Sunday, 29 July 2007

AA - week 01 sem 02 - sound design

My initial thoughts were about the simple beep.

We've got a bread maker. At one point it beeps regularly for about 30 seconds to signify, 'now is the time for adding extra ingredients (such as seeds)'.
At the end of the cycle it also beeps, but differently, to signify 'now is the time your bread is ready'.

The ticket machine on the bus I catch, uses beeps to signify that you've put a bad ticket in.

I had a desktop computer. It beeped when it started up. This was the bios/motherboard signifying 'everything's great'.
There's a whole range of other beep options. [knee]
__ No beep = power supply or main board problem.
__ 3 beeps, 2 beeps, 4 beeps = One of the chips on your motherboard that checks the keyboard is broken.

It occurs to me that if a machine can only make a beep, then you need a code for extra information (more beeps).

Now, my mp3 player makes a click noise when you push a button, my digital camera makes a shutter sound. Both of these emulating physical hardware that in these particular cases doesn't exist, probably for the same reason our washing machines start/stop button has the triangle and two vertical lines that appear on my CD player (play/pause), but that could well be delving into the realms of psychology :P

One angle of sound design is making things sound like they should. To give confidence that everything is as it should be. The shutter sound shows something is happening (feedback response), and by using a simulation of a hardware version of itself, it refers to an action that is familiar and correct. In this case an audio response is useful, but I get annoyed at my mp3 when it clicks, I get enough feedback from the obvious visual changes generated by my push.

But a computer mouse - a hefty click is the way to go, deep resonance, and mine has a different sound for left/right buttons. Of course at this point I'll have to assume it's deliberate.

It makes me wonder about teacups and the sound generated by a teaspoon, obviously a longstanding and boutique use of sound design.

Brian Eno about the Windows 95 sound: "The thing from the agency said, 'We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,' this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said 'and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.'" [elbow]

And Just for novelty, here's a collection of real camera shutter sounds :)

Power on Self Test Beep Codes for AMI and Phoenix BIOS. (29 July 2007).

[elbow] Whitwell, Tom . "Tiny music makers: Pt 2: The Microsoft Sound." 24May 2005. (29 July 2007).

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