Saturday, May 06, 2006

Week 8

  • Practical 1 - Audio Arts - Recording and preparing Voice Over [1]
This week we learnt about how to record and prepare voice overs. The points to focus on with voice overs are:

- clarity (condeser mic and popper stopper)
- output optimal volume with lease noise using compression (usually 4:00:1 ratio is good)
- deadest sound (dead room is best to record in)

The mic should be set to either cardiod or hyper-cardiod with flat settings. Setting up a music stand is also a good idea to prevent paper rustle from nervous 'talents'.

Later on this same week I got the chance to record a voice over for a "Life Impact" Uni promotion video. Unfortunately I wasn't able to use the dead room for my recording, but instead I set up a quasi-dead room by using those movable walls covered in absorbant sound material.

(click for larger image)

This setup worked pretty well and here is the final product of both voice-overs.

Female Voice

Male Voice

As well as compression, I found a light gate worked well to eliminate unwanted mouth noises between phrases. At the same time this also got rid of any breaths in between phrases. I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not as it makes the voice sound a little unnatural, but I figured most people probalby wouldn't notice this with music and visuals accompanying the voice.

  • Practical 2 - Creative Computing - Supercollider (5) [2]
Well it’s week 11 now and I’ve finally got around to doing the Supercollider for week 8. After going through the readings twice for this week 8, there were still some things that I just couldn’t grasp, so I figured I wouldn’t move on until I understood them. Not understanding the material after two separate readings really put me off. Thanks to my lecturer’s (Christian Haines) example, I was finally able to understand what to do.

It was the ‘do’ section of Chapter 21 that I was having trouble understanding. Additionally, for some reason the example code (that didn’t require a MIDI interface) in the MIDI section returned an error – I couldn’t work out why.

Anyway the biggest piece of knowledge I have taken away from this week’s Supercollider, is the ‘do’ message. This allows me similar function to the ‘metro’ object in max. With this function the doors of possibility have open. I only wish I had more time to explore this space of possibility.

FM with Iteration

// Week 8 FM

SynthDef ("FM",

// Arguments
arg mpitch1 = 60,
mpitch2 = 67,
dur = 1.5 // duration of Volume Envelope

// Variables
var fm
// Output
fm =
freq: [mpitch1.midicps,mpitch2.midicps] + // Carrier Frequency
freq: // Control Frequency
0.0, 100.0),
mul: // Index
0.0, 1000)

mul: [0.5] // Overall Amplitude

fm = fm *
Env.perc(0, dur),
doneAction: 2

// Out[0,2], fm);

// Routine used to execute do (Iteration)


r = Task({
// Arguments
arg click // bang

// Variables
var next = 1, // time between bang
cnt = click % 6, // Influences pitch
pitch1 = 10 * (cnt*2), // Changes Pitch
pitch2 = 17 * (cnt*3) // Changes Pitch
// Feedback

a ="FM");
a.set(\mpitch1, pitch1, \mpitch2, pitch2);

// Pause

// Start Routine


  • Music Technology Forum - Presentation - Presentations by Tim Swalling, and Jasmin Ward
The title of Tim Swalling's presentation was "Bringing Music to A-Life". It centered around his honours thesis of using artificial intelligence to create music. He talked about his current research into genetic algorithms and mentioned how they're based on natural selection and cellular automata. It was an interesting presentation, and i'll be interested in how his research further develops.[3]

Jasmin Ward spoke about the current competition she is involved in with Stephen Whittington. Her aim is to develop a system using Max/MSP that will filter out audio samples into a different sound. This is suppose to be an audio representation of natural ecological filtration systems that filter dirty water into the clean water. I will be interested to hear her final result.[4]
  • Music Technology Forum - Workshop - Workshop on Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, and Pierre Henry [5]
First off we listened to "Whole lotta love", by Led Zeppelin. This piece featured the Theramin as concurrent sweeps with guitar squealing. To be honest I didn't even notice the Theramin as it was mixed so well with the guitar squealing.

Next we listened to "Bike", by Pink Floyd. This piece started off like a stadard rock song, and then progressed to a trippy improvised sounding music concrete section. This type of music didn't really impress me, and the concrete section was nothing new to me.

We also listened to "Breathe, by Pink Floyd. This is a great rhythmic piece featuring the VCS 3. An excellent example of evolving electronic musical ambience. Personally, i've heard this song to death so hearing it again killed me even more.

The last piece was the best, and appropriately saved till last. This was the tape piece, "Voile d'Orplae" by Pierre Henry. Unlike other tape pieces, this one seemed as though it had a coherant structure rather than crazy depersonalised sound bytes. It actually reminded me of many modern day film sound design techniques. If only Pierre were alive doing movies today. This piece has definately inspired me to check out more of Pierre Henry.
  • References
    [1] Grice, David. 2006. Practical on Live Recording. University of Adelaide, 2 May.
    [2] Haines, Christian. 2006. Lecture on Supercollider . University of Adelaide, 4 May.
    [3] Tim Swalling. 2006. Presentation on Tim Swalling's projects. University of Adelaide, 4 May.
    [4] Jasmin Ward. 2006. Presentation on Jasmin Ward's honours thesis. University of Adelaide, 4 May.
    [5] Harris, David. 2006. Workshop on Iannis Xenakis, Gabrielle Manca, and Phillip Glass. University of Adelaide, 4 May.


Blogger Adrian said...

I liked the coherency of Pierre Henry's work as well. It was good hearing musique concrete used in this way. I looked up Pierre Henry on wikipedia and it mentioned that the theme song from Futurama was heavily based on the 1967 piece 'Psyche Rock' so I checked it out. AllMusic Guide has samples of a record called 'Psyche Rock Sessions', which has samples streaming of various remixes, and I was definitely able to discern the similarity with the futurama theme.

9:29 pm, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Jake Morris said...

"my degree is world class, much like my hair"

hahaha man what kind of twisted voice-over is this?

also, i like how he then mentions how he surfs, is that meant to elaborate on his world class hair or is that just because surfing is cool, and uni people are cool according to this crazy diamond? it's probably best left upto the imaginaion.

11:36 pm, May 11, 2006  
Blogger Tyrell Blackburn said...

Yeah that Pierre piece was probably one of my most favorite this whole year.

Thanks for the comment about Futurama.

I know this brilliantly composed theme you're talking about, and it's interesting that it as based on 'Psyche Rock'.

I'll have to check it out when I have time.

9:20 am, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tyrell Blackburn said...

Haha, you crack me up Jake.

It is pretty funny. Heh, you can't blame him though as both participants didn't have direct control over their scripts.

It was funny because that, "much like my hair" line was suppose to have a short laugh after it, but because he was so tired of rehearsing this one line over and over, he could no longer do a convincing laugh. In fact this part was recorded over and over until we found a good take and slipped it in.

My interpretation about the movie is that Uni will give you a "Life Impact", and despite the Uni workload, you can still live a balanced life.

However, in my opinion, the part about a balanced life has more to do with the person than necessarily being at Uni.

9:28 am, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Jake Morris said...

you watch yor mouth tyrell.

they are watching. always watching

3:31 pm, May 15, 2006  

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