In Search of Sound

I’m conscious of the fact that this is an audiovisual project and so far I have spent the majority of my time investigating the visual aspect. In the back of my mind I have been considering the way on which audio might be managed and it seems timely to formalise some of those thoughts.

Firstly, the format of the final piece has much bearing on the organisation of audio – will it be 3 screens showing the same interactive vignette at any given moment or will each individual screen show a separate vignettes at separate times? I’m leaning towards the former approach as I think the sheer visual impact of having 3 screens show the same (hopefully visually arresting) vignette will enhance the viewer experience.

Secondly, if the 3 screens are to the show the same vignette at the same time, should they each have an independent, local sound design or should they somehow feed into a global sound design?

The local sound design approach means that each vignette would need a sound scheme that is capable of being duplicated, out of sync –  in other words un-synchronised but mutually compatible.

The global approach would mean that each vignette could trigger elements of a single sound scheme, potentially sacrificing the perception of localised sound (ie the viewer interacting with a given screen is aware of their own interactions affecting local audio). The benefit would be that sounds could be synchronised (perhaps making use of rhythm) and that a single machine / software license could provide audio capability.

The last point is an important consideration as I will be unlikely to be able to purchase software licenses for 3 machines. I think I can afford to leave this question unanswered for now and focus on the more creative aspect of sound design.

So, I currently have 2 vignettes in development  – for each of these I want to consider the audio element before moving further with the project as a whole. I have named them for convenience.

Outline motion particles‘ is where an outline of the viewer is seen only when he/she comes to rest. When movement occurs the outline is softened and a storm of particles is created that shoot off similar to sparks from a sparkler. The first approach that comes to mind here is to find a foreground sound that can be used to represent the shooting sparks, either literally duplicated to create many sounds or complex enough to carry the idea of  many sounds and a background sound that creates atmosphere and tension. The background and foreground must fit together but the foreground is likely to supersede the background when ‘the sparks are flying’, following on from the visual dynamic.

Neon Outlines‘ is where a neon-coloured outline of the viewer is created in response to their movement. I had a strong idea right from the start that moving in front of the screen would not only create an outline but also trigger some kind of dance music. The more the viewer moves, ie dances, the more the outline is drawn and the dance track develops.

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