A year (and a bit) down the road…

Well now, that was a bit of a hiatus wasn’t it? Much has changed, moved town, moved house (rather obviously) and got three distinct business entities on the boil. All under the umbrella of RedLED ProductionsRedLED Productions Logo Square [425x 425].
RedLED Productions undertakes digital media projects such as video filming and editing. The attention to detail and quality is also applied to the creation of bespoke DVD and BluRay discs, fully packaged and presented. Promotional, training and educational productions have been commissioned and delivered. We also undertake VHS to DVD transfers, retrieiving old memories and presenting them in a new medium that is far less susceptible to degradation. A full menu system, with chapters, modern graphics and broadcast quality transitions means that your old video footage has never looked better. If it’s your typical long, boring, uncut home video we can (if you wish) edit it down to a more engaging viewing experience.

Often promotional and training work requires a voiceover to instruct, clarify or extol – which is where the next department comes into play, Mark Tilyard – Voice Actor.Mark Tilyard - Voice Actor (bigger)
Capable of many voice styles and accents, Mark Tilyard – Voice Actor produces audio for audiobooks (for example on Amazon and iTunes), animation, commercials, infomercials, auto attendant (phone systems), and “voice of God”-type speech for live events. Pretty much any requirement for a male voice can be undertaken (my “female voice” is fine for comedy, pantomime and cartoons – but not particularly convincing for serious work 🙂 ).

You’ll notice that sound is a common thread running through these various services which brings us to the final provision available from RedLED Productions. Groovemachine featuring MrGroove is a fairly long-winded way of saying “mobile disco” but it is certainly a lot more fun!
GroovemachineWith music from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond (00s and 10s don’t quite have the same ring to it – roll on the 20s!) Groovemachine has something for everyone. Having been a radio DJ since the late 80s and running discos since 1990 I have a lot of experience of how to ensure an event runs smoothly and is enjoyed by all. Weddings, birthday parties, children’s parties, promo events have all been undertaken. Fancy a groovy 70s night, a vibrant 80s night or a retro 90s night? Themed birthday parties can be great for recapturing those memories of your “clubbing days” – your playlist suggestions / wishes are willingly incorporated into the set so you can be assured your favourite songs will get you and your friends on the dance floor. Take a look at the dedicated website for testimonials / reviews of my work.

Video, Audio, Voice and Text

Lights Camera Action - Video Audio Voice and Text
Technical Media Services?

Video-Audio-Production-Voice-Over-Voice-Acting-Copywriting Services?

It’s tricky to come up with an umbrella term that covers all these areas of expertise, if you have a good idea do let me know. Suffice to say that I am now transitioning my skills that were previously available only to a select number to a national (international?) market. So if you require generation of an audio or video epic, voicing for your latest production, telephone “on hold” system voicing, some engaging “target audience” text for your website or assistance on any of the above click the “Contact” option in the menu above and get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Addendum: Aha! Finally worked out a better umbrella term for all of this: Digital Media Services.

Hong Kong Phooey Fanriffic!

Recently updated the audio on an old site of mine. If you take a look at it bear in mind it was (to mis-quote Calvin Harris) “Acceptable in the 90s”. At some point I may spread some “21st century makeover dust” on it – but for now it’s an ‘interesting retrospect on the web design attributes of the 1990s’ (my career as an art museum curator has yet to take off – evidently).

Anyway like I said, I’ve updated the audio – it WAS in RealAudio format – remember that!? Back in the 90s, kids, we had devices called modems (which stood for “MODulator / DEModulator”) which we attached to the phone line. At the start of any Internet session (web, email, whatever) you used to click an icon to start the connection and then hear piercing bleeps and chirrups while the modem did it’s thing.

On The Hong Kong Phooey Fanriffic! Zone (the site in question) I had two files, one for 14.4k modems and the other for 28.8k modems. Yes “bandwidth” back then was 14.4 kilobits or 28.8 kilobits per second. Bear in mind that standard broadband is currently around 5 megabits (or 5000 kilobits! – it’s actually 5120 kilobits due to clever maths stuff – but I don’t want to bog you down with that) – being on the Internet in the 90s was good schooling for the art of patience!

As an aside I remember, back around the same era, working as a software developer writing programs that required “compiling” (translation into machine efficient code) – I used to be able to have a tea break when the compiling process was initiated. Then we got faster machines – darn technological progress – and the compiling took less than a minute, no time for a cuppa 🙁

So the audio is now in massive (for 90s modems) WAV format. Not only did I incorporate a more up-to-date audio format I also transcribed the lyrics to the theme tune – it’s SHOCKING how many sites have the incorrect lyrics. The lyrics I have put up have the song structure and even a transcription of the scat singing (“do bee do bee doooo, skiddly biddly bong” – Cleo Laine’s got nothing on me!). Indeed Scatman Crothers (who provided the voice for Hong Kong Phooey) wasn’t called “Scatman” by accident and was a well known ‘Scat Cat’ (I may have just made that term up) in the 1930s and onwards. So if you fancy hearing that classic Hong Kong Phooey Theme Tune and sing along with the lyrics you know what to do (hint: click the link!)

The Sound Exposure difference

A little insight into why buying your audio equipment from Sound Exposure is a wise move.

The difference between Sound Exposure and [any other pro audio retailer] is that you can talk to an expert or read the detailed product descriptions so that you never buy “blindly”. ALL the product images are accurate portrayals of the actual product (where a satisfactory image wasn’t available a photographer was commissioned to obtain a good quality product shot). You won’t see an “actual product may vary” label on anything on the www.soundexposure.com website – so you can buy in confidence.

The Product Range (with simplistic text for those who can’t tell their boom pole from their XLR connector).

Adhesive Tape (Top quality insulation tape, gaffer tape and premium camera tape)

Amplifiers (Crown, Denon, Electro-Voice, QSC, Samson – all quality brands that you can trust)

Audio Solutions (Matching Converters, Limiters etc)

Batteries (Hawk-Woods for all your camera / production equipment powering needs and Procell – the Duracell brand rebadged for the professional market)

Boompoles (for your film/tv/location soundman (or woman) to hold a microphone above the action)

Cables (XLR, Speakon, 1/4″ Jack – custom cables can also be built to your requirements, just call Sound Exposure)

CD players (1U rack mount, 2U rack mount, multi disc autochanger, twin deck, iPod docking, Pro DJ – you name it!)

CD Recorders (recording your audio to a small circular disc)

Audio Connectors (Neutrik, IDC Krone – for constructing your own cable requirements – or Sound Exposure can do the donkey work for you!)

Power Connectors (Neutrik, Schurter, Permaplug – for your power cabling needs)

Data Storage (SanDisk Solid State Drives (SSD) and USB Flash Drives)

DI Boxes (Direct Input, Direct Injection or simply DI is an electronic device that connects a high impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal (like a guitar or keyboard) to a low impedance mic level balanced input, usually via XLR connector)

Digital Effects (add an audio sheen to your recordings)

DVD Players (1U / 2U rackmount DVD players)

Dynamics Processors (Microphone Preamplifiers, Limiters, Compressors, Gates – to ensure the best quality in your recordings)

Earphones (ideal for IEM – that’s In Ear Monitoring in case you weren’t sure)

Equalisers (for tweaking the frequencies with a fine tooth comb)

Equipment Bags (protect your investment with a custom fitted equipment bag – ideal for location work)

Flightcases (if you’re moving your rackmount equipment around on a regular basis – live sound, theatre, location work – then flightcasing your gear is essential)

Headphones (or “cans” – for assisting in the quest of your results equating to your expectations!)

Headphone Amplifiers (to allow more than one pair of ears to listen via headphones)

Headsets (when you need to listen AND talk)

In Ear Monitoring or IEM (systems that enable you to hear yourself without spilling sound from the stage via the standard monitor speaker method)

Lighting (you’re in a dark room with a band playing and they want you to make them sound amazing – these lights will help you see what you’re doing (they do not however add anything to your mixing ability))

Loudspeaker Control (Crossovers split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to loudspeakers optimized for those bands)

Loudspeaker Stands (for improving the performance of your speaker system)

Memory Cards (Sandisk SD, SDHC and Compact Flash cards)

Microphone Accessories (Rode MiCon Connectors, Reflexion Filters (a virtual portable vocal booth!), Clips, Stand Adapters, Thread Adapters, Isolation Mounts and Stereo Bars)

Microphone Stands (for ensuring your microphone stays where you want it to. In addition there are iPad holders and drinks holders – for those thirsty performers)

Microphone Windshields (Softies, Smoothies, Windjammers, and Suspension – all to shield your microphone from unwanted noise. Plus Rycote Mic Flags for getting your branding “on mic” and “on screen”)

Wired Microphones (a fundamental requirement if you want to record audio)

Wireless Microphones (you want to walk AND talk!?)

Mixers (take your various sources of audio and lovingly splice them together with the aid of one of these)

Active Monitors (for you to listen to your recordings subjectively and make the RIGHT adjustments – active monitors have their own amplifier built in)

Passive Monitors (for you to listen to your recordings subjectively and make the RIGHT adjustments – passive monitors must be connected to an amplifier for them to be heard)

Music Stands (Keyboard stools and stands, drummer’s thrones, guitar stands and sheet music stands – because resting everything on the floor just would not work)

Paging Amplifiers (100V line amps for installation wherever background music / paging needs arise)

Active PA Speakers (for outputting the aural delicacy you have mixed (see Mixers above) – active PA speakers have their own amplifier built in)

Passive PA Speakers (for outputting the aural delicacy you have mixed (see Mixers above) – passive PA speakers must be connected to an amplifier for them to be heard)

Portable Recorders (digital audio recorders that are small and eminently mobile)

Studio Recorders (digital audio recorders in standard rackmount configuration – but can still be mobilised (see Flightcases above) if you wish)

Power Distribution Units (PDUs) (all this clever rackmount hardware requires electricity – distribute the power around your rack from one tidy rackmounted device)

Stage Boxes (rather than having every audio source straggling its cables over the stage and up to the mixer a stage box combines everything into a single run)

Test Equipment (something not working as you’d expect? Use these valuable tools to help you locate the problem quickly)

Tuners (for monitoring your radio stations output a tuner is vital – or you can use one to “just” listen to the radio)

This is not an exhaustive list as products are added to the portfolio all the time, so keep your eyes on your pro audio and broadcast superstore!

How To Create A Podcast – High Quality Podcasting

So many people muse “How do I create a podcast?” and then search for “how to create a podcast” or even just “how to podcast”. Well, here’s a beginners guide to podcasting with some tips for producing high quality podcasts and not just rambling, mumbling audio – it’s really not that tricky, just remember ‘take small steps’.

The term “podcasting” came into being in 2004 (from an article in The Guardian by Larry King). The word is an amalgamation of “pod” from Apple’s audio player of choice (the iPod, in case you’ve been living under a rock) and “casting”, having surgically removed the “broad” part of broadcasting. It is indeed more of a “narrowcast” as it has a more focussed listenership than most broadcast media – with the exception of broadcasts that are converted into podcasts – but that’s cheating 😉

So how do you go about taking your initial steps into the world of “narrowcasting”? Firstly you need to have a purpose for your output; are you providing an editorial piece on the merits of the latest reality TV show or producing an outlet for your comedic genius to be unleashed on an unaware world? Whatever you have a passion for podding you need to observe the same maxims as followed by the (successful) broadcasting fraternity and that is to keep it interesting and keep it focussed on the subject matter. If you ramble on, stumbling through different subjects you’re likely to lose any following you have, unless it’s not the subject matter but YOU that is the attraction!

Once you know WHAT you’re going to talk about you’ll need the equipment to capture your “magic”. Starting out, a simple microphone / headset (the kind of thing online gamers wear) would get you by; its audio quality won’t set the world alight but it’s the bare minimum needed to get your voice into the computer (and to hear it played back). Moving on from that and especially if you’re working on the quality aspect of your production then you would be better to invest in a good quality USB microphone which plugs straight into your computer, thus getting round the need for a mixer. These microphones are able to achieve such high quality when compared with standard computer microphones as they effectively have a built-in professional quality soundcard (ADC = Analog to Digital Converter – for all you technerds). This coupled with pro audio quality microphone hardware (renowned manufacturers such as Audio Technica, Rode, Beyerdynamic, Audix, Shure, Samson and sE have USB mic products).

If you’re going to be undertaking a talk show or musical performance based podcast then you may want to look into multiple microphones at which stage you’ll also need to consider a good quality mixer to combine everything into a stereo feed (left+right) for your LINE IN ports on your computer’s soundcard. That opens up a whole realm of devices that can improve the overall sound (compressor/limiters, graphic equalisers, digital effects processors, DI boxes, mic stands, cables, active monitors, passive monitors, amplifiers and headphones)! On a serious note if you were to be heading in this direction then you’d be wise to cut your computer’s soundcard out of the equation and record to a device with high quality ADCs (remember that term?). You can adopt a portable digital audio recorder or studio digital audio recorder depending on your requirement for mobility (that said, the rackmount devices can be transported in rackmount flightcases if you require). These devices, also known as “solid state recorders”, record direct to memory cards in an audio file format of your choice such as MP3 or WAV. Once you’ve finished recording you just copy the file to wherever you’re going to host your podcast.

Before uploading (the process of sending your file from your computer to an internet accessible server) your audio you may want to edit out the cough’s, splutters and embarrassing pauses from your podcast. There are many sound editing software programs available ranging from the free (Audacity), the “bundled with hardware” Cakewalk Pyro LE which is included with the Roland R09HR and Cakewalk Sonar LE which is included with the Samson C01U Pak, the Samson C03U Pak and the Samson G Track) and the expensive (Pro Tools) – ok so I did skip a raft of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software packages there but that’s not the focus of this article!

Once your edits are complete it’s just a matter of finding somewhere to host your podcast (an internet accessible server) and advertising it. This opens up a whole other area, but the simplest method is through the mighty Google corporation. For hosting, open up Google and search for “podcast hosting” – there are a number of free services but it is outside of the scope of this article to recommend any particular service. In regards advertising your podcast, if you have a Google Account then you’re half way there. If you go to Google FeedBurner it will walk you through all the necessary steps, including creation of a blog to advertise your podcast.

So what are you waiting for? Get the gear and get podcasting!

Gimme the Reason!

(with apologies to Luther Vandross for “borrowing” his song name for my title 🙂

OK so today is the release of Propellerhead Software’s Reason 5 and Record 1.5 updates. I use this software at church (I play keys). It’s such a versatile and well written piece of music production software. It has nifty (and totally extravagant) features. For instance you can turn the virtual rack around and move the virtual cables from socket to socket – literally unplug and plug in graphically. They didn’t NEED to write that in such a graphically rich way but the fact they did makes it appear so much more like an “audio device” than a software application. I guess that’s the key – engage the imagination of the user and you’ll gain their love.

Anyway it’s released to today – I bet their servers are getting pretty hot with all the download attention. Can’t wait to have a play!