Get ready for the Nixi!

Episode 7 The vortex of the Nix pt 1 premiering on  October 30th World Audio Drama Day

Goodness! How happy a coincidence is that – on a day celebrating THE radio drama show of shows – Orson Well’s War of the Worlds broadcast. Hard science crossed with heroes and monsters, all set within the worldly concerns of our everyday life experience – isn’t that what science fiction is all about?

Spoiler alert

The Nixi are a product of a brainstorming session at the Deloraine craft fair a year ago with some members of Deloraine nanomo write-in group – in a faerie shop no less.  All I had at the time was Adam’s brief to crash the Doc and her stowaway into a waterworld and my idea to bring some cutting edge hard science- the Electric universe, into two 15 min episodes. Brain cells supported by coffee and cake and good company came up with rat like race of scavengers who live on the desert world of Nix, and have a unique sound. They go “nixixixix ” They are bipedal man sized creatures insulated with thick scales that can also cover their eyes and ears when needed. Rather like certain knights who say ni! but lacking a shrubbery 🙂 Cue the coloured pencils and young Bridgette Ewings created Pelham the Brobrean seamonster  for us as the plotline started to unfurl like this –

( It sounds amazing btw his voice is also a whiteboard marker! see the credits below) Then just integrate huge tech info dump into the crayola somehow.

Wouldn’t it all be easier with a picture? image courtesy of Claire Stribbles Photography

clair-stribbles
the lavender seas of Brobree performed by  Aurora Australis and the waves of Smygehuk Sweden

No historical characters were harmed in the making of this play

Our producer was at first rather horrified at the disparagement of Einstein’s work – after all time travel, big bangs and blackholes abound in the fictional world of the Doctor. Luckily we don’t have to budge the ultra massive bulk of academia to shift science fiction plots to the next level and leave some of our old tropes behind -that’s the fun of writing near future hard scifi. The science of electrically structured water that is used by the Brobreans to build their Dome is real enough, as is the Birkeland Current, Safire  and Wallace Thornhill ( with his permission of course! ) – although he hasn’t invented a flux ‘capacitator’ ….. yet…… http://www.thespaceshow.com/show/16-aug-2016/broadcast-2759-wal-thornhill

CREDITS  see https://thedoctorsaudioadventures.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/story-details-3-the-doctor-ytbt/

Credits for sound effects on Episode 7 Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 0, 3 or 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Foley Freebies

Get ready for Halloween and World Audio Drama Day – October 30th and Episode 7 premier air date.

With the music of http://www.kevinhartnell.com/  Creative Commons licensed at http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kevin_Hartnell/CC_BY-SA_40/

 

“CC BY-SA 4.0”

(a collection of music released under a creative commons license on FMA)

Over the years I have amassed a large number of tracks that didn’t seem to go anywhere once they were completed, or almost completed. Rather than leave them parked on a hard drive, I decided to turn them loose

https://freemusicarchive.org/swf/playlistplayer.swf

Mixing Audio 101

 “See 1 do 1 teach 1”

A quick behind the scenes look at how we take our voice actors onto alien worlds. Did we mention we are all amatuers and volunteers?

rowena-d Firstly the lines are recorded by Adam Brooks the director with the actors in studios at City Park Radio Launceston using Audacity. Audacity is an audio editing program that’s completely free which I found useful for recording streaming audio lectures broadcast at inconvenient o’clock  so I could play them back later. Download it here for mac pc linux audacityteam.org   It’s quicker and easiest to do each actor separately, in case they fluff their lines and its very flexible – there are no rehearsals needed, it fits in with everyone’s busy schedules, minor changes to the script are often made on the fly with several versions recorded. And it allows collaboration at a distance. With a  very quiet room and a good microphone Terry’s lines are recorded at his home on video and then the audio is stripped off and shipped thru cyberspace to be pasted together with the rest by Adam. Use the free VLC media player to do this by simply converting video to a pure audio format audacity understands like OGG Vorbis or mp3 ( the conversion tool is in the media tab).

“sleep is for the weak”

Next we optimize the voices following the basic algorithm of this youtube tute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYF5ytMDFpA – maybe a bit of treble boost for the females, both bass and treble for the blokes and a pitch shift for Izzy. For the aliens a few more effects are applied over whatever accent our vocal talent Brooke Maloy has come up with.

izzy-phaser-settings
eg. Trevor edited Brooke’s Izzy voice on episode 6 with these settings
inside the type 40 Questr time machine
inside the type 40 Questr time machine

To get them aboard the Questr the sound effect “reverb” using the preset “voice II” is applied to the appropriate sections of the vocal track. The pre-recorded background hum is then imported onto a separate track to the vocals. Next any other sound effects or music are added – either cut into the vocal track, or layered as more separate tracks with their volume lowered by the envelope tool when someone is speaking so as not to overwhelm the storyline – see  this tute  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXfVKSx7WtY  by Alan Levine who teaches aspects of it as part of an open online course in Digital Storytelling called DS106 http://ds106.us/open-course/ based on previous syllabi taught at the University of Mary Washington. These guys are funny, the community is great btw. If we get time we then compress and normalise the volume.

kevin_macleod_1
a creative commoner 🙂

If we didn’t foley them ourselves, the sound effects come from a variety of creative commons licensed sources – mostly freesound.org . The full attribution is listed on each episode page. The cinematic soundscapes are from the generous folk at machinimasound.com and Kevin MacLeod who is responsible for a mass of free youtube scores incompetech.com

Lastly the lot is exported as a .wav file for broadcast later at City Park in the good old fashioned way over the airwaves.

PS to save youtube tutes for offline viewing i use http://www.converttoaudio.com/

The Questr

So the fun of the radio play is letting your imagination fill in the visuals but inevitably SOMEONE WILL WANT A PICTURE – Indeed Michael aka Terry asked me all about the inside of the Questr today, despite having been inside it  read the script. By happy coincidence the multi-talented  rabiddog008.deviantart.com ( who also clipped together our first trailer and voices several parts ) drew these …..

inside the type 40 Questr time machine
inside the type 40 Questr time machine

and here is the outside – the grey metallic cylinder from the academy in episode 1 (although it looks like it could have come from Ikea 🙂                                                       disguised as a gaslight lampost from Narnia  France in episode 3 and as a retro wooden photobooth complete with creaky door in episode 4 when we pick up Terry.