This has been the most amazing and exhausting four days. Norwich Puppet Theatre have been extraordinarily generous in allowing me this residency. To have time to experiment in their theatre space has been so brilliantly helpful.
The Get in
I had anticipated the get in taking most of the first day, I wasn't wrong and without the help of the inimitable Darren Taylor from NPT, it would have taken a LOT longer. We were able to use the theatre rigging to suspend the fly curtains, attached to a plank of wood. The circular screens and paper lanterns were hung from rope secured a symmetrically in the rigging. The objects were hung at different heights to offer more of an illusion of depth.
I decided to use the Theatre's projector and it tool quite a long time to set up because in order to decide if the things in the installation were in the right place, the projector has to be positioned correctly. The projector was positioned on the stairs which would obviously not be ideal in a full capacity audience.
I was still quite nervous of the Radio Headsets having noise on them but most of the first day was spent making the installation so it was only on Tuesday, the second day I was able to test the audio. The best place to have the base transmitter unit was at the top of the stairs hanging on the was behind the sound and lighting desk.
There was not enough cable from the transmitter through the outboard sound card for me to be able to put the macBook on the desk. It had to be positioned on one of the chairs.
At Mid day on Tuesday 20th July was the first performance in front of a tiny invited audience of five people. I decided that I would not talk about the film and what it was about and what my intentions were. I explained only that it was a binaural sound track and briefly what that meant for those that weren't familiar with it. I wanted to see if my intention of the narrative would hold up without having to explain what the film was about. It was quite nerve jangling because I had invited a large proportion of bat eared colleagues that are also in audio production in one way or another. It was interesting to hear feedback and which elements resonated with different people. I decided to alter one of the screens in the front of the installation to have a more opaque surface so that a clearer image was captured.
Wednesday was a day with four shows. Each time I ran a show, I became more confident. As I listened through headphones to each one, I was able to identify parts of the audio that I wanted to refine. For example longer fades or smoother transitions. Some of the video images definitely worked better than others, at times it would have been nice to see the image more clearly especially on the stop frame animation sequences.
I had decided on changing the position of the audience for the Thursday viewing and also in the last scene when there was a fade to black and the sound of the sea continued. I decided to fade up the sound of the sea in the house PA speakers as the house lights went up so that the sound in the headphones still continued when they were removed. It seemed a gentle way to bring people back into the space after what is quite an intense 40 minute experience.