Saturday, February 26, 2011

Social Networking and ISDN

I did an ISDN link yesterday connecting with WBUR in Boston for NPR's radio show On Point. In Studio C at Studio West was James Fowler, professor of Political Science at USCD. One of the cool perks of this job is that we do lots of ISDN connections with various NPR stations, so we get to hear lots of different interviews on all kinds of topics. It's like being back in college and having to go to sociology lectures, but getting paid for it too! Yesterday's session had an interesting twist. I'm using social media right now (this blog), to comment on a show that was discussing the underlying twists of social media. 

Do your friends' friends' friends actions and opinions have an effect on everything you do? Is it possible that what you do today via your social media network may influence what your friends' friends' friends do tomorrow? For example, if you loose weight and blog about it, are your friends likely to loose weight, too? You'd be surprised at the findings; I was!  It was a very interesting show; If you've got a free few minutes, check out the podcast

A little about the studio setup. James was seated on a stool in the Studio C booth at a Neuman U87. I ran the 87 through a Focusrite Red 7 mic preamp with slight compression, 3:1, with a light threshold of a light threshold of straight up on the Red 7. We use Telos Zephyr ISDN interfaces in Studio B and Studio C. Our connection codecs were XMIT L2 128 and RCV L2 - a very standard configuration. I recorded the ISDN send to WBUR (James' voice) and the ISDN feed to us as a backup. It was a standard ISDN session configuration. Session setup was 44.1, 24 bit, WAV. The session consisted of a single audio track for James, a stereo aux track for the ISDN feed received from Boston, and a mono aux that we patch the DCommand's talk-back into - so we can easily send console talk-back both to the mix going to Boston and the cue mix going to the booth. It's a standard configuration we use in Studio B and Studio C for ISDN and phone patch sessions.  

In case you're wondering, "What is ISDN?", think of it as a special, very high quality phone line. It uses compression technology to encode on the sending side and decode on the receiving side. Two phone lines are required. Both studios involved in the session need to have similar ISDN Interfaces installed and correctly configured. This way, we can have a voice talent in San Diego connected to an agency in New York and it sounds like they're right in the agency's booth. Very cool technology - kind of expensive, but still much cheaper than flying to New York for a three hour session! 

Remember to support your local NPR station! 

Mark Kirchner

Monday, February 14, 2011

POST Magazine Interview

Gary Miranda and myself got a chance to chat with the folks at POST Magazine on Friday about what it's like to work on video game audio.

One of the questions asked was: "What are some of the hurtles you face in doing sound design and scoring for games?" In our case, one of the biggest challenges is the ever-changing duration. A few seconds added here, a few frames removed there, this phrase added here, and so on. These changes can happen right up to the moment the project is due - so you learn to expect that they're going to happen and you roll with it. It's actually part of what makes audio for games such a challenge.

Stay tuned for a link once the article has been published.

Mark Kirchner

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Voiceover and Dialog Recording for Discovery's Kidnap + Rescue

Congratulations to Brad Barker, The Halo Corporation and the folks at Go Go Luckey for a successful launch of Kidnap + Rescue on January 29th. Over 1 million viewers for the pilot episode - way to go!  Brad has been a frequent visitor recording all of the show's voiceover dialog at Studio West. The new series uses actual footage, first-hand accounts and dramatic re-creations to tell the stories of kidnap victims and their heroic rescuers (10 pm, Discovery ).

Kidnap + Rescue is a provocative new series about kidnapping and the rescuers with the courage to go where no one else can - risking violent reprisal to reclaim innocent victims, inside our borders and beyond. The first episode of Kidnap + Rescue features The Halo Corporation, a San Diego-based security firm founded by Brad Barker and his team of former Special Ops, National Security and Intelligence personnel. Together they work to provide security and humanitarian aid along the U.S./Mexico border. This episode tells the story of two kidnappings to which Halo responds.