Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rocky vs Sound - round one *ding*

So, I was watching ‘Rocky’ for a script analysis class I’m also taking this semester. I was watching it on my laptop with headphones but I didn’t realize I had my headphones on backwards. I didn’t notice during the first fight scene and through the dialogue but shortly after in the sequence where he was walking home, it was extremely disturbing watching the images and hearing the pan action happening in the wrong ear. (I think it was the sound of a train going by that made me yank my headphones off.)

A little later in the film, there’s a scene where Rocky is talking to his boss and driver. Rocky was standing outside the car leaning in through the open window and having a conversation with them but as they switched back from a wider shot to a shot a little closer in, I noticed that the sound quality, the ambiance noise, didn’t quite match between the two shots. As they switched back and forth it became more noticeable to me how different the quality was. Now, I was suppose to be watching this as a script analysis and perhaps I wouldn't have noticed it as much if I wasn’t wearing headphones, but it dawned on me how flaws in sound really can stick out like a sore thumb and detract from the ‘reality’ of film. I guess it’s like they say, good sound goes unnoticed but bad sound, whether it’s in the edit or in errors in playback, is unforgivable.

I have to mention the ultimate nondiegetic moment of Rocky running up the stairs at the end of his successful training montage. As the ‘Theme from Rocky’ plays through and all of a sudden the choir of voices starts singing “getting strong now, won’t be long now - gonna fly now, flying high now” – for a moment it felt like it was a musical – and as bizarre as it is, I couldn’t help but embrace it, after all it was Rocky – and how can you turn your back to the distinct seventies sound of blaring horns, soaring strings, vintage electro sounds and disco drums. Yo, Adrian.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mackie mixing console manual

Jim helped me to find this manual on the Mackie website for the console that we have in Audio Suite 3:

Mackie 8 bus manual

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back on the topic of microphones, briefly...

DPA, or Danish Pro Audio, brings you this wonderful compendium of information on microphones, mic technique, and basically anything to do with mics.

This is a great resource! And it comes from the makers of some really, really high-end microphones. (If you've used DPAs or B&Ks you know what I'm talking about!).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe Frank

Joe Frank amazes me. His monologues and radio dramas that he has written and produced for NPR since the 80s are fantastic transportation into an inner world. Part of this is just the content of his writing, but another big part is the production values of his voice recording and his sound effects and music accompaniment.

In a lot of pieces he (or his engineers) make very skillful use of loops of music from other sources. There is something about a Joe Frank show that seductively takes you by surprise. Transitions and transformations happen frequently but, usually, gradually. He is a hypnotist. Whenever I listen to his shows, I have to make time to devote all my attention to them. They're really captivating.

He has a site where you can listen to some of his pieces for free, and where you can pay a little bit for access to more recordings. You can also follow the links to a podcast of his programs, which you can get with iTunes or whatever. WNYC's AM station (AM 820, I think) is also still playing his program on the weekends; I think on Saturday morning.

Run for your life

We were speaking in past classes of time-stretching, i.e. changing the duration of an audio source without changing its pitch. It obviously has some practical applications, and perhaps some creative ones, as well.

Here's something that gave me a huge laugh. Not something that bears repeating, maybe, but still, fun to share. I have not listened to the whole thing, because it's an hour long, but I think it's hilarious:
Run for your life is comprised of all of the Beatles' UK-released albums compressed into 1 hour!

Mark E. Smith of the Fall said that rock music (at least originally, in the 50's) was basically the abuse of instruments designed for other types of music. (He meant that, I think, in a good way.) In this case, the art work is the creative abuse of an effect that was designed for another application.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reading Material posted

I've posted your readings for Sound For Picture to Blackboard under Course Documents. You'll need to login to Blackboard to access. They should be up here on the blog soon, as well!