Monday, March 13, 2006

Week 1

  • Practical 1 - Audio Arts - Advanced Session Managment [1]
At the start of this lesson, students went through a short introduction about themselves, including their current knowledge of music technology. After our introductions, most of the class time had passed. However we did manage to go through play lists and groups in Pro Tools; a nice revision from C4 that I realised I had completely forgotten.

I left this class thinking that the one area that I'm really lacking in is how to use Audio effects. There are still gaps in my mind about what some of the parameters in certain Pro Tools effects do. The biggest uncertainty in my mind is the compressor. In theory I know what it does, but in practice I don't really know how to use it. Having said this, I did find a great site that explains a lot about compressors here[2].
  • Practical 2 - Creative Computing - Introduction [3]
This class was an introduction to Supercollider. The main ideas covered were:

- Unlike the visual object orientated language of Max/MSP, Supercollider is text based, consequently allowing a higher degree of precision and accuracy.

- Outputs excellent sound quality.

- Supercollider is an open system as opposed to a closed system such as Pro Tools. Other software packages such as Flash and game engines such as Half-Life are more open than Pro Tools as they provide scripting languages that allow greater extensibility. Open systems allow a high degree of customisation and control.

- We also touched on the Philosophical issue of Supercollider allowing a new methodology of thinking, and the resultant sounds potentially becoming post-cultural or non-human due to the detached aesthetic of the language.

- The applications of the language range from Sound Design, Gaming, Music, Production, and GUI/Application development.

The extra precision does appeal to me very much, and I've wanted to get into some text based programming for quite some time. My only concern is that if I were to create an interactive music/sfx engine for a game, would a programmer working in C++ be able to take my code and implement it without any problems, or would he have to learn Supercollider and then proceed to port the code himself? I'm interesting in making sound engines for games but if this isn’t possible, then maybe I should be working in a different programming language.
  • Music Technology Forum - Presentation - Introduction; Artist Talk [4]
Sound Installation Artist Robin Minard presented this week’s forum. Robin started his career as a composer in Canada, but was soon drawn to the area of Art Installations. He later moved to Berlin where his art flourished and was appreciated. He mentioned the various places he had studied at, but the majority of his talk centered on his previous and current installation pieces.

His installations follow a general trend in that they tend to contain hundreds of tiny speakers of only a couple of inches in size, strategically placed around the environment. He also pays special consideration to the acoustics, dimensions, and lighting of the environment his installations occupy.

My memory is a little hazy, but the installation that stood out in my mind was the one where he digitally divided a sample into its' individual bits, and then assigned each bit to a single speaker creating a highly controlled spatialised panning system.
  • References
    [1] Grice, David. 2006. Practical on Advanced Session Managment in Pro Tools. University of Adelaide, 28 February.
    [2] River, Mike. “Compression Exposed”. From Recording Magazine. N.d.
    [3] Haines, Christian. 2006. Practical on Supercollider Introduction. University of Adelaide, 2 March.
    [4] Minard, Robin. 2006. Presentation on Robin Minards work. University of Adelaide, 2 March.

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