This project consisted of six, 1-2 minute pieces that include narration, sound effects, music and is recorded nearly entirely with binaural microphones.
What I Did During This Project:
This project tested my skills a little bit as I attempted to do a lot of things that I had never tried before. I was tasked with writing six short stories which proved difficult at times as I found it hard to both incorporate the original ghost stories as well as making it an interesting piece to listen to, however I am proud of the piece I did for the Lawn as I think it is an interesting concept and not a traditional story like the others. I was also tasked with recording voice-over for the pieces which was difficult to do at first, however with practice I became comfortable with doing it and created some decent voice-overs. I also had to figure out how to record things binaurally which wasn’t very difficult as I used a fairly simple piece of equipment, however crafting a fake head proved tricky at times as it was bulky.
How Did The Project Unfold?
I started this project with a very vague idea of what the final product would be, I knew that I wanted to create short stories that had a scary twist, and I knew that I wanted to incorporate binaural recording techniques in some way. The ideas that I had would change on a weekly basis and especially after I went to record atmosphere on location and got very little out of it, I decided that the best way to utilise the binaural microphones was to record the narration with them. I found that the binaural aspect of the project became somewhat of a gimmick and would have been better if the entire project was a singular, moving piece. Most of the research and blog posts were completed before the final week of submission, which is an improvement for me as I usually leave that to the last minute, however the audio work was completed mainly during the last few weeks, which makes me feel like some of the pieces are somewhat rushed, and could perhaps be improved if I had left time to mix them better. I ended up sourcing the music/background ambience I used as I didn’t feel confident in my music making skills.
LO1 – Pros/Cons:
I feel like LO1 was one of my more thought out and researched objectives as I looked in to the ways that other people recorded their binaural pieces and it also influenced my purchase of the Roland microphones as I uncovered in my research that they were a good option for people that wanted to begin recording binaurally without having to create their own microphones from scratch. I made sure to document the problems that I had with my initial recordings and how I had planned to get around them, which made me think about the issues in more detail before the next recording sessions. I think if I were to continue my research or add to it, I would have searched for binaural recordings that focussed on using the microphones for narration instead of gathering sound for atmosphere.
LO2 – Pros/Cons:
I think that the research for LO2 focussed less on radio and instead on storytelling and recording voice-over, however this is not necessarily a bad thing as my research helped me become more confident within my abilities when it came to writing and reading a story aloud. Listening to ‘The Stone Tape’ definitely helped influence my piece as it showed off how to create an atmosphere or space when recording binaurally and how you can create something genuinely scary using only sound. I think if I were to continue the research I would focus more on finding more radio dramas that both used binaural recording methods and traditional recording methods so that I could gain more insight on how it is done professionally.
LO3 – Pros/Cons:
Again, in LO3 I think I veered away from my initial research topic, however I did focus on how traditional horror media creates atmosphere and what some of the common tropes in film are and this definitely influenced the way that I created my pieces. For example, I took influence from some of the most popular horror movies when it came to creating an atmosphere/ a piece of music to accompany the narration; I focussed on making the listener uncomfortable by using both high and low notes simultaneously. If I were to continue the research I would have branched out and looked in to games as a medium and how they create an effective atmosphere.
LO4 – Pros/Cons:
Lo4 was definitely my weakest area of research and I think that is apparent from my blog. I didn’t exactly know what to look for when it came to this objective and could only think of a few things to discuss. the main thing that the research influenced was how the project would be shown; I took my influence from the pieces at Sonophilia 2016 which involved short stories and poems being told about specific areas, this is where I got the initial idea from for my project. I think I would have chosen a different learning objective completely if I were to do this again.
What Would I Do Differently?
I think if I were to start this project again, I would take it in one of two ways, I would either completely ditch the binaural aspect of the project in favour of more traditional recording methods, or I would have created a moving piece that lasted the same amount of time as all the pieces put together. I found the binaural recording fairly gimmicky at times and I think it would have been easier and less stressful if I had recorded the whole thing in stereo/mono. However, if the piece was not static, and I still decided to use the binaural microphones, I think it would have been a different experience, but would have made the binaural microphones more necessary.
Out of all of the projects I have done at my three years at university, this is the only one I feel I have been creative on; this project was about doing something I had never done before and creating something different from what everyone else was doing, instead of just jumping through hoops to get a grade. I have enjoyed working with Emily on this project as her enthusiasm and interest in my idea made me much more excited about actually doing it, instead of half-arseing it.