Kinect for Filmmakers

I was hoping that people would take the Kinect, Microsoft’s new controller-less gaming add-on for their XBox360 games console, and somehow hack it into an affordable motion capture system for low budget filmmakers.  But I didn’t expect the progress to be so rapid.  Already cropping up on YouTube are videos of people using it to control virtual puppets, and using two of them at once as a real time 3D scanner.  The future looks bright not just for controller-less gaming, but for low budget filmmakers.  To complete the circle, here’s an actual real puppet reviewing the Kinect – a device which might not only cause the demise of his own felty kind, but by the end of the video seems to cause his.

I blather about Kinect for filmmakers for five minutes on AudioBoo here.

Building an IKEA Studio

MavArt Sound Studio A ProgressI’m currently building a small recording booth in my study using mostly IKEA furniture, so this article on MusicRadar How to Build Your Own Studio in 11 Easy Steps was a well-timed read for me (even if not all of their eleven steps seem that easy to me!).  I like their idea of plonking a whole new pre-built building down and fitting it out from scratch, but that’s not an option for me right now, so I’m using one side of my study/granny flat, some large IKEA cupboards, and some padding from IKEA and Clarke Rubber.  I’ll post photos of my progress as I go.

It’s not designed for music production, with sound proofing strong enough to acoustically isolate a drum kit.  I just need the ability to record voice and Foley performances without the sound of my PC fan and hard drives chattering coming through onto the recordings.

It’s coming along, but it’s taking longer than I expected (of course) and the booth door is still going to be a challenge.

The Wilhelm Scream

The Scream

Even as a kid, I knew there were sound effects out there that were being used over and over again in films.  Certain rock-falling sounds, certain gunshot sounds, certain horror sound effects.  Before I started to take a strong interest in post production I could tell that there were sound effects that “did the rounds” amongst sound mixers.

Tonight a student asked me about one of them and he reminded me that this one had a name – The Wilhelm Scream.  For a history of the scream (“screams plural actually) read this brief history from, where you’ll also find a list of films that it has appeared in. To hear a few different takes of the scream in medium quality, check out this freesound page.  Anyone my age or younger who has watched (and rewatched) films edited and/or mixed by Ben Burtt will instantly recognise the scream(s), but I didn’t realise until tonight how far back its history went – all the way to 1951.

Now if I can just figure out a way to incorporate it into a future project, I’ll be happy.

Phunny Phetish

I’ve been online for a while, so I’ve seen a lot of what the net has to offer. I’ve come to accept that somewhere on the net there is a website for every interest, obsession, or fetish. But just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes this specialised fetish site. Wow. There really is something for everyone online.

Which is not to say that I find the images there unnattractive, it’s just that, I mean… of all the technology devices to be turned on by, why this one? Maybe I don’t get it because I use these devices myself almost every day…