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King Henry V Audio Engineering: Journal
 
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Journal

Below is the complete text of the journal kept for this sufficiency.




Sunday October 29, 1995

Re-cased SMsurround stuff.. Should be more immune to noise now.. Still not perfect, but definitely an improvement.

Met with Noah Weisleder (PLA). Regular meetings scheduled for next couple of weeks on Fridays at 17h00 (after Masque meeting, before Theo's).

Regular meetings with Prof. Susan Vick on Thursdays at 14h30.




Monday October 30, 1995

Listened to sound effects CDs today, made notes of effects that might be useful. Arranged with a trumpet-playing friend, Dennis Jackson, for assistance in creating trumpet call sound effects. Contacted Christina White (StgMgr) with regards to current cue lists. At this point, there seems to be no definitive cue listing, which is very frustrating. However, there is apparently a tech script available in SL20, will obtain tomorrow. Also will obtain stage/seating plot tomorrow for speaker placement design.

Took survey (/usr9/cew/sv/takesurvey from CCC machines) for PLA.

Made some files relating to audio implementation available via the WWW at the following URL:

                http://sidehack.gweep.net/~prefect/henry/




Tuesday October 31, 1995

Experimented with some preliminary battle soundscapes on the multitrack recorder.. Initial results are decent. Still need lengths of scenes to know how long to make the tapes. Trying to figure out a way to do effective backups of the multitrack tapes.. Probably can use IMC's 8-track as a temporary dump spot.

Got together with Heléne this evening and went over cues, have a somewhat more solid idea of what is going on, which is a good thing.




Wednesday November 1, 1995

Made a couple of key modifications to SMsurround hardware that should improve noise problems a *lot*... Will know more when more testing can be done.

Spent 1hr with Dennis Jackson (trumpet-playing friend) recording various fanfares and calls. Used a multitrack method and overdubbed several runs for a very nice ``thick'' sound. Recorded a French King fanfare, an English King fanfare, a fanfare for both kings, ``Charge!'' and cavalry calls, as well as Taps. With appropriate post-processing, these will sound very nice.

Spent a couple of hours programming Yamaha sampler, built up a trumpet set so that all of the trumpet sounds may be played. This was the first time I've done any serious programming for the sampler, so subsequent programming should now move a lot quicker.

Wrote a quick SMsurround SHOW language file to test out the trumpet sounds, works well.

With regards to TECHLAND, current plan is to place it in the balcony, probably building some legs for some Masque scene-shop platforms. Should work out nicely, providing some time can be spent putting it together.

Received some answers regarding time period for effects. They should be kept somewhat timeless, but idea of using traditional effects (swords, horses, etc.) as a sort of sound ``cake'', with ``icing'' of more modern sounds, with perhaps ``sprinkles'' of futuristic or other sounds, seems to be a good approach.




Thursday November 2, 1995

Met with Susan today for suff meeting - cleared a lot of ambiguities up. Also had a production meeting and a mini-design meeting, both of which helped clear up problems and miscommunications. Finally, sat through the stagger-through and now have a *much* clearer idea of how things fit together. All in all, I feel a lot more confident about where things are heading. I wish I had known a lot of it earlier, but I should be able to deal with things as they stand.




Friday November 3, 1995

Put notes from yesterday's meetings up on my Henry V web page. Now have approximate scene timings, more descriptive text, etc. Met with Joe Kalinowski (assistant AE) for a bit and discussed plans for the next few days. As it stands, we plan to do effects work on Saturday 11-04, begin Alden set-up on Sunday 11-05, and continue on effects work and Alden work as necessary throughout the rest of the week. Effects MUST be done by midweek, as deadlines are rapidly approaching. Didn't get to do much more today, had a lot of classwork to do.




Saturday November 4, 1995

Spent a while reorganizing/cleaning up my Webbed cue sheet... Spent an hour or so in the Masque scene shop building a pair of speaker mounts for the front flown speakers, they came out well..

Got together with Joe again this evening to work on some effects. We developed and put on tape the ``on ship'' sounds. As of now, it's an EQ'd and effected beach/waves sound in four channels with a sound of a ship somewhat rhythmically creaking laid on top. It sounds really nice, in our opinions. A funny side-note, the creaking was generated by putting a microphone near the base of a large computer monitor and leaning on the monitor. The base of the monitor makes a convincing creak sound, which, when effected and EQ'd sounds a *lot* like a ship creak. I'm pleased with this effect.




Sunday November 5, 1995

Got the hall in Alden today, started setup.. Worked from 1pm until 8:30pm.. Lugged most equipment to the hall.. Cut legs and built platforms for Techland in the balcony.. All is assembled up there and it looks and functions well. Ran audio snake and power to balcony. Moved most equipment up to Techland as well. All in all, things are progressing nicely in the hall. Will be getting speakers tomorrow (borrowing Bose equipment from a friend). Also recording battle preparation sounds tomorrow...

Received permission from IMC to use their 8 track deck to make backups of show tapes, just in case a tape gets damaged or lost.

All in all, we appear to be on schedule...




Monday November 6, 1995

Started setup of equipment in Techland.. Things are set up very nicely. I am stressing functional layout and neat wiring, and so far everything is adhering to those criteria.

Recorded some 'preparation' type sounds today.. They're going to take a lot of post-processing to fix up, but hopefully I can get something usable out of them. Have 20 minute and 10 minute tapes.

Got the speakers this evening (borrowed from a friend). They sound nice, much better than Lens 'n Lights drivers, and they'll work well. The only drawback is that they have to be struck to the LnL office every night, as they have a high potential of being stolen. This is a slight pain, but the quality will outweigh the inconvenience. Tomorrow I will work some more on setting up the drivers in their real positions, etc.




Tuesday November 7, 1995

Set up front-of-house speakers today (the Bose 701's, just inside the proscenium arch onstage). Also finished the mounts for the Bose 101's that are flown on the truss (for front overhead effects). Tested out those four drivers, all work. Did a very rough EQ of those drivers. For the most part, ``permanently'' ran the lines for the truss and front of house speakers.

Had a very brief meeting with Susan today with regards to a quick change (scene reordering). Had a brief discussion regarding other stuff (battle scenes are fairly short... she'd like tank/gun/explosion sounds - essentially overload the audience so they don't get a chance to think)..

Spent some additional non-audio time helping out with some other stuff in the hall (truss safety chain and strip light moving).

Will be going to Theatrix tomorrow to pick up rentals and purchases.




Wednesday November 8, 1995

Sampled some battle effects into the sampler this morning. Now have a couple of machine gun sounds, explosion, helicopter, etc. I am hoping to build up a large array of effects to use.

Went out to Theatrix in Belchertown, MA to pick up ClearCom rentals, gels for the LD, cables, etc. This was half under my responsibilities as Lens and Lights Technical Director, half under my responsibilities as rental person for the show. Thanks go to Greg Marr for driving the Ryder truck.

The house platforms were set up this evening, so I was able to set up the 800's (bass drivers) at the rear of them. All drivers have been tested as they will be run for the show with the exception of the two rear-of-house drivers (Bose 6.2's). Things are at a very good stage as far as the physical show setup goes.

Will be meeting with Susan tomorrow, as she says she has worked out some specifics of the battle scene. This is a good thing, as at this stage, things that aren't concrete are bad.




Thursday November 9, 1995

Ran cabling for the rear-of-house Bose 6.2 speakers. Ran some ClearCom cable. Did some system balancing and testing, things are sounding decent. Ran the KGB mics, set up the amp downstairs in the control room.

Set up the bandshell in the rear of the house.

Met with Susan and cast to discuss battle scene stuff.. She has a more specific idea of what she wants for the Agincourt battle scene..

Didn't get to do too much else today because of classwork.




Friday November 10, 1995

Set up all speakers and finished line-level cabling for amplifiers. All speakers now work. Did a little bit of EQing and balancing of the system as a whole. Everything sounds decent and is in working order.. The next step is to concentrate on getting the effects finished up (for the most part) for cue-to-cue on Sunday.

Set up more ClearCom cabling, still have a few more headsets to go.




Saturday November 11, 1995

Found out this morning that the house design is substantially changing. This means a redesign of the rear-of-house speaker setup. The rear two platform widths are being removed, and the remaining are being widened. It's kind of annoying that these changes are being made now, as the house design has been available for months (it is part of the IQP)..

Finished wiring ClearCom: two stage right headsets, three stage left, one for the stage manager, two in TechLand. Also skirted TechLand with some Douvetene so it isn't as unsightly as it was before.

Did a little bit of effects work, then helped out other crews with painting, etc. as my ability to concentrate on audio work was diminishing..




Sunday November 12, 1995

Brought computer, my rack of gear, SMsurround, etc. to Alden today, set up in TechLand. Strike for this show is going to be a real pain in the butt, as there are a lot of pieces of equipment. Did some initial tests and such of SMsurround, seems to still work fine.

Had a pre-cue-to-cue and a full cue-to-cue this evening, have enough notes now to write at least the preliminary cue stack for my SMsurround software. All of the working out of cues took an incredible amount of time, so little else will get done this evening. I plan to program in the rough cue stack tomorrow morning for the first Tech tomorrow night.

For the cue-to-cue, I ran completely non-automated. This wasn't an easy thing to do.. I should write some manual-control stuff in to SMsurround to make this sort of thing easier in the future.




Monday November 13, 1995

Arrived in Alden early this morning and began programming work on the cue stack.. This took until mid-afternoon, as I was working on several sub-projects in the mean time, such as making a couple of new cables for equipment interconnects, etc.

Built up a Harfleur battle tape today. Basically ocean sounds with some effects processing and battle noises on top. Sounds pretty decent.

The first tech went OK, but not spectacularly. Have a few bugs and kinks to work out of the programming. In particular, the Agincourt battle scene needs work.

Came to the annoying conclusion that the line-level output on my sampler unit was lower than that of normal equipment, thus the cannon shots were very quiet. I need to find a way to boost them (a small preamp or something might work)...

Roy Rubinstein started work on his ambient sound stuff after the tech this evening. Mics are placed behind speakers, run up the snake to his Mackie 1202 mixer, through the DP/4 effects processor and in to the board.

Quickly hacked a monitor speaker for Tom Guyette with an audience microphone. Also got him a ClearCom connection. Will need to work out the feed for his monitor, but the setup for the amp and speaker works well.




Tuesday November 14, 1995

Cleaned up more of the cue stuff earlier today, should be OK for the run tonight. Tried out the ambient sound tonight, and Susan liked it a lot. In fact, she wants some sort of reinforcement on everything. It is extremely unfortunate that I found out about needing to mic the actors this late, as I could have actually rented shotgun mics and done it properly. However, it should be possible to kludge something with the mics Roy is using for the ambient stuff.

Ran a new feed for Tom's audio monitor off of the Mackie 1202 being used for ambient effects. This works reasonably well. Also re-ran his clearcom and the cable for his feed, as the orchestra is now in the foyer of Alden instead of in the hall.

Boosted the line level output of my sampler with a spare stereo receiver, using the CD input and a headphone output. It's a major kludge, but it works well.

Second Tech went OK for the most part.. Still some bugs to work out here and there.




Wednesday November 15, 1995

AAAAARRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! It is absolutely amazing how much equipment decided to give up on life this evening. The DP/4 effects processor that is being used for ambient sound started randomly crashing and not working. The 8-track tape deck being used for most of the effects decided to crap out as well. I have no idea why the DP/4 doesn't work, it appears to be a hardware problem. The 8-track is having problems with the pinch roller wheel and motor. It seems I have temporarily fixed it, but I will look in to it more tomorrow.

Since all of this stuff blew up, some major last-minute hacking had to be done to get things up and running. The DP/4 was removed from the ambient effects stuff entirely, so only simple reinforcement was possible. The microphones were not in a useful position for doing vocal reinforcement, so yet another last-minute (and fairly ugly) method was chosen.. The mics are now about 8 feet in the air on boom stands just inside of the proscenium arches on each side of the stage. It's ugly, but it works.

The tape deck worked fine until about halfway through the show, when it suddenly kept stopping for no reason. I managed to get it running again to finish the show, but I'm concerned it will die again at an inopportune moment. I am going to look at it again tomorrow and evaluate its health. I may be able to borrow Roy's 4-track deck and mix down to it, but I'd like to avoid this if at all possible due to the time constraints.

Additionally, for some reason the sampler didn't work during one of the cues. It may have simply been a stupid operator problem.. Will also look into this for tomorrow.




Thursday November 16, 1995

Now, entirely convinced somebody has uttered the Scottish play continually since Tuesday night... Opening night.

In the afternoon, everything looked beautiful, everything was functioning well, etc. Of course, even though I had the 8 track running for a half hour or so with absolutely no problems, it decided to give up again 10 minutes before the show started. Fortunately, Roy saved the day and brought his 4-track up which thankfully is somewhat compatible with the tapes used in the 8 track. I still have to figure out how to do a couple of things on the deck, but I think if he will let me use it I will run the remaining shows on it, as I now completely distrust the 8-track.

Roy reprogrammed his ambient effects into the Yamaha SPX-90, which was used for the show this evening. I made some cue changes so the appropriate ambient or reinforcement effect is put in the right place. All in all, with the exception of the tape deck blowing up and the replacement not quite working as I had hoped during the show, opening night was decent. [knock on wood .. a lot] ...

Much less stressed after the evening was over with and the requisite trip to the Boynton was had..




Friday November 17, 1995

2nd run of the show.. Went pretty well.. Continuing to use Roy's 4-track, and will do so since the 8-track has gone 'kaput'...

All in all, I feel fairly comfortable with the run now. I worked out some of the weirdnesses with Roy's 4-track, and now am running with it as an acceptable substitute.

Not too much else to say.. Two down, two to go...




Saturday November 18, 1995

Last runs of the show went pretty well... No major flaws on the audio end of things. Strike went fairly smoothly, but took a considerable amount of time.

It took quite some time to disassemble TechLand (I measured and cut platform legs and built a huge structure up in the balcony for lighting and sound), but I feel it was well worth the effort, as it was not too cramped, the view was decent, and most importantly we were out of earshot of the audience, which is a plus..

The sound setup in house got taken down fairly quickly, as it wasn't terribly large. I had the fortune of having a very competent and capable crew. Especially worth noting is Joe Kalinowski, my assistant...

As a side-project, I set up a decent mic, mixer and tape deck to record the orchestra for Tom's record.. Joe ran it while I was running the show. Hopefully the tape sounds decent..

All in all, as usual it feels good to have wrapped the show up, but I am a little sad to see it end, as it has been my point of focus for the past several weeks. In all, I am pleased with the way the way the production went, and I am glad to have worked on it.


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Steve Richardson 2000-07-09
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