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18 days to the installation, time constraints and pragmatic decisions.

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

I've reached a point where I have eleven film vignettes and all of my ideas have not been realised. The time constraints of having it all ready for the residency at the Puppet Theatre on the 19th of July make it difficult to now add more filming into the mix when I want to solely finesse the audio. The dialogue is still something that is not completed and this is largely because the whole piece is being formed organically, sometimes the visual informing the audio but the latest two films were the opposite. As I was working on them it struck me that these would work without visuals and would stand alone. I chose to use royalty free stock video to sync them and this creates a real difference in the colour contrast and overall quality of the images. In other words it makes some of my filming look a bit rubbish and washed out! This is something to solve only if I have time, or perhaps ask someone else for help with that aspect while I work on the audio.

I have been experimenting with the radio transmitters and headphones that I have borrowed from Laboratory Media Education They are easy to use and work really well but I detected some low level crackling that wasn't in the original audio. I am using my "vintage" (2009) macbook to play the film and connect to the projector. It's possible that my headphone out of my Macbook has a bad connection. To tray and solve this I will connect my SSL interface by USB and connect the radio transmitter through that.

What I've noticed as I progress though the scenes, is that the audio is becoming slightly more sophisticated in that, I am adding more elements from my field recordings in combination with the sennheiser ambeo or logic binaural panner. This has made me think again about previous scenes and if they can be improved by using the binaural panner and EQ filtering to emulate the sound of a radio on the room, or even just using the binaural headset to record the ambient room sound with radio/ washing machine or whatever might be going on in the background.

I did set out with an idea about recording underwater and making a pair of waterproof mics and attaching them to Janes head, and submerging them into a shallow part of my local river. Discussing with my partner how to hold Janes head under the water made the potential over heard conversation in a pub beer garden sound extremely dark and alarming!

This is now something I might have to let go of because of the time and the fact that I have now got at least 25 minutes of footage! This also begs the question, is this an installation, a short film, or the rantings of a mad woman? Probably all three....

Yesterday I blacked out the window in my studio and made a mockup of the installation in my studio with the wireless radio headphones tuned in. I wanted to test that all the elements would work together and that I was familiar with it all before I get to the theatre. My home studio is not especially large and although this was a really useful exercise, spending hours in a small dark and very hot space trying to balance things on a sofa at the end of the room is a challenge and frustrating when the "Heath Robinson" arrangement falls down, and you have to start again.

The room is not big enough for the projector to have a decent through but what it does show is which materials are best for projecting on. I have gone with white stuff and a collection of drums that I use in community music workshops. I have asked my daughter to make some other projection props for me. Originally she was going to use the black material but now this will be changed to white. Fortunately she hadn't started making them before I changed my mind. I have sourced a roll of white fly netting to use as an alternative.

Since the beginning of the Masters course in October last year I have largely only occupied one room, my studio. After yesterday's struggles with the projections and my general intensive 9 hour days working on this project. I feel compelled not to return to that room for today. I need some daylight and a bit of a reset. There are plenty of other jobs to do that I can be getting on with.

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