Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mordake visuals

We just finished a week and a half in the Paul Dresher studio working on the Mordake project with everyone. It's very very preliminary but we did come up with some interesting looks. Who knows if any of it will make it into the final piece, but below are a couple of videos, the first consisting of various clips of interest set to an instrumental version of some of the music, and the second consisting of the opening narration and music with a sketch of some visuals. Sorry for the noisy sound in the first half - it's just from the camera microphone. Melissa Weaver directed, John Duykers performed, visuals by Frieder Weiss, camera mostly by Matt Jones, the room sketch by Lynne Rutter (after Renzo Mongiardino) and music written by me. The gender changing of John's voice was performed by the Korporate Marionettes software, written in the spectral domain by yours truly with help from my dear colleague Thom Blum. It is always a treat to hear John sing and his voice is beautiful when left unencumbered by technology but, just like theatrical blood poured over the body of a beautiful woman, there is something quite excitingly creepy about the altered sound. And I do like the moment where the celesta comes in in a slowed-down stretto retrograde of the tune. Why yes ma'am, I am quite fond of them there irrational rhythms.

For those that care, gender change is typically done by shifting the formant structure of the voice independently of the pitch. In the KM software, the pitch change is accomplished through the use of a phase vocoder, but the smoothed spectral envelope is removed first and reapplied after. We've found that, in general, it's not enough to do the mathematical operation and it's most helpful to have the singer affect their voice just a bit. Women and men tend to sing a little differently stylistically and those cues need to be generated to aid in the suspension of disbelief.

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