Portale / Finalist in Category 2: Audio Drama, Documentation, Sound Scape
Portal is a contribution by Michael Romanov (Austria).
A 3D-Audio-Radioplay that lets the listener go through a portal and find itself in different abstract worlds of sound.
Direction: Michael Romanov
Supervision: Klaus Hollinetz
Sound Design: Erika Káčerová, Stefan Mario Riedel, Jannis Machel, Christoph Santer, Thomas Kumar, Michael Romanov
Production: Michael Romanov
Production Assistance: Erika Káčerová, Stefan Mario Riedel, Jannis Machel
This 3D Audio radio-play was created as a part of a „Sounddesign 1 LU“ course at KUG (Kunstuniversität Graz). The idea was initially to create a radio play that works in binaural where a protagonist walks through a portal and finds himself lost in some abstract strange worlds. Also the idea of two protagonists where one gets lost in the portal and his friends start seeking him. But because this would need to get a full plot and also actors that speak and the creation of such that would go beyond the scope of the course we decided not to use speech in this play but only use the “Portal Sound” to move the listener through different worlds and create the worlds.
So we started with some ideas for possible worlds such as: A world where everything goes opposite to the real world like things flying high instead of falling down. Another idea was a world where there is a lot of water and the listener hears bubble sounds and water in a cave. Another idea was an abstract child red room. Also a rainforest world, an ice worlds and a underwater world were some ideas. We taught about a micro cosmos world where the listener can hear atoms and molecules. A factory world was also and also a volcano and a desert world were some ideas.
At the end we have created 5 worlds: A bubble world, an ice world, a factory world, a forest world and a abstract children’s room.
We started recording and synthesizing sounds for all of these worlds and also one representative sound for the portal. We simply were recording what ever we could find to add this sound to one of the worlds. Not all sounds landed in the worlds they initially were designed for but we tried to find then sounds that fit together. Some sound elements were positions at fixed positions and some sound are moving in every world during the mix. We will not explain every sound, as that are too much but some ideas:
We recorded a glass with water, breathe in through the straw inside the glass and recorded this using a M/S microphone that can be found in the bubble world. Also some pad sounds were synthesized with some digital synthesizers for the ice world. We recorded some machines that can be found in every house hold like vacuum cleaners, drill machines, and so on that then landed in the factory world. A whole sound set of room sounds like knocking on doors, switching switches, breathe sounds and a melody has been created for the children’s room.
For the 3D mixing we used the Production Studio at the IEM in Graz where 11 Neumann O300 loudspeakers can be found on a hemisphere and a Neumann O870 subwoofer. Reaper was used as the DAW. We used the 5th Order Ambisonics Encoding Plugin by Matthias Kronlachner to position the sound in space. We summed everything up to 10 tracks to keep an overview about the project and also not to have too many encoder plugins open. We mixed almost everything using clip gains in the project, as all the sounds were uploaded ready equalized for the further production by my colleagues.
The greatest challenge was the arrangement of the sounds to keep some story going without speech and be not to boring. The full production progress took about 20 hours of work. We ended up with 8 Minutes of sound for the 5 worlds.
We have presented the work within an “OPEN CUBE” concert in the IEM CUBE lecture room at KUG on a 24 Loudspeaker Tannoy Array in front of about 30 listeners.
To fit the competition guidelines I remixed this work towards a 4 minute version in our 3D-Audio Studio in Stuttgart Germany, where we have a 10 loudspeaker Genilec 8020 hemisphere. Also I added some 3D reverberation to the worlds using Blue Ripple Sound Reverb Plugin 03A Reverb VST to create a more immersive experience.
I would like to say thank you to all my colleagues from the sound design course for believing in this project and the motivation. Also thanks to my friends in Stuttgart Andreas Hoppe and Andreas Mühlschlegel to let me work in the Studio for the remixing. And thanks to Klaus Hollinetz for letting me realize this idea in the sound design course.