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Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 | 4 comments

inSPIRE, The Distance Music Experiment: Acoustic Explorations in Composition

Guest Contribution by Keith Lay

A special thank you to Keith Lay for this contribution which explores acoustics from the unique perspective of a musical composition and performance. Keith is a composer, producer, and educator based in Central Florida.

On October 20, 2012, musicians placed on rooftops, steeples, and lake boats in downtown Orlando, Florida performed “inSPIRE for 22 Brass, Carillons, C Bell and Distance” – the first experiment in “Distance Music”. The Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs department supported the project as a part of National Arts and Humanities month.

Distance Music Concepts

As sound travels to a specific location, it is delayed by the distance in which it must travel to reach the target location or specific site. Distance Music accounts for these delays by having musicians farther from the audience play earlier, so as to make up for the time required for the sound to travel the distance.

A Distance Music piece is intended to be performed at a particular location, such that a listener cannot hear it correctly at any other place unless the distance, altitude, and terrain between the listener and music groups at that place are the same as those at the original environment. For example, inSPIRE cannot be performed in any other city than Orlando, or from any other rooftops, steeples, etc., than those for which I wrote it. Furthermore, the audience can only perceive the composer’s intentions in balance and counterpoint from a premeditated site (what is referred to as the “sweet spot” in this article).

A map of Downtown Orlando, the venue for inSPIRE.  This map indicates the musicians' locations within the city and each location's distance from the listening "sweet spot".

A map of Downtown Orlando, the venue for inSPIRE. This map indicates the musicians’ locations within the city and each location’s distance from the listening “sweet spot”.

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Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 | 0 comments

Music & Sound Awards 2013 – Call for Entry

On 8th October, the entry window opened for the Music+Sound Awards 2013, an awards event that celebrates sound design and music in the creative industries.

Gaming, Film, TV and Advertising professionals are invited to become part of a music and sound celebration, which offers this incredible wealth of talent their moment in the limelight.
There will be awards for Best Original Composition, Best Sound Design and Best Sync across the entire audio and visual media industries. A thirty strong panel of industry authorities such as Duncan Smith and John Broomhall will judge the categories. With past winners including Best Original Composition in Gaming: James Bond 007 Blood Stone.

2013 follows on from the phenomenal success of the inaugural Music+Sound Awards. Once again the music and sound design industries have given their support to this event with sponsorship coming from heavyweights such as PRS for Music and Universal Music Publishing Group.

Tom Foster (now at Universal Music Publishing) says: “It is wonderful to be part of such a ground-breaking and unique event again. Last year we were blown away by the amount of talent in one room – the list of nominees was like a who’s who of the industry.” Nick Payne & Dan Neale, founders of the Music+Sound Awards say: “We were overwhelmed by the response to the first awards, this was in no small way down to the incredibly high standard of entries. This year’s body of work is already extremely strong and we are looking forward to giving the music and sound design industries another night to remember.”

A stunning line up of artists took to the stage at last year’s ceremony, which featured performances from the likes of The Noisettes, Newton Faulkner, The Phenomenal Handclap Band and a DJ set from Gary Numan and Ade Fenton. The Music+Sound Awards 2013 will yet again put the black ties and three course meals to one side and celebrate music and sound the way it should be done.

The Music+Sound Awards 2012 attracted worldwide interest, so much so that an international competition has also been launched for 2013. All entrants in the UK competition will automatically be entered into the International Music+Sound Awards free of charge.

Entry window opens on 8th October 2012 and will close on 30th November 2012
· Entries can be made at www.masawards.com
· The work must have been broadcast, published or released between 1st October 2011 and 31st
October 2012

· Entry costs £125 + VAT per entry per category or £90 + VAT with an eligible discount
· The Music+Sound Awards will be held on 21st February 2013 @ Troxy

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Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 | 8 comments

Ariel Gross Guest Post: ‘I Feel Like a Fraud and So Can You!’

This is a guest article written by Ariel Gross, Audio Director of game development studio Volition Inc, which produces such PC and console  titles as the Saint’s Row and Red Faction series. You can view Ariel’s introduction post here.

I Feel Like a Fraud and So Can You!

Every now and then I feel like a fraud. Every now and then I feel like I’m merely masquerading as a professional. Every now then I feel a little bit terrified, and then I see the look in your eyes. Wait, wait. Sorry. That last one was from a Bonnie Tyler song. But here’s the thing. The more I open up about this feeling to others, the more I realize that lots of other people feel this way, and it can be really comforting to know that we’re not alone. And actually, it might just be okay that we feel like frauds. Good, even!

How is it “okay” to be a fraud?

Well, hold your horses there, header. I never said that I am a fraud. I said that I feel like a fraud, and there’s a big difference. I’ve never claimed credit for something that I didn’t actually do. That would make me an actual fraud. If I have done that, it would have been unintentionally, and I would be mortified to find out. I would shout from the tallest mountain that there was an error.

It’s more like a sense of disbelief that I occasionally accomplish things that are actual things. To be clear, actual things are what I’ve always endeavored to do, and I believe that anyone that sets out to do actual things will likely become more capable of doing an actual thing. And that is just fine… for other people.

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Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 | 0 comments

Game Audio Podcast #17 – Post GDC Wrap Up 2012

The latest edition of the Game Audio Podcast is out, wrapping up a variety of subjects from GDC 2012 with special guest, Michael Raphael of boutique,royalty-free sound library provider Rabbit Ears Audio. Our  hosts also discuss the GANG awards, FMOD Studio, and newly emerging procedural plug-in formats for audio middleware, such as AudioGaming‘s AudioWeather.

You can check out some of the GDC talks mentioned, plus a wide variety of other GDC audio track content here

Listen to the Game Audio Podcast

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Posted by on Feb 13, 2012 | 1 comment

Recreating realistic audio environments

UK based Audio Designer Samuel Justice has posted an interesting blog post discussing the importance of early reflections in recreating authentic sounding 3D environments. An excerpt of his article is below, and you can read the full article, with audio examples here

Game audio is at an exciting turning point these days, not only do game makers realise the full potential of engaging immersive audio (and the negative effect of a product lacking in this) but us sound designers are now given the responsibility and freedom to create an entire audible world with as much creativity as we can muster (within the given time frame).

The recent generation (and history) of games is a testament to how the industry is home to some of the most creative sound designers around, you only have to listen to their work and you are instantly transported to another world, created entirely by their vision and expertise. Game audio engines are as well more powerful then ever, talented audio programmers have been able to model occlusion, diffusion, diffraction and a whole other slew of wonderful processing effects that help players immerse themselves into the worlds we create.

But this article is not about praising sound design, or sound designers. Instead, what I hope to achieve is to bring about the importance of a major feature that is missing from a lot of game audio engines, or is not being used. It is one of the pinnacle processing effects (in my opinion) that glues audio into the environment and allows it to blend in naturally, thus, not breaking the all important immersion.

I’m talking about early reflections.

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