It is only a day since I wrote that I did not want to start reviewing anything, but this is a must…

I am about to speak about the first part of the major recording project belonging to the module Digital Studio Production. This was a collaborative project with my classmate Juan and consisted on recording two songs from the band Future Trad Collective (or more exactly two of their components and other featured guests).

During the preparations for the actual recordings I had the opportunity to revise the concepts learned along the semester within the studio. I had also the chance to research about microphone techniques of a wide range of instruments that otherwise I would hardly thought about, as for example the uilleann pipes.

The line up was different for each song and also the style of the music, having in common the celtic roots. The musicians were overdubbing every instrument, playing over programmed beats they brought as a guide and replacing them progresively with the recorded tracks.  They were all fantastic and experienced musicians and also they were playing with different instruments and doing variations on the fly.

After three recording sessions we ended with a huge variety of instrument recorded: nylon string guitar, electric guitar, bass, mandolin, low whistles of different sizes, flute, vocals, kick drum, triangle, snare, shaker…

By the way, do you know what an ebow is? Well, I have to confess that I did not have a clue until this surprising device appears during the second recording session. The guitarrist take from his bag an small stapler-like electronic artifact that he used to get a really different sound from the electric guitar. A sound that I would describe as an hybrid between a synthetiser and a cosmic violin.

I had to say that the recording was a very interesting experience and that now I “only “ have a stereo mix and a 5.1 surround one left to do.

(All along the watchtower – Jimi Hendrix)–%20All%20Along%20The%20Watchtower.mp3″ As the final of the year gets closer and closer, people tends to start reviewing their achievements and promising to do in the future what they haven’t done. Instead, I prefer to go off at a tangent and let the things finish at its pace.

What do you (not) like about write in the blog?: I like to see the posts finished and the blog growing but the weekly topic usually becomes a nightmare.

Something that you would prefer to be doing right now instead: Sit on a bench and eat “pipas” (= sunflower seeds) under the sun, no matter the cold.

In my opinion the post should end in here. BIG full-stop.

However, I will continue with my nihilist writing.

It is incredible how easy is to fool any living being and how absurd seem to be some programmed mechanisms when out of their normal working. As an example of this I remember the ants, that usually bury any dead ant they find since they can detect the oleic acid secreted by the carcass. Clever mechanism. However spreading the same acid on an alive ant the other ants would try to bury it repeatedly despite it offers resistance. Not so clever…

In my opinion the post should end in here. BIG full-stop.

Suppose that you live in a second floor, your windows are filthy and you will require the service of a professional window cleaner. Here arises a huge dilemma: whom to hire? A cleaner with the massive telescopic handle? (like the one who reaches the top of Maxwell Hall from the floor) or a fearless one who hangs with an harness?.

Maybe with the telescopic device some spots got away from the cleaner in spite of having a wonderfull eyesight but at the same time probably a climber window cleaner is a bit excessive for a second floor. A ladder? Scaffolding? To change the windows?

(Saved by the bell – Backyard Babies)

After several weeks of social media, today’s post is about the art of deception. More specifically about tricks and camouflage.

Along the history have been developed lots of visual tricks and illusions. Nowadays is common to watch documentaries about film tricks (like for example the one about Emilio Ruiz del Rio I recommend at the end of here) and there are making of almost every movie or series. However special effects are not exclusively for fiction but also for ordinary life.

Wars, apart from many other things, are a great example of creativity in the field of deception. In addition to the well known use of camouflage patterns in militar clothes and vehicles skilled specialists have managed to mislead the enemy army. A good example are magicians as the british Jasper Maskelyne who concealed the Alexandria port and through a lure avoided the german bombs, which were dropped a few miles away over the mockup.

Also in the second war there were a whole US unit whose sole dedication was to fool the enemy. These unit called The Ghost Army, was formed by creative thinkers from many proffesions like painters, designers, engineers, photographers or actors who accompanied by a range of inflatable tanks and other fake armoury and signals achieve to feigned a big army and save some lives.

Which I find very interesting about this unit was the use of sonic deception helping to get the trick become credible. At first they were recording tipical battle sounds in the open air by means of a microphone and a wire recording installed in a truck. The sounds of bridges construction, tanks passing by, trucks, troops etc. were recorded separately. Having all this library of army sounds the sound engineers were able to playback different mixes to accommodate to the real scenarios where the Ghost Army were accross europe. The unit carried huge speakers and amplifiers over trucks, and played the sound effect mixes (that could be heard 15 miles away) accompaning the faking troops and rubber tanks.

I hope I will keep on discovering surprising and creative uses of sound once in a while.

(Or how social media is being used for business purposes in the av industry)

(Hey – The Pixies)–%20Hey.mp3″

Social media has reshaped the industry, the commerce, strategies and the world behaviour. Nowadays it is the key of business and every marketing campaign needs to take place mainly online, where the public already is. But social media is not only about marketing in the business’ mind.

Something has changed in the world 2.0. Business is not just providing goods or services to the customers anymore, but rather getting engagement from the people. Not only the consumption of the product is important for the company, but also the communication and the highest participation possible. People feeling part of the brand, giving them opinions and suggestions, being involved and feeling part of that community, having positive experiences… a whole experience of buying.

In order to get it and instead of just trying to sell whatever their product, firms now identify our necessities, analyse what most of the people are interested in, try to fit there and chat with them, pretending to be selfless and to expect friends and followers more than clients. To do this (giving otherwise unheard people a voice) social media is the perfect ten, however is really difficult to predict the outcomes of different initiatives.

As a result we are workers for every company, giving ideas, opinions and suggestions to improve them and not only this but also doing it happily and convinced. Like Ikea or the pubs where you serve your own beer. In exchange you get the feeling of being an informed costumer and having some influence. You feel the power.

That applies to the audiovisual industry but in this case the challenge is even bigger because the social media strategy usually coexists with the audiovisual content itself. Hence, there is the need to create solid and interesting contents that can push through the incredible amount of competitors from all over the world, including the consumers. Getting a strong online presence and making possible the whole enterprise process happening in the same medium (from the creation of content to its marketing, selling, evaluation…).

P.S.: I guess that would be better in this post to speak about prosumers instead of consumers, but I have to say it: I hate this word…

Take away

Posted: November 17, 2010 in Social Media
Tags: , , , , ,

(Bigmouth strikes again – The Smiths

I guess it was pretty obvious from the title but just in case… This post is about how the experience of listening to music has change owing to the mobile devices. Foremost about the “ mp3” devices. It is true that from the walkman music is mobile, but the way of listen music was not so flexible and more similar to the home devices.

As a listener and music lover the advantages are a lot, however from the point of view of the artists or the average person involved in the audio field or even as a person walking without headphones along the street the perspectives could be different. I will try to analyze a bit everything and a lot of nothing.

The possibility of listening to tons of new music in the spare moments of everyday’s life, mainly on your way to places, giving you a real chance to live in a videoclip. Also the real convergence that it implies, saving a separate music device and (this applies only if using the mobile phone) making the most of it in case you get no calls at all. Digital data moving easily between devices, you can consume music as an addict, fast, without pain, randomizing, changing song every 5 seconds, without attention, while doing other things.

In the meanwhile most of the artist and bands are still working on doing full albums, that only real fans or the odd one listen. Good songs vanish in the air and there are a lot of songs that are planned fast as well, from the start, knowing that only will last a couple of weeks in the music world. Fast music.

Anyway, recycle.

PS: I was thinking about to choose the placebo cover of the song, because it says “discman” instead of “walkman”, but even though was pretty old fashion so I put up with my first choice.

Update: I found it! Finally Joan of Arc got an “iPod“:).

(The kids aren’t alright – The offspring )–%20The%20kids%20arent%20alright.mp3″

Convergence is a word that doesn’t fit at all in the concept that it tries to represent.Because this convergence paradigm is not a single point towards where everything goes. It is an incredible amount of options growing in every direction as they feel like rather than a single thing tending to collect all. Is a process without end, crazy race to nowhere.

No matter how much you read about convergence and if the author’s approach is technological, social, from services and business, economical or whatsoever mix of angles, the so-called definitions spread and spread in a vain effort to range all the possible nuances. However, there are certain common places and impressions that could represent the first essence: blurring, boundaries, participation, connection, chaos, ubiquity.

I will try to do my little contribution with a few personal thoughts that suggests me convergence. Read the rest of this entry »

(Stones – Sonic Youth)–%20Stones.mp3″

Copyright makes you live in fear.

Some years ago, copyright did not usually hang around your daily live. One day you wake up feeling creative. In the past you would cut out a photo from the newspaper, stick it on a completely different photo and maybe even draw some funny complement on it. This collage, of which you were very proud, would remain exposed in your kitchen for a long time. No matter of whom is the photo or what you did, your life was safe.

However nowadays everybody’s life is a bit more public and every little action is apt to have lot of repercussion. In a network world, things are more unpredictable than ever and thus are much more difficult to control. The old copyright is not useful anymore because every piece of work become digital and digital staff spread like wildfire.

If the copies are free, the idea should be more rewarded. But, how much does an idea cost? That is the better and the worse of living connected. The inspiration and materials to carry out creative works are around, but some of them are untouchable although completely within reach. In the middle of such amount of information totally new ideas are almost impossible. How not being influenced  by any previous shared ideas?

In an ideal world nobody would appropriate another people’s ideas, and artist would not need to fight to get incomes from their job. Unfortunately, things are not always like that, and the laws are not changing as fast as the world.

For daily ideas a pretty useful solution is that the owner chose the desired future use of his/her creation. If only showed or also allowed to modify and reshare. The really complicated matter is to be fair with the people who used to live from intellectual property.

Media business (like music) should continue fighting to find their new place in a different ruled world. Adapt or die!.