Sounds of Silence

14720430_10153954628567647_2673775829999032432_nYay season two is underway and this time we are working with several remote recorded artists. The studio is still the best so our main characters are recorded there, but Terry is still has no spaceship so he continues at home between jackhammer blasts from the construction site next door. It’s a bit of a miracle sometimes created with cushions and blankets.

The audio for some reason is better in video – either using an actual video camera or weirdly using Recordable app on my Samsung tablet. This app takes a video of another random app screen ???? and then gives you the audio as a wav file. I tried the straight recording app or two and their audio didn’t stack up – go figure. He bravely actually recorded a portion of episode 8 while in hospital – luckily we needed canteen noises – but stitching this in amongst the other voices to sound reasonable was a small nightmare. Smooshing a shopping mall ambience behind it helped considerably, then adjust equalizer, normalize.

mmmm bacon

The backbone of  the dialogue track is stitched together by one of the team. We rub out any overly long pauses, cut out the pops and breaths, the actors apparently need to breathe but its not always a pretty thing next to a mic, then add other pauses for drama.

Then follows creating a space for ambient background to talk to you is as important as the actual speech. We are subbing one sense for four others. check out this highly instructive TEDtalk if you are into soundfx.

Being on alien worlds poses a design issue – i often pick foreign ambiences with no recognisable speech. Avoiding obvious earth based technology cars, telephones, music, animals and so on is really hard. Episode 9 takes us to a desolate mining colony on the edge of the future human galactic expansion whose hills will be alive with ‘brown noise’.  In audacity there is a silence/noise generator which I’m trying out for the first time to place a background ambience for the rock world rather than use a field recording.

Previously we had a lot of studio ambience which is unaturally quiet – you should always hear something, machine hums, wind, traffic, voices and birds. the slight rustle of your own clothing. Some of the remastering in season one takes care of this thanks to the many free foley effects on the internet ( see individual shows for links).  Here’s a sample pack of room tones from a sound recorder whose work we have used in season one and two klankbeeld

Episode 3 remastered

Vive la revolution! – the internet revolution of the  sharing economy! So here we are volunteering our time and talents to make this radioplay …. because well let’s face it’s not really ready for a ticket paying audience but it’s definitely heaps better thanks to these dudes, who don’t charge us any money. They do ask for donations and I’ve been very happy to slip them a cup of coffee sized kind of donation for making it possible for me to stave off alzheimers creating these little amusements for your listening pleasure, so if you enjoyed episode 3 please support City Park Radio and the following –

Music for Manatees, and Tempting Secrets by incompetech.com

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Ep 3 sfx from freesound.org

You Can’t Say That Again!

As we head in to the on air replays of a remastered Ep1 tomorrow and finalise the scripts for S2 I thought again of some of the inspirations for the Whoniverse. It began all those years ago with an australian script writer in the shadow of a possible nuclear war, with themes of child welfare, tribal conflict over technological advantage and aired the day after the assassination of president JFK.

Science fiction is a perfect medium to explore uncomfortable themes lightly for our general audience, without making fun of it.  G rated being free to air, no visually graphic content. Radio gives us a lot of freedom and an unlimited wardrobe budget ( yay!)  The corny fantasy aspects work in our favour here – no one is going to take it too seriously  … and yet…

12662528_546702162168677_6253121898270132284_nTropes burned into the collective consciousness

Adam the chief script writer is rather young and living in the lucky country. He is of the generation of australians who are not convicts, refugees of war or bad economics, and yet those themes will be threaded throughout.  In production EP1 working title was Terror of France since it is set in the Napoleonic era but before it hit the airwaves Paris was rocked by the first of a string of terrorist attacks! So it was a rapidly renamed Citizen of Gallifrey pts 1-4 (because titles are just hard ok?)

Terry the companion is accidentally shoved into the dangerous universe from his comfy hipster lifestyle. Unlike the usual BBC companions he’s neither courageous nor particularly bright, although he has a handy knowledge of what the actor Michael Rutter calls ‘pub facts’. But by ep8 I had him step up, up meaning a whole 93 floors, and help unite two economically divided races. The currency is water – the currency that literally underlies the conflict in the Gaza strip which sits over an aquifer.

 What would Terry say?

Actually I think we only continue to teach Shakespeare at school so the generations have some common ground other than today’s weather. ‘Miles’ is still ok with millenials as ‘kilometres does not roll lightly off the tongue’, but ‘acres’ is largely out. So ‘miles of redbrick roofs’ it is.

A doctor who can say what she wants?

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season 2 means a new frock!

and then there is the whole fanfic thing of what does and does not upset auntie. I joined up to this production to have a go at script writing but also because i was INCENSED at the ageism and ownership of imagination that some people think the word copyright implies. Free speech is bandwith worth fighting for. So BBC freely broadcast into your home, set out to inspire young minds, and literally ‘capture’ their imagination. After making a false sense of friendship blossom, suddenly ‘auntie’ closes the trap on your 18 yo brain and shackles you to you can’t say/write/share that unless we give you permissions or you cross our greedy palms with silver?  Before that…yeah we would love you to use a T’ardis in your school play – teachers please contact us? Not on my watch. Ironic video of Peter Capaldi talking to a young fan at comic con -ahh how much the world has changed now Auntie has to deal with a facebook enabled parent observing.

Back when i was homeschooling, Auntie wanted to charge someink like AUD $66 before postage for a vhs tape of the RI Christmas lectures – a series inaugurated by Michael Faraday as  FREE public lecture. Meanwhile across the pond the HHMI foundation streamed their xmas lectures from the web or posted out a CD for nothing. Cue incensed letter to the RI followed by a sudden appearance of a benefactor and the free streaming, $6 CD at their institution too. So i thought we could have at least one grammatical use of the word doctor immediately followed by the word ‘who’ hidden in every script and perhaps a doctor who saves the world with a strongly worded letter to the editor … listen for them 😛
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/gDW4VUkvEfE?rel=0