The Soundworld Of Dr Who

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This interesting documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and explores the sound design of Doctor Who, both in its early years, and in recording the seventh BBC Wales series. Matthew Sweet interviews Tim Ricketts, Paul Jefferies and Brian Hodgson who are all involved with sound design on Doctor Who, past and present. Also interviewed the voice of the Daleks and Ice Warriors, Nicholas Briggs. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during the interval of the 2013 Doctor Who at the Proms.

Listen to the programme here


Also

Doctor Who: How Norfolk man created Dalek and Tardis sounds

Collaborations with Animation

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Blog post by level 2 AP student Nathan Lewis.

Earlier this year, an opportunity arose for Audio Production students to collaborate with the final year Animation students, who needed an original soundtrack design for their films. With the chance to enhance my learning experience and add to the repertoire of short films for my portfolio, I gladly attended the meeting to pitch my musical stylings to the groups in a rather professional manner (I hope). I was aware that each filmmaker required a specific style of artist for their film and was therefore delighted that my music captured the interests of two of the groups, which turned out to be amongst my favourite of the films.

With a rather jolly disposition, I took out my laptop and asked as many questions as I could about what they required from me. Both films required music and sound effects intertwined under a three dimensional, naturalistic, yet dreamy umbrella of auditory experience. I immediately got to work!

After uploading the animatics, I began composing the music. My method is to let the story play a few times till the required vibe is discovered for which I then perform the indicated melodies on a MIDI keyboard to depict the mood on screen. Because the animatics mainly consist of pencil outlines; imagination and foresight is very much required, hence it being a good idea to ask any key questions integral to understanding the plot, early as possible.

In total, I must have had about four pieces of music rejected, which taught me not only to keep my cool, but also a lot about catering for someone else’s design and vision, as usually the boot is on the other foot. Through many edits and adjustments, I eventually earned the trust of my teams and they allowed me to work more autonomously towards the final stages.

Highlights included the enlisting of my father as “incoherent quip” actor to perform some grunts, screams, oohs and aahs in one of the more acrobatic films. I originally attempted this myself only to rapidly discover my voice being not of the masculine persuasion required of the character.

Upon mutual satisfaction, the animatics were finally replaced with the fully animated versions where the stenciled in biros were replaced with beautiful colourings and HD frameworks. With these versions being less sporadic and more, well, animated, I was able to perform and record the foley which consisted mainly of footsteps and clothing rustles to bring the picture to life. The final versions were met with enthusiasm and sincere collaboration prospects for the future.

I recommend and advise any Audio Production student to get involved as it’s not only experience towards the field you are in, but also of the animation process itself; hence providing you with a wealth of invaluable industry experience upon graduation.

The two films complete with my composition and sound design can be seen here: River Man and here: Snowblind

The Most Significant Beat

A comparative study of changes in bass drum sounds from 70s disco to electronic dance music of the 1980s and 1990s.

This Paper was presented at the Art of Record Production conference at the University of Edinburgh, September 8th -10th 2006

The title for this paper; The Most Significant Beat, refers to the beat fulfilled as a bass drum sound. The material in focus contains the so-called four-to-the-floor bass drum pattern,where the author believes the bass drum is functionally crucial in initiating kinetic patterns amongst its receivers.

Guest Lecture – Grant Bridgeman 2013

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Grant Bridgeman is a familiar face around the university these days. He comes in to deliver workshops, masterclasses and lectures for our level 1 and 2 students.

In these sessions Grant draws on his experience and expertise to cover many aspects of working with audio for film and TV. This covers location sound recording, sound design, foley and sound effects capture, workflow and expert Pro Tools tuition in all aspects of audio post-production (track laying, dialogue editing, dialogue replacement and mixing etc.).

However, at level 3, Grant’s lecture covers the many aspects of his job other than the sound bit. In his Everything But The Sound lecture, Grant explains the day to day activities of the freelance audio professional. From filling in tax returns, to invoicing clients, to repairing kit, to archiving and accounting, to maintaining contacts and CV information. All the stuff that a student about to leave university needs to know, including some of the more difficult aspects such as no sick pay, no annual leave and sometimes wondering where the next job might come from.

Despite all this, it’s obvious that Grant loves his job and he’s a very enthusiastic lecturer. In fact, once he gets going, he’s very difficult to stop! We could definitely have done with an extra hour for this session. 🙂

Grant’s last job was as the sound recordist on ITV’s Mr Selfridge. For an interview with Grant about his experiences on this job please click here.

the Sound of Skyfall

The sound of Skyfall

The SoundWorks Collection dives into the latest installment in the long-running saga based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond character.

Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Jarhead) brings the audience an entirely new storyline to the Bond character in “Skyfall”.

Exploring the sound and music of the film we talk with Scott Millan (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Greg Russell (Sound Re-recording Mixer),
Karen Baker Landers (Supervising Sound Editor), and Per Hallberg (Supervising Sound Editor).

see also

http://soundworkscollection.com/skyfall

Students’ audio series is quality material for BBC Radio 4

University of Lincoln students who created an audio series about one of the world’s greatest scientists have had their work featured on Radio 4’s Material World.

Students and a recent graduate from the University’s Audio Production course were originally asked to produce an audio tour for The Gravity Fields Festival, which aims to celebrate the legacy of Grantham’s most famous son Sir Isaac Newton.

But the quality of the work is such the science programme Material World used extracts from it to introduce a 15-minute segment on the eight-day festival which took place at the end of September.

The audio, which was also serialised on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, features amateur actors and local schoolchildren and was all recorded on location – including Newton’s birth in the very same room at Woolsthorpe Manor.

Bryan Peter Rudd, the University’s Audio Production programme leader, put the team together following a request from the festival organisers and the BBC.

Bryan said: “This was a fantastic partnership for the University to be involved with. The quality of work produced by the students is absolutely tremendous and they achieved this while working under enormous pressure to very tight deadlines. I am extremely proud of them as they have shown the amazing quality of work our students are capable of.”

Luke Pickering, who recently graduated from the University with a first-class honours degree in audio production, led the student team which consisted of Jake Walker, James Drake and Stephen Bernard.

Luke, 22, who also spent the summer recording live bands, said: “Recording on location was something I hadn’t had much experience in so that aspect was really interesting. Between the four of us it worked smoothly and I’m really pleased with the finished product.”

Jake, 20, added: “It was a fantastic experience. When I told my mum the audio had been played on Radio 4 she was delighted, if I ever got to work on The Archers she’d probably cry. I was a bit scared as we only had a week to put it together but I learned so much which I can apply to future projects.”

Charlie Partridge, Managing Editor of BBC Radio Lincolnshire, involved the University after he was initially approached to produce an audio tour for the festival.

He said: “It soon became clear that it would also be suitable for radio drama. The University has amazing facilities and a great bunch of talented people, which is why I immediately contacted the media department. The students worked fantastically well from our point of view and it was great they had the opportunity to have their work broadcast, not only on local radio but also on Radio 4. I applied a real quality test to the finished product, so it was a real challenge for them. That kind of site specific drama is really difficult to get right but they did. It is in every way a professional recording and is testament to the very talented people both studying and working at the University of Lincoln.”

To listen to the episode of Material World which features excerpts from the radio drama go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mwzwj from 16 minutes in.

Story by Marie Daniels – PR Officer

Ludwig Koch and the Music of Nature

Ludwig Koch was once as famous as David Attenborough, as pioneering as ‘Blue Planet’ and as important as the BBC Natural History Unit. They all owe their existence to this German refugee who first recorded the music of nature. Through his archive and new field recordings the poet Sean Street tells the story of Ludwig Koch.

When Sean Street was recording in a store-room at the Science Museum for a Radio 4 archive programme he came across a grey crate, stencilled, as if it belonged to a band on tour, with KOCH on it. This was the disc-cutting machine which Ludwig Koch used for a decade to make the recordings of birds, mammals and insects that led to a new field of study, of broadcasting and the creation of the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

Sean and his producer then began investigating and discovered that Koch made the first ever wildlife recording, of a bird, when he was eight, in 1889 – and that it still exists in the BBC’s archives.

Koch was an effusive man and this led to several confrontations with Nazi officials, whom he despised. There is an extraordinary recording of him telling the story of a Berliner whose bullfinch sang ‘The Internationale’. He was carted off to prison and the bird ‘executed’. “Under dictatorship,” Koch observed, “even songbirds suffer”. He came to England, worked with Julian Huxley on theories of animal language, and recorded birds from the Scillies to Shetland.

In 1940 he joined the BBC and soon became a household name, beloved of comedians (there’s a great sketch by Peter Sellers parodying him at work) because of his resolute pronunciation of English as if it were German.

As well as being wonderful radio in itself his work was of great significance. It inspired producer Desmond Hawkins to start ‘The Naturalist’, (using Koch’s enchanting recording of a curlew as its signature tune). Sean Street uses his recordings and contributions of those who worked with him in what becomes a natural history programme in itself, with Koch the subject and Sean exploring his habits and habitat.

There is also an attempt to record curlews as he did so successfully, to shed light on the achievements of this courageous, influential and loveable genius. Today sound-recordists use tiny digital machines and sophisticated microphones. But there are other problems – traffic, planes, people – and fewer, shyer curlews.

Listen to the programme here
Producer: Julian May.

Robert Babicz on Mastering


Robert Babicz  is a Polish music producer, mastering engineer and live performer living in Cologne, Germany. With a career spanning nearly two decades covering genres from techno to acid house to minimal, Babicz has also been known under the pseudonyms Rob AcidAcid WarriorDepartment of Dance and Sontec amongst many others. He has released a number of very well respected record labels such as Kompakt, Treibstoff, Bedrock , Intec Digital and  Audiomatique, as well his own labels, Junkfood and Babiczstyle. He is well known as a live performer, never a DJ, as he uses synths and live equipment and improvises in every set he plays. Watch the video here

In this short interview, he discusses mastering, what he thinks of mastering software,how you should prepare your track for mastering and gives an insight into the kit he uses.

Skywalker Sound Legend to visit Nottingham 27th June 2012

The Institute for Screen Industries Research at the University of Nottingham is pleased to announce a presentation and Q&A with two-time Oscar winning sound designer Randy Thom. Randy is Director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound and has been responsible for the sound design on dozens of Hollywood blockbusters including Star Wars Episode VIHarry Potter and the Goblet of FireForrest GumpThe Right Stuff and The Incredibles.

Event details:

Wednesday  27th June at 3pm – Presentation and Q&A (with Gianluca Sergi, Director of the Institute for Screen Industries Research)

Clive Granger A48,

University Park Campus

University of Nottingham

NG7 2RD

The event is free and open to all but please register by contacting Elizabeth.evans@nottingham.ac.uk

 

DEGREE SHOW 2012 – 1st Audio Production Students Graduate


AUDIO PRODUCTION STUDENTS GRADUATE – the class of 2012 is the first to graduate.

We’re nearing the end of the academic year and with it comes the Lincoln School of Media degree show. This will be the first cohort of Audio Production students to graduate and the degree show highlights the varied and exciting work the students have produced including; radio drama and documentary, music production, sound design for film, experimental film, soundscapes, game sound design and binaural film sound!

The DEGREE SHOW IS ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE – spread the word – watch the video here.