Jun 292010

It’s time to clean up the edges of the dialogue; remove paper turning, nose whistling (I’m pointing no fingers), and a few of the little gaffs that are bound to happen. It’s meticulous work, but the process of pulling apart the sound wave like it’s salt water taffy is really cool to see. Cubase, the software, zooms in on the sound wave, allowing for precise tinkering. Instead of hacking away at a whole word, you can zoom in on the exact place where the actor popped his P’s (again, man, not judging).

It starts with the compressed sound wave. One inch contains a lot of information. Every change in pitch and timbre is expressed in a line that rises and dips as it follows our voices.


It looks like something from a movie: Evil’s voice recorded by the savvy computer genius in the lab. An Evil voice that has the tendency to pop his P’s, spiking the meter every time he says “Petroleum”. Check out the sound wave on the right; the section where the wave spikes…


But to eliminate the spike and not take out the whole letter P, Cubase needs to zoom in closer and closer until there is just the sound wave for the word Petroleum, then the syllable Pet, and then the letter P.





Notice Cubase has reduced the sound wave into a line where a section can be removed and the ends fused back together to reconnect the wave. It’s like grafting a plant, or pinching play dough together to make a really long snake that stretches from one end of the table to the other. Kind of. Without all the rolling.


Then the only thing left to do is do it again. And again. And again. Did I write meticulous? I meant tedious. In the nicest possible way. Woe, to suffer for art.

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 Posted by at 2:15 pm
Jun 242010

Studio Sound Treatment

Blink if you want to enter. Cool huh? It’s like a scene from 1001 Arabian Nights: the sumptuous fabrics, the gold fixtures, the dozen intricately hand-woven rugs, and the soft pillows beckoning you to sink into their  lush depths. I can just imagine Scheherazade begging for her life from Shahryar … That is if they lived in a refrigerator box near the dumpster behind the Best Buy.

So this is the recording studio. After a few expensive modification of our basement. Thank goodness it’s summer because we’re using every blanket we own to break up the echo. And almost every extra towel. However, empty linen closet aside (actually it’s more of a cheap cotton closet), what we recorded was pure gold. The actors were awesome! And the sound is great considering the humble surroundings. I think the key for breaking up the sound waves was the Moo slippers in the back.

Now to editing Tom Swift and his Motorcycle. But we’re getting closer and closer. Step by step…

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 Posted by at 9:31 pm
Jun 242010

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We have just finished recording

Tom Swift and his Motor-cycle!




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It was fantastic!

The actors all gave amazing performances. Especially considering the long hours! Being that we’re located in the boonies, the trek from the city to country was long, and with everyone’s busy schedule and our desire to have it sound live, like a radio play, we only had a couple days to record. So we pushed deep into the night.



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But the story really came to life! As the adaptor of the novel, I know the story inside and out, yet I listened with bated breath, anxious as Tom Swift battled the villains and foiled their evil plot! I was completely enthralled! Now just to tweak and edit, put in sound effects, and compose music. But no pressure.




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 Posted by at 9:22 pm
Apr 122010

phewAnd this is only the beginning.  Tom Swift and his Motor-Cycle has been adapted, on paper at least, and has now been sent to the director for final revisions. Yet true blue fans beware, there have been some subtle changes. Tom is still the earnest young inventor with an intrepid sense of adventure, but I’ve tweaked a few other characters, freshening them up a little bit to better fit in our modern age.

As for the Swifties, there are a few scattered here and there in the narration, but since they were mostly used to describe dialogue, they became annoyingly obvious recaps, clearly reprising the same material, and therefore irritatingly repetitious and vexingly prolix. Or at least I frequently thought so.

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 Posted by at 6:49 pm
Apr 112010

headphones Hooray! The new equipment is in! We’re one step closer to being professionals… Except for that not making money thing.

Regardless, we have the new headphones, headphone amplifier & distributor, and microphones and stands. So the ratio of actors to mics has been reduced. Somewhat. There may be some sharing, but actors are cool about personal space.


stands and mics

 Posted by at 7:39 pm
Apr 112010

I hate my voice, I really do. It’s low and yet still screechy. It hurts my delicate auditory nerves and offends my refined sense of sound.  But who else is going to help test the equipment?

raccooneyes3 The raccoons? Hmmm… A possibility. They are practically roommates. Let them sing for their supper. Those worthless, deadbeat loafers.

But I digress… So far, everything works. I mean there are lights and sounds. Bars move up and down on the screen. A good sign, I think. Now we just have to work on all that, well, other stuff like: sound levels,  tracks, layering, and a bunch of gobbly-gook I don’t understand.

But hey, I’m a writer, not an engineer. I’m giving it all she’s got.

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 Posted by at 5:55 pm