Jun 022011

We imagine our visitors are starting to wonder what the heck is going on. Why haven’t we gotten the first Tom Swift audio drama completed and out the door yet? Is the project dead?

Heck no! It’s not dead. In fact, it’s this><close to being done.

We did have a bit of a setback at the beginning of the year, but all-in-all it was a good sort of setback to have: Eric got a new job. Simple as that. The first couple of months involved a lot of travel and training, which were followed by another couple of months with the usual “Oh my gosh I’ll never learn all this stuff” new-job panic. So until just recently, he didn’t have a lot of free time, which left just Mary Jo to do everything relating to Sump Pump Studio.

But things have settled out at the new job now, and we’ve started back to work on getting that last little bit done. All that remains to finish is a handful of sound effects, some incidental music, and the mastering process. We hope you’ll bear with us just a bit longer!

 Posted by at 8:31 pm
Oct 152010

We recently put some audio and video preview clips online, but we’ve been so busy finishing up production on Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, and preparing for the next two Tom Swift audio dramas, that we forgot to post about the previews!

So belatedly, here you go…

You can find the audio clips here on the SPS site, on The Good Stuff page. The most recent is Sneak Audio Peek #2: Tom’s Encounter in the Rain (Why is it #2, instead of the first or last clip? Well, we’ve been working so hard the past few weeks that we’ve abandoned such trivial concepts as logical order and linearity).

Videos from rehearsals are on our YouTube Channel. The Cow Clip is the sort of thing that happens when you keep actors up way past their bedtimes. But at least we made sure that everyone had warm feet.


 Posted by at 2:24 am
Aug 202010

(Updated August 19, 2010)

We knew this would be a time-consuming task, but even so we underestimated by quite a lot. Part of the reason is that we’re new to this, and so we’re learning the techniques as we go. Part is that we want the end result to be as good as possible. But mostly, it just really does take a long time.

On July 24, I completed the first ‘clipping’ pass, where I took the four recorded microphone tracks and broke them out into tracks for each of the 28 separate characters. Lots of select-copy-paste action, as well as splicing together the best clips from multiple takes.

On August 19, I completed the cleaning pass, in which I removed odd little pops, breath noises, and background sounds. It’s amazing how many of these things you start to hear once your ear is trained. This proved to be extremely detailed and time consuming work…

Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4
Original recorded length 48 minutes 50 minutes 57 minutes 41 minutes
Time spent on clipping pass 10 hours 10 hours 12 hours 12 hours
Time spent on cleaning pass 25 hours 24 hours 15 hours 10 hours
Length after clipping pass 42 minutes 44 minutes 47 minutes 37 minutes

Yep, the total time editing so far is 118 hours!

A life saver in the cleaning pass was a new tool we added to our arsenal – Izotope RX. This is a pretty amazing piece of software, and well worth the modest price. It lets me remove pops that defy manual clipping and smoothing, restores the cases where a recording went too hot and got clipped, and makes it possible to remove certain kinds of background noises that would have been impossible to fix by hand.


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 Posted by at 12:03 am
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