Comm Lab Video & Sound week 3: [reflections on sound project, moving toward video]
Updated: Sep 26, 2018
This Friday will mark the end of my first month at ITP; I'm both impressed and overwhelmed by how much I've gotten done in these four weeks. Definitely have to tell myself to trust the process, and to focus on what I have in front of me instead of getting tangled in thoughts about how this all turns into a thesis in what suddenly seems like a way-too-short two years. Being thrown into collaboration right off the bat parallels these feelings: overwhelmed by being thrown into group work with people I just met, but super impressed by the method and how it sort of left me with no choice but to make it work.
Sound walk project reflections
I started some reflections in this post for last week's class looking at how our group managed our collaboration. I don't want to repeat everything I wrote there, so I'm going to use this space to talk about thoughts about post-presentation thoughts. I will recap though that we had one time setback as there was a misunderstanding about having to send the entire project file as opposed to just the Audition file, and I am curious as to why Adobe doesn't provide the ability to collaborate remotely especially considering that they're a cloud-based software. Companies like Splice are filling in that market gap for sure.
Testing ideas was probably the biggest lesson learned here for me. As we developed toward using our sound project to address elevator anxiety, we went into our sound collection with a lot of different scenarios that we could visit in the piece (recap again from last week: our project was the Wellevator, a meditation parody walking elevator passengers with methods for dealing with anxiety in the elevator). We thought of ideas like loud chewing, loud ringtones/phone convo, passengers with colds, slow elevators when you're in a rush, dealing with strangers and their emotions, obnoxious food/drink enjoyment, and crowding. We also wanted to capture the essence of this specific elevator, and pay homage to the different talents/dreams of the students in Tisch, with the arc looking like this:
Introduction to the meditation ->
experiencing the everyday anxieties of elevator passengership & methods for working through them ->
upward thinking and gratitude for this elevator and its passengers ->
exit back to real world.
After collecting sounds, we realized that even topping out at 5 minutes left very little time for narrative action and we definitely could not address every anxiety we listed and also round out toward the third act. So we parsed it down and picked the most generally-experienced situations: crowds and germs. We also realized upon listening to the sounds that some were actually *unbearable* (especially to misophones like myself, who literally had to stop the audio when a chewing sound sample happened).
Another test issue I learned was the importance of testing within the same environmental factors as you expect the audience to experience. We thought that the class would have to ride the elevator multiple times (some did) because we were timing the elevator during off-peak hours (~1.5mins round trip when you're not waiting for passenger transfers on multiple floors). So my group ended up far into the elevator experience while still waiting for it to arrive in the lobby, while the other group got the timing right but ended up stuck in the elevator for way too long therefore exacerbating the anxiety.
I think the biggest change I would have made was to actually have the class listen to the sound walk with eyes closed laying down. I think it would have been cool to immerse the class in "feeling" as though they were in the elevator without actually having to ride it, highlighting the visceral reactions we have ingrained in us by the mere habit of regularly riding in elevators as part of the human experience. It would be like "practicing" for the elevator so you could bring the meditation techniques into the real world (if you feel crowded, ask for room instead of seething inwardly. If someone is sick, remember where wellness resources are. Recall that you are sharing an elevator with people that all have their own unique talents, stories, anxieties). While this wouldn't be a physical walk, it would be a walk through your imagination with visceral storytelling.
Reflections on video project and story boarding