Brief 4: Dead Air (previously Courtroom Colour)
Length: 3:08 minutes
This piece is a ambient sound narrative that brings to life key events from the courtroom history of Building 20 at RMIT University.
The idea behind this piece was to step away from visuals and instead allow for the imagination of the audience to come through. I believe that myths and legends are best when they’ve been spun a little via word of mouth, and the stories behind famous court cases in the Old Magistrates’ Court’s history would be perfectly represented by something like this. It’s a nod to a bygone era, where what you heard was what you believed; I shun video recordings of reality in “Dead Air” to use only what written archive I could find of the events and my own knowledge of their fame.
With this final piece, I’ve added snippets of relevant backing music to represent eras – a crackling recording of Australian 1800s ballad “The Streets of Forbes”, a Swanston Street Jag from the Roaring 20s in Melbourne, Kate Smith’s “The Woodpecker Song” which was the soundtrack to the war era, and let the ABC news theme play out from a 1980s television recording. These were all selected to evoke the sense of being a part of the time period and also to change the mood with each case. I felt it was a necessary touch to thicken the soundscape – it also gave it more of a story-like feel rather than an environmental piece.
I’m glad I got nearly all of the work out of the way for Brief 3, due to a mistake of my own. It allowed me more time to focus on the group projects and my other course work. It’s been nearly an entirely individual project, only using the suggestions from the pitch feedback and a friend whose voice tone and accent fit my ideas for the spoken sections. I regret not using the Zoom recorder more, as some of his voice sections are not at the quality that I want. However, that could definitely be due to my own skill; I know how to use it but there is fine-tuning that I need. I’d also like to graduate from my current audio editing software to something like ProTools or Ableton. Why am I able to use Photoshop and Final Cut but can’t get past GarageBand for the media I love the most? It still does the job but there is a lot of negativity towards the program and I need to be able to reach across different platforms.
I’ve gathered a lot of irrelevant information, and lost some very important links to websites with archival material – these set-backs caused me to reevaluate how I wanted the piece to turn out. As it stands, I am satisfied with the story direction it has taken, its departure from straight up reality. I believe it will be an entertaining way to experience the history of the Court and I’m hoping the feedback that backed this up still stands.