Week Nine - 18/03/2019
Based on the feedback I received for this project I decided to implement a few changes that I feel will improve the overall immersion of the piece. Firstly, one person stated that the piece would be more relaxing if it were slowed down even more than the original speed. After trying this out, I agreed and chose to implement this change. I tried with a couple of different speeds but eventually settled for 65% of the original speed. I really liked the content like this and agree with the feedback that it is more relaxing than the original speed.
As slowing the piece down caused it to be a much longer duration I made the decision to remove the footage the first two locations out of the original three that I had recorded. I feel that the third location was the brightest and best quality so I choose to use this one out of the three. removing the first 2 locations from the footage, this choice also solved another issue mentioned in the feedback, as some of the feedback from one of the other participants stats that the parts where the camera pans to the ground seemed less relaxing than the rest of the footage. Watching back over the footage although I found this part was interesting to look at I agree that it is less relaxing, which is what I am trying to achieve with this piece. As it happens the shots of the ground only take place in the recording of the first two locations, so this problem was also solved.
Week Nine - 18/03/2019
As discussed with krisztian I have looked further into the sources from the article on symmetry that referenced a few weeks ago, which can be found Here
In 'The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew', Physicist 'Alan Lightman', states that human beings are drawn to symmetry, because it is found all around us in nature and as we ourselves including the neurons in our brains are also made of the same particles and are also a part of nature it is due to nature that we are so drawn to symmetry.
Lightman also mentions how honey Bee's when creating their hives will make hexagons rather than any other shape because shapes with flat sides that can easily tessellate save space, which makes for better economy. He then goes on to mention how humans will naturally create symmetry as our brains are hard-wired to create order out of chaos.
When quite from Lightman that I feel sums up his work nicely is' "Symmetry is also economy. Symmetry is simplicity. Symmetry is elegance."
Moving away from the visual aspect of this project and on to the audio side, I have also been doing some research on the effects of nature sounds and whether or not they will actually make you feel more relaxed. In an article on [Science daily](https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170330132354.htm) Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), lead by Dr Cassandra Gould van Praag has been researching this very subject. In their research, Cassandra and her team have found that listening to natural sounds to promote relaxation. They achieved this by monitoring the heart and the brain whilst playing back natural and artificial sounds.
Here is an excerpt from the research; *"When listening to natural sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an outward-directed focus of attention; when listening to artificial sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an inward-directed focus of attention, similar to states observed in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. There was also an increase in rest-digest nervous system activity (associated with relaxation of the body) when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds, and better performance in an external attentional monitoring task."*
**Week Eight** - *18/03/2019*
By mid-week, I had received the feedback for the project, which I will display below
I will be taking all of the feedback into consideration before completing the project.
I think the answer to this question is a direct response to the need you're addressing from the piece. I didn't feel at any point that the length of the piece was an issue and didn't feel bored or disengaged.
In some ways, I think so. I definitely felt calm and engaged while watching and listening to this. I was sceptical at first but within a few seconds, that passed. My initial reaction was disbelief that the mirrored effect would be soothing but actually, I think it contributed quite well to it once my mind had relaxed a little. I think there were parts of the visual aspect that I found more soothing than others such as the trees specifically, separating more so than coming inwards. When the focus was on the ground that was less soothing. The audio side of things felt like it was a little noisy and a clearer, crisper sound would be more beneficial. The sound of the birds was very relaxing and surprisingly so we're the leaves crunching underfoot.
I don't think music would be beneficial here and would take away from the natural nature of the piece.
As I said before, the mirror effect was engaging but perhaps a focus on a stationary point in one direction of movement might be a little more relaxing. I found the motion and floor panning a little less relaxing.
It was interesting and actually a surprise at the effect
- For me this was a matter of movement, I think if the motion was slower I felt it could have a long duration.
- Generally, I felt like the sudden movement of the camera causes the opposite emotion and doesn’t flow with the sparse nature.
- Within an ASMR context, I think without music goes well but perhaps some occasional sound of wind or something of that nature. if not, music would serve well (possibly try out alpha waves, seem to be as effective as youtube nature sounds for me personally)
- I think if it's going to be a calming experience, the movement would need to represent it, I think any effect or however many effects are fine but maybe consider crossfades if to contra to the flow.
In the words of Samuel L Jackson - “slow thing down, way down”
I didn’t watch the whole video but I think 20 minutes is too much to keep someone engaged, probably 5-10 mins would be enough to give the listener/viewer an idea
It did make me feel as if I was in nature so I guess connected with it as well and it calmed me down in a nice way.
Some ambient sounds could possibly help but I personally like the sounds of nature to be presented as they come from it
The mirror effect is I think what made the project very interesting it would be hard to keep on watching it if there was no effect, it give that trippy feeling that I really like…
I don’t have anything else to suggest I think it’s good as it is
**Week eight** - *18/03/2019*
This week I decided to create a feedback questionnaire, which I sent out with a link to the project to a few people that I felt this project would appeal too.
I chose to send the project to friends as I felt that this would be the best way to get some quick feedback, but if I had more time I would have chosen to get feedback from a larger group of people and preferably from people that I don't know as this would hopefully eliminate any biases
Below is the message/questions that I sent out;
here's a brief background;
For this project, I have taken separate audio and visual recordings from Thetford forest and combined them with some editing tricks in order to create a piece of media that will engage the audience and help to create a sense of calm. I also hope to encourage people who experience this piece to recognise and become more aware of their relationship with nature.
This link to the video is here; https://youtu.be/jLlRmhApDQc
I'd suggest watching in 1080p and using headphone would be best.
Here are the questions;
1. How did you feel about the length of the piece? did you feel that it was too long or too short?
2. Do you feel that this piece achieved the result of encouraging you to feel calmer and more connected with nature? If not, is there anything you feel would help with this?
3. Do you feel that this piece would benefit from the use of some calm ambient music, or do you prefer it as it is with the plain nature sounds?
4. Do you feel that the mirror image effect on the video made this piece more engaging, or would you have prefered to have seen unedited video footage?
5. Is there any other additional feedback you feel would help me to improve this project?
**Week seven** - *11/03/2019*
I was away this week, unfortunately, was unable to work on this project.
**Week Six** - *4/03/2019*
This week I edited the videos for my project. I started by mirror imaging each video in iMovie (I had 3 in total). This involved cropping the video, then creating a duplicate and playing both copies side by side in a split screen format, then finally I inverted one of the videos, which gave the effect that it was mirroring the other.
After doing this for all 3 videos and exporting them individually, I then imported all of them into a new project and used a fade effect to transition between each video. I then decided to have moments throughout the video where the footage would reverse for a certain amount of time and would then continue playing forward. To create this effect I had to cut out the section of the video that I wanted to reverse and then create 3 copies of that section that were playing after each other. I then took the middle copy and reversed the footage. doing it this way made for a seamless transition between the forward playing footage and the backwards playing footage as the starts and ends of each clip are now matching.
I choose to use the reverse effect as I wanted to highlight certain geometric patterns that were generated from the mirror image effect. This did, however, give me a longer video than I originally wanted, so I decided to x2 the play speed of the video, which I felt also made certain parts more interesting. I may go back over the footage and have certain parts play through slower than others, but I haven't decided whether I would like that or not just yet.
I also began work on the composition this week. I started by opening all of my Thetford forest recordings in Ableton and playing through each recording and taking out any unwanted sounds, such as moments of audio clipping caused by the wind and any conversation that I had picked up.
As I was unable to record any clear bird sounds whilst at Thetford due to the wind, I decided to take an audio recording from youtube instead. This added to the natural vibe that I was trying to achieve with this composition.
**Week Five** - *25/02/2019*
In [this](https://science.howstuffworks.com/why-do-get-so-much-pleasure-from-symmetry.htm) article, Dave Roos mentions how Humans are so attracted to symmetry because it's familiar as it is so frequently found in nature.
* Edit Videos
* Compose Soundscapes
* Begin creating Max patch
* Connect Sensors to Max using Arduino
* Compose or source ambient music
As technology is now more ingrained into our society than ever I feel that this has caused us to become somewhat disconnected from reality and thus our awareness of the relationship between ourselves and nature is diminishing. This has resulted in the assured decimation of our natural resources of which we used to deem to be so sacred. Through my sonic art project, I hope to raise peoples awareness of this issue by creating an immersive and serene audio-visual experience using mostly recorded footage from natural forest environments, which will be accompanied by some subtle ambient music. for the visuals, I will be using certain editing techniques to create a symmetrical effect as a way of maintaining interest throughout the experience, whilst also keeping to a certain level of realism in the footage. I will also be using other perhaps unnatural sounds and footage as an abrasive interruption to the experience, which I hope will highlight some of the issues that I previously mentioned. In order to make this experience more interactive, I will be using MAX/MSP to trigger some of the sounds and videos using ultrasonic sensors.
***keywords*** - Soundscapes, Nature, Forest, Interactive, Mirror Image Visuals, Nature Walk, Disconnected, trees, wind, Symmetry
**Week Four** - *18/02/2019*
This week I headed to Thetford forest to record a bunch of different sounds. many of the sounds were of snapping branches and sticks. I also recorded lots of footsteps as the floor was covered in leaves and twigs, which made some nice recordings with a natural feel.
Whilst I was there, I also recorded some videos, which I hope to edit later and play alongside the composition as a way to make the piece more immersive.
**Week Three** - *11/02/2019*
Inspired by the work of Jana Winderen and Emeka Ogboh, I have chosen to make my sonic art piece using soundscape type sounds and recordings, whilst also trying to keep certain elements in line with contemporary Electronic dance music. I also like the idea of creating a video that is similar to the videos that Emeka Ogboh creates as a way to increase the level of immersion of the piece.
I like the idea of working on this piece as I feel that contemporary Dance music can be very synthetic, which could be pulling peoples attention away from the real world. This is seen very much in a visual sense also as many people choose to spend more and more time consuming digital media such as video games etc.. I feel that EDM may be doing a similar thing in the sense that many of the sounds that are used are not heard in the natural world.
**Week Two** - *04/02/2019*
After doing some research last week on Virtual Reality. I have realised that this may be a bit too difficult for me to achieve and so have decided to drop that aspect. I do however want to continue the Idea of working with recording nature type environments.
**Week One** - *28/01/2019*
At the moment I am considering working with recordings of different environments and using sensors to manipulate sound and/or Video.
I would like to work with as many natural sounds as possible such as trees/sticks etc. I will likely record some sounds from Thetford forest for this.
Maybe incorporate a Virtual Reality headset where a picture/video is manipulated by the sensors as well as the sounds.
I may also consider adding some heavy breathing sound effects to add to the realism.
If I were to do this I may decide to use it to imitate some form of mental health issue.