Detritus 278


> Jan 4th 2014, cicada?



> making music with a moebius strip?



> Resonance in your body? Eyeballs 20-90Hz, Spinal column 10-12 Hz etc…


> interesting analysis of the stereotype of video games being male dominated


> Sounds from dangerous places



> love these fragmented sculptures



> funny isn’t it, that despite all the ux researchers & people making a living from supposedly making apps better suited to our use, that these two VERY human features are only found in two apps (afaik… there may be others)

- When you are listening to music & hit stop, the app does not create a digital cut to zero. It eases out, doing a quick fade to silence. Lets face it, going from X volume to zero is ugly, and the louder X is the more ugly the hard cut becomes… Well done Vox for implementing this feature. (I have nostaglic memories of this from mixing on a fully analogue film dub stage – the mixer hitting stop and hearing analogue multitrack tape gorgeously pitch bend to a stop…)

- If I stop watching a video before its finished, why does the app not remember where I got up to & if I later restart watching that same video give me the option to start from the beginning or from where I left off? Well done Kindle app and Vox both have this option available.



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Little Huia

Lots of work still to finish – editing, grading, sound design, score & mix… but I am so looking forward to this screening! I have a projector, big screen & decent sound system sorted for it – can’t wait to see the material I’ve been working on for 2 months on a big screen. The screening is being held in Huia Lodge, which is a beautiful old building and was actually the school at Huia until the mid 1960s.
See you there!

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That curve

Little Huia

Whoever designed that curve in the retaining wall (& whoever implemented it) on the foreshore of Little Huia deserves a permanent pat on the back. Beautiful!

Shot 29th November with Fuji X100s

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Little Huia

As per the photo above an ableton PUSH device just washed up on the beach at Little Huia! I’ve been using a first gen Novation LaunchPad & as I am using LIVE a lot I decided to upgrade, and so far so good although I am still learning to use it. As with LIVE itself, it is easy to do the basic stuff, but requires time to get deeper with it… Certainly from a build & feel angle it is a solid bit of gear, which isn’t surprising since Akai actually built it – the pads are solid & responsive, and in terms of layout it appears highly evolved. And that is the part I will need to learn to appreciate over time..

Little Huia

This morning my music was yellow!

Relatedly, I have been developing some work using the LiveGrabber plugins to analyse music/sound and control VDMX via OSC – wow!!! Now there is a combination capable of some profoundly interesting cross pollination between image & sound!

4 ways to sync VDMX and Ableton Live from Studio Rewind on Vimeo.

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Yesterday was a day bookended by dramatic clouds, first at dawn when I was drawn to the beach to record some Oyster Catchers (birds) having a territorial dispute, flying big loops along the beach as the intruding Oyster Catcher was shown the exit

Little Huia

Then at the end of the day, flying back to Auckland after a quick trip to Wellington to sort out a few things with my new house/studio – view from the window seat as the sun was just setting:

Little Huia

It made me think about how the ‘bad’ part of ‘bad weather’ completely depends on what you are doing. A beautifully sunny day with no clouds is always welcome but nothing beats the drama of an approaching storm, even if this morning was only a very brief shower…

Dawn clouds shot with 5DmkIII and EF70-200L lens, dusk clouds shot with iPad

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Detritus 277

> Bricasti M7 Impulse Response Library – free/donation ware



> worth a read for all those people who keep posting the ‘slowed down crickets sound like a choir link’ – it’s not/they don’t!


> “Time machines don’t go up, they go everywhere”



> “I was a sound editor on “The Wire” – every episode. Any sound-related questions?
(thanks for tip Benoit!)


> nice squelchy dubby live set by TM404 aka Andrea Tilliander and his 303s



> I have an ableton PUSH thingy on its way to me… anyone reading this got one/used it lots? opinions before I dive in?



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Little Huia

I can’t help but look at these sprouting ferns and be reminded of the shape of the cochlear, the element in our ear which allows us to discern relative pitch of a sound.

Little Huia

Little Huia

Little Huia

the lower branches untwirling like recursive paisley, only to become…

Little Huia

Little Huia

From the air, the overall shape of these ferns makes more sense – optimized for photosynthesis?

Little Huia

shot today 25th November 2013, near Scenic Drive, Auckland with Canon 5DmkIII and EF100L macro lens

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Listen, here

Little Huia

shot 23rd November by Smiths Road, Huia Dam with 5DmkIII and EF16-35L

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Night Fishing (for Birds)

While I enjoy eating fish (especially sashimi & sushi!) I am not much of a fisherman – ten minutes on the water and I am about ready to head home again, although I do like the saying by Henry David Thoreau: “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” (And of course, the other funny but presumably untrue fishing quote: ‘the best two days of a boat owners life are the day he buys a boat, and the day he sells it!’) and while the idea of night fishing is intriguing, in my case it wasn’t fish I was after. And I also wasn’t on the water.

The first night when I arrived in Little Huia I was struck by a beautiful sound I hadn’t heard in years; the melancholic call of the Ruru/Morepork. The Morepork is an owl, native to New Zealand and as a night bird it is rarely seen, and generally only heard when you are in a quiet rural location.

The Ruru/Morepork has two highly evolved features that are amazing to witness. The first can be seen in a beautiful film by the other Artist in Residence in the Waitakere Ranges, Denise Batchelor. I very highly recommend you visit her website and watch an excerpt of her 2011 film Ruru here – the way the huge pupils of the Ruru expand & contract is astoundingly beautiful (and makes me wish for such a lens for my camera!)

The other aspect of the Ruru that amazes me is a sound you will never hear: its silent wings. Other native birds such as the Tui and the Wood Pigeon have beautifully audible wings, flitting through the trees they remind me of the sound of a Japanese fan being (very) rapidly waved – I have recorded some of these while in Huia and will post them in a future post. But the Ruru is a highly evolved night hunter, its incredible eye sight and silent wings means its prey don’t know to hide until its too late!

Here is a very short little doco with some great close up footage of a morepork in daylight:

That video doesn’t feature the morepork at night nor its call, but as I had heard them in the trees behind my house in Little Huia, I decided my first mission would be to try & record a Morepork close up. So here started my night fishing missions!

My first attempt was a dismal failure, and in hindsight laughable. I put together a portable record kit and prepared to head out into the night.

Little Huia

My night fishing rig included a Sound Devices 744 recorder & 302 preamp, a Telinga parabolic dish with MKH8020 and a pair of MKH8040s. I jumped in my 4WD and headed up the hill a bit, following the road to Whatipu and stopping every so often to listen. When I thought I was close to some Moreporks I would jump out, grab my backpack & start walking towards where I thought they were. But here was the problem: just as I started to get close to one, it would stop calling. And even if I waited, it would not start again. In hindsight, with its silent wings it had more than likely flown away without me realising. So after a couple of hours of this sort of behaviour I headed home with what I thought was only three single calls – a start but hardly what I was hoping for!

Apart from the beautiful plaintive call, the other aspect of the moreporks call that I am interested in is its timing. Unlike some birds which either sing rapid-fire bursts, or longer melodies, the Ruru calls sparsely & rhythmically – in a slow rhythm, more reminiscent of a temple bell than a drum beat. My ideal was to set my mic up under a tree with a morepork in it & record it for half an hour…

So I went to bed that night feeling a little disappointed, Ruru 1 Field recordist 0

By the next morning my sub conscious had come up with a better approach:

Little Huia

Being a clumsy city dweller driving around in a noisy 4WD, slamming car doors & lugging a backpack full of gear in hindsight is not really conducive to sneaking up on an owl who makes it living by stealth. Those moreporks probably heard me leaving the house & had a good laugh at my ridiculous antics. ‘Here he comes! Hee hee… let’s pretend we haven’t noticed him… ‘

So plan 2 was to set up my mics, and go home. As any bird photographer or recordist will likely tell you, even if you are being stealthy arriving at a location & then becoming silent, it usually takes 20 minutes before the birds will start to continue their behaviour like you aren’t there. The only part I was a little apprehensive about was leaving my gear in the bush late at night and it getting rained on. I have been out on a sunny day here shooting & a sudden rain cloud appeared from nowhere. So I solved that problem by asking the local ranger if I could set up my gear under a balcony by a currently unused camping building, Project K, late on a Sunday night. So about 8.30pm I headed up there, and rigged my mcid pointing in all directions – this time as I wasn’t having to be portable I again used Telinga dish, plus the pair of ORTF MKH8040s but also added a pair of very directional MKH70s, recording to five discrete channels on ym recorders. I angled & pointed each of the mics at trees where I thought Ruru might be hanging out, loaded a fresh set of batteries & went back home for a few hours…

Returning after 10.30 I had my fingers crossed – happily the recorders were still rolling, but it wasn’t until the next morning that I discovered what I had recorded… For the first hour or so, only distant mroeporks are heard, but then only about 20 minutes before I went & retrieved my gear, this is what I captured:

From the excellent NZ Birds website:It is hardly surprising that, in Maori mythology, Ruru which hunts by night on silent wings and has a melancholy hooting call, is associated with the spirit world. In fact the special ancestral spirit of a family group is thought to take the form of Ruru. Known as Hine–ruru, the “owl woman”, Maori traditionally believed that these owl guardians had the power to, protect, warn and advise. According to such beliefs, the presence of a morepork sitting in a conspicuous place nearby, knocking on a window or even entering the house signifies a death the family while the high piercing call of the morepork is thought to herald bad news and the ordinary call to indicate good news on the way.

The DOC website has some interesting info about the Ruru, including what you can do to help the Ruru live long & prosper

I suspect I will do more of the set up the mics and leave it recording approach, and one idea I had help protect the gear incase of a sudden shower was to somehow rig up a small umbrella. After doing a quick search I found & ordered this handy device, the UC-6 umbrella and clamp made by Velbon.

Little Huia

While checking out other Velbon products I also came across their ultra compact tripod: the Velbon UT series looks like a more compact AND more sturdy tripod than what I am currently using as a mic stand for my MKH8040s!

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Detritus 276

DJ shredding = too funny! the drop is pretty funny, but i laughed more at the 8bit beeps


> Buddy the talking starling!?!


> h265? wow! ProRes 4444 quality for 1% of the file size!!



> Space: the ultimate dawn chorus? “interspersed with deep bass pulses from the Sun”




> Interesting interview with five cinematographers



> i’m currently wearing out the mp3s of lovely dub techno EP by Fussganger – Akku (stream it/buy it here) #food_for_your_subwoofer!



> a new Sound Devices 633 – presumably aimed at production sound with 3 mic preamps built in (boom + 2 radios?) while physically slightly bigger than a 744 it has six inputs (3 mic and 3 line) and can record up to 10 tracks at 48kHz and 6 tracks at 192kHz. Price is us$3,100 so it is considerably cheaper than a 788T at US$6,395 or a 744T at US$4,195 (but of course lacks the inputs, hard drive etc of the 788). Wide range of powering options, but as someone pointed out shame it doesn’t have a power output, for powering a mixer/preamp for the line inputs…


> a 3d printed Obama speech about 3d printing




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