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Author Topic: Pseudopod 276: Our Drunken Tjeng  (Read 3025 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: April 08, 2012, 03:53:11 PM »

Pseudopod 276: Our Drunken Tjeng

By Nicky Drayden.
This story originally saw publication on the Daily Science Fiction website in 2011 and can still read there at this link.

Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. To see more of her work, click the link under her name, above.



Your reader this week is Laurice White. Click her name to visit her website or check her out at Voice123.

” With a fine bone knife I make my incision, cutting back the sticky membrane of Our Tjeng’s hull. I slip my hand inside and carefully widen the tear until it’s big enough for me to step through. Our Tjeng has blessed Kae and me with gills to breathe within his walls. The viscous liquid is clear and burns my eyes, tart and slick on my tongue.

He’s drunk as always, Our Tjeng, our fathership. And yet he leads our flock across the stars. Him and his bulging, sick liver — big as a hundred men, and it shouldn’t even be half that size. I swim towards Kae as she shaves tumor from flesh a slice at a time. Her firm muscles tense and flex beneath her hairless, pink skin. She cusses Our Tjeng, her words crisp her words warped slightly by the liquid.

I touch her shoulder. She startles.

“Your time is up,” I tell her.

We’re civil. There’s too much at stake not to be. The flock cannot afford to lose another fathership, and Our Tjeng needs us caretakers to keep him functioning.’”


“Our Drunken Tjeng” used the following sounds from Freesound to make the Fathership soundscape.

“earthscan1″ by irad

“deep pulse_02.L-Joined” by martian

“Ambient Darkness” by DJ Chronos

“Single Heartbeat HQ_BeatSmith” by Lunardrive

=http://www.freesound.org/people/zimm/sounds/32857/“heartbeat regular” by zimm



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 05:14:11 PM »

I am the King Under the Mountain (of diseased flesh), and this is the first post on this thread...

And it's a downer.

I'm sorry to say that I wasn't even able to finish this one. It was way over produced for me. The combination of heartbeat sounds and the weird high-pitched echo on the voices rendered the story unlistenable. It's a shame, because the story seemed really interesting... but I just couldn't handle it.

Ah, well.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 10:38:52 PM »

As with "Tippler's Bane", alternate mix should be available within 24 hours
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eytanz
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 10:58:49 PM »

Quote
Stories about a downward spiral into madness are mostly interesting to me if there's some emotional hook that makes me relate to them. But this one was - quite literally - so alien that it didn't affect me much at all.

This is interesting because this is essentially why I am not a big fan of sci-fi horror in general and why we don't run much of it (or, I don't buy much of it) - I find the further the setting from the human experience, the more of a disconnect between actual human emotion and thus the ability to generate fear.

In this case, though, that feeling kind of came all the way back around to the other side for me - I felt that the scenario was sooo alien, soooo extremely removed from human experience as to be interesting as a "weird tale" in that sense, and that the fact that one could apply various human-symbolic interpretations to it was thus made eerie and fascinating, one step removed as it were.  Like:

Quote
I dug the story. It was creepy and alien. The subordinate part of a symbiotic relationship is not something we usually get to see. One could almost take this as an allegory for cancer told from the perspective of the cancerous cells. I think that's reductive, but a viable interpretation.
from Fenrix

Quote
I agree, except I read it as an autoimmune disease. The narrator's job was to destroy harmful cells, and in the end she was destroying useful cells instead.
from Yaekmon

which was one thing I thought of.  Another was an environmental take - destroying the very thing that sustains you at a greater rate once it begins to malfunction, and you blame it for malfunctioning and become parasites upon its husk.  Another was a religious interpretation - our cultural destruction of God the Fathership after he stops operating per guidelines and "disappoints" us.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 07:24:06 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
MemeMonger
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 10:12:47 AM »

I, too, gave up on listening to this one. The background heartbeat didn't bother me, but I couldn't handle the echo.

Exactly.
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 10:37:30 AM »

As with "Tippler's Bane", alternate mix should be available within 24 hours

Will it show up in the itunes feed?  The story might have worked if I was at home listening to a nice stereo, but when driving down an interstate with headphones it was too distracting and hard to follow.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 11:43:15 AM »

I listened to this one with headphones while working in the yard this weekend. I enjoyed the production and thought it added to the presentation. However, like Tippler's bane, if I had been listening to this in my car I would have had problems with the vocal portion. I'm going to grab the alternate version as well, just in case.

I dug the story. It was creepy and alien. The subordinate part of a symbiotic relationship is not something we usually get to see. One could almost take this as an allegory for cancer told from the perspective of the cancerous cells. I think that's reductive, but a viable interpretation.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 06:34:21 PM »

Quote
Will it show up in the itunes feed? 

No idea.  As always, it is free to download on the story page.

http://pseudopod.org/2012/04/06/pseudopod-276-our-drunken-tjeng/
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Yaekmon
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 08:32:10 PM »

I dug the story. It was creepy and alien. The subordinate part of a symbiotic relationship is not something we usually get to see. One could almost take this as an allegory for cancer told from the perspective of the cancerous cells. I think that's reductive, but a viable interpretation.

I agree, except I read it as an autoimmune disease. The narrator's job was to destroy harmful cells, and in the end she was destroying useful cells instead.
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VeganScott
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 06:58:02 AM »

I could not understand a word the reader was saying.  I wish this one would be reproduced.  The echo turned the entire podcast in to a 20 minute mumble.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 07:46:28 AM »

I wish this one would be reproduced. 

Your wish has been granted: http://media.libsyn.com/media/pseudopod/Pseudo276a_OurDrunkenTjengAlternate.mp3

Be careful what you wish for.
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Pirvonen
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 08:41:41 AM »

I started listening on my normal system. Decided something was wrong, switched to another. On the third system I was, with considerable effort, able to make out individual words. Some processing power was left over to put words together into (partial) sentences. Paragrahps, story arcs? No way.

A very unpleasant listening experience. I did manage to listen through five, six minutes, but the concentration required to decrypt the words left me too tired to enjoy any nuance there might have been.

I am unable, therefore, to comment on any merits of the story.
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eytanz
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 09:08:16 AM »

I wonder if in the future the fact that the story has a lot of effects and an alternate version is available could to be advertised in the intro, rather than have a large percentage of the listeners have a bad audio experience, then come to the forums to complain, and discover that there's an alternate after they've already had the negative experience. For that matter, what of all the listeners who don't read the forums or the blog? How will they know of the other option?

I don't begrudge Pseudopod's production team their decision to make a heavily produced episode - even though I do not enjoy listening to such episodes - but I think if they do so, they should assume that this will be a difficulty to a sizeable chunk of the listenership, and plan ahead as far as the communication goes.

Btw, I should point out that for those of us (like myself) who use itunes, if it's not in the feed, it's quite difficult to associate it with the podcast manually. So, having an alternate download that's not in the feed is rather annoying if I'm trying to keep my episodes organized.
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 09:31:36 AM »

Btw, I should point out that for those of us (like myself) who use itunes, if it's not in the feed, it's quite difficult to associate it with the podcast manually. So, having an alternate download that's not in the feed is rather annoying if I'm trying to keep my episodes organized.

I would like to cast my vote for this as well.
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dragonsbreath
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 12:57:34 PM »

A potentially good story, but over-produced. Had to stop listening after 5 minutes - my ears were hurting.

Try again without the sound effects.
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Pirvonen
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 02:01:24 PM »

Try again without the sound effects.

I would not go quite that far. It is possible to use sound effects and voice processing rather a lot and still have a listenable end product. My heart aches in compassion to the producer who obviously put a lot of creative energy into this episode, only to have us complain about it. I like the idea that the producer had, it was just too strong for me to stand.

While I agree with the people who would like to have the alternate version in the feed, too, I would much prefer a producer who has thought of those of us who do not listen in a totally flat and silent studio environment.

Incidentally, I had no major problems with Tippler's Bane, unlike here.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2012, 06:59:07 PM »

Quote
I wonder if in the future the fact that the story has a lot of effects and an alternate version is available could to be advertised in the intro, rather than have a large percentage of the listeners have a bad audio experience, then come to the forums to complain, and discover that there's an alternate after they've already had the negative experience. For that matter, what of all the listeners who don't read the forums or the blog? How will they know of the other option?

I don't begrudge Pseudopod's production team their decision to make a heavily produced episode - even though I do not enjoy listening to such episodes - but I think if they do so, they should assume that this will be a difficulty to a sizeable chunk of the listenership, and plan ahead as far as the communication goes.
from eytanz


Probably not - and here's why in ascending order:

THE GAME OF PSEUDOPOD!

1. despite the smooth and efficient image we project, Pseudopod is usually not (sometimes, though) pieced together in chronological order, due to the never-ending weekly schedule - Alasdair often records his intros in chunks and if he's far ahead of the curve, or we're behind the curve, his intros and outros are his reactions to "reading", not listening to the story (in this case, there was a very good chance the basic story audio wasn't even in when he recorded his intros).   But what of patches?  (Proceed to #2)

2. last minute patch recordings by Alasdair are difficult (not impossible) for the same reasons given above and the fact that Alasdair is way over in England.  Graeme could do such things at the last minute but the poor guy has enough on his plate without me asking him to do more (But why last minute? - see #3 and avoid the Molasses Swamp, proceeding directly to Gumdrop Forest).

3. not all sound productions are created equal. Some are conceived at purchase, some at reader assignment and occasionally, as is this case, some very close to the end - so I often don't know If the story will have sound production or not - plans could fall through or not come out as envisioned (don't know what the audio version of that word would be - clairaudienced?).  "Tjeng" went through 3 iterations - a deliberate alien reading request from Laurice, a fairly late in the game soundbed from me, and a last-minute vocal tweak from Graeme (requested by me and cleared by me - so blame me).  So honestly, we usually don't know with enough head time to pull this off in the intros.  (Community Chest!)

4. Complicating matters, the alternate mixes are NOT produced beforehand and are requested by me from Graeme if the listener demand seems to warrant it, the reasons being twofold - 1.  see answer 2 above, re: "plate" (really, Graeme works very hard), 2. surprising as this may seem, it is difficult to predict what people will not like.  For example:

"What Makes You Tick" - expected everyone to like it, everyone liked, one personal, negative email.
"The Line" - expected complaints, did not really manifest on forums, 2 negative personal emails about "unlistenability".
"Tippler's Bane" - stupidly, expected no problems, many complaints, rushed second version out.
"This Is Now" - figured the wind effects were safe but the clacking pool balls would annoy some, no negative reactions.
"Revelation of Cormorants" - worried that wave sounds would manifest as white noise to the average ear or car speaker, no major complaints although IIRC the forum had one minor comment and I received one personally
"The Drowner" - as this was the first full soundbed from beginning to end, and it moves through many tones, fully expected many complaints (but doing an alternate mix of a FOTB story would be even more work) - none came in that I specifically remember.

I believe this addresses your request above re: "assume" and "communication"

And finally... (Remove "Funnybone")

5. and this is kind of the crux of the matter - such an intro would ruin the surprise of the production (good or bad, your call) and is essentially redundant.  Honestly, how much difference would a 5 second warning from Alasdair or Graeme at the end of the intro - as opposed to just starting the episode and finding out it has production that doesn't work for you - make?  Would you actually turn it off right then and not listen to the first few minutes to see if it was that bone-grindingly awful?  There wouldn't be any mention of an alternate version yet because we haven't gotten a reaction to justify making one yet.  I don't imagine many people listen to the intros before starting out on a long-journey, only to be vexed in the middle of said journey by finding out the story has production - is it likely they would start checking intros for that reason if we put them in?

As for the questions posed about other listeners who don't read the forums or the blog and thus don't know about a potential alternate - well, a few thoughts come to mind.  Perhaps they will be curious and attempt to discover what "went wrong" and check the story page (technically, we have no way of contacting those people if there just happened to be some kind of accidental flaw in the download anyway, so in that sense it's a "problem" that's existed since day one, just not about audio production in particular, and which I don't believe any of the pods have worried too much about). Perhaps they will chalk it up to dumb luck and move on.  I guess we *could* put a note at the end of the next week's story outro, mentioning an alternate version of the previous week's story, but that runs into #1 and #2 again (although it wouldn't ruin any surprises by that point).  ("D5!" "you sank my battleship!")

Negative experiences are sometimes unavoidable - you and a number of people did not like this episode's production and for that I apologize (as I say below "sorry, this time we just got a little too adventurous"), but there'll be a new one next week, and another after that, and another.  And some of them will have audio production, but not very many because it's only applicable in some cases.  But they will occur occasionally, just like stories without production that don't happen to be to your taste.  Such is the game of LIFE ("Payday! A lawyer's salary, please!")

To address the secondary question from lisavilisa
Quote
Will it show up in the itunes feed?
and eytanz
Quote
Btw, I should point out that for those of us (like myself) who use itunes, if it's not in the feed, it's quite difficult to associate it with the podcast manually. So, having an alternate download that's not in the feed is rather annoying if I'm trying to keep my episodes organized.

Honestly, I don't know - I have no idea how the itunes feed accesses the Wordpress page, except that I toggle a few things for the itunes tagging.  I guess the best way to answer that is with a question - did you get the alternate version of "Tippler's Bane" automatically in your feed?  If not, then probably the answer is "no".  I have no idea if itunes (and other pod-catching devices) "check" the page once a week or once an hour, if it would "see" a second audio file on the same story page or pass it over as already downloaded (it does have a different file name, but that might not make any difference to it).

I have no idea how to ask this question without it sounding indelicate and making myself sound stupid so I'll just ask it out of sheer ignorance - is it substantially more complicated for itunes users than just going to the story page and right clicking the download link, saving to your desktop and then dragging the file into your itunes folder?  Because I could have done that 10 times in the time it's taken me to type this post.  
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 07:12:59 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
Sgarre1
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2012, 07:00:26 PM »

Quote
Try again without the sound effects.
from dragonsbreath

ask and ye shall...

http://media.libsyn.com/media/pseudopod/Pseudo276a_OurDrunkenTjengAlternate.mp3
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2012, 07:06:26 PM »

Quote
While I agree with the people who would like to have the alternate version in the feed, too, I would much prefer a producer who has thought of those of us who do not listen in a totally flat and silent studio environment.
from Pirvonen

Actually, a correction to an (understandable) mistake and an observation on presumption.

Graeme is the sound producer but all blame for this can be put at my feet - I made the soundbed and he did the vocal effects but I cleared them, so the buck stops with me.

The presumption?  Believe it or not, our watchword at Pseudopod is always that the majority of listeners are listening in cars - it makes the most sense as a likely setting for podcast listening and I even mention it in our acquisition letter to big name authors.  It also limits the word count/time span on stories I buy.

Sorry, this time we just got a little too adventurous.  Think of it as an episode to test out the home stereo system!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 04:20:34 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
Sgarre1
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"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2012, 07:24:57 PM »

Quote
Stories about a downward spiral into madness are mostly interesting to me if there's some emotional hook that makes me relate to them. But this one was - quite literally - so alien that it didn't affect me much at all.

This is interesting because this is essentially why I am not a big fan of sci-fi horror in general and why we don't run much of it (or, I don't buy much of it) - I find the further the setting from the human experience, the more of a disconnect between actual human emotion and thus the ability to generate fear.

In this case, though, that feeling kind of came all the way back around to the other side for me - I felt that the scenario was sooo alien, soooo extremely removed from human experience as to be interesting as a "weird tale" in that sense, and that the fact that one could apply various human-symbolic interpretations to it was thus made eerie and fascinating, one step removed as it were.  Like:

Quote
I dug the story. It was creepy and alien. The subordinate part of a symbiotic relationship is not something we usually get to see. One could almost take this as an allegory for cancer told from the perspective of the cancerous cells. I think that's reductive, but a viable interpretation.
from Fenrix

Quote
I agree, except I read it as an autoimmune disease. The narrator's job was to destroy harmful cells, and in the end she was destroying useful cells instead.
from Yaekmon

which was one thing I thought of.  Another was an environmental take - destroying the very thing that sustains you at a greater rate once it begins to malfunction, and you blame it for malfunctioning and become parasites upon its husk.  Another was a religious interpretation - our cultural destruction of God the Fathership after he stops operating per guidelines and "disappoints" us.
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eytanz
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« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2012, 10:38:14 PM »

Quote
I wonder if in the future the fact that the story has a lot of effects and an alternate version is available could to be advertised in the intro, rather than have a large percentage of the listeners have a bad audio experience, then come to the forums to complain, and discover that there's an alternate after they've already had the negative experience. For that matter, what of all the listeners who don't read the forums or the blog? How will they know of the other option?

I don't begrudge Pseudopod's production team their decision to make a heavily produced episode - even though I do not enjoy listening to such episodes - but I think if they do so, they should assume that this will be a difficulty to a sizeable chunk of the listenership, and plan ahead as far as the communication goes.
from eytanz


Probably not - and here's why in ascending order:

THE GAME OF PSEUDOPOD!

(Detailed response cut)

Ok, fair enough. That all makes sense.

Quote
I have no idea how to ask this question without it sounding indelicate and making myself sound stupid so I'll just ask it out of sheer ignorance - is it substantially more complicated for itunes users than just going to the story page and right clicking the download link, saving to your desktop and then dragging the file into your itunes folder?  Because I could have done that 10 times in the time it's taken me to type this post.  

It's quite possible to do that. But, and here's the crux - if you do that, the episode will not be listed as an episode of the podcast, but will appear among your music. And, for example, it may start playing when you shuffle, or if you have any playlists based on when you last played music, or so forth. It will also not remember it's position if you stop in the middle and start again (this one is rather crucial), and it won't allow you to speed up or slow down play, nor make the "rewind 30 seconds" button available on an IOS device.

It's possible to fix some of these things, but that becomes rather tricky, and how tricky can vary by your individual computer settings (are you using a Mac or a PC? What type of iPod do you have? etc.)

Making it appear in the feed is a matter of creating a new wordpress entry for it, as opposed to adding a link to the existing one. I really can't see a downside to doing that, but maybe I'm missing something.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2012, 11:50:49 PM »

Quote
Ok, fair enough. That all makes sense.

Thanks for understanding!


Quote
It's quite possible to do that. But, and here's the crux - if you do that, the episode will not be listed as an episode of the podcast, but will appear among your music. And, for example, it may start playing when you shuffle, or if you have any playlists based on when you last played music, or so forth. It will also not remember it's position if you stop in the middle and start again (this one is rather crucial), and it won't allow you to speed up or slow down play, nor make the "rewind 30 seconds" button available on an IOS device.

That makes sense - thanks for clarifying.  I will have to think more on why I thought making a whole new page would be a mistake - I might have no good reason at all, or I may just be forgetting something.
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lisavilisa
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2012, 12:57:42 PM »

My heart aches in compassion to the producer who obviously put a lot of creative energy into this episode, only to have us complain about it. I like the idea that the producer had, it was just too strong for me to stand.

Agreed, I appreciated the concept, and if it was only short bits I could have worked around it by piecing the rest of the plot together around the weird audio bits, but when I realized it was going to be the whole episode I gave up.
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2012, 04:19:29 PM »

It's quite possible to do that. But, and here's the crux - if you do that, the episode will not be listed as an episode of the podcast, but will appear among your music. And, for example, it may start playing when you shuffle, or if you have any playlists based on when you last played music, or so forth. It will also not remember it's position if you stop in the middle and start again (this one is rather crucial), and it won't allow you to speed up or slow down play, nor make the "rewind 30 seconds" button available on an IOS device.

It's possible to fix some of these things, but that becomes rather tricky, and how tricky can vary by your individual computer settings (are you using a Mac or a PC? What type of iPod do you have? etc.)

It's a few steps, but...
1. find the file in iTunes, probably easily located in "recently added"
2. right click
3. get info
4. options tab
5. Media Kind dropdown menu
6. click Podcast
7. click apply

ta-da! Smiley
I'm not sure, however, if it will automatically be put in with the rest of the cast, or on it's own separate podcast.  If that happens, it's an annoying process of messing with the metadata for which you need another program.  iTunes is weird in some ways with metadata and how it sorts things.
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I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
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eytanz
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« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2012, 04:46:44 PM »

It's quite possible to do that. But, and here's the crux - if you do that, the episode will not be listed as an episode of the podcast, but will appear among your music. And, for example, it may start playing when you shuffle, or if you have any playlists based on when you last played music, or so forth. It will also not remember it's position if you stop in the middle and start again (this one is rather crucial), and it won't allow you to speed up or slow down play, nor make the "rewind 30 seconds" button available on an IOS device.

It's possible to fix some of these things, but that becomes rather tricky, and how tricky can vary by your individual computer settings (are you using a Mac or a PC? What type of iPod do you have? etc.)

It's a few steps, but...
1. find the file in iTunes, probably easily located in "recently added"
2. right click
3. get info
4. options tab
5. Media Kind dropdown menu
6. click Podcast
7. click apply

ta-da! Smiley
I'm not sure, however, if it will automatically be put in with the rest of the cast, or on it's own separate podcast.  If that happens, it's an annoying process of messing with the metadata for which you need another program.  iTunes is weird in some ways with metadata and how it sorts things.

Oh - that does work. Cool, I learnt something new.

Experimenting around, though, shows that it creates a separate podcast, which is still not ideal for people who try to keep old episodes in order. But the main advantage of having the alternate version come out on the feed is that way people who subscribe but aren't part of the community will be able to get it.
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benjaminjb
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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2012, 09:59:57 AM »

I wonder how the Pseudopod team decides which stories get the "soundscape" process.

I'm torn here--on one hand, I'm all for exploring the capabilities of this new(ish) medium; but on the other hand, I come for stories, not for sound production and on a horror story podcast, I expect the story to get the feeling/theme across without any spectacle.

Oh, I guess I'm not torn at all, insofar as Pseudopod is a story-oriented podcast: fun soundscape/sound production makes the stories hard to comprehend.
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2012, 04:34:38 PM »

Quote
I wonder how the Pseudopod team decides which stories get the "soundscape" process.

There are no hard and fast rules, honestly.  The poolhall sounds and wind/s in "This Is Now" served to reinforce the setting, but also to give subtle audio clues as to shift in time setting of scene - perhaps not so subtle with the pool balls, but there were actually 2 types of wind used - one for the "back then outside" and one for the "now outside".

"What Makes You Tick", "The Line" and "Tippler's Bane" just seemed like givens, what with the alien perspectives of the reading segments.  Thus, the same held true for "Tjeng", although the setting was also completely alien, so 2 possibilities for production manifested.

"Revelation of Cormorants" was because the seabird cries seemed a natural, along with the advancing and threatening surf.  Plus the fact that the Cormorant is noted for having a distinctive cackle - all these sold me on the idea.

"The Drowner" because it was flash and because I wanted a way to underscore the difference between below and above surface.

As I said above - these instances will be rare but they will continue when the circumstances seem to warrant it.  They will not be liked by everyone.  I guess one way to look at it is that with nearly 300 episodes in the can, familiarity is apt to breed contempt and as there are a number of people out there newly working our same piece of ground, it only makes sense for us to try and remain distinctive, all while remaining committed to good stories and also while indulging my own perverse need for wide variety.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 05:37:15 PM by Sgarre1 » Logged
zoanon
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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2012, 05:16:56 PM »

I've enjoyed all the soundscape episodes thus far (the what makes you tick voice still haunts me at times).
I liked the backround sounds of Our Drunken Tjeng, and if the voice had a bit less echo, and I had been a bit less tired, I would have enjoyed the words as well. as it is I kinda just meditated to the sounds on my walk home.
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WinBear
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« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2012, 02:56:13 PM »

I may check out the alternate mp3 (and thanks for that "media kind" tip. I knew about "media kind" from Smart Playlists but not how to edit it.) I'm a relatively new listener, so this is the first "highly produced" episode I've encountered.

I think a middle ground might have served here. I didn't think the vocal effect needed to be there all the time. I would have preferred to only hear it occasionally like at the beginning of a paragraph and fading out quickly or perhaps on certain words like "Our Tjeng."
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dragonsbreath
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« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2012, 09:13:36 AM »

Thanks sgarrel for the mp3
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« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2012, 09:30:25 PM »

I, too, had to stop listening after about thirty seconds, because I couldn't understand a word (I was in my car).

HOWEVER, I continue to be in favor of Pseudopod experimenting with production. I've been doing quite a bit of production work lately, finishing up an audiobook, and I have a few suggestions:

1.) I think the reason why the other stories mentioned didn't draw many complaints is that the sound effects used didn't actually interfere with the narration itself. Noises with a constant, undulating presence (like blowing wind, falling rain, etc.) don't tend to take focus away from the vocals, because the listener's mind can tune them out to some degree. Basically, the mind thinks, "Oh, I'm familiar with this noise, and I know it's going to go on like this in the background for a while, so I won't pay too much attention to it." In that sense, they enhance the listening experience without getting in the way. Noises with frequent discrete events (like voices speaking recognizable words, footsteps, or environmental sounds that start and stop) tend to be distracting, because the mind has to take focus off the narration to recognize and evaluate the new sound. This will often cause the listener to lose track of the story.

2.) When the vocals themselves are processed you have to be very careful. One trick I've learned to deal with this issue is to create two identical vocal tracks, pan one to the left and one to the right, and then put the effects on only one of them. Whichever one gets the effects, lower the volume on that one slightly so that the un-processed one is dominant. That way you still have a clear speaking voice, but the listener's mind recognizes that something additional is going on (robot, demon, cybernetic rabbit, etc.).

Hope this helps!

P.S. Thanks for the Candyland references. That made my day.

P.P.S. Has everyone seen The Cabin in the Woods yet? Go see it. It's phenomenal.
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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2012, 07:54:54 AM »

I enjoyed this story a lot at DSF, which is why I was a little quick to give up on the audio version.  I'm glad Pseudopod is willing to try out interesting stuff.
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« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2012, 02:47:46 AM »

Would it be possible to have both recordings on the feed, perhaps?  Different titles to make clear that they're different versions of the same episode.  Or, perhaps, have the one that the main audience - people in cars - will be able to listen to on the feed and the other, heavily produced one as the alternate, maybe.

SFX are fine - the right mix means they'll add atmosphere and not confusion.  But playing with the words makes it difficult to balance right (hell, some weeks, even having lyrics under a voiceover can be problematic if the music's just that touch too high - the brain tries to interpret both at once, resulting in mush.  I had a good few years in commercial radio production - in our ads, we always tried to instrumental under the voiceover for just that reason.  If we only had the full vocal of a jingle instead of a donut version, we'd drop the jingle further than usual).
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Sgarre1
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« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2012, 04:48:42 PM »

Quote
Would it be possible to have both recordings on the feed, perhaps?  Different titles to make clear that they're different versions of the same episode.  Or, perhaps, have the one that the main audience - people in cars - will be able to listen to on the feed and the other, heavily produced one as the alternate, maybe.

Answered earlier in this thread.
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« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2012, 11:48:16 AM »

Regarding the audio itself:
I downloaded this episode shortly after it aired, and then shortly thereafter found my iPod to be nonfunctional so it's been sitting on my hard drive until last week when I finally burned it to an mp3 CD.  I listened to it over my car's speakers going 80 mph on the interstate.  I often listen on car trips, but usually I listen on my iPod so that I don't have to worry about the other passengers.  This time I had the speakers adjusted to play only in the front left quarter of the car, and I tried to adjust the volume so that it was JUST low enough so that I could understand all the words.  In that listening environment it wasn't obvious to me whether the noise was sound production aftereffects or whether it was just a recording with a bad microphone.  The road noise drowned out the lower voice tones unless they were relatively high volume, and at that higher volume some of the higher pitches in the background noise were near my audio pain threshold, enough to make me wince.  I ended up turning it down a bit so that I didn't have to wince, but then I missed one sentence in every half dozen sentences.  If I'd been alone I probably would've just cranked it, but I was trying not to annoy my wife who was trying to read in the passenger seat.

I like that Pseudopod is willing to try things out, and I encourage it.  The only times I haven't liked the results are when I have trouble understanding the words themselves (and I do most of my listening with road noise).

Anyway, I listened to this the best that I could, and I certainly enjoyed the extreme weirdness of the setting, lots of good imagination there, and I value novelty very highly in stories.  I think I more or less followed the plot, and didn't really have any complaints about it.  I didn't feel very connected to the characters but I think that was perhaps not due to the writing itself but just trying to sort the words into meaningful sentences.

2.) When the vocals themselves are processed you have to be very careful. One trick I've learned to deal with this issue is to create two identical vocal tracks, pan one to the left and one to the right, and then put the effects on only one of them. Whichever one gets the effects, lower the volume on that one slightly so that the un-processed one is dominant. That way you still have a clear speaking voice, but the listener's mind recognizes that something additional is going on (robot, demon, cybernetic rabbit, etc.).

From personal preference I would advise against that.  The reason being, when I listen to my iPod I often have only one earbud in place to allow me to hear the world around me.  If that ear happened to be the one which only had super-distorted voice effects, then I'd just miss them entirely and it would not be immediately obvious that listening the other earbud would allow me to understand.  There was some episodes of the Dunesteef where they split the audio, such as having a voice with an echoey-but-incomprehensible-effect split between ears, and all I could hear were the echoey-but-incomprehensible-effect.  I listened to the whole story, hearing only one side of a conversation (between a normal sounding person and this echoey effect) and I thought it was SUPPOSED to be that way, like Charlie Brown talking to an adult (Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah).  Only later did I realize that I missed an entire half of the conversation that I completely missed.  Also on the Dunesteef, sometimes in the afterdiscussion they would play bits of the discussion in only one ear and alternate, and again I missed half of it unless I went to the trouble of fumbling with my earbuds while my hands are otherwise occupied.

So, while in general that might work fine, for me personally that drives me nuts.

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« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2012, 09:06:46 PM »

Hey everybody, check it out!  It's someone who dug "Our Drunken Tjeng" - production and all!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzaPz6-b6Tw
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« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2012, 08:48:38 AM »

Hey everybody, check it out!  It's someone who dug "Our Drunken Tjeng" - production and all!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzaPz6-b6Tw

Huh, the audio's not working for me, will have to try again on another computer.  Cool to get a plug like that though.  Smiley


Nevermind, a reboot and I could get it to work.  Neat!  It's nice to get mentions of the podcast outside of the forumites here that we talk to all the time.  A good reminder that there are thousands and thousands of listeners out there besides the few dozen who hang out here.  Smiley
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 09:05:25 AM by Unblinking » Logged

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