If this trimester has taught me anything, it’s that planning and documentation is about half the work; not because it takes as long as the task it relates to, but because the work will take twice as long to do if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
My folly was my mindset of “I can worry about documentation after I’ve gone and done the thing I really want to start working on”
Ironically, throughout the tri I felt like I had zero spare time outside of recovering from long work sessions, which wasn’t all bad considering I completed most of what I wanted done. However I feel that the real failure here isn’t what I haven’t finished off yet, but the fact I felt like there was zero time to spare when there was more than enough time to get the work done.
I think I went out to catch up with friends purely for the sake of hanging out maybe 2 or 3 times in the last 3 months. I’m not a psychology major but I’m pretty sure I would not have felt burnt out so often if I found the time to do more non-work related things.
I believe that impressive work more often comes from a playful mindset and not a “this is work, must do work” mindset – and usually takes less time too. I find when I’m enjoying working on something or even if it’s something new or something a bit challenging, it will get done that much faster as well. The “work work” mindset has been my approach to uni so far with varying results. I think a large part of achieving that “play” mindset is to properly manage time so that we can spend time enjoying things in life outside the work so we don’t feel like we’re always working on something and feeling burnt out.
If you are consistently asking yourself “what am I doing?” then the task you’re working on probably requires some sort of plan, or at least a list of broad steps to keep you on track. Between game audio design documentation, sound effect design, sound programming and other projects I’ve had a hand in over the few months, it is easy to just jump in and get on with the fun stuff of figuring out how the game engine works or why this open source audio plugin won’t work the way it is documented.
In just about every instance of me getting any significant work done, it’s been because I’ve stopped to write out what my plan is and then start with the first step, no matter how trivial it is.
Enough with the self-reflection already, what did I work on?
Well, I was one of the sound designers for the audio post production of Odd Sock episode 2 which is a mini web series created by the tri 5 film students of SAE.
Over seven days scattered across a few weeks I recorded some Foley as part of a group with the Rednet, as well as some location atmos and “walla” recordings to fill out our restaurant scene. I recorded some of the sound effects at home and I learned how to master for film.
I felt the overall mix of the scene was clear and consistent and translated well between episodes. Most people said it was barely noticeable but I definitely could hear the elastic audio stretching on “they’re just chaaaaaaaiiiiiiiirrrrs” to the point where my suspension of disbelief broke. I guess it’s either a case of my ears being too well-trained to handle inconsistencies or regular consumers genuinely not being able to notice the difference on their own; or even more likely, a mixture of the two.
Overall I was quite impressed with how everything turned out considering we only had ADR recordings for Sid and no others. This is mostly due to the use of the RX4 plugins being so fantastic for taking out the undesired reverb and background noise in the location recordings.
I mixed and mastered the recording of Romeo Moon’s “Tonight” in which I played the part of recording engineer (although I did miss out on hitting the record bottom – more on that in another post) which was a good learning experience for getting into unfamiliar environments with new work buddies.
I also produced and implemented the sounds for a nifty little Oculus Rift + Leap Motion demo Paperticket whipped up in just a few days for National Science Week. The game is a simple score chaser where you aim to deflect asteroids from your space station in the middle towards the “extractors” to the left and right to gain points. The game ends when your station runs out of health from too many impacts. The sounds are mostly here for audio feedback for when asteroids are colliding with the hands, the station and the extractors as well as an “ambience” that the asteroids emit to locate them via Oculus’s 3d audio spatialiser plugin. Music here re-purposed from another project which didn’t pan out; but was coincidentally set in space so it was rather fitting for the occasion.
I also took a good 65 hour chunk out of my internship by doing live sound at Kindred Studio’s Open mic night in Yarraville every Thursday night. I can already feel my ears and mixes getting better as a result of this experience of doing live sound. You really learn how to use EQ and compression depending on so many factors including music genre, timbre, loudness dynamics, room acoustics and feedback frequencies. You guessed it, there’s another post here too, don’t worry.
I am still coming to grips with this whole “blogs” thing but I do have more than a few quick notes most of these projects which will form the basis for coming posts.
Thanks for reading! Till next time…