Ian F. Hunt

Cinematographer and Filmmaker

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Professional Project – Evaluation, The Art of Sport Festival

The Art of Sport Festival – AUCB Professional Project

The Art of Sport Festival. Weymouth Dorset Friday 4th May 2012.

Event located at Redlands Community Sports HUB and Wey Valley School.

Art of Sport Festival (3 minute version)

Art of Sport Festival (short version)

This has been one of the most challenging units in this academic year. It’s challenging on many levels, for example this was my first Documentary and working with an external client on a media project. A good decision was made early on, that was to test and hone our filming and documentary skills by getting involved with smaller but related projects leading up to the main festival. The first project, the filming of the Long Jump gave us some familiarity of what to expect when filming a sports event. This was immediately followed by the filming of the ‘Mini Art of Sport Festival’ which was an even better introduction to successfully producing a sport documentary.

I also watched some example sport documentaries on the internet and was surprised by the poor quality of many that I watched, some appeared to be unedited just visual records of sports events.

I’ve researched documentary theory, the most helpful was the book ‘Introduction to Documentary’ by Bill Nichols from the AUCB Library.

  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (1 Jan 2002)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0253214696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253214690

My responsibilities were concentrated on the production of the videos, from visualisation, camera operation to editing and just about everything else in between. As we are a small team of 2 we often had to get involved in areas outside of our respected responsibilities particularly as this was essentially a client based project. We had technical issues; problematic equipment, location generated problems. These problems were added to by the need to satisfy an external client. Therefore I found myself in the position of having thought the job was done only to have to go back to the project and re-edit or make changes to the opening or end credits.

I also designed the end credits using images and logos approved and/or supplied by the client. It was fairly boring orginally so I added a card swip effect using After Effects and added some sound effects to punch it up a little.

As per the requirements of this unit a paper record of all our correspondence with the client, pre-production notes and associated processes are contained in a folder, which will be made available for assessment.

I’ve documented the projects planning, budgets and invoicing in previous blog entries.

Mini Art of Sport Festival – Blog Link:- Professional Project – RELAYS

Paul Oluyemi Long Jump – Blog Link:- Professional Project – London Olympics 2012

The Art of Sport Festival

With the completion of the Mini Art of Sport Festival I had in effect a working template for the main event ‘The Art of Sport Festival’ which took place on Friday 4th May 2012 at the Redlands Centre in Weymouth. From the experience gained from the preceding event I asked Aleksandra to obtain a camera and also asked Georgie Hewitt who I knew was good at filming with a DSLR to join us on the day. My idea behind this was that whilst I would film the days events and activities using mainly long and mid shots, Aleks and Georgie would concentrate on close ups and alternative angles to the ones I was using.

My plan for this project was to look for new content to film, the idea being that this could be added to by suitable video clips taken from the Mini Art of Sport Festival if necessary. I suspected that we would end up with considerably more content than what would be required for a 2 minute film or a 5 minute film and any duration in between.

I also thought it would be a good idea to create a variety of edits using different styles, for example 1 edit could be in a Corporate style and another more targeted towards a more general audience and maybe a 3rd just for children. These edits would be made available to the client should they want them.

We were fortunate on the day with the promised rainfall thankfully absent, I’d had visions of all 2,000 children relocated to the undercover facilities and the cancellation of some of the activities. However with the changing cloud cover the available light changed as well and so some sequences appear dark while others are bright. When working on the edits for this final project I am grateful to the pre-production planning where I decided we really must have an additional camera in order to cover the activities, shots and opportunities that may be missed by not having that additional resource. I have used footage from all 3 cameras in the editing process.

We have footage for several edits and should be able to satisfy the clients immediate and future requirements. For the purposes of this unit and the rapidly approaching deadline I have produced example edits based on the clients previous requirements, but I’m sure we will have to make changes to these depending on the media platform they will be displayed be it for a TV using a DVD or for upload to the Internet for video streaming.

In conclusion I think that overall this unit has gone well with the clients requirements having been met for the 3 projects. The team has worked well, each of our skills and abilities complimenting each other. What would I change if I had to repeat this type of assignment? to be honest not much, it would seem to be obvious to enlarge the team size but I would disagree, a larger team may have presented more problems than it would have solved. For example increased logistics, higher costs and associated additional equipment requirements may outweigh more any benefit it may have had. If I was to be critical I would say that we would have reduced our, or in particular my workload, in post production if I had determined our clients wishes more satisfactorily. I made the mistake of assuming that my requirements for the completed edit would closely match the clients, this was proved to be an incorrect assumption on my part. The solution to this would have been to involve the client earlier and throughout the stages of the post production process. However in my defense some of the changes were introduced late in the process for example the addition of more logos and changes to some of the edits to exclude individuals from the final edit.

The extensive project notes, shots lists and storyboards have been submitted as a folder at the hand in date.

Mini Art of Sport Festival – Evaluation

Here is the final client approved video for the Mini Art of Sport Festival

This was an enjoyable project, we were basically set an open brief to document the days events, the only restriction was that some of the children could not be filmed other than that we could decide ourselves on the best approach and the content that we would generate.

I’ve documented the days events in a previous blog but essentially, apart from some technical issues we successfully completed the planned filming and created a few set pieces which could be used to enliven the final video. On the whole I think we were satisfied by what we had achieved between just the 2 of us using the resources we had to hand.

Then in Post Production I became suddenly aware of the clients change in requirements and how they would differ from my own. Up to this point and on previous projects the only person I had to satisfy with my finished creation was myself, while keeping an eye on satisfying the brief and feedback from lecturers. For this project I produced a number of video edits (7 in all) until I had a final video which satisfied the clients brief, which included the following:-

  • must be no longer than 3 minutes long,
  • must not show/identify certain individuals,
  • must use only authorised logos and laid out in a particular sequence.
  • must be in .MOV file format

On top of this the video needed to include particular activities and people. Of course these requirements changed/evolved over the Post Production process hence the high number of edits produced.

Finally we advised the client on the presentation of the video for the VIP’s on the day of the Festival, suggesting that they abandon their original idea of using projection. That instead they secure a large screen TV or LCD panel for the day as this would cope more effectively with the lighting conditions (viewing in a marquee in full daylight). The Plasma TV they sourced had a built in DVD Player and good sound quality which solved the problem of linking DVD Player and Sound System to the display.

The early versions of this video was plagued by its audio, even though a directional microphone was used the ambient noise in the Sports Hall created by 100’s of children drowned out the voices of the interview. This was unsolvable although I attempted a variety of sound filtering using Audacity and Soundbooth. The only solution was to record again the interview sequences in a controlled environment. While doing this I had the idea to use this opportunity to record an interview specifically for the Art of Sport Festival in anticipation of similar problems with sound on the day. (This was proved to be the right decision)

The extensive project notes, shots lists and storyboards have been submitted as a folder at the hand in date.

 Mini Art of Sport Festival – Edit Stages as a Playlist (7 videos in all)

The Long Jump Project and Video – Evaluation

As I mentioned in my Blog entry for this project I was really pleased with the outcome, the final video coming very close to my original visualisation. Although we had all kinds of problems scheduling the shoot everything came together on the night. Our preparations and pre-production were up to the job and the shot list completed in good order with time to explore alternative angles and shots.

The post production also went as planned and I soon had 2 edits which I was pleased with and importantly satisfied the client.

If only all projects had progressed so satisfactorily.

The extensive project notes, shots lists and storyboards have been submitted as a folder at the hand in date.

Professional Project – Links to related Blogs

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New Perspectives for New Contexts – Introduction

Hockney iPad

Fig 1.0 Hockney iPad

iPad Artists

David Hockney, surely England’s most celebrated living artist has embraced the latest in new digital technology; for it is his use of the Apple iPad and iPhone replacing the traditional sketch book in the creation of his latest Artworks that inspire me to ask the question is this finally ‘The breakthrough in the acceptance of Digital Technology by artists of Fine Art’

To quote Hockney he says, “At first you think it’s a bit of a novelty, it took me a while to realise it’s quite a serious tool you can use. And it took me a while to get skilful on it. Skill is practise. It’s not just a novelty. I realised this is a clever tool you can use.”
He added: “The iPad is very very direct. I would point out [that] Turner used watercolour because it was a quicker medium than oil-painting so you could quickly get down more fleeting effects. If you find a medium that’s even faster than that any artist is going to be interested in it.
“It’s a very serious medium. It’s just a newer one and it affects the way you do things.
“You couldn’t have had impressionism without the invention of the collapsible tube so you could take paints outside. Technology affects things all the time and it certainly does pictures. I follow it; I follow that aspect of technology. And I’ve no doubt it is a marvellous new tool.”

Cain, M. (2012). David Hockney, ‘the hand, the eye and the heart’. Available: http://www.channel4.com/news/david-hockney-the-hand-the-eye-and-the-heart. Last accessed 7th Jan 2012.

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Performance Video – MAX MSP Jitter

Max Msp Jitter

Testing Modul8

Modul8 A - B Group Layers

Modul8 A - B Group Layers

Referring to the previous blog entry, the idea was to test Modul8 to see if it could be used for our project.

We had a very useful lecture Monday on Modul8, which included midi mapping which I had some concerns about originally but all looked promising in going ahead and using this application for our project. Although there was one proviso, a possible negative regarding just how many videos Modul8 could playback at any one time.

I created a new project and started to add small 10 second MP4 movie files to the Media Set until I had filled one set completely, that is 16 video files in all. I then programmed 1 video file to each of the layers in groups A and B. I disabled the A -B Grouping and transition controls so that all 10 layers/videos would display simultaneously in the  preview window.

However, when selecting a new group and adding video files to the next layer group I realised that it seemed that only 1 group could be live at a time. This meant that it would seem to be impossible to have the planned 50 videos available to run live at any time.

Modul8 Media Set

Modul8 Media Set

If the idea was to have just the 10 videos running at any time the project could have worked using Modul8 as this was not the case I decided we would have to look at using alternatives such as MAX MSP and then develop our own midi controlled VJing application.

MAX MSP Jitter – First Look

I’ve looked at MAX MSP Jitter before for a 1st year project and although I decided at the time not to use it, I did put together a few patches just to familiarise myself with how it functions.

A recent lecture from Liam re-introduced MAX MSP Jitter and it’s uses for the non-programmers and although it would take some work I do believe it will be possible to produce a working program.

MAX MSP - cv.jits.faces

MAX MSP - cv.jits.faces

I downloaded the MAX MSP demo version from http://cycling74.com/downloads/ which is free to use for 30 days and at the same time downloaded some of the patches Liam demoed, Computer Vision for Jitter or cv.jit. This can be downloaded from http://jmpelletier.com/cvjit/ and included a number of Video Tracking and Video Manipulation Patches. I installed these as directed and soon had an example patch up and running. The Patch chosen tracked movement either using the Macs iSight Webcam or a video I pre-loaded. The running patch produces coordinates relating to movement seemingly identifying face and hand movements particularly well on both the live view and from the video sequences I’d used.

Although these patches were interesting and offered possibilities for pre-loading the video files for our Human Orchestra concept, I still needed to link this to a midi keyboard.

I then searched through the MAX objects looking for midi and audio related objects and came across ‘kslider’ which displays an on-screen keyboard with note and key velocity information. Using this as a base I looked through the list of midi objects and with Lees assistance we tested a number of these midi objects using a midi keyboard until we’d identified ‘notein’ as the best object to use. This picked up the key presses from the midi keyboard and reproduced this visually on the on-screen keyboard and played a note through the AU Midi interface.

However, this solution wasn’t perfect as the key mapping was slightly out of sequence and the tone was played both on key press and again as the key was released.

MAX MSP kslider

MAX MSP kslider

I deemed this a good start and have booked out a midi keyboard to continue working on this over the next few days at home and hopefully find a method of linking the video and keyboard patches together to produce a working system.

Performance Video – Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft Kinect

We may however be modifying our concept to include the use of Microsoft’s Kinect tracking system. Following a quick introduction to the Kinect by Liam today we’ve decided that we’d like to abandon the midi keyboard as the main input device for our concept and instead look at using the Kinect instead. This would make our concept a true performance based project with videos interacting to a person or persons movements.

The Performance Video

I’ve also had some ideas about the Performance Video itself which I need to put before the group and seek a consensus on what is the best way forward for this project.

What I now visualise is a looping video of the entire choir moving slightly to and fro and layered on top would be the videos that become active when an input either from the midi device or the Kinect has been received. Think of tiered rows of the choir and then one of the choir moves independently and sings a tone. When a chord is played or more than one movement is detected through the Kinect, more members of the choir move and sing a chord.

Project Blog Entry Links

  1. Performance Video – Conclusion
  2. Performance Video – Wiimote MAC
  3. Performance Video – VJ’ing using Quartz Composer
  4. Performance Video – Kinnect on MAC and PC
  5. Performance Video – MAX MSP Jitter
  6. Performance Video – Modul8
  7. Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

 

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Performance Video – Modul8

Modul8

The Plan – using Modul8

The more I think about the Performance Video project the more I think we should be concentrating on the Performance aspect rather than the technology used to produce our concept. With this in mind I began looking more closely at the Technology already available to us. I came to the conclusion that by basing the entire project around some VJing software (Modul8) that can interface with a midi musical instrument and apart from some programming, essentially the technical part of the project is complete.

The idea to this approach is based upon the Ophelia summer project I worked on with Samantha Else and Michael Moore see the Ophelia Blog entries for details and video below.

[youtube.com/watch?v=tP9P8mHqmlk]

Links

This would allow us to concentrate on producing the videos, the sound quality and possibly identifying a suitable location to project our videos, as we all feel this project would work well projected externally on a building.

How will it work?

I’ve sketched out my idea below, essentially all we need is a Macbook Pro with Modul8 installed, a midi keyboard and a VGA projector – simple!

Performance Video - The Plan Modul8

Fig 1.0 Performance Video - The Plan Modul8

The idea is that by using Modul8, which of course will be able to interface to a projector and handle all the video output and hopefully will also be able to interpret the input signals from the midi keyboard, which will in turn be mapped to the individual videos. This is all theory at this stage as I understand from my research that Modul8 does an initial scan of midi inputs at start up and that there is no subsequent midi mapping functionality.

My previous experience of using Modul8 also makes me believe that this simple plan will be anything but simple. I fully expect there to be issues with mapping the keyboard notes to the corresponding videos. I’ve had problems with video files working one day but not the next due to CODEC choices and I suspect that the performance of the overall concept maybe limited by the performance of the technology. By this I mean will the Macbook/Modul8 be able to handle all the multiple videos running simultaneously, especially when a chord is played.

The only solution is to carry out some testing as soon as possible to see if this works, if not then another plan will be needed, one most probably using Max/Msp and Jitter.

 

Research Links

Modul8 is a revolutionary MacOS X application designed for real time video mixing and compositing. It has been designed for VJs and live performers. Modul8. Site Accessed 20/11/2011 http://www.modul8.ch/

 

Project Blog Entry Links

  1. Performance Video – Conclusion
  2. Performance Video – Wiimote MAC
  3. Performance Video – VJ’ing using Quartz Composer
  4. Performance Video – Kinnect on MAC and PC
  5. Performance Video – MAX MSP Jitter
  6. Performance Video – Modul8
  7. Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

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Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

Performance Video

Performance Video – The Brief

The musical instrument

For the interface design unit your task is to create a ‘digital’ musical instrument and to use it as part of a performance or to get someone to perform with it. Your instrument can be constructed in numerous ways, it can be software, it can be a physical construction, it could be generative or use environmental factors. The performance, should have an audience and a performance, the place can be a street, the pub, and hilltop or a nightclub.

Performance Video – Idea Development.

The groups idea (from Lee’s Personal Portrait project) for the Performance Video project is to produce a sequence of videos for each of the members of a choir. Each singing to camera a single note. From these video performances we hope to have enough videos/notes to reproduce  up to 3 to 4 Octaves.

Midi Keyboard

Midi Keyboard

To control these videos we will design a custom midi interface to control the sequence of the videos, so that any midi compatible instrument will be able to effectively play the videos, producing a musical score.

Performance Video - Video Wall

Performance Video - Video Wall

To visualise this concept think of a video wall with each individual video featuring a single member of the choir and as you play, for example a midi keyboard – for each note depressed a video runs and you hear that note being sung. Pressing more than one key at a time to make a chord will play the corresponding videos and so you would hear the chord being sung.

We are already considering a number of input devices one of which is a oversized floor positioned piano keyboard an example of which featured in the film ‘Big’

[youtube.com/watch?v=AByIokt3X0E]

Another example of the Giant Piano

[youtube.com/watch?v=1HjG6TYMFfg]

My Responsibilities

For this project my primary responsibility will be to shoot and edit the video footage, almost certainly using my Canon EOS 60D. Due to the technical nature of this project I fully expect to have some involvement in the design and development of the midi interface, which may involve the use of max/msp and jitter or similar technology, which will become apparent after researching appropriate website references and published material.

It may be that the control technology is already in existence in which case we can concentrate on the performance aspect of the project.

As usual I will offer assistance/input to other members of the team as required.

Research Links


What is Max?

Make connections. Make things happen.

Max gives you the parts to create unique sounds, stunning visuals, and engaging interactive media. These parts are called ‘objects’ – visual boxes that contain tiny programs to do something specific. Each object does something different. Some make noises, some make video effects, others just do simple calculations or make decisions.

In Max you add objects to a visual canvas and connect them together with patchcords. You can use as many as you like. By combining objects, you create interactive and unique software without ever writing any code (you can do that too if you really want to). Just connect.
Website Accessed 18/11/2011. http://cycling74.com/whatismax/

MuSET

MuSET is a research group dedicated to the exploration of computer applications to music and sound. The research group was established in 2004 and is located in the School of Music at the University of British Columbia. Website Accessed 18/11/2011 http://debussy.music.ubc.ca/muset/index.html

Project Blog Entry Links

  1. Performance Video – Conclusion
  2. Performance Video – Wiimote MAC
  3. Performance Video – VJ’ing using Quartz Composer
  4. Performance Video – Kinnect on MAC and PC
  5. Performance Video – MAX MSP Jitter
  6. Performance Video – Modul8
  7. Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

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Future Cinema – Project Conclusion

Future Cinema

Mad Doctor Storyline

Please use headphones for best effect

Blackboot the Pirate Storyline

Please use headphones for best effect

For best results use headphones while watching the two videos above. I’ve added visuals which should be viewed full screen but for the full binaural audio effect I recommend the listener to listen to the audio only and with eyes shut.

Future Cinema – The Making Of – A Video Documentary

Future Cinema – The Synopsis

Our groups idea was to incorporate a Binaural Audio Recording element into a 5.1 Surround Sound Film Soundtrack effectively creating a 7.1 Surround Sound Soundtrack. The 5.1 surround sound would be delivered using a Surround Sound speaker system and the binaural soundtrack played back simultaneously through headphones or speakers built into a Cinema seats headrest.

Future Cinema – How did we do?

Fig 1.0 M-Audio 410

Fig 1.0 M-Audio 410

See previous entries  for more details on the groups research and development, final testing, however in summary after days of testing various positions and locations for microphones and recording techniques we developed a solution which allowed us to simultaneously record both the surround sound and binaural sound recordings.

With the sound recorded onto 6 tracks, stored on SD cards, we then edited them together using Logic Pro, an audio editing application. Each audio recording was assigned to a separate channel for example track 1 was mapped to front left, track 2 front right, track 3 rear left and track 4 rear right.  Finally track 5 was mapped to the headphones left channel and track 6 headphones right channel.

It should be noted that we have intentionally made no provision for a centre speaker channel and similarly no provision for the LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel, that is the .1 in the 5.1 surround sound systems. This was due primarily to a lack of resources for it would have been relatively simple to setup a channel for each but there was no speaker system available for testing and we also felt it was unnecessary for the purposes of the design at this stage.

Using a M-Audio 410, 4 of the tracks were mapped to the speakers in the Edit Suite and the 2 tracks of the binaural audio these were mapped to headphone output socket.

M-Audio 410 specifications

2 x 8 24-bit/96kHz analog I/O; 192kHz stereo out
2 mic/line ins w/ preamps and phantom power
8 line outs to mixer or direct surround output
S/PDIF digital I/O w/ PCM, AC-3, and DTS support
1 x 1 MIDI I/O

As well as assigning each track to a channel we also adjusted individual track volumes to balance the sound levels from each of the channels, then added the effects, the ambient noise of the Hospital and the creaking of the ship.

Fig 2.0 Headphone Test Angle

Fig 2.0 Not Mickey Mouse but testing headphone positioning to optomise the 5.1 with the binaural effect

Using headphones held slightly away from the ear (or turned slightly sideways  see Fig 2.0) it was possible to hear both the 5.1 surround sound audio from the speakers and the binaural audio from the headphones.

Using headphones may not be the final solution for an installation in a Cinema but it was the optimal setup for  demonstrating the concept to a selected audience in order to obtain feedback (See the video below for the audience testing stages).

For the audience the effect of hearing both soundtracks made for a much more immersive experience, for not only was it possible to hear the surround sound but there was the added effect of having sound originating from a point very close to your ear via the headphones. Ideal for horror films, the protagonist whispering into your ear, the sound of a bullet passing close to your ear, or a whispered instruction that only you can hear.

Audience Testing – Screen Tests

Fig 3.0 Audio Levels Testing

Fig 3.0 Audio Levels Testing

With the audio tracks locked down we began Audience Testing, inviting fellow students and staff to experience the project while we recorded their responses in real time on video. We then followed each test with a short question and answer session on camera to gauge each subjects response and to find out if our idea would indeed add value to the Cinema audiences experience.

From the video and looking at the screenshots below, as you can see the subjects gave an overwhelmingly positive response to the experience. All felt that it put them at the centre of the action, made it a more personal and more immersive experience than they would normally expect from watching a film at the Cinema.

Fig 4.0 Audience Testing - Video Setup

Fig 4.0 Audience Testing – Video Setup

Surprisingly most felt the experience was the better for the lack of visuals, the imagination more than making up for this.

Future Cinema – Sound X.1?

Cinema sound is a technological area that still has much to offer, for example Dolby (TM) have developed a new Dolby Pro Logic IIZ system which adds a height element to the sound, which they have done by adding extra channels 5.1 to 7.1 and 7.1 to 9.1 and by positioning speakers above the existing Front Left & Front Right speakers. These extra channels add to the depth and spacial qualities of the sound, allowing film-makers the opportunity to add a feeling of height to their films, an example of which, would be the distant approach and then passing of an aeroplane – as it approaches gradually gaining in volume and then passes over your head and behind rather than to the left or right.

At the moment when considering existing sound set-ups in Cinemas, film makers show aeroplanes and in fact any form of transport passing from front to back or vice versa by filming them passing either to the left or right rather than passing directly overhead, most probably due to the limitations in faithfully reproducing the sound of the passing aircraft in the Cinema. (NB this may not be the only reason)

What does this mean? as the number of channels continues to grow so will the number of speakers and with the positioning of these new speakers coverage will also grow until eventually complete coverage will have been achieved and the audience will be totally immersed in a hemisphere of sound.

Fig 5.0 Immersive Headset

Fig 5.0 Immersive Headset

Final thoughts

Personally I feel that the group have worked hard to prove that a 5.1 surround sound soundtrack with the addition of the binaural soundtrack combined together would both enhance and add a new dimension to the Cinematic experience. With the right Film, with changes to the narrative to include the binaural sound element and with minor modification to the Cinemas seating (speakers built into the headrests) it would be possible to provide a much more immersive experience for the Cinema audience.

The concept could also be applied to the Gaming environment using a headset, which has both visual and audio capabilities, for example a headset such as the one shown in Fig 5.0 would be perfect for such an application.

One of the many hurdles we had to overcome was that what we thought we knew about sound recording did not match the results. We thought that by widely spacing the microphones we would get the best separation for the channels. In fact we produced the best recordings by having the microphones just a few centimeters apart and facing in completely the opposite direction to what we had originally planned.

Time was the usual thing in short supply, working late into the night to get the recordings done in the studio space. The original assigned roles in the group blurred as we each took on extra tasks when short handed, grabbing a camera to record the processes and work carried out for the ‘Making of’ documentary.

In summary though I personally think the group have produced an effective design that can be demonstrated to an audience based on our original conceptualisation of the 5.1 Surround Sound combined with Binaural Sound Recording and it’s possible inclusion in a Future Cinema Design.

  • Future Cinema – Screenshots

    The Mad Doctor in action Mad Doctor & Lawrence Microphone Positioning Alexsandra in the Sound Booth Audio Recording Working on his Lines Sound Test Subject 1 Ben Sound Test Subject 2 Sound Test Subject  3 Jason Watkins Sound Test Subject 4 Sound Test Subject 5 Chris Pegg

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

 

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Future Cinema – Sound Effects

Sound Effects

Following a successful conclusion to the recording tests earlier in the week we again setup in the Editing Suite to review the sound recordings for a short list to edit into the final sequence.

This took more time than we’d originally planned but eventually we had a complete set of recordings for both the 5.1 surround sound sequence and the binaural soundtrack by the end of the day. Then for the first time using the 5.1 surround soundtrack played back through the speaker systems using Logic Pro and the binaural via the output of a PC through a set of headphones. Both recordings were started in synch and for the first time we listened to the combined soundtrack.

Although not all the sound effects have been added yet we were generally happy with the result so far and decided to demonstrate it to Chris Pegg. Chris commented positively, that he was happy with the progress the group had made and with the overall project, which was a new experience for him. Chris also suggested that we test the project further by asking individuals from outside DMP to experience the soundtrack and to record their responses and feedback in order to confirm our concept and/or to make improvements.

We felt this was a good idea and immediately asked a 1st year and a 2nd year from another course to listen to the soundtrack in the edit suite. We recorded their responses on video to be included in the ‘Making Off Video Record’ which we are making in conjunction with the project as a complete record of the work, the testing and each individuals role in the development of the project.

Sound Effects

Audacity Noise Removal Filter

Audacity Noise Removal Filter

I have personally sourced some additional sound effects to go with the Mad Doctor & Pirate storyline. For example the ambient noise from inside a Hospital Ward, the bleeping of medical equipment for the Mad Doctor version and for the Pirate version the creaking of the ship, the wind and the sea. All of these will help to establish the setting for the audience, to assist with their imagination, to visualise themselves in a Hospital Ward and the Cabin of a Pirate Ship in a heavy sea.

To test the suitability of these sound effects and additional soundtrack clips I first edited together the binauaral sound recordings, taking the best recordings from each scene and cutting and pasting them together using Audacity. After I had completed this I discovered noise where there should have been silence. Using the noise removal effect in Audacity, I first recorded the ‘Noise Profile’ by selecting a 2 second sequence of the soundtrack free from effects and voices and then using this, the noise removal tool removes the noise by comparing with the Noise Profile in effect filtering it out.

The resultant soundtrack was very clean, free of any noise. I then added a 10 second sound sequence of the ambient sound taken from a Hospital waiting room and mixed onto this the sound of an EKG medical unit using it’s bleeping to link sound clips together. The final touch was to add some sound clips of a fellow student screaming and the majority of the editing was done. All I had to do then was to balance the audio levels on the individual tracks and then export the whole sequence of 6 tracks to a stereo WAV file. During the export process the 6 tracks were mixed to 2 track stereo file.

I repeated this process for the Pirate storyline version, but using the sound of a ship rocking in the sea with the wind in it’s sails. Again I exported the 6 tracks as a 2 track stereo WAV file.

I’ll post these sountracks up onto the final blog posting for this unit following the critique.

Sound Scary Laugh by Ian Hunt 1
Please note not used in the final soundtrack

What Next?

We plan to finalise the sound tracks, setting levels and balancing for the 5.1 Surround Sound channels with the additional sound effects added.

Alternative Headphone Tests

Alternative Headphone Tests

I have sourced some headphones that do not filter out external ambient sound, with these I am expecting that the listener will be clearly able to hear the Surround Sound played through the edit suite speaker systems while at the same time getting the full effect of the binaural sound recordings through the headphones. The plan is to test the setup with students from other courses and to record their reactions on video to see if the concept has worked as well as we had originally visualised.

This will be followed by the completion and editing of the ‘Making Of Video’

 

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

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Future Cinema – Digital Cinema

7.1 Surround Sound

7.1 Surround Sound

Digital Cinema

Cinema – Digital Cinema conversion

With the ongoing process of converting Cinemas to Digital Technology this opens up new possibilities for sound technology. The majority of Digital Cinemas offer 5.1 Surround Sound that is 6 channels of audio and now many offer 7.1 Surround Sound, 8 channels of audio. The additional speakers are either positioned high above the existing front speakers, that is Front Left and Front Right, alternatively they are positioned mid-way between the front and rear speakers.

Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. Site Accessed 23/11/2011
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/setup/connection-guide/home-theater-speaker-guide/index.html

Digital Cinema – Future Cinema will be able to deliver a growing number of audio channels as the technology advances. For this project we think that some of these additional audio channels could be used to deliver a more immersive audio experience directly to individuals in the audience.

X Rocker Gaming Chair

X Rocker Gaming Chair

As an example of this we can look at the Games industry and a relatively low cost piece of Technology the Gaming Chair.

These come complete with their own built in 2.1 Sound Systems including a sub-woofer and the ability to deliver additional sensory experience using rumble and vibration to create sensation of movement directly related to sound levels and frequency.

X-Rocker Gaming Chairs site Accessed 23/10/2011
http://www.xrocker.eu/x-rocker-vision-pedestal-54-p.asp

A cinema fitted out with these types of chairs could deliver a whole new experience to the cinemas audience.

For the purposes of the project the chairs speakers provide the means to deliver the additional sound tracks we conceptualised, to be able to deliver a personal message, a sound clip direct to the audience in very close proximity – the whisper in an ear, the gun shot fired inches from your ears. Such a close proximity in the delivery of sound to the ear would also be felt as well as heard as the compression of loud sound waves or sound coming from a location in  close proximity to the ear would create air pressure effectively pushing against the ear drum, the sensation of wind blowing in the ear.

I’ve thought of a side benefit of using these chairs which would be to provide additional sensations using the built in sub-woofer to create rumble and vibration, in fact feeling as well as hearing the sound. This could be a possible update to Sensurround introduced for a small number of films in the 1970’s for example ‘Earthquake’ released in 1975.

The failing of Sensurround was that it relied on using additional Bass speakers and playing low frequency sound at high decibel levels which could be heard in adjacent theaters ruining the audience experience due to hearing the sound of another film through the walls of the Cinema.

My idea using these chairs would mean that the the high decibel level could be avoided and yet still get the vibration effect.

Our binaural soundtrack could be sent to the speakers in these chairs negating the need to use headphones. Although some of the effect would be lost by using speakers the close proximity of these speakers to the ears and combined with some form of sound processing to simulate the 3D Stereo effect and the brains ability to process sound information known as “interaural level differences (ILD) and the interaural time differences (ITD) that characterize two-eared human hearing” Ambiophonics. Site Accessed 23/10/2011 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiophonics

The Human Ear or rather the human brain can determine not only where a sounds location originates from, anywhere in a 360 degree perspective, but can in fact localise and process sound in a sphere. The visual medium still has some way to go before it can deliver a cinematic experience based on a humans spherical perception.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

By

Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound

5.1 Surround Sound

A day testing and proving and disproving ideas for recording and playing 5.1 Surround Sound files.

Idea Development – 5.1 Surround Sound

Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

I propositioned the idea that if the dummy head complete with the binaural microphones was positioned in a simulated cinema environment and a DVD with a 5.1 Surround Sound soundtrack was played using a surround sound speaker system then recorded using the binaural microphone setup then the surround sound effect would be duplicated in the recording.

5.1 Surround Sound Headphones

5.1 Surround Sound Headphones

Following a number of recording tests this did not seem to be the case, although I suspect the problems of sourcing a true 5.1 Surround Sound System could have contributed to the failure of the test. We did successfully combine the binaural effect with the recording of the films soundtrack by overlaying our own voices into the recording but the 5.1 Surround Sound effect did not truly represent itself when played back through headphones.

However I have a theory that with the application of the right technology the original theory may well prove to be correct, for example it is possible to source 5.1 Surround Sound Headphones where the speakers are actually separated by 12 degrees in the headset.

[youtube.com/watch?v=5QETQNFYnp4]

5.1 Surround Sound

Definition: 5.1 channel sound, also known as Surround Sound, is a standard sound format found on most DVDs and some CDs. The five channels are left and right main speakers (stereo), a center channel for movie dialog and on-screen action, two rear speakers to surround the listener and a .1 channel (pronounced ‘point-one channel’) for bass. The .1 channel is intended for a subwoofer, used for special effects in movies and very deep bass in music. The designation ‘.1’ means that it is not a full range channel and is designed to reproduce only a narrow range of bass tones.

5.1 Channel Sound Definition. Site Accessed 20/11/2011 http://stereos.about.com/od/glossary/g/FivePointOne.htm

Zoom R24 Digital Recorder

Zoom R24 Digital Audio Recorder

Zoom R24 Digital Audio Recorder

For the new recordings we decided to use a Zoom R24 Digital Recorder rather than the Fostek recorders we used in the previous recording sessions. The main advantage to using the Zoom R24 was that it could record more than 2 channels of audio simultaneously in fact it can record 8 tracks in all, which saved us from having to synchronise 2 recording devices as we had previously. The Audio tracks were also saved onto a SD card making it much easier to import the data to the Logic Pro application.

Initially the Zoom was powered from the mains supply and Phantom power used to power the microphones, but we were getting a power hum on all the audio recordings. To cure this we had to power both the recorder and microphones using batteries. I suspected at the time that as we were in a studio using a dimmable lighting system, either the power from the lighting racks was effecting the main supply or the neutral had  high frequency noise running on it or it was not pegged at earth potential and was floating several volts above zero. As we had no means of checking this and this being outside of the brief, switching to battery power was the only option.

Logic Pro

In the afternoon session we utilised a new software application called Logic Pro and attempted to create a 5.1 Surround Sound soundtrack using the sound files recorded previously in the studio see previous blog Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording. Each track was assigned a channel 1 to 4 representing Left Front, Right Front and Left Back, Right Back.

Logic Pro Application Screenshot

Logic Pro Application Screenshot

The microphones used to record the original tracks was centrally located, the resulting soundtrack appeared to have good separation but not necessarily 5.1 Surround Sound. Personally I felt that this might be due to the fact that the recordings were of only one sound source, centrally located and so the sound when played back should have been heard equally from all 4 speakers which was the case. If instead on just using one sound source, we had recorded multiple sound sources across the studio space we would have been able to have identified these different sound sources and their locations when played back. For example four members of the group each stand beside a microphone and announce their location that is; Left Front, Right Front, Left Back and Right Back, a simple idea but not thought of at the time.

Audacity 1.3.13-beta!

Audacity 1.3.13-beta screenshot

Audacity 1.3.13-beta screenshot

The beta version of this popular Sound Editing Application according to my research now supports AC3 file formats which allows you to save sound files with up to 6 channels. For our purposes this would allow us to create a 5.1 Surround Sound file with the option of a Sub-woofer channel.

Unfortunately although it is now possible to  be able to create these file formats we still have to find a 5.1 Surround System to be able to play them back.

The AC3 file type is primarily associated with ‘AC3 Audio File Format’ by Dolby Laboratories.

AC3 is a 6-channel, audio file format by Dolby Laboratories that usually accompanies DVD viewing. It operates 5 channels for normal range speakers (20 to 20,000 Hz) and the 6th channel reserved for low-frequency (20 to 120Hz) sub-woofer operation.

Human’s audible range of frequency is typically between 20Hz to 20kHz (that’s 20,000Hz) and this range is called sonic. Anything below the range is referred to as infrasonic whilst anything above is ultrasonic.

FileExt – Website Accessed 21/10/2011. http://filext.com/file-extension/AC3

Next Steps

The next step is to revisit the studio space and finalise the full soundtrack, that is the 5.1 surround sound and the binaural sound simultaneously and then go back to the Logic Pro application and assign a track to each channel and experiment to see how the 2 sound sources can be integrated for playback in a cinematic environment.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

By

Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording

Digital Sound Recording

For our group project we are investigating methods of digital sound recording using both a Digital Audio Recorder (Fostek FR-2LE field recorder ) and recording directly to a MacBook Pro’s line input.

Digital Sound Recording direct to MacBook Pro line input

Fig 1.0 Digital Sound Recording direct to MacBook Pro line input

Using one of the University Recording Studios we set up the Dummy Head with the binaural microphones inside a soundproof room. The microphones were connected directly to the Mac’s line input. To record the audio I used Audacity a free audio editor and digital sound recorder which is available for both Windows, PC and Mac computers. I made one change to the programs preferences changing the input source from internal microphone to line input. As we were using a sound booth I was able to monitor the recording using the Mac’s internal speakers.

I immediately identified a number of limitations to using the sound booth, primarily there was little space to move around the room, which was a necessity for the script and groups overall concept but in counterbalance the audio recordings that were produced were of excellent quality.

[youtube.com/watch?v=4R38s3c9Unw]
Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

Fig 2.0 Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

The next step in the audio recording tests was to relocate to one of the Universities Film Studios. With the benefit of the much greater floor space we setup again the dummy head, but in addition we also positioned 4 directional microphones in pairs linked to two Fostek FR-2LE field recorders that is a Digital Audio Recorder. This in effect gave us 4 channels to record on, that is Left Front, Right Front then Left Back and Right Back.

The positioning choice made for these microphones initially seemed obvious with one set in each corner of the space and directed towards the centre aiming as close as possible at the dummy’s head. This however did not provide the sound (Channel) separation we were looking for.

There was considerable crossover between the channels, for this reason we re-positioned the microphones around the dummy head pointing away towards the corners of the studio space. This proved to be a real improvement when considering just channel separation but it created its own problems by physically obstructing access to the dummy head and effecting the binaural recording process.

Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup 2

Fig 3.0 Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup 2

As a final change in the microphone position we tried relocating the microphones to the corners of the studio space, pointing the microphones downward at floor at a 45 degree angle, the microphone stands were extended raising the microphones 3.5 metres above the floor. In effect each microphone was covering a quadrant of the studio floor space. Results proved to be indeterminate using this setup over the original microphone positioning and so in conclusion of these test recordings it was felt that the best results had been obtained with the microphones positioned centrally, around the dummy head and facing outwards to the four corners of the studio space.

Zoom H2 Handy Recorder

Fig 4.0 Zoom H2 Handy Recorder

Based on these tests the best setup for recording surround sound appears to be to have four microphones combined into one recording device centrally located. An example of such a device is the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder.

Microphone Choices

Based on the audio recordings made on the night we came to realise that our choice of microphone which seemed obvious at the time may not have been the correct choice. Our original specification for microphones choice were that in order to get the separation required for the 5.1 Surround Sound audio recording we would require a directional microphone.

Fig 5.0 Polar Pattern Shotgun Microphone

Fig 5.0 Polar Pattern Shotgun Microphone

We used Sennheiser ME66 Microphones which are very sensitive but also very directional and designed to eliminate noises not emanating from the target direction. From the audio recordings we had channel separation but the volume dropped as well as the actor walked into dead spots created by the very directional behaviour of the microphones used. The shot gun microphones we used have a very direction Polar Pattern see Fig 5.0

Fig 6.0 Cardioid Microphone Polar Pattern

Fig 6.0 Cardioid Microphone Polar Pattern

After discussing this with Lecturers we came to realise that a different choice of Microphone may have produced an improved recording. Cardioid microphones seemed to offer the best solution. The shot gun microphones we used have a very direction Polar Pattern see Fig 5.0, as you can see very different to the Cardioid polar pattern (See Fig 6.0 and 6.1 ). All microphones have different characteristics one is called a polar pattern this is the direction and the coverage that the microphone pick up from.

Fig 6.1 Example Cardioid Microphone showing Polar Pattern

Fig 6.1 Example Cardioid Microphone showing Polar Pattern

So a Cardioid microphone (Heart Shaped) will only pick up sound from one direction but has a wider target range. With this microphone we could effectively segment the studio into 4 zones with some overlap so that we still get the channel separation but there would be some overlap so that when the actor walks around the microphones pickup area we would still get the directional change but without such a dramatic volume drop off as they passed between microphone positions.

 

Evaluating the results

The next step will be to evaluate the test recordings that were produced and source another similar location suitable for audio recording, a location which combines the benefits of a sound proof room but with the floor space to be able to setup all the equipment and for the actors to move freely.

An example audio recording from the binaural microphone setup on the night.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

 

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