A New Way to Manipulate Sound: Transforming Transformation

The DDS, in collaboration with Birmingham Conservatoire’s Integra Lab, have completed work on their Transforming Transformation project – a new human-centred approach that allows musicians and sound designers to manipulate sound through a 3D virtual environment.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Transforming Transformation enables sound sources to be “touched”, “grabbed”, “dragged”, and “placed” within a 3D virtual environment. Through this system, a sound source’s real-world location corresponds to its spatial position within a virtual acoustic space that can be manipulated. In other words, if a sound designer wants a sound to appear to come from behind the listener, they just “pick it up” and “move it to the back” of the virtual space.

With the initial work on the project complete, the project team plans to continue to refine the virtual environment and address any key issues identified in the project, and we wish them continued success!

More information on the  development  of Transforming Transformation can be found here, and you can also read about the projects published results here.

Another BAFTA New Talent Win!

We would like to congratulate Sound for Moving Image student Kevin Murray, who has won a The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)  Scotland New Talent Award for his short film “Paperclip”.  Well done!

IMG_4957

I didn’t even entertain the idea of getting nominated, never mind winning, and as such had absolutely no prep; even in my head, for an acceptance speech.

As I still didn’t believe I had a chance of winning once I had been nominated, I fully intended to have a nice time being at the awards and drinking all the free booze. It’s only good fortune and my friend Colin (Who did the camera work for paperclip) being incredibly late, that I wasn’t completely smashed on free wine before things even began.

Upon winning, I went proper giddy, as is evident from the official BAFTA photo of all the winners doing there best to look regal and winnery, and me laughing like a maniac beside my pal Danny Boyle.

You can see Kevin’s film here.

Details about the BAFTA Scotland awards for new talent can be found at: http://www.bafta.org/scotland/awards/new-talent.

DDS Showcased on STV's "Alive at Five"

The DDS was given an opportunity to strut its stuff for Scotland’s biggest daily magazine show “Alive at Five” on STV, and show off some of our recent research work in 3D visualisation, haptic design, and medical/ historical digital recreation.

Laser scan of plaster casts
Laser scan of plaster casts in one of the 1st floor studios

A key highlight of our recent work has been digitising and creating an interactive walkthrough of the GSA’s own Macintosh Building, which  was badly damaged in a fire in 2014. This work is now being used to help inform and support the building’s restoration.

Watch it online here.

DDS has developed technology for using Haptic Devices in medical simulations
DDS has developed technology for using Haptic Devices in medical simulations

Sound Thought @ The CCA

This week in the Glasgow CCA is Sound Thought – the University of Glasgow’s annual postgraduate sonic arts festival.

Through a series of concerts, screenings, performances, discussions and workshops, the three-day festival will show how research and practice from a range of sound and music disciplines communicate across artistic canons.

DDS PhD student Jessica Argo and tutor Ronan Breslin both have works that will be performed as part of the festival, this Thursday evening.

Jessica will be presenting a paper and providing samples of Soundscapes used in her research: “Immersive Soundscapes to elicit Anxiety in Exposure Therapy: Physical Desensitization and Psychological Catharsis

Jessica will present physiological data analysis from her experiments, to reveal the most powerful and consistent anxiety-triggering sounds. Questionnaire responses also offer insight into participants’ emotional involvement and reactions.

Ronan’s work goes under the title “Adolescent Nuclear Angst…Or how I Learned to Stick My Head Between my Knees“.

Ronan notes:

As a child of the late 70’s and early 80’s my abiding memory was of the malevolent spectre of nuclear annihilation. Ronald Reagan was elected US president promising to confront an “evil empire” and in my school playground we fretted about the latest scare-mongering TV documentary or drama depicting the imminent apocalypse.  The Soviet Union was the evil bogeyman waiting in the woods; not witches, demons or monsters.  After watching one particular film “Threads”, a 10-year old me recalls asking my all-knowing, military-trained, strong and protective dad what we would do if there was a nuclear war. “Stick our heads between our knees and kiss our arses’ goodbye” was his glib reply.

This AV piece will have resonance as a warning from the past as well as offering me a chance for me to finally get payback on my dad for his inconsiderate flippancy.

The full programme is available here. All events are free, but registration is required.

 

Student nominations for BAFTA NewTalent Awards

Congratulations to DDS Grad Kevin Murray (MDes Sound for Moving Image, 2015) who has been nominated for a BAFTA Scotland NewTalent award for his short film “Paperclips” – created as part of his work for the MDes.

You can watch the film online here:
https://vimeo.com/138628940

And congratulations also to Tommy Reilly (2014) who is nominated in the Composer category for his work “The Beholder”.

You can see the full list of nominees here.

In the Valley of Guns and Roses

David McAulay, currently on the MDes Sound for Moving Image programme at the DDS, was sound mixer, editor and composer for the just-released documentary In the Valley of Guns and Roses. The documentary follows the struggles of Irina, a single mother working in a weapons factory in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley.

In addition to mixing and editing the sound for the production, David also wrote the score, and had this to say about his work:
“The director Simon and I have often talked about the sensitivity required when imposing music upon a character. This is particularly important in documentary film. Even the slightest shift in tone can damage the integrity of the story. This has led me towards finding a way of using the character’s speech patterns and gestures as the basic building blocks for my compositions.

Irina is deeply connected to the folk music of Bulgaria through both her singing and her relationship with her late Grandfather. Simon captured some great performances demonstrating this connection. I worked with fragments of these old folk songs, using the melodic contours as building blocks for new material. Her very constitution is embedded within the score.

While studying Irina’s speech melody, I developed an intimacy with her that had a profound impact on the resulting music. By isolating and repeating phrases from her interviews I could transform her speech into melody and continue building the score around that. The Czech composer Leoš Janáček was one of the first to use speech melody in his operas and said – ‘if speech melody is the flower of the water lily, it nevertheless buds and blossoms and drinks from the roots, which wander in the waters of the mind’.”

In the Valley of Guns and Roses is showing all this week on Al Jazeera, and is available online here.

More information on the MDes Sound for Moving Image here.

Explorathon 2015

Back in October, Stuart Jeffrey, (Research Fellow in Heritage), Laura Hundersmarck (International Heritage Visualisation intern), and Mhairi Maxwell (Research Developer for International Heritage Visualization) took part in the Explorathon event at the National Museum of Scotland.

3D printer in tow, they joined astronomers, chemists, physicists and fellow archaeologists to showcase some of the most cutting-edge discoveries and technologies available today, and presented work from the ACCORD project: an endeavour to co-create 3D-models of archaeological sites and monuments that has been travelling across Scotland to work with local communities.

They outlined their work by video here, and details about Explorathon, and the other fantastic projects presented there, can be found here.

Tech Meetups and Events in Glasgow

I was putting together a list of lists of tech meetups and events in Glasgow for DDS students… and thought I’d share it here instead.

There are a wide range of meetup and events occurring in and around Glasgow on a wide range of topics – many of which are relevant to topics studied at the DDS.

General Event Listings

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–glasgow/events/
http://www.meetup.com/

Arts and Culture Event Listings

The List is Glasgow’s (and Edinburgh’s) original arts and culture magazine. Their listings are here:
https://www.list.co.uk/events/what:Glasgow/

Also see:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–glasgow/film-and-media–events/
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–glasgow/music–events/
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–glasgow/arts–events/

Tech Events and Listings

Techmeetup is a regular meetup event. Most events have a web dev focus – http://techmeetup.co.uk/
http://www.meetup.com/Glasgow-Digital-Media-Meetup/
http://www.meetup.com/Health-2-0-Edinburgh-Scotland/

And general listings:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–glasgow/science-and-tech–events/
The OpenTech Calendar listings tend to favour open source meetups and related – https://opentechcalendar.co.uk/area/65-glasgow/

Digital & Board Games Events and Listings

BertWednesdays is an informal pub meetup for people in (or interested in) game development – http://bertwednesdays.com/

The International Game Developers Association has an active Scottish chapter, which meets most months, rotating through Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow – https://igdascotland.org/

A group for people interested in creating board games – https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlasgowGameLab/

A group for people interested in playing board games – http://unpluggedgames.co.uk/unplugged-games-club/

A group that organises digital game pub nights and events – https://www.facebook.com/glesgames

Writing

General – http://www.meetup.com/GlasgowWriters/
Science Fiction – https://gsfwc.wordpress.com/

Filmmaking

http://scottishscreenwriters.ning.com/

Stories from the Game Jam

The last post reported on the DDS experience at this year’s Global Game Jam. Today we have stories from two of the students who took part…

Sophie’s Story

Sophie is a student enrolled on the MSc Medical Visualisation & Human Anatomy

For me this was the first global game jam I’ve been to, so I completely had no expectations –it was even the first time I’ve heard of it And because I wanted to feel really nerdy for 48 hours, I talked to some of my student colleagues and four of us decided to participate. And although we had mixed feelings when we received the time schedule, we persuaded ourselves to show up on Friday

It turned out to be a lot of fun! We had quite a big group  which meant: a lot of ideas, a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of jokes in between which freshened up our minds. But lots of people also meant a need for good management. Fortunately one of us, Daniel, kept it organized and called us to regular meetings inside our „Thinking Pad“ which basically was a green Little hut where all the inspirational discussion-magic happened 😀

Besides living the nerdy dream, I wanted to strengthen my coding skills, which I was able to do, because we had a programmer, Victor, on board who answered all of my annoying questions And since game does not just consist of coding, but as well of other very important tasks, I was able to watch all the team members contributing to our game with their special skill. So by watching and talking I got insight into the various areas such as game design, where Sandy was our group pioneer, and graphics, where our great designer Jen showed us some tricks in Illustrator. So these sleepless nights actually broadened my gaming horizon quite a lot!

Oh, one bad thing: the Internet was not working well at all on our side of the hall, but there was a good thing about this: People actually TALKED to each other And also in the middle of the night, when I wanted to lie down on the couch, someone else was lying there and we actually started TALKING. So the game jam is not only about sitting in front of a screen. No, people in our group actually got to know each other, and there were lots of possiblities to talk to people from other groups and I have to say, the community was really chilled and  humble and nice.

When I came back home to my flatshare, the first thing I told my flatmates was: „I like nerds “ ..and they said: „Ok cool, Sophie, but how was the coding? „

Haha so yes, it is a lot about the project, but it is also about getting to know the people and the community and enjoying a weekend full of nerdiness and trying to get the most out of it.

I loved it! #greatexperience

Alim’s Story

Alim is enrolled on the MSc in Serious Games and Virtual Reality. His team’s game won ‘Best Gameplay’ from the Scottish Game Jam participants, plus public votes for best game at IGDA Scotland play parties in Edinburgh and Glasgow following the jam! More here.

Participating in the Global Game Jam for the first time, my main reason to participate in the Jam was to build up game making experience and push it to the limit. In the first day, Alex, Calum and me agreed to keep the team small, only three of us, and see if three Masters students of GSA’s Serious Games and Virtual Reality can take the challenge.

I was happy enough that our game was finally finished on Saturday night and readily playable, it turns out that the game surprised me more by making it to be awarded as Best Game Play.

Having said that, the best moment for me during the Jam was when Daniel’s daughter playtested our game by repeatedly playing level 1 of Curvish over and over again and she seemed to really enjoy it. Afterwards, I asked her about “how do you like the game so far?”, she replied “this is the most awesome game ever!” with sincere wide smile in her face. That moment made me feel good as the game at least gave one player a very joyful time.

After all, a game is just a box of happiness packed in many forms and being able to bring the happiness to player is a tremendous achievement.