Final Review, Gaku’s animated short

Here is his video for reference. – I reposted it so that it can be viewed fullscreen. Domo arigato, Gaku-sama!

  • synchronized sound-image relationship

From 0:07 to 0:10 you can hear footsteps that reinforce the idea of the character running.

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From 0:19 to 0:24 you can hear chewing, which greatly enhances the final scene. The first time I watch this animation (without sound) I thought that the snake/creature was talking to the boy who climbed down into the cavern… Now, the lip movements are clarified.

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  • singular off-screen but diegetic sounds

After watching this video a few times, I still have not been able to identify any off-screen sounds. Sure, there are birds and water drops present, but these seem to be territorial sounds, used to enhance the environment.

  • metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

In the opening shot, we hear a frequency crawl pan left to right, which enhances the throwing of the Apple. This sound is non-literal, but implies a kind of “fly-over” effect, similar to an airplane in flight.

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At 0:12, we hear an “ow” sound from the apple itself. Again, clearly this isn’t meant to be literal, but reinforces the idea that the apple fell and landed hard.

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  • diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

Starting around 0:05 you can hear birds chirping, which makes sense, given the setting of a park, with trees. At 0:14 you can hear water dripping, and echoing reverberations to give us a better sense of the size of the cavern in the following scene.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.28.18 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.29.06 PM

What do you guys think? Are there other sound elements worth noting? Am I missing anything? Are these sounds adding value to the animations? Comment and let me know.

 

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Final Evaluation, Shelby’s animated short

Tonight, we reviewed student’s final project. I was in Group A, reviewing the work of Shelby and Gaku.

Here’s Shelby’s video for reference.

  • synchronized sound-image relationship

At 0:10, you can heard the sounds of feet stomping/landing on a hard surface. This accompanies the image of a young girl’s silhouette moving/jumping up and down.

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At 0:14 you can hear the sounds of a bouncing ping-pong ball, echoing as it lands on a hard surface, reinforcing the movement and collision of the apple onto a hard surface.

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  • singular off-screen but diegetic sounds

At 0:22, there is the sound of an egg-timer/stove-clock ticking away. Although we cannot see this, it enhances the idea of waiting for a pie to cool while it sits on the counter. This is a very nice compliment to the rising steam. At 0:26 we hear the bell, as the timer “goes off”. Again, this is not seen, but it improves the sense of place.

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  • metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

I think that the sound of the apple landing is somewhat metaphorical. On the one hand, it synchronizes in a very literal way with the landing of the apple, on the other hand, it doesn’t sound anything at all like an apple. It has a kind of nice hollow snap-pop to it, which seems to imply that this one apple isn’t really enough, but also is happening not in the orchard, but elsewhere, in a closed space.

  • diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

Starting around 0:03 and ending around 0:13 you can hear the sounds of wind, leaves rustling, and birds chirping, this amplifies the orchard setting and makes for a more believable and immersive environment.

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At 0:17 through 0:21, there are ambient sounds associated with a grocery store checkout. Not only does this give us a better sense of place, but also adds to the idea that these are separate events, happening at different times.

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What do you guys think? Are there other sound elements worth noting? Am I missing anything? Are these sounds adding value to the animations? Comment and let me know.

Next, I’ll review Gaku…

Final Project: Cezanne’s Cold War

This is the final animation sequence for ART119 Digital Media.

This project was challenging for a number of reasons:

  • I really don’t understand Adobe’s UI Design. There is little continuity from one program to another.
  • Switching from one CC app to another was jarring, but also necessary.
  • Time-based design from Audition is very different from time-based design UI in Photoshop.
  • Audition is buggy. It crashes more than a Ford Pinto, driven by Nick Nolte and Ted Kennedy. I became a habitual saver during this project, and am still uncomfortably paranoid. The iMac I used in the lab was actually less stable than my home-brew “Hackintosh” machine at home.
  • Tyranny of choice. I had dozens of audio files to choose from, and often compromised by combining the best elements of separate sources into a single continuous sound.
  • Editing. I had over 20 iterations because some aspects required more rework after making changes to separate sections of the animation.
  • Credits. Even though my animation was only 40 seconds, I needed almost two minutes to roll the credits.

Overall, I am pleased with what I’ve done over these last couple of weeks. For a first timer, I think this is a relatively polished sequence. What do you think? Leave comments!

Update on Final Project

I’ve been trying to balance the performance of my sound elements between speakers and headphones and one of the most challenging aspects of this is the acoustics. Headphones allow for a tight integration of sounds between left and right channel, but as soon as you go out through speakers in a room, there’s a noticeable cross-talk between left and right, and it becomes less distinguished. Audition has tools for expanding the stereo effect, and this helps a little bit, but if you push it too far, everything seems a bit muted through headphones, so it’s a difficult balancing act. Some sounds need very little of this effect to draw contrast between left and right, while others seem impervious to the effect — especially when reverb is factored in.

Hopefully I’ll get some lab time on Monday to address this, but for now I’m relatively pleased with where this project is, and will post a pre-final version tomorrow evening – stay tuned!

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Soundscapes – Reflection & Response

For this last extra credit assignment, Carl asked us to think about soundscapes.

A soundscape is classified in three predominant ways:

Keynote Sounds: A keynote sound is the dominant tonal presence in a soundscape[…]

Signals: An infrequent and also alarming informational sound is classified as a signal[…]

Soundmarks: the acoustic equivalent of a land mark[…]

In the US Navy I spent over a 1,000 hours on watch (standing guard, patrolling, etc.). Situational awareness on watch is paramount – it’s important to know where you are and what is going on around you. Sound plays a critical role in this process. For this assignment, I have chosen the USS Kitty Hawk pier vehicle gate.

Keynote sounds: The ventilation ports roar as they move thousands of cubic feet of air, it is constant, and harmonizes a sharp whining of coils with a dull hum. The waters are still, except for the occasional bass-heavy groaning of a barge, metal chains clank sharply on wood planks, and giant inflatable bladders rub against rusted plates with a low but rapid Pop-pop-popopopop.

Signals: The 1MC (general announcement system) blasts dozens of announcements; meal times, arrival and departure of high-ranking officers and officials, calling the duty section, calling working parties, calling the end of the work day, etc.; the circuit engages with a snap-click before broadcasting a scratchy, distorted hiss of dozens of loud speakers, reverberating on countless steel surfaces.

Soundmarks: North of my post there is a designated smoking area, it is one of many. There is a constant murmuring chatter, low grumbling voices and an occasional laugh, but the words don’t come through clearly. There’s the quiet, smooth Tick-Schwick of lighters igniting endless cigarettes, and the Hiss-Splat of sailors spitting on the deck.

 

Reflection Response #4 (Condensed)

In Walter Murch’s “Stretching Sound to Help the Mind See”, we are invited to think about the role of sound in cinema and in our own lives. He makes reference to recording prototypes by Edison, and early 20th century films. What I found most compelling was Murch’s idea about sound and three-dimensional perception as a hallucination:

…the depth we perceive is not a hallucination. But the way we perceive it — its particular flavor — is uniquely our own… And in that sense it is a kind of hallucination, because the brain does not alert us to what is actually going on. Instead, the dimensionality is fused into the image and made to seem as if it is coming from “out there” rather than “in here.”

There is a mixture of joy and terror, living in a world filled with synthetic sound and the progress of cinema as a means of escape. From simple paintings on the walls of caves to MegaPlex 3D Movies, every step has required humanity to sacrifice a little bit of what we consider to be real. As Murch pointed out:

King Ndombe of the Congo consented to have his voice recorded in 1904 but immediately regretted it when the cylinder was played back: the “shadow” danced on its own, and he heard his people cry in dismay: “The King sits still, his lips are sealed, while the white man forces his soul to sing!”

My focus for this final project will be to synthesize a new reality by combining sounds out of context with my animation. Specifically, I will focus on creating sounds to supplement that which is not seen.