I had my first Digital Audio Production class on last Friday. It's a very practical paper covering both recording and post production from an audio visual perspective. So it sounds rather like everything I had hoped for. I've already looked at the first assignment though we haven't been told about it, it was posted up online. I won't go into it just yet except to say that it looks like a lot of fun. We'll be using Pro Tools which isn't provided on my computer so I guess I'll have to do the assignment in the lab that we had our class in (it was decked out with Power Macs and Pro Tools with Mboxes) or use different software (probably not a good idea, plus I want to play with Pro Tools).
A lot of the first class covered stuff I kind of already know due to my interest in audio and a few interesting tidbits of both practical nature and interesting stories. One example was that a popular sports quiz show used canned laughter played from a keyboard. They had a 5-jokes-per-minute formula though the jokes weren't often funny, the canned laughter helped.
Another was that atmospherics are often recorded in stereo. The class went over time and aside from mucking around with some of the weblinks provided (one is an interactive tutorial on how sound works, I'll have a play though not much will be new) I won't have much to worry about for the rest of the week in regards to this paper.
Never updated on this paper either. I did the first assignment and it was a bit of a pain because I had to sit upstairs in the lab that had Pro Tools machines. Pro Tools was a bit painful too, I'd accidentally change some setting and wouldn't know what I'd done, but now nothing worked right. The assignment was a slapstick movie from 1916 and we had to add a soundtrack. We were supposed to make it very slapstick and comical with crazy sounds but I made it mildly realistic with odd stabs of comedy. I wanted to make different versions, perhaps a macabre version to see how that would work but I struggled with protools too much for how much time I had to give the assignment and all of my other work. Had a sound library to draw from though I couldn't get a few sounds that I wanted.
Assignment 2, worth 60% was again to produce the soundtrack to something. This time it was a video game movie trailer. The game appears to be set on a spaceship. I haven't really paid attention to what the game is...
The last project was supposed to have "silly" sounds and not really be realistic (though I kind of went down the realistic route for the most part), but this project is about making it realistic as possible. Except not really, because otherwise when the hanger door opens on the spaceship you'd hear nothing. I seriously considered doing that but decided it's probably not meant to be that realistic if I want marks.
So I sourced appropriate sounds, our tutor helpfully sourced a lot for us too which I wasn't so impressed with, because I can do that myself - the more he does for us, the less distinction I have from other people in the class.
I spend a solid and uninterrupted few days on the project, one part that took a disproportionate amount of time was trying to achieve the doppler effect for the elevator scene in Pro Tools. Thousands of dollars worth of software and would you believe it, you can't without spending hundreds more on plugins. So I faked it, and it works well enough. The faking took minutes to do. What took hours was exhausting all possibilities of doing it properly.
We had to add a music backing track, the test in that was that the music isn't long enough and we had to chop it up and make it fit, along with making it fit in with the action. That was actually pretty easy, though you are limited in your options of fitting it in with the action.
Hardest was getting levels not to redline, and the compression settings recommended to us made compression ineffective at that task. So I cranked up the attack time on the dialogue which was by far the biggest culprit. I recorded my own dialogue and completed the project with 2 weeks to spare before hand in (because I have bigger fish to fry) and then we got dialogue emailed to us along with some tips. So everyone else gets my work and skill for free damn it. So I changed it.
I'll add the result to this post once I've handed it in.