Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The Tuesdays@FUTURE blog posts the social network maps from the early community development begun at FUTURE in June 2006 to November 2006. You can view the maps here.

Steve Simmons, Sound Director, EDR Media LLC,creates, composes, engineers and casts talent for projects involving sound design.

Steve starts with the sound design for products, such as childrens digital toys. Our example is the Fisher Price Digital Arts & Crafts Studio.

3D animation, as a content piece, comes with no sound. Steve adds audio design for contemporary audiences who have a much higher expectation for abstract sound than ever before associated with real or unreal objects.

Sound gets absorbed, reflected, diffracts and transmits as it travels. Lower frequency sounds are heard for longer lengths of time. Sound can be absorbed through matter- sound travels slower in cooler temperatures and faster in warmer, more humid environments.

Sound waves are distorted in transmission and are subject to the Doppler Effect and Refraction.

Question: what about intermodulation? High frequency mixing with ----

Steve thinks alot about PSYCHOACOUSTICS, a field of study that recognizes the impact of emotions on our ability to process sound. Here is the Wikipedia description: "Psychoacoustics is the study of subjective human perception of sounds. Alternatively it can be described as the study of psychology of acoustical perception." Learn more. Go.

Basic human perception of sound depends on many factors: position, composition, humans have a 360o awareness, beyond line of sight, humans can track about 7 lines of sound at one time: in essence, we are constantly monitoring our environment.

In the real world there are dozens and dozens of emitters at any one time and always in motion

We calculate how sound is received constantly and in highly complex ways

The linear environment is very easy to control compared to an experiential environmental - industry is just in the opening stages of exploring this.

There are exciting customizations happening in the audio industry such as,

- BOSE designing "quieting" headsets

- Using surround sound for the cell phone

- Home surround sound - do we need to keep adding multiple speakers to our listening space, OR, do we need to get the sound more directly into the cochlea? Is the solution instead localization of sound? Challenges are in the front and rear sounds. (This is an opportunity for Intellectual Property development.)

Sensura is working with sophisticated 3D audio. Learn more here. Their technology helps to simulate the surrounding real environment.

Orbz is a game that Steve worked on. Most people listen to their MP3 players as they play rather than listen to the audio provided. (Is this because the audio is not quality?). The Orbz game relies more on affects than on music. Power ups are available and will sound differently to who is giving and who is receiving. (There are about 300 audio files in the game says Steve.)

The interactivity between the ear and the mind is significant. Once the eye spots an object, the ear is already several steps ahead in realizing the sound.

Streaming audio is constant from several different stero fields

Garage Game produced Orbz and BuggOut.

AE = After Effects

Other partners were created to play with the real life player, so even at 3AM any player will have someone to play with! Sound is rendered, just as 3D is rendered, "on the fly".

Steve also designs sound for toys - ie., a gas powered weed wacker. This is interactive audio in a toy.

Q: What about constraints for size of files? This used to be a problem but not so much any more. Faster bandwidth helps to eliminate these challenges.

Visit Wild Republic, an early project Steve worked on that was very successful.

Q: Are there standards for age demographics?

Generations striving for greater and greater fidelity...

How has our concept of sound matured? Are we teaching a lower grade parameter of sound? Listeners will demand high quality. Because of the ram available today, we have the ability to demand extremely high sound quality.

The context will determine the level of sound quality acceptable to consumers.

Comment: The opportunity is to explore how psychoacoustics react with the other sensory sources.

Other resources: MIT, the Engineering Society has published severla White Papers...

We need to understand the role of sound in our world.

Latency, for example: light travels so much faster than sound

Affect of expectations in quality

An opportunity: Connect the IMax experience with the Home Theater experience. Homes need space - Dolby is leveraging the head phone systems.

Delay and phasing of sound and time distortion

To align the psychoacoustic with the other sensors is where the power is as well as capitalizing on how these integrate.

Comment: Does anyone do acoustic games?

Comment: In music recording, there is often a need to boost the oboe to compensate for lack of sight of seeing a Sax player stand up and prepare for his/her solo. NEO has alot of expertise in how sound is heard and seen. There needs to be much more attention paid to acoustics.

Comment: The opportunity is to leverage the imagination: the illusion of what and how sight and sound work together to create the full experience of sound

Comment: explore Training applications - purely acoustic


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