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New Robert Schneider project/drawing sound on film

March 3, 2009

Megan and me with Rob at the Brian Wilson show last November.

After hearing the song “Energy” on the last Apples in Stereo album, I thought to myself “man, Robert Schneider could easily follow in the footsteps of They Might Be Giants and make children’s educational albums.” Well, turns out he’s doing just that. Billboard reports that he’s started a side project called “Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine,” and released a self-titled album last week through kiddie label Little Monster. I have a feeling the songs will still be enjoyable to us grown-ups, just like the TMBG kids’ songs are.
Another little tidbit from Billboard- that big Jonas Brothers 3D movie event that was supposed to be huge, turned out to be a bit of a flop… Ha. Ha ha.

& I took a picture of u & U took a picture of me. He really should turn this into a short film or something. I would hope it would come out feeling a bit like an SNL skit… but maybe with the irony a little less obvious.

The Strobist is a great blog for photographers. The guy knows lighting very well, and if you’re even remotely interested in photography I highly recommend checking it out. Today I had complete jealous-gasm when I saw his post about traveling to the Large Hadron Collider to do some photos of the engineers and scientists there. I can’t even imagine what it was like to get to shoot in there. Just to be inside it…. I would probably just freeze up in utter awe & amazement.

Back in those good ole days of cinema, they used an optical track on the side of film to record the sound. It was literally an optical representation of the waveform, painted in a black stripe alongside the picture. Nowadays that analog waveform has been replaced by either DTS or Dolby Digital. In the case of DTS it’s a timecode of dots and dashes to sync up with a separate CD containing the audio. In the case of Dolby Digital it’s a gray area between the sprocket holes that, when magnified, shows millions of tiny dots in a pattern, which is read by a digital optical sensor, converted into a digital signal of 1’s (represtented by a dot) and 0’s (represented by a clear space), representing the actual audio. This is a very simplified explanation, and I’m also recalling all this from my Audio for Media class waaaaay back in 2000, so if you’re reading this and you know I’ve mis-stated something, please leave a comment correcting me! Anyway… this all leads to the following video from 1951 showing film artist Norman McLaren, who literally draws sound by painting a series of dashes and shapes on the film, then running it through and optical audio reader. I’d love to try this sometime… it would be fascinating…. Via Clusterflock.

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