Category Archives: BOA Music Tech

Isadora Experiments – Triggering and manipulating audio from live video

Recently I’ve had the chance to experiment with Isadora by Troikatronix in using live video to trigger and manipulate audio for use in performing arts performance for triggering multiple sounds from multiple cameras. The intenton is to either use dancers or simply members of the public in the exhibition to trigger audio from their movements.

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch

The following patch you can see takes use of several “actors” available in Isadora to route a single camera signal (video in watcher) and analyse it (eyes).

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch Part 1

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch Part 1

Of the many parameters you can watch using eyes the main ones I’ve used include “hit column” and “hit row” for simply tracking a the main object of any given frame of live streamed video. Corelating these to a grid gives a numbered intersection I’ve been able to use to trigger other sounds.

However smoothening this every changing series of digits is essential as to not give off hug he fluctuations in values and subsequently triggered audio.

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch Part 2

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch Part 2

Passing after this section the final state involves setting several “inside range” actors to watch for separate bandwidths of values at different ranges. Thus enabling me to trigger sounds for objects generally high. low, left or right of live streamed shot. This passes each of these ranges through to separate audio file triggers which are enabled when the value reaches that between the values set by the actor “inside range”.

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch Part 3

Isadora Audio Trigger From Stream Patch Part 3

Further exploration of manipulation can be seen with using “obj size” in eyes to manipulate the volume of the triggered sounds via the size of the object tracked on screen. Like wise the objects vertical position has been used to govern the speed at which the triggered audio is played.

All in all this has led to some very experimental soundscapes to be utilised live during a performing arts event here in Birmingham. See below for a video of one of the first experiments in using an in built webcam to provide the streaming video content to trigger the samples. More developments soon!


Pro Tools 310i at Alchemea with Justin Fraser

The Pro Tools 310i

Wow! What a 3 days it’s been attending the Avid Pro Tools 310i course @alchemeacollege London.

I’ve been so privileged to learn advanced icon techniques from Justin Fraser whose worked with such artists as: Seal, Art of noise, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Charlotte Church, The Frames and Tracy Bonham for whom he received a grammy nomination in 2002. His live portfolio also includes such as established acts such as Christina Aguilera and U2 to name only a few.

To say the least I’m now fully mind blown as to the capabilities of the icon setup and can now hopefully pass on this knowledge on to students at BOA and into our mixes.

Here is some snaps from alchemea:

Pro Tools D Control

Pro Tools D Control

Pro Tools D Control room Alchemea 2

Pro Tools D Control room Alchemea 2

How to record electric guitar: Microphone and DI combo!

Guitar sounding flat and boring? Not enough direct sound making into your recordings?

Been recording some electric guitar with a student in the studio today and thought a lot of what we were doing could help people out there recording at home.

Firstly start with a good amp and realistic expectations of what your instrument can achieve. Cheap guitars, strings and amps sound just like that but that can be a good thing!

Recording Electric Guitar 2

Secondly make sure amplifier is placed away from any large surfaces that can reflect sound. Moving it away from the walls is a great start! Many people with combo amps take the decision to raise them up on a stand or piece of furniture to help reduce bass heavy reflections from the floor entering the microphone.

The two methods of placing microphones on a guitar cab/amp involve the terms:

“On axis” – To place the microphone directly in line with the speaker cone

“Off axis” – To place the microphone away from the central “on axis” position wilst still point at the cone.

“Ambient Mic’ing” – To place the microphone at a sufficient distance away from the guitar amp to be primarily recording room reflections. The mic can either be directional or omnidirectional and can placed anywhere within the reverberant field.

As you can see from the picture using a Sennheiser e606 (formally e609) off axis and a Shure SM57 on axis gave good results.

Recording Electric Guitar 1

Using a DI box is a great idea for recording mic’d guitars as it means a “dry” DI (Direct Injection) signal can also be recorded for virtual amp re-enforcement.

This is achieved by plugging the guitar directly into the DI box and using the link channel to take a copy of this signal into the guitar amp whilst another connection (XLR) takes the DI signal away for recording seperatly.

Recording Electric Guitar 3
Recording Electric Guitar 4

Finally nothing beats using headphones whilst setting up guitar mics to help you directly hear the implementation of the small microphone movements you have to make to achieve a better sound. Experiment with placing mics 3 – 6 inches away but beware to observe extra bass when getting too close thanks to the proximity effect.

Don’t be afraid to combine more than one microphone sound when mixing and remember it’s always possible to delete things you don’t like later if you have the courage!

Happy recording.

BOA: Jessie J and John Craig visit

What a week it’s been. As many local TV, Radio and websites have reported Jessie J made a surprise appearance to officially open the Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) recording studio with BRIT Trust Chairman John Craig OBE.

These are just some of the pictures from throughout the day!

ITV: Jessie J Visits BOA

BBC: Jessie J jams with Birmingham’s Ormiston Academy pupils

Birmingham Mail: Jessie J visits Birmingham’s new £25 million fame academy

Birmingham Mail: Jessie J choices two BOA students to sing with her on stage live at the 02 Academy Birmingham! – I’m in the background of the photo!

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BOA: Recording studio construction day 2

Day 2 of recording studio construction and the D Command desk has been constructed and placed in its permanent furniture housing.

The Pro Tools HD 3 system has been set up along with Genelic monitors giving us sound for the first time!

No audio inputs yet from the live room but we’re getting there, another week or two of hard work to come to get the live room up to scratch but right now we’re all happy to play be using Pro Tools 9 HD3 via Mac Pro and D Command desk.

Stay tunned for more developments.

BOA Recording studio - D command installed

BOA Recording studio - D command installed

BOA: Theatre space progress

I took a few shot of the theatre in its basic form a few weeks ago. Some of the changes to it now are amazing.

Hard to believe this theatre was just a shell a few short weeks ago.

Tune in later this week for the after pictures.

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The Electric Cinema

BOA students performed at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham earlier today to an audience of local primary schools.

Live music, animation, acting, production and installation art all happening at once. Music technology providing music performance pieces for the animation based on motif composition and collaboration amongst students. A composed midi motif was composed by the students and utilised in different genres to accompany the humorous animation for school children (hopefully posting soon).

Great little boutique cinema in the heart of Birmingham. Managed to also get a pic of the classic old 35mm projector still in use.

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BOA Music Tech – Reach

Original song “Reach” done in the first 2 weeks by BOA Music Technology students.

These guys are 2 weeks into their course at this point.

Original composition. Great work!

BOA update: Recording studio building day 1

The recording studio is starting to take shape with arrival of the studio fitters to start installing the Pro Tools HD – D Command studio.

Really can’t wait to get stuck into some lengthy recording sessions. In other news I have a pigeon hole, a career first!

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BOA 1st day in new building

It’s Saturday the 8th of October and today is the first day inside the new BOA building.

The stunning £25m development has come to a close leaving it time to fit out just how the teachers want it.

See attached for some of the photos as we start the work of preparing it for teaching music technology. Avid D command on the way!


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