The Blog Roll
Wednesday / May 22 / 2013
Congratulations to Grey London and Ben Leeves for winning a Silver at the 2013 Clio's
for Music Technique for their work on The British Heart Foundation: Mini Vinnie
Click on the image below to see the award winning spot..
This adds to the impressive roll of honour this campaign has won so far:
Best Sync / Use Of Existing Music In Television Advertising: MAS Awards 2013
Best Sync / Use Of Existing Music In Non - Broadcast / Viral Advertising: MAS Awards 2013
Winner: Silver Award: Best Use Of Music: British Arrows Craft Awards 2012
Winner: Silver Award: Best Use of Music: Kinsale Shark Awards 2012
Winner: Silver Award: Best Use Of Music: Creative Circle 2012
Winner: Gold Award: Best Charity Commercial: British Arrows 2012
Winner: Gold Award: Best 30sec - 60sec Commercial: British Arrows 2012
Winner: Silver Award: Best Web Based Film Over 90sec: British Arrows 2012
And click on the image below to see the original "Hard and Fast" spot, featuring Vinnie Jones
Click on the image below to take a look behind the scenes at the making of
the spot, that has saved 28 lives so far.
Agency: Grey London
Client: The British Heart Foundation
Title: Vinnie: Hard and Fast
Director: Wayne McClammy (Hard and Fast spot)
Director: Steve Bendelack (Mini Vinnie spot)
Executive Creative Director: Nils Leonard
Creative: Vicki Maguire
Agency Producer: Jacqueline Dobrin, Daisy Mellors
Production Company: Hungry Man, London
Producer: Camilla Cullen, Nate Young
Director of Photography: Fraser Taggart
Editing House: The Whitehouse, London
Editor: Alastair Jordan
Saturday / May 18 / 2013
Click on the image below to find out more on the global advertising campaign...
Sound design and mix by Munzie Thind
Monday / April 29 / 2013
Tune in to your radio and listen out for the new Sky Now radio spot, from WCRS, featuring the voice of Chris O'Dowd and our very own Munzie Thind..... but there's more... someone else has sneaked in on the voice over action...So just who is that on end voice duties...... Our very own Tom Pugh ....
To book Munzie or Tom for a sound design session... contact email@example.com..
To book Munzie or Tom for voices.... contact firstname.lastname@example.org :)
Click on the image below to hear the spot....
Thursday / April 4 / 2013
Different World?: We hear with our eyes and see with our ears, and have girlfriends who taste of melted wine gums.
Researched and written by Miles Kempton; Sound designer @ GCRS
When I was looking for jobs in sound studios back in 2004 I often found they would list a certain set of criteria for the applicant to be aware of. Eg:
- Like working varied hours
- Have the ability to work under pressure
- Enjoy working with people
- Have a good ear for sound
The last in the list above was always for me the most ambiguous – “good ears ”. So I’m going to start this blog by offering up the question what exactly constitutes a good ear for sound?
These days when you think of methods to identify people the ones that come to mind are fingerprinting and facial recognition, but in 2010 scientists working on biometrics at the university of Southampton found a new way….. by using peoples ears. This apparently yields a success rate of 99.6%. Unlike facial recognition, where the systems can be confused by the signs of ageing, your ears age very gracefully. They grow proportionally larger and your lobe gets a little bit more elongated but otherwise your ears are fully formed from birth.
So with this in mind – the fact that all our ears are different - having “good ears” is not specifically down to the physical structures and properties of the human ear. So are there super human hearers out there?
Superman was born with the ability to hear a clock ticking 200m away so the story goes - but if we mere mortals could have senses that fine tuned and sensitive then life would be unbearable. This is because hearing is unlike the other senses, for example if a light is too bright we can close our eyes or turn away, but our hearing is always “on”, even when we are asleep. So super-sensitivity and hearing would be quite impairing and damn right annoying.
Hearing is very complex its not just about having a load of people who hear normally and then some select people who have super hearing, as we come across a rich tapestry of hearing abilities. Our ability to hear the full spectrum of frequencies from 20hz to 20khz diminishes over time, with the majority of over 20yr olds not being able to hear 18khz and above. However our ears only play part of the role in hearing, most of the complex work is done by the brain.
So back to the question of what constitutes a good ear if its not physical properties, or the ability to hear the most amount of frequencies then what is it?
Well it’s the ability to distinguish between listening and hearing. We all hear sound but we don’t all listen and concentrate on what we are hearing. As I mentioned earlier our hearing as a sense is never turned off – we are always hearing but not always listening. For a lot of us when we listen to music we often hear the melody or hear the rhythmic beat / hook that drives the track. But unlike the musician who wrote it we are not dissecting all the notes of each instrument and how they interact with each other within the mix.
As Bernie Krause writes in the Great Animal Orchestra “I had always used my ears as filters for shutting noise out – rather than as portals allowing large amounts of information in. Dorothea Lange, an American Photojournalist used to say that a camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera. Well a recorder is a tool for learning to listen without a recorder.” The instance he heard a dawn chorus amplified through headphones, he immediately realised that with his unfocused ears he had been missing an exquisite part of real world experience.
Whilst thinking about hearing and how its different from the other senses (as mentioned above). It made me think that most of us believe the senses are mutually exclusive from one another. We hear though ears, see through eyes, smell through our nose etc and that each are standalone senses that don’t influence each other. Or are they… can we hear with our eyes, and see with our ears?!
Whilst experimenting with binaural recording at Grand Central - Ivor, Steve and myself found that when we recorded a matchbox binaurally (without any video reference), being shaken around a persons head. On playback with eyes closed we got a good 360degree experience. Especially a frontal image! We found we got a better frontal image with our eyes closed rather than open because we didn’t have a video image to accompany the audio.
So when you had your eyes closed you could hear the matchbox start at your right ear go behind you and shake its way past your left ear and go in front of you and round to the starting point (at your right ear). When though you tried it again and this time you opened your eyes just when the sound came to be in front of you - the perceived audio of the matchbox jumped to be behind you.
This is an example of our brain being given two conflicting pieces of information – and the predominant sense, sight, taking over. When we opened our eyes at the point we perceived the audio of the matchbox was in front of us, our sight could not pick up anything that resembled a matchbox to map the audio to, so it wasn’t going to allow us to perceive the audio of the matchbox in front of us – and so we hear the audio from behind us where the visual and acoustic information can no longer conflict.
Below Bernie Krause describes the complexities of recording water.
“At first glance, the task of recording water looks simple: set up a microphone by the shore and hit the ‘record’ button. But no matter how hard I tried, my early attempts at capturing the sound of water never seemed quite right. We’re so sight-oriented that most of us with reasonable vision tend to hear what we are looking at. When we are focusing our eyes on breakers far offshore, our ears and brains usually filter out all but the boom and crash of waves that suggest distance and incredible force. When we’re staring at the leading edge of the waves as they wash up the rake of the beach, we hear the tiny bubbles crackling and snapping as they rupture in the sand at our feet, while the sounds of the distant breakers fade into the background.
The McGurk Effect is an awesome audio-visual illusion – click below to watch a clip from Horizon: Is Seeing Believing, shwon on BBC2
Most people have never heard of Synaesthesia, (also spelled Synesthesia), it comes from the ancient Greek words Syn (meaning union/together) and Aisthaesis (=sensation) – so in effect it’s the joining of senses. For example a voice or a piece of music is not only heard but also seen, tasted or felt.
About 40% of synaesthetes “see with their ears”. The common name for sound-to-sight synaesthesia is coloured hearing, meaning the activation of colour, shape and movement by sound.
Triggers include everyday environmental sounds like dog barks, clattering dishes, voices and especially music. “Dynamically, we liken coloured hearing to fireworks because the coloured shapes are said to appear, scintillate, and move around, then fade away only to replaced by a kaleidoscopic montage of coloured photisms so long as the varying sound stimulus continues” Dimitri Nabokov. Not all sounds create a visual perception and it differs between synaesthetes.
Mike Morrow is a synaesthete and sees sound induced colour as a transparent overlay on whatever he is looking at. He says, “I see shapes and colours in response to sounds. I enjoy electronic music because it evokes such wonderful shapes and colours….as if I were looking through a plastic transparency which is in front of my eyes. If I shut my eyes, or if it is at night in the dark, then the shapes are the only thing in the field and are therefore more intense. However there is a secondary path. Sometimes when I hear words I will see shapes.
There’s a story of a 3yr old boy whose vocabulary is limited to primary colours (rose and shades of pink are called red). As he was being put to bed one night two crickets chirped loudly, one with a high shrill. “What is that white noise?” he asked. Told it was a cricket and not satisfied he said, “No not the brown one but the little white noise” he then imitated both. For the boy the sound of the electric fan in his room is orange. A frog croak is bluish, a squeaking door black and white. A small Japanese bell when rung loudly is red but when quiet is white. To amuse himself he sits at a piano and presses the keys telling people what colour they are. When he first saw a rainbow he shouted “Look a song, a song!!”
The Walt Disney film Fantasia is built on the idea of sound to sight correspondences, and many synaesthetes say it is a reasonable illustration of what it is like to see sound.
Unfortunately for a man named Lidell Simpson he has an acute version of synaesthesia. He hears whatever he looks at! Lidell was also born hard of hearing!…”I can turn my hearing aids off, but I’ll never hear true silence.
I also hear with equal clarity other things that are not sonic…Photonic hearing to me is the result of light. My eyes are another pair of eardrums to me. Every colour “emits” a tone. Intensity, brightness, position – all influence the tonal quality of these emissions. For example, there is a radio tower miles in the distance. On the towers are a series of lights, red and white (each colour has its own note, tone or key.) I hear the blinking of lights and its intensity increases as I approach. Now add the reflectors along the side of the road. Every one of them I see emits its “ping”, and the centre striping of the road emits its own sound. Every car headlight has its own tune. The tonal quality changes with respect to relative position, like the Doppler effect. Even in the daytime, same thing. I hear the sky, the trees, anything my eyes perceive emits sound.”
Julie Roxburgh is a British music teacher who sees colours when she hears sounds, and hears sounds when she sees colours. As she takes in a visual scene, each colour produces a different musical note, while any speech or environmental sounds she hears also trigger their own coloured pictures. This causes her a lot of distress, which is why she leads a relatively restricted life in the country (avoiding loud and noisy environments both visually and acoustically). For the documentary “Orange Sherbet Kisses” the BBC filmed her walking in Piccadilly Circus at night:
“This is an area I avoid if I possibly can. Every one of my senses is being battered. I find it very difficult to keep control because I’m not quite sure whether what I’m seeing is what I’m hearing or what I’m hearing is what I’m seeing. I find it difficult to avoid the traffic and avoid the people. The lights themselves are creating sounds. There is a flashing light that also gives me a tactile sensation in my fingers. The colour green of the little man on the cross sign is screaming a horrendous yellow at me. Behind that are neon lights which are shouting….its like having nails in the back of my throat….”
This enhanced crosstalk/development of senses is more of a hindrance than help. But have we all been synesthetic at some point in our lives? Sound-to-sight synaesthesia is particularly interesting because it may be present in all human infants (multiple lines of evidence suggest so). And adult synaesthetes just retain the juvenile circuitry or physiology that most individuals lose as they mature, or that the cross talk between the differing senses remains but synaesthetes have a gene that allows them to tap into these now redundant pathways.
Tradition has viewed sensory channels as separate, with little or any, interaction between them. But in everyday encounters we do not experience sensory events in isolation for example sight, sound and movement influence one another so closely that even a bad ventriloquist can convince us that the moving dummy is the one doing the talking. The ventriloquist effect also occurs while watching movies when voices are perceived to originate from actors mouths when the sound is coming from speakers to the sides of the tv.
Just like the McGurk effect (when vision dominates hearing) when the two compete, sometimes the relationship goes the other way. For example take the illusionary flash effect: When a flashing light is accompanied by two beeps, it appears to flash twice. A related illusion is called auditory driving, in which the apparent speed of a flickering light seems faster or slower depending on the rate of an accompanying sound.
In Conclusion,hearing and vision are tightly coupled in the brain demonstrated by a variety of illusions like the ventriloquist effect and the McGurk effect. Hearing and vision do influence each other – in most people this communication is below the level of conscious access – but for a fraction of the population the coupling is explicit with normal everyday experiences causing a sensory overload.
Synaesthesia is a massive subject and I have touched loosely and primarily on hearing and vision – other synaesthetes do exist and here is one who picks his girlfriends on how their names taste!
References I used in writing this blog are:
"Wednesday is Indigo Blue. Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia" by Richard E Cytowic
"The Great Animal Orchestra" by Bernie Krause
"Seeing is Believing" A Horizon Documentary: Originally shown on BBC2
"Orange Sherbet Kisses" A Documentary
The BBC News Website
Click on Miles image below to see and hear his sound design reel on his profile page....
and to join in the conversation with Miles, send him a tweet @MilesKempton
Thursday / March 28 / 2013
Looking through the GCRS archives, we still love the Sky Atlantic "Stories" promo featuring Dustin Hoffman, with Sound Design and Mix by Raja Sehgal and Munzie Thind... but look at what we just came across on you tube….! Ristéard Cooper's unique satirical take on the spot.....We still think ours is better but what a great John Hurt sound-a-like VO at the end...
Click on the images below to watch the spots.....
Thursday / March 21 / 2013
Our very own Tom Pugh almost got done for nicking a gold arrow from Ben Liam Jones and Andy Hunter, which they won for the 'It Follows Me Around' charity spot for NSPCC. It was one of Tom's first foray's into sound design and we are very proud of him…."Now give it back Tommy… you'll have to wait for the Crafts to get your own!'
Click the image below to vieww the Gold award winning spot.....
Thursday / March 14 / 2013
Click the image below for the Lbbonline.com feature on this new spot, with sound design
& mix by Munzie Thind.....
Thursday / March 7 / 2013
Keeping it in the family…
Boy George lookalike, Matt Endersby aka Bye George, who is related by marriage to a certain someone @GCRS ;) has been at the centre of a media storm recently surrounding a 'should he shouldn't he' discussion about if he should lose the pounds and trim down to look more like The Boy himself.....
A chance comment made to local a Newspaper went mainstream inciting pundits from both The Sun and The Daily Star to publish photos and newsworthy print about our Matt and the size of his gib… we say keep on those pounds... we preferred Boy George with them anyway….
After his recent star turn on The Alan Titchmarsh Show we all agree that we love Matt just the way he is…....
Click the image below for the feature in The Star...
& not wanting to be left out.. The Sun just had to "Get Involved"... click below for their feature....
Even the BBC had to get in on the Bye George sensation
..... click below for their news story...
& keep up with all Bye George's latest news by following him on Twitter....
And ... drum roll please... the main event... Bye George's star turn on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Wednesday 6th March....
Click on the image below to watch the show on ITV Player....
Monday / January 28 / 2013
As part of ITV's major re-branding, ITV Creative produced these new idents for ITV4.
Directed by Laurie Smith, with sound design and mix by Munzie Thind.
Click below to view.
And because we all love a good making of video.....click below for
"The Making Of The ITV 4 Idents"
Saturday / December 15 / 2012
This year's BBC Sports Personality Of The Year was one of the best and most memorable ever. A grand finale to one of the greatest years in British sporting history, with Bradley Wiggins celebrating much a deserved win.
Click the image to watch the promo .....
Sound design and mix by Munzie Thind...