Sound Labs

Since beginning my new Audio studies in Manchester I have been introduced to many new things, whether it’s theory, technology or new ways of thinking. Among these are the possibilities of using different rooms for different work styles; for experiments, recording or even using the room to play a piece. Here is a little more about the Sound Labs at the University of Salford.

Semi-anechoic room

hemi-anechoic02

This room basically has the walls covered in soft material and a solid floor. This is done so the sound reflections only come from the floor, rather than the walls. Experiments can be done with putting material on the floor to reduce the sound reflections.

Reverberation Chambers

Well it’s in the title, Reverb, and this room allows the perfect amount of reverberation which is something that is required in places such as concert halls, allowing the singing, or someone speaking and music to be able to travel well. This room has been used for many different sound tests.

reverberationroom

 The point is that rooms themselves can effect the way we hear, for instance, a recording studio has to be made so that no outside noise can enter. All the sounds in the room need to travel well which allows a natural reverb. This is why it’s brilliant that the University provides these different sorts of rooms, not just for students but for other companies. It’s important as an Audio Production student to have an understanding of these rooms. I personally am looking forward to learning more and using them more.

Another point to make is what exactly these rooms are testing. Well actually a lot of companies are testing sound. For example car manufactures and oven manufactures spend a lot of time developing and testing the sound of their doors. I realise this must sound strange, but hear me out.  Think about the first thing you would do when you go and look for a oven or car.  You would open the door, so not so silly really. Which is why the existence of rooms like these at Salford University is so essential.

For some interesting tests going on at the moment check out these links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/sbsbrir

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/whitepaper276

Reference

University of Salford (2014) Studios and Labs for Acoustic Engineering, Audio and Video Engineering. Retrieved 12th December, 2014 from http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/facilities/

Did Video kill the Radio star?

Yes, we all know the song “Did video kill the radio star” but is it even true? This post investigates that, but not video, instead let’s use the term TV. Let’s start off with a brief history of radio. The first ever radio broadcast was on 13th January 1910 and was a piece of opera. Since then all different types of radio has been broadcast all over the world. The radio was crucial and important to everyone during the war years. It was a way for news to be given to people. If you’ve ever seen the film King’s Speech, you’ll have an understanding of the importance of radio. The film is taking you to the moment when the King announces that we are at war with Germany for the second time. The way his voice is being heard by the nation is via the radio, showing just how important radio can be.

Radio wasn’t then and still isn’t just a device to inform you of the news. It is also a form of entertainment and education. The longest running radio soap is The Archers on BBC Radio 4 and began in 1951. With 63.4m downloading the shows’ podcasts, there are no signs of it deserting our radios.

For me personally radio was the way I got interested with the idea of working in Media. The radio was always on in our house as well as our car, and before the days of having my own TV it was the radio in my room that I used to listen to in my spare time. During my college years I began volunteering for my local Hospital Radio, and that is where I learned my skills for producing and planning a show. For me personally I think radio will be with us as an entertainment medium for a long time.

For people such as my Mum it was where she could be a bit of a rebel and listen to Pirate Radio during the 60’s. It really is something that has always been part of our lives. It is something we all have a memory of; for my mum tuning into her radio, me putting it on a lower volume so my parents wouldn’t know I was awake. For the current generation, it’s dancing to music on the radio via the TV.

Even now with the popularity of television and the use of the internet, as well as so many apps that we don’t actually have enough space for, radio has still been able to keep up. You no longer need to own a radio. You can use your television, laptop, phone or tablet. My point is, that even with television being so popular, I believe that it can never actually kill radio. However, it is a pretty catchy song.

The Guardian (2014) The Archers tops BBC podcast list. Retrieved 9th December, 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/oct/15/the-archers-bbc-podcast-list-radio-4

Wikipedia (2014). History of Radio. Retrieved 9th December, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_radio

 

 

If you don’t ask then you don’t get!

This blog covers some general advice when being in the Media business. My Mum has always been a firm believer that “if you don’t ask you don’t get.” This motto has been drummed into me and I can think of a few circumstances where it most certainty has paid off. A time where I really put this into practice was while I was at Halo Post TV. I wanted to make it clear, without being presumptious or too pushy, that I was interested in sound. On my second day I asked if I could sit in on some sound work sessions. On my third day they treated me and let me sit in on quite a few sound sessions, even allowing me to sit in with editors who were interacting with clients. This is the point I’m making, you do have to make a good impression to get these sort of opportunities, but if you’re not going to ask you’re not going to get.

A few weeks ago I visited the Media festival at Media city where lots of amazing people were giving lots of amazing talks. I used to find this sort event rather intimidating but now I can quite happily say I can actually network and ask the right questions.

Here is a bit of advice

  1. When you first speak to someone shake their hand and introduce yourself, say what course you’re on and at what level.

  2. Be polite.

  3. Research the person, know what position they’re in, where they have worked previously, what they are working on currently.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for work experience, shadowing or internships.

  5. If you’ve been given an email address you need to email them as soon as possible. They are always meeting a lot of people and you want to contact them whilst you’re fresh in their minds.

I hope this is all helpful. I am a student so I clearly I don’t have all the answers but I have had some successes and these are the things I have done to achieve them.

Audio Post

As I have mentioned previously, I am currently working on recreating the sound design for a piece of animation. At the moment I am at the editing stage, as everything needed has been recorded . Next the Audio will be recorded. I am from a radio background and this is something I haven’t done before, but like all good students I have read, researched and practiced the process and what I am going to discuss today is the process so far.

 Starting point

The question I first asked myself is what is the meaning behind the animation. Personally when I make a piece I like to know the message or meaning behind it and I find this helps me to focus on the piece. Once understood, I began thinking about the sounds I wanted and how they could be recreated. I found tutorials and documentaries helpful with this aspect, seeing others doing it themselves you can have more of an understanding.

Now that sound effects were planned, the next step was changing and adding parts to the script. Having the meaning and message behind the piece made it easier to adapt the script which had to be done by focusing on the mouth movements of the animated characters in order to achieve a match.

 Recording

This was done by recording objects in the studio – these were specific sounds for particular parts. The next method for recording was by using a zoom to record background sounds and other objects. These were sounds that could be used in most areas and could be edited and changed for different parts.

Recording actors for an animation was a challenge. The most efficient way to get the ADR process done is for the actors to be able to sync themselves. This is achieved by having the animation playing whilst recording them, and one of the problems is when an actor finds this difficult. What I found easiest was to get them to deliver the lines without the animation. They could focus on their character rather than syncing. This meant that during the editing process the focus could be on syncing it properly.

 Editing

Now to the current stage, editing, which I personally find the most enjoyable part. All the sound effects recorded are currently being edited using pro tools so they sound effective and match the animation. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work or sound how you want it to, however, this part of the process is about experimenting.

I will update you all on the next stage and the rest of the editing process.

This is the animation.

Taken from moviemaniacsDE on Yotube