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When Sky Creative told us about the new series of Sky 3D Channel idents they were making to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of Sky 3D channel and offered us free rein to create the soundtrack, we were really excited to get involved. Director Jon Yeo talked about the real life stereoscopic action shoot they would opt for in preference to creating all the effects digitally, using vibrant, colourful powders subjected to various physical stressors and shot in midair action, to showcase in the finest and most beautifully rendered detail the enhanced spatial depth and movement, and vivid, tangible and immersive experience of 3DTV – expressing, in effect Sky 3D’s “DNA”.
When we attended the actual shoot and observed the process right from all the logistical challenges of creating the original visuals through to the rough cuts of the onscreen rendering, we began to understand that much like the visual piece, the sound would need to evolve organically, underpinning, wrapping round and swelling out of the journey we see the DNA particles take onscreen, like an explosion into being of a newborn galaxy of sound, music and colour.
We immediately thought of small sound particles twinkling and sparkling, akin to the “music of the spheres” starting with the tiniest elements to sonically express the DNA particles, and building and layering our soundtrack from there. Glass was to play a major part in the creation of this piece – as we decided in the end to use it to express both the microscopic and the more expansive elements in the sound design. We designed and constructed an eight foot wind chime from wood and high spec scientific glass which we had cut to exact measurements to produce the timbres we needed for the project. Then we obtained a variety of instrumental beaters to experiment with the sound colours we could make from the chimes, and had fun playing until we found the right tonal hits to layer into the piece. Additionally, we brought in specially selected scientific glass offcuts and purchased glass beads to record and manipulate with the software we’ve written inhouse for exactly that purpose, to be sonically sprinkled throughout the piece, dancing and shimmering across the soundscape.
When it came to creating the original score we chose to start with a simple yet uplifting piano melody line, to emotionally connect the viewer to the 3D universe and draw them into the unfolding vision. After that we began to layer in vocals, then strings, then more vocals and even more strings over a couple of recording sessions to build up to a “waterfall of sound” feeling. Originally we experimented with a kora harp to bring angelic elements to the work, however given the majesty of the piece we decided nothing less than a full sized harp recorded live would do justice, and so another recording session later, we had all the elements in hand to bring to life the sonic vision which had been evolving. After some finely judged crafting in mix and production, our sonic vision for “Sky 3D DNA” takes flight …
/// Audio Clips & Pics Below! ///
Twelve hours later we land in Capetown and head north through Stellenbosch to the Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary, a place of safety where lions rescued from sad existences in many parts of the world are able to live out their lives free from abuse and amongst their own kind.
Camped out in an enclosure encircled by lions, separated from us only by a 2.5 metre high chickenwire electric fence, we see dark falling and the big cats rouse from their daylight torpor to prowl and stalk through the deepening night… director chairs and mike stands at the ready we sit and wait … and wait … and wait …
Big cats play games just like their smaller household cousins – lions don’t just roar on demand. Bad-Boy and Shy-Boy, only 2 metres from our tent, amuse themselves at our expense by remaining utterly silent, loitering nearby with the occasional menacing glare until we give up and retire to the tent for some sleep. Then we hear not just roaring but a kind of unearthly prehistoric keening … a song they sing to each other, one by one, multiplying and echoing throughout the entire reserve … a choral symphony of 35 lions in full voice under the African starry night sky, which of course ceases as soon as we run back outside to turn the mikes on! We spend the entire night fitfully dozing, fully clothed and shoe’d, in and out of the tent like bedraggled jack-in-the-boxes, much, we suspect, to Bad-Boy’s and Shy-Boy’s quiet satisfaction.
Nonetheless we manage to record the feline soundscape eventually, and the final piece of the project falls into place on our last day when we unwittingly stand directly between Bad-Boy and the object of his unrequited affection, feline femme Simba in the opposite enclosure. Bad-Boy is far from happy, and the roar literally shakes the ground underneath us … now we have Leo’s new voice…
We are grateful to Paul, Elzette and Jacques at the Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary for making us so welcome and, of course, to all the lions, especially Bad-Boy and Shy-Boy, whom Radium have sponsored for life as a thank-you for all their help in the making of the new MGM ident.
Here’s a clip of Bad-Boy in a bad mood:
The Lion Chorus singing at night:
Radium is inviting you to have a look behind the scenes at the Radiumphonic Workshop. In the video below we delve under the bonnet of Radium to have a look at what makes it all tick – the sound lab operated by the fine team at Radium. It demonstrates a rare glimpse of how we work, as well as showing off some of the machines, technology, people and creative approaches we use to manipulate sound!
Highly Evolved Sound is the new conceptual micro-site that has just been launched by Radium to coincide with the F5 Motionographer Festival, featuring some stunning new showreels that really demonstrate Radium’s capabilities:
Frozen – The Making of Macro Kingdom III
The Dalston Ponys have recently put together an excellent mix for the Motionographer F5 Festival in NYC – check it out below!
The Ponys are taking to the stage at the Motionographer F5 festival in NYC where they will be playing an epic 4hr DJ set at the prestigious after-party! In addition, Radium Audio will be on show at the festival displaying some incredible work, with the found and creative director Andrew Diey heading up the expedition to NYC!
Here is the latest Dalston Ponys mix, Live East Die Young!
Whilst at Radium we are professional sound designers and producers by day, by night we breakdown, edit, re-work and remix many of the latest 12″ releases that we get our hooves on.
The Dalston Ponys vision is to bring back the fun into dance music and create a party atmosphere focusing on the hearts and feet of those on the dance floor. The Ponys like to DJ and perform these mixes live so get in touch if you want to book them!
Music / Style / Fashion / Youth / Metrosexual / Glam / Glitz / Party Music / MashUp / Bass.
Radium Audio Labs is the explorative department of Radium Audio Ltd.
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