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Author Topic: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....  (Read 995 times)
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milky
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« on: July 26, 2019, 08:30:58 am »

Here's a bit of Aussie nostalgia.

Way back on Xmas Eve 1974, the "top end" of Australia was hit by a cyclone, the force of which had never before been experienced. Here's the Wiki link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Tracy.

Fifteen years later, I was the engineer at an FM radio station, PBA-FM in South Australia. Enid Wylie, whose son had piloted one of the rescue aircraft, wrote a script about the whole experience, and I decided to produce a radio play from the script. None of the actors are professionals, but all were, in some way, touched by the cyclone, including Enid's daughter.

Peter Goers, theatre critic, wrote at the time, "Tracy Was No Lady is superbly produced by James Roberts and Steve Napier and the sound effects convey the full horror of the big blow. The play makes you feel as if you were there and then makes you glad that you weren't."

From the production point of view, it was before digital editing, so everything was mixed through three Otari open reel tape decks into an RME desk, and editing was by cutting and splicing the "son" version of the master tapes. There was no library of sound effects, so all effects you hear were recorded "live" on a Tascam portable tape recorder, using actual sounds, such as car doors opening, closing, windows smashing etc, just like the Foley sound deck in movies.

The station moved studios several times and I believe that the original master tapes have been lost. However, I stumbled across a cassette copy of the play in my mother's belongings. It was recorded by my mother on her "three-in-one" stereo at the time in 1989. This is "off-air" from the original FM broadcast, so some of the studio quality would have been lost in the broadcast chain, and no doubt by the conversion to cassette. All I have done is convert the cassette to an m4a format file (thus introducing another lossy iteration of the original).

If you have a spare 35 minutes, have a listen to this story, produced in a different era, with, by today's standards, primitive equipment. I might be biased, because I was there, but I don't think it turned out too shabby for the time.

Oh yeah. I voiced the "narrator".

http://www.jrcomputing.com.au/Tracy%20Was%20No%20Lady.m4a
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 11:17:02 pm by milky » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2019, 08:12:30 am »

Very good milky or should I say James, worth keeping as a point in history. production was not bad at all i think you did a good job thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2019, 08:39:46 am »

Thank you, Jigger (Ron). It means a lot to me thumbsup
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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2019, 03:58:19 pm »

Great job Milky!
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2019, 04:29:46 pm »

The tones of the orator!  It would not have been the same production without you.  Well Done!
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2019, 08:18:19 pm »

Ditto everything said! Great Job Milky Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2019, 03:22:45 am »

Great stuff, Milky!  Great narrator voice too Smiley  thumbsup
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2019, 06:50:50 am »

Thanks, guys for your comments. My son put it up on FB and I'm getting a lot of comments. Most of them are positive, but some are criticising various aspects of the production. Again, I can only stress that this was like trying to do the theme from Star Wars on a banjo and a three string harp.
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2019, 10:43:53 pm »

There will always be people who just like to be negative about things , most probably were not even born when this was produced. Of course they don't even understand the limitations of tech at the time.
I know it will not bother you Milky you are more understanding of people than most.
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2019, 12:06:07 am »

Finally got a chance to listen to the lady, that truely wasn't a lady.
Imagined everyone surrounded by sound fx people slamming car doors and forming other sounds.
A wonderful journey into the past, and loved every minute of it.
Job well done and true craftsmanship. Thank you!
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2019, 04:31:27 am »

Thank you, Dr J. Actually, all the fx were done by myself and the other production guy, Steve with a Tascam portable reel-to-reel. One notable effect was the scene where the mother and daughter got out of the car they had sheltered in after the house collapsed. We searched and searched for the right sound and nothing quite worked. I then spotted a rubbish bin full of soft drink cans in the green room of the station, and we found that plunging our hands randomly into the cans made the sound you hear on the tape when they try to step over all the debris outside the vehicle.

Thank you to everyone who joined me on this trip back in time. One of my side hobbies is to make voice-overs, and now, with digital editing, it is so easy to make a clean, edited VO in seconds, whereas, every minute of that soundtrack was made by layering and splicing tape and probably took an hour to produce.
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2019, 12:39:58 am »

I still have some jingles you voiced for me Milky thumbsup
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2019, 07:49:28 am »

My production suite is a whole lot better than back then. Please send me the originals and I will freshen them up for you.
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