The Next 5 weeks: A Journey into sound.
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The Next 5 weeks: A Journey into sound. In no particular order Intro to sound Editing, multitracking, processing sound Making a podcast (how to) Digital synthesis Streaming video/audio content from the helix server (how to) Bluescreen / Chromakey In camera effects. Designing with sound.

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  • The Next 5 weeks: A Journey into sound.

  • In no particular order

  • Intro to sound

  • Editing, multitracking, processing sound

  • Making a podcast (how to)

  • Digital synthesis

  • Streaming video/audio content from the helix server (how to)

  • Bluescreen / Chromakey

  • In camera effects


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Designing with sound.

Benyon – pages 394 - 402

  • Elements of sound

  • Hardware, software and file types

  • Human hearing

  • Compression


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Content Creation

Bitmap imagesVector imagesTextVector animation3D animationMidi music

Design and authoring

Web pagesFlash moviesDirector movies

Production and distribution

CDRom Burning

Stream to web

Downloadable content

Content Capture

Digital audioDigital videoDigital photographs

Coding hooks

PythonJavascript / JavaASP / PHP and dynamic data

Diagram showing all of the components of a multimedia production –content creation, assemblage and distribution


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  • Music computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    • Sets place and time

    • Emotional effects (suspense, sadness, energy)

    • Covers over visual breaks

  • Voice

    • Informational “content of words”

    • Personality (comic, serious, cultured)

    • Connects to listener in ways text doesn’t

  • Spot effects

    • Information (birdsong, door closing)

    • Punctuation (gives feedback – Alert sound in Windows)

  • Ambient effects

    • Location

    • mood

  • Communicative effects of sound


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    Auditory channel computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    Sound effects

    Music

    Voice track

    Ambient sound

    Time

    Visual Channel

    Images

    Video

    Text

    Image and text

    Diagram showing ‘parallel’ nature of audio information in comparison to ‘linear’ video information


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    • Informational use of sound: computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    • Sound carries a lot of information.

    • Loud/soft – distance

    • Reverberation – sense of space or room size

    • Stereo – position in space

    • Combined audio – sound effects /music /speech

    • Music – emotional effects


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    Psychoacoustics computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    • Continuous perception

      • We are aware of sound even when not ‘thinking about it’

  • Primacy effect

    • Focussing on important sound

  • Masking

    • Ignoring unimportant sound


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    Copyright issues computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    Because its easy to distribute ‘copied’ music across the internet does not make it legal! Both Napster and MP3.com were prosecuted.

    • Solutions?

    • Write and record it yourself – if you’re good enough and don’t mind giving your talents away for free!

    • Use royalty-free clips (but check the actual rights on offer)

    • license what you can’t produce yourself – either the song, the recording or both


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    Elements of sound computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    • Loudness > Measured in ?

      • 0db as absolute upper limit

    • Pitch (frequency) > Measured in ?

    • Timbre – not measured, but is the ‘quality’ of sound – why a piano and violin playing at the same pitch and loudness sound different.


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    Elements of sound computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    Drum

    Envelopes

    Loudness

    Time

    violin

    Diagram showing a graphical representation of two audio envelopes – one with a fast attack (drum) and one with a slow attack (violin)

    Time


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    Hardware computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    Sound

    • Soundcard with mic / line input

    • Soundsource / microphone

    • Large HD (1 min of CD audio = 10 Mb)

      Music

    • Soundcard with midi instrument bank

    • Keyboard and leads


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    Software computer interface (with the exception of computer games)

    • Wav editor

      • Audacity

      • Vegas / Soundforge

      • Wavelab

  • Multitrack recorder

    • Cubase

    • Sonar

    • Logic Audio

    • FruityLoops

  • Processors (echo, EQ, reverb, distortion)

    • Native instruments

    • Sonic foundry



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    File types / soundsources and Sonar

    • Midi (just musical data)

    • Wav

    • MP3

    • Aiff

    • Digital synthesis

    Digital recordings


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    MIDI – a special case and Sonar

    Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)

    the first plug and play multimedia networking protocol, introduced in the early eighties.

    Musical instruments were used to send messages to each other along the lines of “Give me a loud middle C on the piano for two seconds”.

    Control data is sent to synthesisers on the PC’s sound card

    A whole song can be transmitted in a few hundred bytes

    No vocals – only musical sounds!

    Challenge: Play with the piano roll in Fruityloops in AS125.



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    Human hearing and Sonar

    • 40 hz – 20 Khz at birth

    • 40 hz – 15 Khz at age 18

    • Downhill from there (Ipod users please note!)


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    Nyquist rate and Sonar

    • Scientist called Nyquist proposed that for humans not to hear digital ‘steps’ in recorded sound - it would need to be sampled at twice human hearing frequency

    • 22Khz X 2 = 44 Khz

    • CD quality audio is sampled at a rate of 44100 times a second


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    Amplitude and Sonar

    Analogue

    Time

    Diagram showing a ‘smooth’ analogue waveform compared to a ‘stepped’ digital waveform.

    Samples

    Amplitude

    Digital


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    Problem with digital audio and Sonar

    • 1 minute of digital audio takes about 10 Mb of disk space.

      How do we get round this to distribute sound on the web?


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    Problem with digital audio and Sonar

    • Solution 1 – lower sample rate

    • 44 Khz = 10 Mb minute

    • 22 Khz = 5 Mb minuter

    • 11 Khz = 2.5 Mb minute


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    Problem with digital audio and Sonar

    • Solution 2 – Compression

    • MP3 = .5 Mb per minute or less


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    MP3 Compression: How it works and Sonar

    • When we listen:

      Important data

      • High frequency sounds

      • Short duration sounds

      • Rapid changes in tone

        Non-important data

      • Lower frequency sound

      • Continuous sound (hums and hiss)


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    Compression and Sonar

    Works by “throwing away” the non important data

    • E.g. – there is no need for 2 channels of ‘bass’ when we can’t spatially locate low frequencies (e.g. sub woofer)

    • Finding “similar” parts of a sample and replacing with 1 occurrence. (just GIF in image compression)

    • Challenge: Render the same sound file from Vegas in AS127 – first as a .wav file, then as a .mp3 file – compare file sizes.


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    Digital Synthesis and Sonar

    Google: VSTi, Native Instruments, virtual synthesizers.

    • ‘Old’ – hardware synthesisers – used oscillators (sound sources), filters (sound modifiers) and envelopes (sound shapers) – to produce sound.

    • Digital synthesisers ‘emulate’ this hardware in software– by modelling the ‘real’ hardware (with logic gates, filters, etc)

    • Challenge: Play with the virtual synthesisers that come with fruity loops in AS125.


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    Using sound imaginatively and Sonar

    • There is no reason why you can’t use sound as a tool for communication in web design.

    • Remember a voice can ‘personalise’ information and ‘build a relationship’ with a listener in ways that plain text cannot.

    • Music can provide a sense of ‘place and time’ – a bit of militant scrap-house or D’n’B might help make pages seem more relevant to a student audience – it may also irritate them….

    • Remember heuristic rules though – allow users to turn off sounds, or navigate through long sound files.


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