Sound Starts to Get Real

I've marked all my cues, made lots of notes, searched for music and efx.  I've now built some of the more complicated ones, figured out which complex ones actually need to be built as mulitpart-cues for timing reasons.

Jonni, Traci and I have had discussions.  We argue about choices, I acquiesce because they're the directors, and crawl back into the sound cave to search for a completely different set of musics (it's my blog.  I'll make up words if I see fit).

The first major step in bringing it to show form is to load the cues into the show cue software on the computer.  About three years ago, I built an audio-optimize computer for CST and we bought the SCS program, software that many semi-pro and pro theatre companies use.  It can play back sound and video effects, and can also send out MIDI control signals if you use equipment that responds.  The photo shows the SCS workstation setup.

Unlike the old days where I would run sometimes as many as three Minidisc players and two CD players for a show, everything is now handled by one computer and a multi-channel USB audio interface.  Actually in the OLD old days, I would use cassettes and sound effects LP's on a turntable.

HUGE difference. 

Now, when the directors make 13 changes during notes at the end of the night, and they will, I grumble a lot less because it's often as simple as a couple of mouse clicks, or re-opening the sound editor and remixing a cue.

SCS also allows for automated timing, control of the previous cues, level changes, panning changes (whether the sound comes from the left, right, or in the middle).  It allows me to easily send sound to alternate channels for positional efx speakers buried in the set.  It doesn't necessarily make for a better design, but it does make for a more consistent, repeatable design.  It's simply a tool to use.

Tonight is the first full tech run-through.  I have a feeling that I will be spending several hours back in my studio doing re-edits.  Tonight will also be the first night that my assistant Auriel will be with me to start learning the show so we can split up the performances.  It's also good to have backup in case something happens.

Paul Braun, Sound Designer