Aural Fixation Archive

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Why I’m Giving Up on Pro Tools and Audition

Why I’m Giving Up on Pro Tools and Audition

I’ve been using Audition since it was Cool Edit 1.0.  It has always been my go-to software to getting things done.  And coupled with Pro Tools, I had a mighty editing suite indeed.  But last week I stepped up to a personal challenge that changed my workflow permanently.

I had one week to edit a half-hour audio piece for Halloween, Vultures over Low Doves

Why I’m Giving Up on Pro Tools and Audition

I typically design in Pro Tools and use Adobe Audition as my go-too tool for builds and destructive work. However, the dialog editor, Eli McIlveen works predominantly in Reaper, so I decided to give it a go to keep things consistent. To cover clean up and mastering, which I typically do in Audition, I opted to use iZotope RX4 Advanced.

Why I’m Giving Up on Pro Tools and Audition

The first day was slow, but eye opening:  I had before me a suite that made designing feel like designing again, an artistic process, rather than a technical one.  Despite the learning curve, I was still able to flow and work within Reaper, and it required almost none of the special tweaking I have to do to get Audition or Pro Tools running smoothly.

All total, it probably took me about 45 minutes to get my computer setup into a reasonably workable configuration and start designing.  That said, Reaper also incorporates a lot of new functionality that I will definitely be implementing.

Probably my favorite feature is the folders.  Both Pro Tools and Audition have grouping functions, but nothing like this.  Reaper allows me to configure groups of people, settings and grouped builds under a master folder that acts as a bus for all of it’s sub folders.   This is incredible useful, if like me, you tend to build your designs into a space.

Another super easily accessible feature of Reaper is the ability to render audio quickly on the fly.  This takes a lot of power off of the processor, which means I can use all the plugins I need to without burning out all my available processing.

As for RX4, the ambience matching alone makes the software indispensable. After all, with enough room tone, one could conceivably build the world.  More than that, though, is RX4′s Dereverb and EQ matching, which allows you to take otherwise unmatched material and make everything sound clean and usable. It’s no substitute for a clean track, but anyone who’s not listening for it, will hardly know the difference, making it perfect for tracks that are otherwise buried in the mix.

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John August is one of my favorite writers professionally. I…

John August is one of my favorite writers professionally. I love a writer who is not afraid to share his craft, because while you may write, you will never write like John August. And that’s a good thing. John August already has that job.

Today’s share is on #Writing and it’s from johnaugust.com, a site I highly recommend for any aspiring script writer, regardless of the medium. The notes on the audio can be found at http://johnaugust.com/2014/twelve-days-of-scriptnotes.

These guys are a lot of fun, so strap in and get ready for some great writing discussion.

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The Horizon

The Horizon

I want to apologize to everyone for the radio silence lately. We’ve been scheming and planning and reworking Aural Stage Studios into a major contributor and contender in the audio market.

You might have noticed some changes going on with Aural Stage Studios. Maybe not. Whether you have or haven’t big changes are on the horizon.

One of those changes is moving Aural Fixation over here to tumblr, where others can partake of the audio goodness and follow us on our journey to creating professional audio.

There are a whole lot of stars aligning lately, from the success of various audio dramas in the public arena, to our involvement in an audio drama produced and funded by a major audio publisher and featuring some major talent.

More on that when we’re allowed to say more.

We are also working with local Buffalo talent, businesses and ventures to create a new series. We are still in development stages, so it’s still a bit early to say much, but it’s going to be fun…

More soon…

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theboardofdirectorslovesyou: This winter, HartLife is excited…

theboardofdirectorslovesyou:

This winter, HartLife is excited to share a new Exclusion Day Special- an Our Fair City retelling of the classic “Christmas Carol.”   This episode is a new experiment in recording for us, and will sound very different from previous episodes.  Recorded “live,” without significant editing or retakes, we hope to capture the fun of sitting around a living room, telling stories into a microphone.

  • Dr. Emily Caligari— Marsha Harman
  • Larry Joiner, Guest Narrator—Ryan Lucas
  • Clay—Clint Worthington
  • Sandy—Abby Doud
  • Andrew Snidge—Frank Sjodin
  • Flint—Clayton Faits
  • Roman—Jeffrey Gardner
  • Dr. Moro—Mark Soloff
  • Lindsey the Time Traveler—Kat Evans
  • Neal Henderson— Sebastian H. Orr
  • Ol’ Silty— Sebastian H. Orr
  • Dr. Herbert West Ryan Schile
  • Cassie Wilkins— Ele Matelan
  • Lily Wilkins— Kat Evans
  • Mrs. Wilkins— Lauren Faits
  • Loamy— Kat Evans
  • Ash— Ryan Lucas
  • Ferrous— Lauren Faits
  • George Chamberlain— Jim McDoniel
  • Ebeneezer Scrooge— Ryan Lucas

Written by Jim McDoniel.  Produced by David Rheinstrom.  Live foley designed and performed by David Rheinstrom and Jeffrey Gardner.  Musical Direction by Betsey Palmer.  Sound Engineering by Clayton Faits.  Production Management by Betsey Palmer.  Created by Clayton Faits.

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Funding and Monetization for Audio Drama: Damn! Can a Brother Get SomeLove Up in Here? Part IV

MonetizationFunding and Monetization for Audio Drama: Damn! Can a Brother Get Some Love Up in Here? Part IV An important part of producing audio drama is figuring out how to pay for it.  Every audio drama producer we speak with is talking about how to (or whether to) make money from the productions that we put so much work into, or at least how to raise enough money to produce the next show.  As we talk to more and more people who are making modern audio drama there are a lot of different ideas, trials, errors and successes that are being discussed.  In an attempt to learn more about the methods that people are using to generate or recoup funds, we rounded up a few producers to talk about the relationship between money and audio drama.  We hope that sharing their experiences will be instructional for everyone facing similar challenges. For our final installment of this series Matthew speaks with Clayton Faits and Jeffrey Gardner of Hartlife NFP, the team responsible for the remarkable and unexpected series Our Fair City. hartlife_logo The Hartlife NPC team’s enthusiasm and commitment to quality has quickly made them a notable entry in the modern audio drama world. Hailing from Chicago, Our Fair City is produced by a group of theatre veterans, experienced sound designers, and science educators, the series has won awards and critical acclaim for its dynamic acting, incisive writing, and high level of production.  The group has won multiple Mark Time Awards, and was a Finalist for a 2013 Parsec Award. Our Fair City was named the year’s Best Original Comedy in the 2013 Audio Verse Awards. Our Fair City Our Fair City has also appeared at the 2013 Chicago Fringe Festival, at CONvergence in Minneapolis, MN, and as part of Fringe Radio for the 2013 Atlanta Fringe Festival.  Our Fair City has been broadcast on National Public Radio through Columbus, OH’s WCBE 90.5FM, Minneapolis/St. Paul’s KFAI 90.3 FM, Portland, Maine’s WMPG 90.9 FM, Nova Scotia’s CKDU 88.1 FM, and by affiliate radio stations across Canada and the world, and has been featured on The Sonic Society, Radio Drama Revival, The Sci-Fi Diner, and Chris and Crys take over the World. Led by creator Clayton Faits and executive producer Jeffrey Gardner, the HartLife NFP team produces original audio drama, as well as a comic anthology, a series of live performances, and high-concept launch parties. Our Fair City is available for free streaming online, through iTunes, or through your favorite RSS feed service. img_53a185328b3fb Clayton Faits Creator/Head Writer/Actor (Nathan Rourke, VP Carter, Flint, The Three, Various) Clayton Faits grew up in Southwick, Massachusetts, where the days are short and the winters are long. After studying theater and history at Tulane University, he moved to Chicago where conditions are much the same. In addition to writing for Our Fair City, he enjoys games of all kinds, toys that fly, and jokes that aren’t funny. Jeffrey1SHO7956 Jeffrey Gardner Exectutive Producer/Director/Actor (The Voice of HartLife, Roman, Various) Jeffrey is a director and dramaturg living and working in Chicago, IL. His local stage credits include Sideshow theatre, New Leaf Theatre, Eclipse theatre, the Steppenwolf Garage, Collaboraction, WildClaw theatre’s Deathscribe festival, and the Chicago Fringe Festival, among others.  He is a former adjunct instructor in the theatre department at Kenyon College, Marketing Coordinator for Collaboraction, and now serves as an Operations Coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago.  In his copious spare time, Jeffrey enjoys playing folk music slightly faster than it was meant to be played, complicated board games, and commuting via bicycle. *The views expressed in the following interview are that of the person doing the speaking.  It’s not our fault if you don’t like what he or she is saying.  If you want to get passive-aggressively confrontational with a computer screen about the contents of this interview please try to remember that you are also exercising the right to express your views in a public forum.  Don’t be that person. **The masculinized title of this series is not meant to imply that there are no other-gendered audio content producers, providers or listeners.  It is simply a humble attempt at humor.

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Funding and Monetization for Audio Drama: Damn! Can a Brother Get SomeLove Up in Here? Part III

MonetizationAn important part of producing audio drama is figuring out how to pay for it.  Every audio drama producer we speak with is talking about how to (or whether to) make money from the productions that we put so much work into.  As we talk to more and more people who are making modern audio drama there are a lot of different ideas, trials, errors and successes that are being discussed.  In an attempt to learn more about the methods that people are using to generate or recoup funds, we rounded up a few producers to talk about the relationship between money and audio drama.  We hope that sharing their experiences will be instructional for everyone facing the same challenges.

This week Mariele Runacre Temple the producer for The Wireless Theatre Company shares her experience with us.

Since 2009 The Wireless Theatre Company has been regularly recording award winning original audio content for download for a growing audience.  They have over 140 original plays that are available to download covering all genres including: Drama, Comedy, Science Fiction, Thrillers, Musicals, featuring celebrity actors such as: Stephen Fry, Jo Brand, Josephine Tewson, Nicholas Parsons, Brian Blessed, Catherine Cusack and many more.

Their productions have won several awards including:

Best Radio Drama Producer 2009 (Fringe Report Awards),

Best Entertainment Producer & Best Online Multi Platform Creator 2011 (Radio Academy Awards), Best Horror/Fantasy Audio 2012 (Mark Time Ogle Award),

Best Long Form Documentary 2013 (British Public Radio Awards) and they are featured in Radio Drama Reviews Top Best 20 Productions of 2012

Wireless Theatre Company also offers workshops and talks in schools around the country through its Wireless Theatre In Education Programme.  They provide Voice Over & Recording services to Corporate Clients, hold live recording events throughout the UK and consistently acts as the most favoured platform for, new writers to air their creativity.

Visit Wireless Theatre Company at http://www.wirelesstheatrecompany.co.uk and subscribe today to experience some of their productions.

 

*The views expressed in the following interview are that of the person doing the speaking.  It’s not our fault if you don’t like what he or she is saying.  If you want to get passive-aggressively confrontational with a computer screen about the contents of this interview please try to remember that you are also exercising the right to express your views in a public forum.  Don’t be that person.

**The masculinized title of this series is not meant to imply that there are no other-gendered audio content producers, providers or listeners.  It is simply a humble attempt at humor.

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Fundraising and Monetization for Audio Drama: Damn! Can a Brother GetSome Love Up in Here? Part II

Monetization An important part of producing audio drama is figuring out how to pay for it.  Every audio drama producer we speak with is talking about how to (or whether to) make money from the productions that we put so much work into.  As we talk to more and more people who are making modern audio drama there are a lot of different ideas, trials, errors and successes that are being discussed.  In an attempt to learn more about the methods that people are using to generate or recoup funds, we rounded up a few producers to talk about the relationship between money and audio drama.  We hope that sharing their experiences will be instructional for everyone facing the same challenges. This week we have KC Wayland of Wayland Productions sharing his experiences with us.  KC is one of the creators and producers of We’re Alive, an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat series that puts a whole new spin on the zombie genre.  We’re Alive. we're alive

We’re Alive is one of the most widely distributed modern audio drama and has won the 2010 Silver Ogle and 2009 Gold Ogle Awards and 4th Annual Dead Letter Award.  It was named Best of 2012 in the iTunes Arts category and was nominated Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama Long Form for four consecutive years.

 

KcPortraitBorn in Orange CA, Kc Wayland attended Orange High School Media Arts program for both Acting and Film theory and production and graduated with the Principle’s Medallion.  Kc won several awards while in the school’s media arts program including the Award of Excellence in Arts and Best Student Editor (KOCE Media Festival) in 2001. In this program Kc also worked as a cinematographer on a video poem titled Blue Doll, a short that went to play at Sundance Film Festival in 2001. He was also involved in drama, starring in several stage performances such as the Music Man (as the lead Harold Hill), and also Hannibal in The Curious Savage.  During high school, Kc graduated with top honors in three animation field classes from CCROP and went to work developing special effects on several short films including Return to Innsmouth. In 2001 he was awarded an Academic scholarship and started attending Chapman University’s Film Program.  There he continued to produce several short films including Love Lost, The Creature, Where Dolls Lie, Butterfly, and several others. In January of 2002, shortly after 9-11, Casey enlisted in the US ARMY. He took a leave of absence from Chapman and was sent to boot camp in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and then to train at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade Maryland.  He received two certifications in broadcast engineering and was awarded both Top Graduate and Distinguished Honor Graduate. In 2003 Kc returned to Chapman University to continue his degree, but was deployed to Iraq midway through his first semester. Kc spent over a year being deployed with the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment. He was nominated for a Bronze Star for meritorious service while stationed in the heart of Baghdad. He returned back to Chapman University in 2005 and went on to complete a documentary about his journeys overseas entitled 365 Boots on Ground. This feature length documentary went onto win Best Documentary at Chapman University 2005, Best Student Doc in the Bear Bear Film Festival, and Best Student Film at the Tiberon International Film festival. Kc continued to work and develop more shorts and scripts during his enrollment. Before graduating he worked as an editor and associate producer for another feature length documentary, Eastern State – Living Behind the Walls. His graduating thesis culminated with an 18 minute long self-animated short entitled Sopor that took over a year and a half to produce. He graduated in May of 2008 with the Cheverton Award (Valedictorian). Shortly after, Kc received a designated subjects credential and began teaching at Costa Mesa High School’s ROP program and also at OCHSA. After completing a year of instruction he received a full time staff position at Dodge College of Film and Media arts, where he currently works as the Digital Applications Specialist. In his time away from work he continues to write, produce, edit, and direct the award winning audio drama serial, We’re Alive.

 

*The views expressed in the following interview are that of the person doing the speaking.  It’s not our fault if you don’t like what he or she is saying.  If you want to get passive-aggressively confrontational with a computer screen about the contents of this interview please try to remember that you are also exercising the right to express your views in a public forum.  Don’t be that person.

**The masculinized title of this series is not meant to imply that there are no other-gendered audio content producers, providers or listeners.

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Funding and Monetization for Audio Drama: Damn! Can a Brother Get SomeLove Up in Here?

Monetization

Monetization for Audio Drama:

Damn! Can a Brother Get Some Love Up in Here?

An important part of producing audio drama is figuring out how to pay for it. Every audio drama producer we speak with is talking about how to (or whether to) make money from the productions that we put so much work into, either to recoup production expenses, fund the next production or maybe even quit your day job. As we talk to more and more people we hear a lot of different ideas, trials, errors and successes. In an attempt to learn more about the funding methods that people are using, we rounded up a list of the usual suspects to talk about the relationship between money and audio drama. We hope that sharing their experiences will be instructional for all of us who are facing the same challenges.

fred-headshot

First to the podium is Mr. Fred Greenhalgh of FinalRune Productions. Fred is the creator of The Cleansed, an award winning full cast audio drama of post-apocalyptic proportions. He is also the owner/operator of Radio Drama Revival, showcasing the diversity and vitality of modern audio theater.

Frederick Greenhalgh has been writing stories since childhood and working in radio drama since 2006. Trained as an indie filmmaker, he has brought a filmic approach to his radio stories that include location production and cinematic sound design. His passion is in telling genre stories with a slant and reenvisioning how the audio format can entertain and illuminate in the twenty-first century. Greenhalgh lives with his wife and daughter in rural Maine in an off-grid home they built together.

Funding and Monetization for Audio Drama: Damn! Can a Brother Get SomeLove Up in Here?

Disclaimer

*The views expressed in the following interview are that of the person doing the speaking. It’s not our fault if you don’t like what he or she is saying. If you want to get passive-aggressively confrontational with a computer screen about the contents of this interview please try to remember that you are also exercising the right to express yourself in a public forum. Don’t be that person.

**The masculinized title of this series is not meant to imply that there are no other-gendered audio content producers, providers or listeners. It is simply a humble attempt at humor; much like this disclaimer.

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Power on the Go

One of the hallmarks of a good audio production is high-quality sound effects.  One of the best ways to build a library of first-rate SFX is to record and edit them yourself.  Recording your own SFX ensures that you have the right sound for your project (anyone else ever needed a coydog that growls, yips, yelps and whimpers?), that the SFX in your production are legitimately free and with the right equipment recording your own SFX is inexpensive.  While we do love our Sound Ideas library, there is something very satisfying about collecting your own sounds.

Matt Scoby Dam Harvesting Water

As a follow up to last week’s article “Sound Effects by Rubber Onion“, we thought we would share one of our cheap and easy methods for making sure you have power for your recorders while collecting sounds in the field on the go.

Our on-the-go field recording kit is purposefully small.  We like to travel and never know what we might come across, so we pack this basic kit for those just in case situations.  First we have the Zoom H4n, we have been impressed with the quality of this digital recorder for it’s price.

Zoom H4n

The draw back to this device is that it eats batteries like cookie monster eats cookies, and stamina mode, which extends battery life, limits your recordings to 44.1 kHz/16-bit.  Full professional battery packs cost in the hundreds.  So we came up with a solution; the Anker External Battery. Anker External Battery The external battery has USB ports, recharges quickly and is nearly the same size as the Zoom H4n.  We then use a USB Power cable to connect the recorder to the external battery.

H4n & ChargerAnd then to make it really classy we hold the two together with a few rubber bands.  Rubber bandsSo now you’re ready to plug in your headphones and go.

h4n & Charger Front h4n Charger Rubber Bands

We have also done this with the Zoom H1.  H1 and ChargerThe H1 requires a USB to mini USB cable to connect to the external battery and of course some snazzy rubber bands.H1 Attached to Charger

Next, just to see if we could, we tried hooking the external battery up to the Zoom R24 multitrack recorder.R24 & Charger BackR24 and ChargerR24-2 R24-2 In order to be portable this recorder requires 6 AA batteries.  That’s a lot of batteries to be using up.  BatteriesThe external battery powers the R24 nicely.  The only drawback to this solution is we can’t wrap a rubber band around it.

There are a variety of portable, hand held recorders available.  Before adding the Zoom H4n to our kit we used the Zoom H2n almost exclusively.  Sony offers the PCM-M10 and Tascam has the DR-05.  Both of these recorders are comparable to the Zoom hand held in both size and price range.  As long as the recorder uses a 5 volt power supply these external batteries can be adapted for use with nearly any configuration.Matt Recording at Scoby Dam

This mini kit fits into a small camera bag and goes with us whenever we hit the road.  We do have a larger kit for planned field recording excursions, but this one makes sure we can nab sounds as we encounter them.  Another advantage of the hand-held set up, is that you can conceal the recorder if you are out in crowded places (especially if you have a pair of these).  We all need a good variety of crowd sounds, but if you try to record a crowd they usually stop talking or start overacting.  The external battery can also be charged with a car charger, which makes it even more convenient for travel.

 

 

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Sound Effects by Rubber Onion

This week’s Aural Fixation is a great video on making your Sound Effects by Steven Brooks from Rubber Onion Animation, who posted this v in 2010 in the process of making his own animated film. I don’t necessarily agree with his choice of microphones for the sounds, and some of the sounds work well only for animation and comedy. The results are impressive nonetheless.

Enjoy!

In particular, I would recommend using shotgun or pencil mics for most of the recordings and using a large diaphragm condenser for some of the sounds with deeper more resonant layers and lower frequencies. For many of the gunshot takes, using a contact (piezo) microphone on the resonance box (in this case, the bin) as well as a good shotgun microphone to capture the attack and more metallic tones from the stapler would create a secondary, bass layer that would sound heavier and richer than pitch processing everything.

Steven does a great job demonstrating how easy it is with a good ear and a little ingenuity to create your own sound effects from scratch.

If you’re interested in getting started creating your own sound effects from scratch, I highly recommend reading, marking up and absorbing The Sound Effects Bible: How to Create and Record Hollywood Style Sound Effects by Ric Viers. It’s a good primer on creating both realistic and impressionistic sound effects.