Have You Ever Recorded Sound Effects?

Greetings, Naylor blog-ites.

Greetings.

I spent the past weekend at a cottage, making the teaser trailer for Abyss Crew.

The goal for the weekend was the following:

  • Film the videos for the trailer—I was lending my awesome acting skills for this;
  • Sync up the video and audio recordings;
  • Do the montage for the trailer;
  • Record and edit the sounds for the trailer;
  • Put the created audio in sync with the different sections of the trailer.

Prior to going to the cottage—we went from Friday afternoon to Monday morning—, we planned two long hikes: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Turns out we only hiked on Saturday. It was a 4-5 hour hike, up Mont-Orford. We decided to skip on the Sunday hike; we had much more work to do than initially planned.

Cottage_2.jpgDamien, Pol, Fanny, and myself, in our ‘office’ – The Famous Abyss Crew Team

With regards to the trailer, here is what we did:

  • Friday late afternoon and evening: discussion about the script, the plans for the weekend, and the video recordings to be done.
  • Saturday: setup of the recording area, and recording of the video and audio for the trailer.
  • Sunday: recording of all the audio in the cottage to be used as sound effects—my favorite discovery of the weekend, hence the title of this post—, montage of the video, editing of the audio recordings, and adding the initial audio effects to the trailer.
  • Monday morning: syncing up the sound effects with the trailer, tweaking of final details and bugs, and final export of the video.

It was a weekend packed with learning, physical activity, laughs, long discussions, debates, early rises and late crashes, board games, and cooking. I’d do it again anytime!

What about the recording of the sound effects? This is a long prelude to your main topic.

Impatient, as always. I’m getting there.

Good.

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We recorded sounds in several areas of the house. Damien (black shirted stud in the picture) and Fanny (in the picture above) experimented for an hour or two, with pots, woks, water, knives, glasses, and anything you can think of.

Once they had finished, we all gathered in the bathroom for the recording session. We recorded water splashing in pots and pans, water falling gently and constantly into a pan filled with water, screeching of pan covers on the bath tub surface, hits and bangs on surfaces dulled with towels, and more.

After, we recorded the fridge hum, glasses hitting glasses, knuckle-flicks on the old-school television screen, knife hits, and more and more, and some more.

I have always wanted to live the experience of recording sound effects, and this was my first experience of this. I lavished in it, and hearing the final teaser trailer was thrilling, sending goose-flesh down my arms. I also managed to learn a good deal about Adobe Premiere, seeing as I was put in charge of doing the montage.

When the trailer is ready, I will write a short post sharing it.

Have you ever done sound effect recording? If so, what was the most innovative sound you recorded? If not, what would be the most innovative sound you would want to record?

Audio-note: hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Meditation – Part 1

Morning, Earth beings.

Two months ago, I volunteered at Camp LIFT. Their mission statement is:

“To foster optimal development in youth, by educating them on holistic principles of healthy minds, bodies and relationships. To promote fundamental values surrounding global health in order to reduce the incidence of addiction, delinquency, and school dropouts”.

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It was a seven day sleep away camp, for youths aged 14 to 17 years old. I volunteered on the first day and the last day; I picked up some of the teenagers in Montreal on the first day, drove them to the camp, stayed there to sleep the first night, came home on the morrow, returned on the last day to hang out with them, and drove three of them home the day after that.

During the first evening, we all gathered up in a circle so that the youths could hear the schedule for the week. Amongst two hours of daily sports, morning meditation, yoga, and healthy eating, there was also a 6:00 AM wake-up scheduled for every morning, not easy tasks for teenagers who do not live this lifestyle regularly.

I used to get up around 5:30-6:30 quite often in the past, because of school; however, since school finished almost two years ago, I had not been in that groove anymore. I was getting up somewhere between 7:30-10:00, and I missed being up early—I feel my most productive time of the day is between 5:00 and 11:00.

The next morning, I woke up with them at 6:00 AM, meditated, broke my fast, and then drove home. I couldn’t stay for the week because I had work.

I thought about the teenagers a lot when I got home; I had already become attached to many of them, and so I decided I would stay with them in spirit: I recorded a short video, explaining how I would get up at 6:00 every morning of the week, and meditate on my own, to support them in this endeavor.

Every morning that week, without fail, I was up at 6:00—my alarm was actually 6:01, but no one needs to know that, except my awesome readers—to go meditate at the park next to my house.

This expedition was at the beginning of August, and I have kept up with morning meditation ever since, save three days due to feeling frail and sickly. I do not get up at 6:00 every morning though; instead, I put my alarm on seven hours and 30 minutes after I get to bed. Chiefly, it varies between 6:30 and 8:00, which I largely prefer over 9:00 or 10:00, which is the loophole I had fallen into.

Excuse me. The title of this post is ‘How To Meditate’, not ‘Here Is A Personal Anecdote Of Mine’.

Picky, as always.

I am getting to that presently.

I have three different meditation routines, of which I alternate between each morning. For example: I will do meditation 1 on Monday, meditation 2 on Tuesday, meditation 3 on Wednesday, and loop around as of Thursday.

Today I shall explain one of these meditation techniques I use.

The Bubble Meditation

I discovered the bubble meditation while reading Lawrence LeShan’s book How To Meditate.

The goal of the bubble meditation is to be fully focused on your thoughts in the present moment, taking about six to ten seconds to observe each thought.

Here are the steps, described briefly:

  1. Sit down. Imagine that you are seated at the bottom of a lake. If this thought is too difficult for you, imagine you are sitting on a mountain-side, observing the environment ahead—in this case, it will not be a bubble meditation but more of a column of smoke meditation, which I shall explain very shortly.
  2. Close your eyes. Each time a thought comes to you, imagine that a bubble has formed at the bottom of the lake, in front of you, and that the thought you had is encompassed in the bubble. Then, observe the bubble as it rises higher and higher, until it is no longer visible—this should take about six to ten seconds. Do not judge, or try to understand why you are thinking of this; simply observe it. If you are imagining yourself sitting on a mountain-side, imagine a column of smoke rising instead of a bubble, with the same parameters as described previously.
  3. Do the same thing for the next thought, and so forth, always without judgement. Start with 10 minutes for several sessions, and then you can increase if you’d like, or not, it is entirely up to you.

The goal is to observe your thoughts in the present, without judging or trying to understand them.

Sometimes, the same thought will come back several times in a row. That is fine; just observe, and keep going. You might have instances where no thoughts emerge, and if that is the case, that is fine too. There are no set rules, besides observing your thoughts and doing nothing else.

I normally do this for ten to fifteen minutes. I never put a timer on at the park when I meditate, so I am ball-parking the duration. I used to put a ten minute timer on when I mediated at home several months ago, to help me not think about how long remained, and that way I could just focus on the task at hand, and nothing else—although I never managed to have a full ten minute session when my brain didn’t divagate at least several times.

There you have it.

Thank you.

Woah. A thank you. From you?

Don’t get used to it.

Next time I write about meditation I will share another method I use.

Do you meditate presently, or have you in the past? How did or does it make you feel?

Bubble-note: I’m simply observing my thought, over and over, of how I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog. And if not, that is fine; as I mentioned, I am only observing, and not judging.

 

What Do You Do When You Feel Sick?

Recently, I was sick.

Really?

Yes.

Really, really? Are you sure you aren’t seeking attention?

Yes, really, really—slightly seeking attention as a bonus for my blog. I’m going to have to start having more attitude towards you to try and calm you, tame you.

Muhahaa, I shall never calm, nor be tamed.

Moving onward.

As I mentioned, I was sick, and even sick, I looked as cute as this:

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You weren’t lying about attitude, but you never mentioned conceitedness.

I was scheduled to be teaching assistant for the first-year part-time students in osteopathy for the past five days. If any of you are in Montreal, you know how hot it was—click here to read about the record-breaking heat wave.

I am asomatous; how do you expect me to click?

Simply don’t.

The class was being given in an AC-less building in downtown Montreal. The heat was blistering, gifting small puddles all across dress-shirts and t-shirts, to teachers and students alike.

On Thursday morning—day one of five of being the TA—I had a sensitive swollen lymph node in the anterior part of my neck, and a slight soreness in my throat. I was convinced I was going to feel worse the next day. The lymph node felt like a premonition of death’s hirelings making their mark on my body.

The next day—Friday, day two—,the lymph node was more sensitive—it also spawned a twin under my mandible—, I had a runny nose, and I had a raucous voice. I was harrumphing every 24 seconds, swallowing was painful, and I was killing trees by the minute with my nose-blowing. By the end of the day, I had a headache, little energy, and a mickle of slime spewing out my nasal cavity, sluggishly, slow as a snail, yet steadily and fiercely pacing himself for the finish line.

Woah, you can hold back on the details.

I shall not—although it doesn’t get much worse than what I just described.

Friday night, I felt lethargic and apathetic, so my friend made me some cinnamon and honey infused water in the evening, to soothe my throat—I was all out of lemon and ginger. I also took 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE) to help ward off whatever I was housing at a quicker pace than what my physiology was doing already.

That night I slept awfully. Saturday morning—day three of five—I felt like death himself, devoid my joy and splendor. I had no choice but to rise from the dead, with his scythe hacking and slashing at my throat and nose, and get ready for my third day as a TA—BBS as my English Nana would say.

No swearing on the interweb please.

That day, I had four or five cinnamon and honey concoctions, I killed several trees again, I drank two 15-drop servings of GSE, and I started coughing quite a bit. I spoke sotto voce all day, trying to stay alive until evenfall.

Class finished at 6:00 PM, I got home at 6:40, and was under my covers, in bed, at 6:52. I slept until 7:00 AM the next day—I woke up at 9:00 and 1:00 to empty my bladder, and at 11:00 to make another Baker Infusion—named in homage to my friend who made the cinnamon and honey infusion. I felt feeble and feverish all night—click here to read a previous post about how a fever works.

On Sunday—day four of five—I felt slightly, only a tittle, better. Death had left my body, but his minions were still running about, breaking and ushering cells into chaos, upheaval, and uproar. I managed to get through Montreal’s scorching heat-wave and my TA day with only several bodily qualms. I had a two hour rehearsal with my swing dance troupe that night, and I managed to go through both hours while killing only one branch of a tree—one nose-blow.

On the morrow, Monday—day five of five—,death’s minions had started going on strike, finding the working conditions too dangerous; they were under constant assault of the physiology police. The few survivors decided they should stop working under such harsh conditions, and my nose, brain, and body were grateful for the aforementioned police’s awareness and effectiveness, armed with GSE rocket launchers.

The day went by smoothly, with scanty tree-killing, a few harrumphs, and no sensitivity in my swollen cervical lymph nodes. I went to my 90-minute swing class last night, and managed to dance all night—*exaggeration alert*—in the blazing heat of another AC-less, fan-driven, paltry-ventilated room—*non-exaggeration alert*.

And here I sit, today, 86% better. Hopefully tomorrow I will be back above 94.8%.

Talk about precision.

In summary, here is what I did / do when I feel sick:

  1. Take GSE at least twice a day.
  2. Sleep more than normally.
  3. Have an awesome person create me a beverage, called the Baker Infusion—or consume lemon-ginger-honey concoctions if I have the required ingredients.

Basically: rest and take care of my body.

What do you when you feel that you are getting sick? Are you the type to summon paladins, and arm them too the tooth to fight death in the face? Or do you yield, and lie sickly in bed, weeping, waiting for it to pass its course?

Sick-note: bleh.

What Is Your Essential Kitchen Tool?

All too often have I experienced the following: renting a cottage for a weekend, arriving with all the ingredients to cook some meals, opening the drawers and cupboards, and staring in disbelief, pondering: “Is this really what they have? I should have at least brought a few things from my kitchen”.

top-10-kitchen-tools.jpg

I am someone who cooks two to three meals a day, therefore a decent amount of time is spent in the kitchen, chopping, mincing, tasting, mixing, cooking, dancing, and, obviously, eating.

Throughout the process of preparing a dish, from start to finish, many different tools are needed: knife—sometimes knives—, cutting board, pot, pan, mortar and pestle, pepper grinder, garlic press, citrus press, measuring cups, measuring spoons, colander, strainer, and the list goes on.

Presently, the question I pose is: which of these countless tools is the most important to have in great quality?

This decision boils down to a matter of opinion, and I will offer mine, seeing as this is my blog.

That it is. Glad you remember.

Deciding on a single tool is difficult; therefore, I will list my two most important kitchen tools to have in high-quality—in order of importance nonetheless:

  1. Knife: I cannot fathom cooking without a knife that slices and chops with ease, as if I was cleaving through butter with every downward motion. I own a Kasumi knife—courtesy of my superlative mother, who gifted it to me when I moved—as well as a Global G-56 —gifted to me by my awesome brother on my name day, two years past. Anytime I have been in a situation—as mentioned in the introductory paragraph—where I must use a dull blade to chop, slight annoyance ensues, gradually and swiftly evolving to frustration.
  2. Pan: What I look for in a pan is good heat conduction, spaciousness, and non-stick features. I have a 32 cm Biotan, which is my pride and joy in the kitchen; it keeps heat, has a tremendous amount of space, and nothing sticks to it. I have grown in love, and never have I been a perfidious lover, not once, since I have become its father.

Besides these, my next most important tool is a large cutting board—that does not move and swivel as I cut on it.

How about you: what is your most important kitchen tool?

Foot-note: I do not recommend using a Global Kasumi to cut a Biotan, nor using a Biotan to cook a Global Kasumi.

Codenames – The Board Game

Hello again all.

Hey there!

Being the avid board game player that I am, I felt like writing about one this week.

Can you guess which game that is?

Well, we did read the title.

Smart (alec), as always.

The game is Codenames.

Codenames is a word deduction game, for 2 to 8 players (best with 4, 6 or 8 players in my opinion), created by Vlaada Chvatil.

The players are divided into two teams. Both teams square off against one another, trying to find their own team’s hidden words before the other team does.

In each team, one player is assigned the “Master Spy” title, and all other players in that team are assigned the “Spy” title. The master spy sits across the table from his teammates (the spies in his team); both master spies sit on the same side of the table, whereas both team’s spies sit on the opposite side of the table.

25 words are placed in the center of table, in a 5×5 grid. The master spies have a plastic stand in which they place one of the many “Word Assigning” cards, facing them. This card must only be visible to them; the spies must have the backside of the card facing them, so that they cannot see where the words have been assigning.

This card assigns the 25 words on the table as follows: 9 words are assigned to one team (let’s say blue), 8 words are assigned to the other team (let’s say red), 7 words are assigned to no team (neutral words), and 1 word is assigned as the assassin (your team loses if you pick this word at any point during the game).

Below is the grid of 25 words, the assigning card standing up (bottom left, directly in front of the hourglass), and the coloured rectangle markers (bottom right)—which I will explain shortly—:

CodenamesSetUp.jpg

The team with 9 words begins the game (they have one more word than the other team to guess seeing as they have the advantage of playing first).

So, how does the master spy give hints to his spies to help them guess the words?

Great question:

On his/her turn, the master spy is allowed to say only 1 word, followed by one number. The word is meant to orient his/her teammates to some of their words on the table; the number is meant to indicate how many cards on the table relate to the previously said word.

For example, if your team has the words TENNIS, BASKETBALL, and SOCCER, your hint could be as follows:

SPORT – 3.

This tells your teammates that there are 3 words of the 25 words on the table that you must guess that are related to SPORTS.

The spies discuss openly, deducting which words they think are the 3 that the master spy is alluding to. Once they have decided, one player touches the first card they would like to guess—normally the one your team is the most certain of. The master spy then puts a corresponding coloured rectangle marker (blue if it’s a blue team’s word, red if it’s a red team’s word, white if it is a neutral word, black if it is the assassin) over the chosen word. If the team guessed correctly, they now attempt to guess the second word; however, if the team guesses incorrectly, at any point, their turn is over, and they cannot guess any more words this turn. The turn then passes to the other team’s master spy, who must give one word and one number, hinting in the same fashion as described above.

Play continues like this until one team has covered all of their team’s words on the table, in which case they win, or if one team guesses the assassin, in which case they lose.

You mentioned an hourglass?

You don’t miss anything, do you?

Explain!

The 1-minute hourglass is turned over whenever a player feels that a decision is taking too long to be made. The team/player targeted by the hourglass must make his decision before the sand runs out.

Happy?

Grand.

Codenames is one of my favourite, easy-going—yet challenging—social games, and I got to play 7 times last night during the weekly game night that I host at my house. We had a blast, laughed like crazy, and I got beat in almost every time—but it was still a highly enjoyable experience.

If you like games such as Scrabble, Bananagrams, or any other word game, I strongly suggest you get this game; it is loads of fun, for families or friends, of all ages.

Have you ever played Codenames? If so, what did you think of it? If not, what is your favourite word game?

Foot-side: Codename hint for you : SUBSCRIBE – 1.

Don’t Starve – The Video Game

Ever since I’ve started playing video games, I’ve always loved those in which you need to survive. Whether it be trying to find food in the wilderness, build a house from scratch, or even strive in space, these games have always appealed to me. The feelings they brought were visceral, as if it was really me there, trying to stay alive, surviving ever so slightly, on the brink.

Are you able to survive in real life at least?

So far, I’ve been doing alright.

Anyways, in 2013, a game such as this was released on STEAM: Don’t Starve.

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Don’t Starve is an open world survival game. You spawn in a randomly generated world, with no resources whatsoever. You must walk around and collect resources, such as grass, flint, rock, etc. Then, using the resources you’ve gathered, you craft items such as an ax to chop down trees to collect wood for fire, a farm to plant seeds to grow vegetables, a parasol to protect you from the rain so your tools don’t get all wet, and the list goes on.

When you spawn, you are considered to be on Day 1. Each day lasts about 8-10 minutes, part day and part night. You normally being in summer—or fall—, so the days are long, and the nights are short and warm. Your goal is to survive as long as possible, or to escape the world through a cascading set of objectives—that are never stated in the game; you must simply learn then as you play, through exploration and cunning.

At evenfall, you must prepare for the darkness: you need to have a light source, or else you die in the pitch of the night, attacked by abyssal creatures that you never see.

For those who watch Game of Thrones, you are all familiar with Winter Is Coming.

So are those who live on Earth, seeing as winter comes every year.

Yes, but I’m sure you get the point. Give me some slack, just sometimes.

In Don’t Starve, winters looms over your mind like a guillotine over a bandit’s neck: you must prepare for winter constantly, because food will be scarce, your character will freeze to death if not kept warm, and days are short and treacherous, which do not allow you to explore and collect resources as you do in the summer.

Did I mention that you must also take care of your hunger level—eat some nice veggies to partially fill your belly, or cook a meal in the crock-pot for a full replenishment—, keep sane—dig up graves, you get scared, your sanity drops, but pick flowers, you feel good, your sanity level increases slightly—, and monitor your health—if you start starving, your health drops rapidly until you find food, if you take one hit from a spider without your armor you could lose a fifth of your health, and don’t even get me started on Beefalos.

There are also caves, wild animals, hoards of spiders, angry walruses, and other imaginative creatures that haunt you at every forest turn. And the music in this game is stellar. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes.

Here is a screenshot from the game, to give you an idea of the art style—a hat has been crafted to help keep warm during the winter:

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There exists a multiplayer version, called Don’t Starve Together. In this, you can play with up to 5 other players, and attempt to survive the wild together. Two expansions also came out following the original game. In one of them, you are no longer in a forest-scene, but on a seafaring adventure: you ride little boats, find islands full of monkeys that steal all your goods, and much more.

Have you ever played this game? If not, what is your favorite survival game?

Foot-note: not starving of starvation is comforting, but starving of starvation is deadly.

Low Back Pain Part 1: How To Stretch Your Hamstrings

Jonathan here, again.

We sure hope so; it is your blog.

No need to be incogitant now—I’m trying to help you out with this post.

This is part 1 in a series I will be writing which aims at helping you deal with low back pain. Subscribe if you’d like to receive the next ones as they are posted in the following weeks.

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Always trying to get people to subscribe…

Yes, for sure: I’d love to make it to a double digit subscription number!

Alas, let’s get into it.

For those of you who do not know: I am an osteopath.

One of the main reasons of consultations that I see in my office is back pain—whether it be upper or lower. This series of posts will focus more on aiding those who have low back pain, although it is just as important even if you are pain-free.

There are a few important muscles that must be worked when low back pain is present. A lot of this work can be done right in your home, by yourself, for free.

One of these aforementioned muscle groups are the posterior thigh muscles, called the hamstrings.

A blurb of anatomy:

The hamstrings consists of three muscles: the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and bicep femoris. They attach from the pelvic bone’s ischial tuberosity—that bony lump you sit on, right in the middle of the bum—to the knee joint—that knee joint, the one you have two of. These three muscles run along the posterior surface of your thigh.

Ischiojambiers.jpg

Now, for the stretching: first and foremost, do not do the hamstring stretches standing up, where you bend over and try and touch your toes, or the one where you are seated, bending your entire back, trying to bring your head to your toes. These put a lot of stress on the back, and can actually accentuate and worsen your pain and prognosis.

Here are two ways to stretch your hamstrings, which are much safer for your low back:

1. Lie on your back, on a comfy surface, such as a yoga mat. Take a towel or band, and loop it around the underside of your foot. With the leg relaxed and extended, gently pull the towel or band towards you, until you feel tension in the posterior surface of your thigh. Your other leg can stay straight—as shown in the picture below—or can be bent at 90 degrees, with your foot planted firmly on the ground. The bent knee will diminish the tension in your low back.

hamstring-stretch.jpg

2. Stand in front of a couch, chair, or anything that is around or slightly lower than the height of your hips. Keep the leg straight, and gently bend forward at the hips; keep your back straight! An easy way to do this is to imagine that you are approaching your navel—belly-button—to your toe. If you do this, your back should stay straight. There isn’t much movement required for you to feel the stretching in the posterior surface of your thigh.

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Different beliefs exist on the amount of time that stretches should be held. I generally tell my patients to hold the position for about 30-45 seconds, 3 times per leg, several times a week or every day. The tension during the exercise should feel no more than 2 or 3 on a scale of 10, where 0 is no tension and 10 is maximal tension. If for any reason you feel numbness during the stretch, slightly lower the amount of tension that you are applying to your hamstrings.

There you have it: two safe hamstrings stretches to help with low back pain.

More to come in future posts!

What do you normally do to help with low back pain?

Lumbar-note: plugging semimembranosus in a sentence always gives you a nimbus of awesomeness.

Sources: all images taken through the Google search engine.