Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Old Time Radio and Machinima

Old Time Radio and Machinima: What Do They Have in Common?

So I promised to talk about sound! Where do I begin? For me, sound is my inspiration; it informs my visuals. Gonna talk RADIO to you. I need to slip on my loafers, floral duster and granny wig. Sit down boys and girls because I have to introduce you to old time radio - the days when you had to listen.

Okay, well that is not Soni's style. You know that! No granny wear yet. Plus I think what I have to say is very current and relevant to machinima makers, if I say so myself - and I do.

"Story" machinima is dependent on sound effects and voice-overs. It is the voice-over that is critical as in radio. Aha! You see machinima producers have more in common with radio producers than you thought.

Ever hear of the BBC radio drama series, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Incredible voice-overs, ambience, and you can "SEE" the story jump out to you, from out of the radio.

Dick Orkin's Radio Ranch is a great place to start for short form comedy that really underscores how to create a sense of personality with the right voice-over. Yes it is old-time radio with a formula that still works! If you listen to the Orkin audio samples, you can hear the mix of dialogue, music and effects. Hear a sample of Orkin's classic series, The Tooth Fairy. Here's a longer version that sets up the series. Just corny stuff, but fun - and key to engaging your viewer who is also a listener. Sound moves your visuals forward, and, if done well, it might keep them awake too (or a bit longer).

I promised to showcase a couple of my student projects that used a machinima created by Lowe Runo. He asked the students to create the sound design as a challenge. The following are the two best in our estimate - Team 3 and Team 6. But you can listen to them all here.

The first video takes a serious approach to the story, and the second video provides some comic relief. The foley, dialogue and music change the feel of the machinima. I think that is all I need to say - Sound is a critical consideration. You can create a wonderful visual production, but you will lose your audience in the first few seconds if you fail to attend to your sound design.

Some of you know this, but you think people will be wowed by your visuals. It is a complete package. So don't skimp on the sound. That's Granny's - I mean - Soni's recipe to MAGNUM sound.

- Soni!

Disclaimer: Soni's outfit is not up to teaching code. This is a fictitious representation of what she wears in the classroom to draw interest to her blog and ideas.