rum, while others prefer coffee or a specific food. People come to him seeking protection, communication with their ancestors, prosperity, recovery from an illness or to ward off bad omens with enemies. The list is endless yet each vodou ceremony is private. One never knows what is discussed except the attendee and the priest.

Click to view slideshow.

Two years ago, when I was in Haiti I received this purse a beautiful unique piece made and blessed by Jean Baptiste during a short vodou ceremony. I have kept it in the drawer by the side of my bed ever since alongside my other special gifts. Little did I know Id be going back once again.

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Although it was only a small look into Haitian voodoo culture and life, I am glad I received it. It is these magical moments when traveling that make it so memorable.

I traveled to Haiti with my dear friend Haitian-American Nathalie (Nat) Tancrede. Passionate to show the true beauty and magic of Haiti, Nat launched her new travel business “Explore with Nat”. Nat provides a fully guided week-long trip exploring different regions of Haiti and embracing Haiti’s culture, history and people every step of the way. To learn more about Nat and her upcoming trips check out her website Explore with Nat. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Guest post: Oscar and Javier of Eltalleraudiovisual.com explore Switcher Studio for iPad with external cameras

I met the guys Javier and Oscar, behind Eltalleraudiovisual.com at Mojocon, they are two absolute gents. They also blog about mojo at http://yoscontenidos.com

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 12.07.22

They shot this really great mojo teaser about Mojocon for which I am exceptionally grateful.

Based in Alicante, Spain they provide comprehensive mojo courses and production facilities. Their blog is a great source of information about Mojo, in Spanish and English. Earlier this year on the Mojocon Facebook group they posted a thread about using Switch Studio (aka RecoLive) with external devices, i.e. non-iOS devices. I asked would Oscar be interested in sharing his experiences via a guest post and he kindy agreed. A colleague of mine, Leola Lillis previously posted about Switcher Studio on this blog.

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How to make a mobile multi-camera production with iPads, iPhones, or any other video source.

How to add a video source to Recolive Multicam and Switcher Studio

Recolive Multicam is an application developed to record multi-camera productions using a WiFi network connection that allows you to sync up to 4 different video sources running on iOS and/or Mac devices. The norm is to use the built-in camera of your iPad as one of the cameras, and as the live mixer of all other video signals.

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Switcher Studio is a mobile video app that performs the same functions as Recolive Multicam, but additionally allows you to stream LIVE video while recording, as wells as, to view it using an HDMI adaptor or via Airplay.

Check-out the following post to learn all about how I’ve managed to go further into the use of these apps by using an external video source that does not run on an iOS device.

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Recolive Multicam and Switcher Studio: multi-camera video apps. 

I have recorded many videos using an iPad4 and an iPhone 5S (https://www.youtube.com/user/cocinandoenvideo) with Recolive Multicam (http://eltalleraudiovisual.com/recolive-multicam-realizacion-multicamara-iphone-ipad/). This is without a doubt one of my favorite apps, because it allows me to have my own TV studio in the iPad. I can choose among the different video sources right there live; enhance the production with signs, tittles, headlines, overprinting or logos; use transitions; mix images Picture in Picture; or divide the screen; I may even select the device that will be the main provider of the audio signal.

Switcher Studio was developed after Recolive Multicam and widens its many functions allowing multi-camera streaming productions

From now on, thanks to apps like this one with a very simple learning curve-, anyone, either a person or an institution will be able to record cultural or sports events, interviews, round tables, or simply create video courses. Let me give you an example to illustrate it, with a challenge that I have taken on recently.

02 Pantalla-Recolive-Multicam02 Pantalla-Recolive-Multicam

Recording a Surgical video using Recolive Multicam

A few days ago, while teaching one of our recording with mobile devices in-house seminars –with our brand YOS Contenidos (http://www.yoscontenidos.com) -, I was asked about the possibility of a multi-camera production in an operating room mixing 3 different video signals as follows:

One from an iPad recording a general shot of the room, showing the surgeons around the surgical table (the iPad would also act as the main mixer of all other video sources);

A second one from an iPhone focusing on the patient area where the surgeon keeps his trocars (surgical instruments used to perform procedures without practicing open surgery)

Finally, the third one would be the image provided by a trocar, or tube equipped with optical elements that sends images from the inside of the human body to a screen, guiding the surgeon during the procedure.

As you have probably guessed by now, the problem is that the laparocopy video is not an iOS or Mac device, therefore, incompatible for the Recolive Multicam recording (the use of which would make them save a lot of money).

The challenge: Full screen live preview using a video capture card

As I’ve mentioned before, Recolive Multicam can only mix video sources from iOS devices using the corresponding app, or running it from Mac computers that have the appropriate free software, Recolive Capture (http://recolive.com/en/blog/40-recolive-capture), to share the screen or to shoot with the laptop camera. That seemed to be the solution.

03 Recolive-Capture03 Recolive-Capture

I thought that maybe connecting a MacBook to a capture card device showing the trocar signal would be enough…

I needed video capture software that would preview full screen, but, none of the software that I tried, including BlackMagic Media Express, did the trick. I asked my streaming expert friends about it, but they could only advise about purchasing hardware, not software; therefore, the costs were skyrocketing.

04 Blackmagic-Ultrastudio-cables04 Blackmagic-Ultrastudio-cables

After several try-outs, and a lot of Internet searching, I found a video in a French site that explained how to use a MacBook screen to play with a Playstation using Blackmagic capture cards: full screen!!!  (https://youtu.be/M0usSD-4Q5Y)

We could make full screen live preview from the capture card, FullHD (depending on the latptop and the source), by using the free software capabilities of Pixel Conduit.

Solution: “Full screen live preview video from capture card”

Let me fully describe all the steps taken in the test I run, and that I hope to be using very soon in an operating room.

Equipment used:

2 iPhones 5s with Recolive Multicam app1 iPad 4 with Recolive Multicam app1 MacBook with Recolive Capture softwareA video capture BlackMagic UltraStudio Express card1 Canon HDV AX-H1 camera (video source used as the “trocar” for this test)Free software from Pixel Conduit (http://pixelconduit.com )

05 Pixel-Conduit05 Pixel-Conduit

Process:

1. Preparing images, lowers, and logos; saving them into the iPad that will be used as the mixer.

2. Setting up the video input from the Mac through Blackmagic Media Express and the video capture Blackmagic card. In this case, PAL 19201080. I will turn off the software once I see the signal.

3. Setting up all video sources, 2 iPhones and the Mac screen, through Recolive Multicam.

4. Setting up Pixel Conduit to recognize the video source coming from the Blackmagic card and previewing it full screen. See video, isn’t it simple?

5. Selecting the transitions that I will be using, as well as the durations in the iPad; select the multiviews; fix the White balance, the exposure and the focus of the iPhone cameras

Silence in the set: 3, 2, 1… let’s shoot!

And this is the test result: https://youtu.be/7zYopY5PmkQ (In Spanish)

Conclusions

The option to use an external video source with Blackmagic capture card allows me to increase the options to shoot with several iPhone and iPad devices into any other video source.

Furthermore, if you would like to shoot with several microphones and you have a sound table, you may use it as a mixing console for the audio signal, connecting the output of the table to the iPad mixer through a digital interface such as iRigPro or Shure MVi, or an analogic interface such as iRigPre or a Tascam iXZ.

There is absolutely not a more affordable way to do up to 4 sources multi-camera productions.

06 Maria-iPad-recolive-live-recipes-CookPad-full-size06 Maria-iPad-recolive-live-recipes-CookPad-full-size

Those were the pros, but I should mention the cons, there is a minor audio delay, around 0,1-0,2 seconds, from the external video source that does not come from Mac or iOS devices.  In this particular case, this will not be a problem for us, as the image from the laparoscopy does not have audio; although, if you would like to have someone speaking from that source, you will run into an unavoidable de-synchronization.

Finally, Recolive Capture only shares the screen of the MAC computer, but not the sound.

I hope that you will find this to be a useful post. I can’t wait to try this new option of multi-camera production in the operating room… Here is hoping that I will not faint while doing it….

I would like to thank Glen Mulcahy for his invitation to publish this translation in English of our article in his reference blog to all of us who record with our mobile devices.

Thank you also to Gabriele Mondada, CEO of Recolive Multicam to always respond so quickly and so gracefully to all my questions.

If you would like to read this post in Spanish, please visit our blog “el Taller Audiovisual” (http://eltalleraudiovisual.com/multicamara-con-ipad-iphone-y-cualquier-otra-fuente-de-video/ ), fully devoted to recording with mobile devices.

Xkuty Recording 02 Workshop PBC Coworking October 2015 Jovempa - Elda Major 10-30-15Xkuty Recording 03

Thank you!

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