The Tokyo Underground: Project Presentation (June 2015)

My last project (Don’t Have Nightmares 0.2: The Tokyo Underground) was to be shown earlier this month to my peers. However, and unfortunately, due to time limitations, the project didn’t get a critique (gutted!).

Final Reflections: To be honest, I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of the project, the main aim was to capture the fear in confined spaces on the Underground but filming was so problematic at times, I ditched a lot of footage. In hindsight, I should have documented more of the downs as opposed to ups on my blog. However, I’m pleased with the animation. I had little idea as to the end result. That’s the beauty of working with the medium.  Tales of the Unexpected!

Sound: I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with the audio, using train ambient, crackling fire wood and buzzing insects in Audacity. Not great results due to my technical ability but I’ve assembled the audio to how I would like it.

PART ONE  Duration: 3.00 (with voice-over) 

The Tokyo Undeground: Don't Have Nightmares 0.2 (Part One)


PART TWO Duration: 2.07 (with voice-over)

The Tokyo Underground: Don't Have Nightmares 0.2 (Part Two)




Alienation & Conformity Collage (2015)

Alienation & Conformity 1-25.jpgAlienation & Conformity 26-50.jpg



Don’t Have Nightmares 0.1: Psycho (sound Experiment 1)

Recently I have collaborating with a sound engineer (Jonny) on the Don’t Have Nightmares 0.1 rotoscope. To begin, it was decided that a conventional sound piece would be a sensible choice.

Pre-sound discussion/considerations (early March)

The recording will be made by analogue synthesizers. One will be conventional sound effects tied to the visual activity on screen. The second will be sound made by analogue synthesizers which will represent some of the action on screen (shower noise) and screams. Also, there will be some musical representations of motion and emotion (i.e. glissando as her hand slides down the wall). There will be one recurring background sound to represent the growing tension before the attack.

Post-sound discussion/considerations (mid March) 

The original audio was severely revamped. Stock sound fx downloaded and manipulated in pitch or speed. Analogue synthesizer used for simple “heartbeat” pulse. Reverb plug ins used to simulate tiled bathroom ambience. Delay with lfo sweep used to emulate water going down a plughole, swirling psycho effect.  Overall, I was very pleased with Jonny’s work. However, the screams were still too prominent for me so I decided to make amendments in Audacity. I reduced the scream amplification and added much more ‘delay’ effects on screams.


To present the sound, originally, I was going to upload a wave file. No, seemed a bit boring. Mmmm and there was me applauding a Will Self article only last week saying that the net is suffering from visual overload! Then, I thought a rotoscoped drawing could be a ‘nice’ spectatorial pleasure for the viewer. After all,  this is a sound piece. After playing around with original footage on a movie editor, I made up my mind. The original (edited) footage is used though subltly. Effects: Contrast and various toners are used for a ‘heated’ visual effect. I thought about making the graphics stronger and denser by blurring the colours so the actual footage would became non-existent. I did and at one point it looked like a Mark Rothko painting.  Before finalising, I decided on typography. First, I typed ‘Don’t Have Nightmares 0.1 about five or six times. No, all the fonts looked plain. Then, I converted the type into Windings 3. The graphic softens the visuals so I decided to use three (Red,Yellow & Black) layers of Windings 3. The graphical element hints at voyeurism. Like looking in on someone through a small space. I bit like what Norman was doing in the film.

As stated in the credits, to REALLY HEAR, headphones are recommended.


Don't Have Nightmares 0.1 Psycho- Sound Experiment 1



‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’

While strolling down the Peckham Road earlier this week with a few students on my course, an ambulance with a screaming siren screeched past us interrupting our conversation. As a result, a conversation ensued about how loud emergency service sirens have become in recent years. Why is that? A thought occurred. Well, it is possible that as we now live in a ‘wired’ society, wearing headphones/ earphones and being preoccupied with our devices have blunted our street awareness and our peripheral vision. Just a thought. Anyway, back to sounds in the suburbs. We continued talking about annoying, familiar sounds you hear in shops especially supermarkets. The repetitive voices from the self-service check-out machines have seemed to replace background music. And for those of you that love a bit of trivia, a former well-known actor from the British TV soap Eastenders is one of the voices used on the self-service check-out. Check it out (excuse the pun).

Earlier Last year I made sound study while walking through a shop in Tokyo. The shop in question, Village Vanguard is regarded as Tokyo kitsch. The products are usually a mix of low-brow style with mass-produced art or design using popular Japanese or Western icons. The products can be quite pricey yet very popular among Japanese and foreigners. As I’m interested in retro industrial design, it’s a great place to kill time for a few hours. I’ve always been intrigued by the assortment of sounds that can be heard in these shops. Even though the sound quality in my film isn’t exactly high-tech (filmed with a basic Nikon digital point and shoot camera), you can get a general feeling of character and atmosphere inside the shop. Hopefully, I can follow this study up again but next time using an audio recorder.

TEST: First, try watching the film with your eyes closed. Imagine the visuals from the audio. Then, watch the film normally. Were your initial preconceptions similar or different?  Oh, and make sure to crank up the sound before listening!