People ask why I don’t really listen to music except for when exercising or a live show. My reply is that in the quest to take live audio beyond what is a bunch of people on a stage – I always heard and wanted to have sound surround and immerse me. I didn't want “surround sound” or “3d” sound…but a full spectrum, all around audio system...in the coolest form, the human body would be immersed -above, below, around, in front, behind, to the right and to the left - inside & out. audio the likes i had never heard before.
It was Christmas day in 1991, and i was in Paris, France with a show. I was massively depressed because they gave us a day off and you are several thousand miles from "home." I remember there was a show party, but i ended up going to a Burger King three times that day to eat my sorrows away. I also had a moment to work on sketching the idea for creating sound fields that might allow me to hear what I imagined was possible in my mind.
Fast forward to Japan. The mega show was called the George Lucas super live adventure. I was not into research and development at the time, rather, merchandising and generating cash flow on the concessions side. But I remember a few things about the show – first, it was 42 trucks for the stage - second, it had the most advanced entertainment technology at the time - third, Mr. Feld was gracious enough to introduce me to George Lucas – who – upon meeting, I was completely star struck. Maybe i got my head to knod my head to signify “hi!” and looked like too big an idiot.
The other memory was when I realized how messed up the actual show was and how the technology wasn't bulletproof (although when i saw Marlynn Lowey do a gradated shade with 180 stage lights, i went "wow!) the actual show control, cue systems and storyline - well...sometimes you take a chance and try. it simply always doesn't work as intended.
When i would get done working each day, I would go in and sit in the arena because i was fascinated at the technologies. There where two guys working till they dropped each day. I didn’t know who Jonathon Deans or Francois Bergeron were at that time…. but one night they made angelic voices fly around an 18,000 seat arena, I stopped, paid attention. They had the proven a bit of the idea for what I thought live audio should always sound like.
Each night, i would stay and watch them work.
Today I went and saw an adorable movie called “Paddington” to learn more German by hearing the words. Ok, i must confess, i love 3d animation and wanted to see how they mixed a cute story and character with compositing real world with digital.
The movie was wonderfully shot and it was nice to see “fur” or “hair” finally has made it to computer animation in a believable form. The movie will hold me over until I see the nick park animation of “Shaun the sheep” comes along.
Who is Nick Park? A guy I marvel at with his stop motion animation – aka- the creator of Wallace and Grommet.
The local theater is installing a Dolby 3d Atmos sound system and really has been kind enough to allow me to come hang out on Tuesday when the system gets tuned. Today she asked, “Want to see?”
She turned on the lights in the theater and scaffolding was up for the entire install on the ceiling – I climbed up a ladder and just froze on the ladder.
Right in front of me was basically the same prototype that I smashed together in my basement in Reston, Va. At the time, i was pretty clueless as how audio actually worked, and the digital age was just starting, so I had to mix an analog with a protools digital systems - all to move the audio with LCS boxes.
I think the inspiration was the dreamed of creating a 3d circus where the entire show appeared to happen in air - so while we started with the normal immersion system on a heavy dose of steroids , to one where i had a platform in the middle of the room where I was able to implode myself from above, below, and all around.
While it took more time than a professional soundman, I was able to maneuver the audio into one day going, “wow, this is pretty cool”
That might be the day when the search for the ability to matrix low frequencies and sub-woofers came along, “wouldn’t it be even better if?
Notice the progression? then it was "wow, this sounds so amazing, that with normal visual systems....we need a BIG visual system!"
So as I stood on the ladder today, it was bittersweet. The owner looked up at me to ask what I thought, “I did my best to hide the pain inside of failure and was able to let out a giggle, "This was my basement in 1994, but I am sure this works a whole lot better and will sound amazing.”
So on Tuesday, I will go and be a nerd, watch some talented people tune the room. Tis bittersweet, but with invention, you know many will fail, but someone will eventually succeed.
Perhaps that is why I sometimes pull the "you" show and some of the old characters we created up - the technology is about there to actually allow it to happen.
I just don’t know if I have enough in my gas tank to undertake that challenge again? Or do I just not want to go through that level of pain in failure again?”
The answer is honestly, where we are today with Augmanity, makes the immersive audio seem silly.
But without that first step in the implosion audio rigs – there would be no path for Augmanity.
Have a great day. Dream big, some of them actually come true!
To feed your inner child’s heart, watching “Paddington” is worth your time, If you pay attention to the overall set, you will have many giggles and the creators placed some funny bits in – of which – i think the audience missed most of them.
This concludes the post brainstorm dribble down memory lane while i look forward to "hearing" to a level i came to enjoy in the lab on Tuesday.