Stochastic response…

What a week! Apologies for the lack of posts but all of my waking hours have been fully utilised with being back from hiatus and returning to this film, Laundry Warrior, that I am working on… A two week hiatus equates to quite a conform & patch, just to get back to where we were when we left, let alone start addressing the million and one ideas that randomnly appeared while the subconscious actually had some downtime to exercise its will! It never ceases to amaze me how the human brain works – this film has a very specific, very peculiar requirement for a sound effect that involves a wind instrument of some kind, and I could only be more specific if I knew what exactly I was after, as it is not a literal sound…. and I dont want to give away key script ideas…. But so I’ve been racking my brains, listening to a LOT of different sounds (including some of these) waiting for my ears to prick up & alert me to some element of some ‘normal’ sound that could be twisted enough to become something evocative… Then the other night I knock off work, have dinner, forget about work and about 11.30, just before falling asleep I have a memory, a flashback to being a kid growing up in the country & how we used to make a certain kind of whistle using nothing more than your own two hands and a blade of grass. The last time I would have consciously thought about this would be when I was ten years old, max… I know better than to fall asleep, presuming that I will still remember in the morning, so I SMS myself: “a blade of grass” & then bam, REM….
Next day, first thing I do is go collect a dozen blades of grass, still wet with the morning dew… place them just so and….? What an unholy noise!!!!! Its perfect! At first I think I’ve solved all of the worlds problems with my blade of grass, but just to check I set up a mic & record half an hour of improvising every way I can muster… the playback is a more rational response – I havent solved all my problems, but I’ve found one aspect of a unique solution & am thankful for such small mercies…. It is one aspect of sound design that i dearly love, beyond music even… and that is the fact that you can literally surround yourself with millions of dollars of technology (as when mixing) but the crucial element of a solution to a major sonic/conceptual problem could come down to something as simple as a blade of grass…


photo credit where credits due, arigatou gozimasu!

Blades of grass aside, I have a few dozen draft posts waiting for attention & thought I would ask if anyone has a preference? Voice an opinion via the comments or I shall just bumble on as time & my whim/attention span allows….

Tutorials I have planned/started include:
– SD101 Ambiences (reality; recreated as layers of for, mid & background in 5.0)
– SD101 Drones & Tones (generating organic, harmonic sustained tones)
– SD101 Limiting; creative use (not including destroying the dynamic range of music)
– SD101 Pitch (theres music down there! when you slow it down & really listen)
– SD103 Wooshes (vocal elements)
– SD101 Backwards (because everything sounds better backwards)
– SD201 Preparing for the Predubs (present it badly and you WILL suffer)
– SD201 Collaborating with Composers
– SD301 Mixing a Film
– SD301 Film Sound Delivery Elements

Help me prioritise them: those who speak loudest will possibly have their wishes fulfilled first (although I am always more interested in what the quiet people have to say) Equally welcome: ask me for something I havent even thought of…


photo credit

ps: if you are a fan, go & enjoy the lovely Cinematic Orchestra live at the Royal Albert Hall, courtesy of ninjatune and in my case emusic – now thats a DVD I would happily buy! Oh the power of the human voice, a string section, a ride cymbal… I only wish someone would write a film fully deserving of The Cinematic Orchestra…. and I got to do sound design 🙂

PS the only thing wrong with that photo is that I figure if you are going to replace your plastic shopping bags with a dog and saddle, is that you are then obliged to always buy a few bottles of wine & six packs of beer, just to keep Fido from running off with your dinner…

4 thoughts on “Stochastic response…

  1. dan foley

    I look forward to reading all of these 101s – although maybe give an edge to limiting and pitch. Thanks for reminding me about grass and the cinematic orchestra too…

  2. rene

    i’d be interested to hear your thoughts on drones and on creative limiting.

    second to that would be mixing and deliverables.

    great blog and thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *