Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Blow Bubbles When You Are Not Near

Progressing slowly. Progress with Sons Of Thunder, finally – a couple of mixes done, three more to go. I finally found the pre-records of telephone conversations I’d done for the production of “Birdcage.” Combine that with the bits I’ve reworked from the recording of the read-through of “An Inspector Calls,” and I’m most of the way there. The main thing I wanted to do was make everyone’s position in the room really obvious when you listen to it, and by sheer luck I was recently offered a good deal on a plug-in for dealing with placing things in a 3D space.

I realise I may to explain a lot of that last bit for everyone. The programs I use for the music and sound stuff have additional programs which you can buy to add functionality. They plug-in to the main program, hence the name. For instance, it might be something The plug-in I’ve just bought can create the illusion of sounds in a space around the listener, and is particularly impressive on headphones. I’d like another one which involves making the echo of the room better but I need to make more money first, plus I can work without it for now.

So the stuff to be sent to London to try to get some more sound design work is happening. This is a good thing, I remember when I was about 10 and listening to radio drama (Hitch-Hikers’ Guide To The Galaxy probably) and I wanted to join the radiophonic workshop at the BBC, but then they closed it in 1996. Frankly, making noises (albeit specific noises) for a living looks pretty good. Of course, part of the reason that the BBC Radiophonic closed might be to do with the fact that I could do reasonable sound effects for radio using a laptop computer in my bedroom….

This next theatre project looks challenging; it’s called “The Best Snow For Skiing” and is a radio play written by Linda Cracknell about Hugh MacDiarmid’s widow (amongst many other things). There are only two parts in the play, and the idea is to perform it as a radio play rather than messing about with sets and things (also because, with only 2 characters there is a lot of dialogue). I’ve been given free-reign with the sound which is nice, and I’m hoping to try to do some foley stuff. Normally with theatre sound everything has been pre-recorded (except for silly things like a doorbell ringing which we can easily wire up) and played through the theatre sound system. Foley is named after Jack Foley who pioneered the idea in movies of adding sound effects after the event. Proper foley work (at least in my head) is when you are banging coconut shells together, breaking celery, moving high-heeled shoes with your hands whilst carefully watching an actor’s shoulders. Nothing as exciting as those examples in this play though, we have: wind outdoors, a fire indoors, a dog (all that so far will have to be pre-recorded, I’m not going to start trying to make a dog bark in a theatre with a fire lit whilst turning the handle on a manual wind machine), various drinking-related noises, doors and a scene involving henna hair dye will be attempted live in the theatre though.

And now on with the other stuff - today is another round of Dream On vocal recording as I try to get as much done as possible in the relatively short time we have left. Going through the songs to record them properly is good because we get to go through each song properly with each line distinct and make sure everything is as right as we can make it, also a better quality of CD later on. Plus, this bit of working with other people is much more fun than sitting doing music by myself.

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