Friday, July 29, 2011

Plant echolocatability as an evolutionarily-selectable trait

This article in the LA Times talks about how certain plant have leaves that have developed to allow bat to locate them faster using echolocation. It's the same idea as using bright colors or plumage... just with SOUND!


(I am the batman.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sleeping Beauty Wakes at La Jolla Playhouse

This past month, I was the Assistant Sound Designer of Sleeping Beauty Wakes, a new rock musical at La Jolla Playhouse, a Tony-Award Winning Theater. While there I had the privilege of working with Tony-Nominated Sound Designer, Leon Rothenberg. The sound system featured equipment we use here at UCI; Meyer UPQs and UPJs for the Main Left and Right, Meyer M1Ds for a line array center cluster. There was also a full range delay system of UPJs and M1D-Subs. Front Fills were also M1Ds.

While being in residence at La Jolla Playhouse, I had the opportunity to run SIM3 for two days as Leon, Associate Sound Designer, Dave Corsello (UCSD Sound Design Graduate) and myself tuned the sound system. When the actors came onstage for soundcheck they noticed how great things sounded. The Musical Director James Sampliner (of Broadway's Wedding Singer and Legally Blonde) noticed how clean the sound was too.

The show runs through August 21st, I've included the website to check out videos and music from the production.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Freesound Recordings are up!

I finally finished the edit/upload/tag process for the recordings I made during my recent trip to Europe. There's not as much as I would have liked to post, but there's a bunch of unusual bits of Paris, Prague, and Rome for your enjoyment! Check it out here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

what's that ringing?

It's tough to fake a mobile phone on stage.

Well, I should say that it's easy to do a passable job, hard to do a great job.

In the old days of wired phones, there were some great options. Tele-Q boxes (a box that generates the right voltage to ring the phone - just plug the cable into the box and ring away!) worked well, as did specials/recordings and hiding bells in secret places. Even with cordless phones, there were plenty of ways to get a truly great effect - tele-q boxes (attached to the base station) and specials both worked well.

Mobile phones, on the other hand, are much trickier. The tele-q option doesn't work, because there is no base station. Hiding specials doesn't work very well either, because people carry their phones with them, making the sourcing very tough. A couple of recent productions I know of used an iphone app called Airfoil, which streams audio directly to your phone, but in my experiments with it, there's a variable lag of 1-3 seconds between when I tell the sound to play and when it actually plays. That lag is unacceptable in a theatre environment.

Plus, if you want get picky, the sound of a phone ringing varies dramatically as you pull the phone out of your pocket, purse, etc. That's a complex change that is tough to replicate.

So, sound designers have been poking around this issue for years, and each designer has a couple of solutions that work well enough for them. I tend to use specials, and if the situation exists, I'll build two rings, an in-pocket ring and an out-pocket ring. It's good, but not great.

But that may soon change. We may soon have something awesome that will change our lives! This part of our lives, anyhow... stay posted!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dial up, slowed down

For those of us who remember connecting to the net via dial up. Here is a tasty treat.