It was truly exciting to write the music for this National Geographic TV special on the Saqqara Step Pyramid and its recent restoration project. 

Composer Stuart Fox Scores 'Saving Egypt's Oldest Pyramid'

‘Saving Egypt’s Oldest Pyramid’ with music by Stuart Fox is an exciting documentary following one of the most challenging and remarkable restoration projects ever undertaken. The show explores the dangerous and unstable tunnels inside and underneath Egypt’s Saqqara Step Pyramid.

This Indiana-Jones style adventure, follows the historians, archaeologists and engineers as they work together to prevent Egypt’s oldest pyramid from collapse; but can the engineers, with their cutting edge technology and controversial plan, work with the historians and archaeological experts to save this ancient structure.

Being broadcast internationally from this week, the UK premiere date is Saturday the 2nd of March at 8PM on National Geographic TV.

 


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With the Christmas adverts on the TV and the weather getting crisp and winter like, I can feel another year coming to a close. What a busy year its been.

Amongst other things, I’ve had the pleasure of working on no less than 7 documentaries for The National Geographic Channel, all of which have been informative and pretty exciting. Hoping to share broadcast dates soon.

Lets hope next year brings just as much excitement!

S


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I require a freelance studio engineer to assist with future progects, I need the following:

I work with Digital performer and I use Vienna Ensemble Pro to facilitate the use of a large template Kontakt / Play / VI Pro / Engine.

I need someone with deep knowledge of Apple software, specifically in the field of TV composing who can work with me to develop a solution using VEP / Bidule etc so I can continue to use large VI templates without stability issues.

Following the initial development I’d need someone to be available on the odd occasion to assist with maintenance etc.

In short – I’m splitting my time almost 50/50 between composing and technical work and I’m looking to put some solutions in place to shift that a little.

Travel to my home based studio in Gloucestershire has to be possible.

stuart@goodsounds.co.uk

 

 


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Just a quick update on the fantastic doccumentry I had the pleasure of writing music for recently:

Megastructures: London’s Olympic Stadium will have its terrestrial premiere tonight at 8pm on Channel 5 just before Big Brother.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working on it! Its an exciting and fascinating watch!

 


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Well the dramatic documentary exploring the design and build of London’s Olympic Stadium has  made a debut and is currently being repeated most days on the National Geographic Channel. Check out the listings if you want to watch.

You can also watch the whole thing online now since someone uploaded it to Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iTwnCOM38M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Enjoy

 

 


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A new free update is available for users of NI guitar rig, Version 5.1 is out today and available as a free upgrade to all eligible users through the NI service center.

This update adds the following new features and fixes:

  1. Mid/Side Splitter: Split the signal into mid and side channels for a whole new approach to stereo processing.
  2. Global Sidechain: This global component applies sidechaining to the whole signal chain. Essential for frequency-specific compression and more.
  3. Favorites Tab: Fast access to the components you use most. This new tab automatically groups the components and presets you use regularly.
  4. New Demo Mode: Just drag the effect you want to try into your rack and take it for a spin. No re-starting, no need to change modes.

I believe this update also affects the window size bug for users with multiple screen configurations. Not tested it yet but I know the NI devs were aware of this blog as early as 3 months ago so i’d think it was fixed now.


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Vienna Symphonic Library have today released a maintenance upgrade for their Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 software.

The upgrade addresses several bugs and instablities and is available as a free download to all VEP 5 customers.

VE PRO 5.0.10309

Note: Projects saved with this version of Vienna Ensemble PRO will not open with older versions of Vienna Ensemble PRO.

  • Fixed incorrect time synchronization from Server Interface RTAS
  • Fixed VST/AU compatibility loading of Vienna Suite Powerpan plug-in
  • Fixed Instrument dock window appearing empty in some cases
  • Fixed hanging notes and missing events when bypassing Event Input plug-in
  • Fixed Input plug-ins all muting when a single one is bypassed
  • Fixed crashes when closing a project
  • Fixed possibly incorrect automation mapping behavior
  • Fixed crashes when loading channel (pre)sets
  • Fixed inconsistent behavior of channel and send output menus
  • Fixed crashes when merging projects
  • Fixed rare crashes when loading a project from master host
  • Added option to disable showing of channel editor upon clicking its channel strip
  • Added latency display in samples and ms to Server Interface plug-in
  • Overhaul of internal file format, for better maintainability
  • Added ability to have no output for channels/sends
  • OSX: Fixed hanging dialogs possibly occurring during AU scan
  • OSX: Fixed incorrect time synchronization from Server Interface AU
  • OSX: Fixed artifacts when stopping transport in Logic in some cases
  • OSX: Fixed Audio Input plug-in synchronization issues in Logic
  • OSX: Fixed Kontakt hanging dialog when loading channel (pre)sets
  • OSX: Fixed Carbon AU views disappearing on certain events
  • OSX: Improved resizing behavior of Cocoa AU views
  • OSX: Fixed crash when deleting Play 3 AU
  • OSX: Fixed crash when deleting Camel Audio AU’s
  • OSX: Fixed a lot of hanging notes when using the Logic Multiport Environment

    Unfortunately we have to confirm that Logic will drop MIDI events internally when using the Environment, which is unfortunately something we are unable to work around.
    Of course we have informed the Apple developers about this bug.
    Should you experience such issues, feel free to contact Apple support directly.

  • WIN: Added separate setting for 32-bit and 64-bit VST folders

© 2012 Vienna Symphonic Library page 1/4

MIR PRO

  • Fixed superfluous MIR PRO restart message sometimes appearing when closing preferences
  • Fixed MIR PRO output format description not showing for custom presets
  • Fixed MIR PRO Room EQ not updating properly for all Room Tone channels
  • Fixed MIR PRO Room Tone decoding issue with mismatched output format
  • Only show MIR PRO hotspots when actually moving an instrument icon (not when just selecting it)

Get the update from www.vsl.co.at

 


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Today Cinematique instruments released a very interesting Kontakt Library called ‘Clap Trak’.

The instrument consists of three banks of clapping samples combined with a 16 step sequencer to quickly put togeather your clapping grooves from right within Kontakt.

The samples are recorded in 8 velocity layers with 6!!! round robin variations, This has got to be one of the most extensive clapping libraries put together.

Clapping Kontakt Instrument

How it works:

1. Reset the track
2. Activates the “Continuous Random Pattern”
3. Fader to set the velocity of each individual hand clap
4. Fader to set the length of each individual hand clap
5. Switches to select the sound bank
6. Buttons (arrows) to select the different clap sound
7. Knob to set the pitch level
8. 2 Separate knobs to control the amount of delay and reverb
9. Switch to select 3 different types of reverb
10. 3 switches to edit your sound:

- MOD: switch to activate a auto randomly wah EQ
- BIT: switch to activate lofi (7 bit/ 6 kHz)
- DIST: switch to activate distortion

11. Play and Stop button
12. Switch between Normal, Double or Half Time.
13. Shuffle knob to swing the notes. You´ve got three different levels of shuffle
14. Load and save buttons to save or recall the entire CLAP TRAK

Cinematique have again seen a gap in the market and filled it with a fantastic sounding product. At the time of writing, Clap Track is selling on the companies website for 22 Euros excluding VAT.

Check out the demos and grab your copy here!


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Last week, 8Dio released Studio Solo Violin for NI’s Kontakt,

Studio Solo Violin is a huge collection, consisting of more than 4,000 phrases. The performer was none other than renowned concert violinist: Thomas Yee. It’s available now for the introductory price of $149 ($199 from 15th March).

8Dio have created more than just a library of phrases here, they have developed an instrument which gives the composer true power to sculpt and personalise these phrases meaning that the samples will mould to the music rather than demanding that the music be built around them.

The tools available take advantage of Kontakt 5′s massively powerful new features and include pitch control (which is not affected by tempo), time-stretching / time-compression, sample offset (which allows you to trigger any part of a phrase using a midi controller to ‘scroll’ into the sample). The instrument even has built in effects and convolution reverbs which adds huge versatility to the library seeing as these can be controlled by midi data and therefore easily automated from your midi track.

Here are the ful specs of the instrument from 8Dio:

  • Deep Phrase-Sampled Solo Violin.
  • +4,000 Solo Violin Phrases.
  • 169 Programs in 39 Core Categories.
  • Time-stretching and Pitch Control.
  • Programmed Individually for Kontakt 4 and Kontakt 5.
  • Deep FX Controls & Convolution Reverb.
  • Requires Kontakt 4.2 or later.
  • Exclusively available for direct download at www.8dio.com.
  • Introduction Price: $149 (goes $199 on 3/15).

Check out this video demo!

 


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How sonic elements of music can be used to communicate.

Sound is everywhere, even a place which most of us would perceive to be silent, or at least with out much (or many) sounds there are hundreds of noises; most of which being ignored by our conscious minds but every one is heard and remembered by our subconscious mind.

Sound can evoke all kinds of feelings and take us back to places we once were but have long forgotten. The sound of a certain type of bell might remind someone of the taste of their school lunch, the sound of someone splashing with a certain type of indoor ambiance could, for a second remind one of the smell of chlorine in an indoor pool.

The mind maps sounds to experiences and feelings, just like it does for smells, feelings  and sights but add sound to a vision and that same vision could be very disturbing or very funny. Knowing the power of sound and its ability to make the same piece of video footage funny or highly disturbing all on its own we can start to understand how we can make music do the same, often with more ease.

Traditionally in film, sound design would mean basic sounds and effects that we would expect to hear; footsteps, car sounds and the like, only venturing into the experimentally and electronic if it was a sci-fi movie. Music would be scored and recorded by an orchestra and, especially with regards to main stream Hollywood movies, would use clichéd orchestral effects to enhance scenes of extreme emotion, for example love, hatred, anxiety.

The line between sound and music in film can be, especially presently a very fine one and more often than not the roles of composer and Foley artist cross.

Film Foley design in its traditional sense involves simply recreating (usually in an exaggerated form) sounds that we would expect to hear, a plate crashing when its dropped, footsteps, clothes rubbing; Sounds like this cannot usually be captured Satisfactually while filming and so are added later, in its basic form.

Foley can change perception, making footsteps heavier can change the mood of a scene, placing footsteps in the audio track where there is no one visible on the screen tells us that someone is outside our field of view, we can even understand what the weather is like outside when there is no window in shot.

A good understanding of the power of organic sound and the basic primal triggers that certain sonic elements can invoke can be gained by looking at the way Foley has been used for many years. We know that the human mind can be influenced and suggested to by sound in certain contexts but what if we want to convey something less literal?

This is where musical scores for film and television can become very exciting, hinting towards organic sounds but confusing the contexts to give the audience something both familiar and alien at the same time.

With the above taken into account, intelligent combination of the sonic and the melodic can result in the musical element of a story playing a most powerful and creatively exciting role.


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