Interview 5 and First Cuts

31 Mar

This week, we began the process of editing and finalizing our project as a rough cut version for presentation in class. So far we have a rough idea of what the first several minutes of the documentary will look like; an orchestral tune-up soundtrack accompanied by several still shots of the group practicing, music sheets and other game memorabilia, followed by several short clips from interviews with members of the orchestra as to their experiences with video games.

On Friday we also interviewed Shota Nakama, a Japanese-born musician and composer who currently lives in Boston and directs the Boston-based group VGO (the Video Game Orchestra). Shota spoke about the accomplishments of his group since their founding in 2007-2008, as they have become one of the premier groups in this musical field and have performed at many prestigious events. Their fusion of orchestral sound and pop-rock band elements make them a very unique and interesting ensemble to follow, and once again Shota talked about the fact that in today’s musical world, video games have been elevated to an art form just as valuable and moving as classical composers (he was classically trained, after all). Looking forward to the concert this Tuesday, and another possible interview with Austin Wintory!


Interview 4 and Finalizing Footage

24 Mar

On Friday we interviewed Shawn Jimmerson, a sound designer for gaming company Treyarch. Shawn has done sound for many popular games including the Call of Duty: Black Ops series and Call of Duty 3, and talked about how much effort it takes to make video games sound and feel real to the player. Sound is a major component of making a game feel realistic, as without correct and naturally placed sounds the entire experience can be thrown off, and help to draw players into the experiences of the characters and the overarching story of the game. The interview also took place via Skype and was about a half hour in length.

On the production side of things, this coming week is technically supposed to be our last for shooting, and today we will wrap up footage from the GSO’s rehearsals, but our shooting will most likely last until the end of next week as well with the GSO’s upcoming concert and our now-nearly definite interview with Journey music composer Austin Wintory. Now the editing process begins…

Interview #3

12 Mar

Last Friday, March 8, we interviewed Alex Ryan, a student at the University of Maryland and a leader in that school’s Gamer Symphony Orchestra. This was a pretty big deal because the UoM orchestra is pretty much the premier group of its kind in the country, has played at several big gaming events and the inspiration it and its members provide is in large part why the IC Gamer Symphony was formed in the first place. We conducted the interview via Skype due to the distance and used a program I downloaded from the Internet called ECamm: basically it was an add-on to Skype that gives the program recording capabilities and saves video as a Quick Time movie. At some points the sound was off a bit and the video was blurry (that’s Skype for you) but overall the interview went very well technically speaking (most likely we can fix the audio issues in editing) and from a content perspective. Alex shared his view of why video game music should be considered an art form; like our former interview subjects Michael and Tiffany he spoke on how the experiences of players in any given game are deeply linked to the game’s music and that hearing the music again brings out the emotional circumstances and feelings experienced when first playing the game. The interview lasted about an hour, after which we packed up and headed out for spring break. One week off from this crazy documentary…but when we get back we’re looking to interview Austin Wintory, the man behind the nearly Grammy-winning music of Journey, as well as a sound editor with Treyarch’s Call of Duty games.


The second interview

7 Mar

We had our second interview today, once again with a member of the Ithaca College Gamer Symphony Orchestra. This time we sat with Tiffany Lu, a graduate student getting her Master’s in conducting, and she’s also a conductor for the GSO. Filming this time went much smoother than in our last interview (which we had to reschedule thanks to the camera deciding to turn to black and white). We also had no issues with sound, and I am loving how great dialogue sounds with a lav mic.

We were short on time with only 30 minutes in the Hockett Green Room, so thank goodness there were no problems! We set up the tripod and the camera while we waited for the music students in the Green Room to leave, and then it only took us a few minutes of adjustments to get everything ready once we were inside. We were able to speak with Tiffany about her experience as a casual gamer and what she loves about conducting for the GSO.

We finished right at 3:00 and were able to pack up quickly. Hooray! With some time to spare of our own, we did some b-roll of the Whalen building itself, inside and out. We plan on filming one more rehearsal before their concert, but other than that–we’ve got most of our on-campus footage finished.

Our third interview is tomorrow…

– Carly

Press Start

27 Feb

It’s the start of our first documentary adventure. We’re still working out a title, but we believe this is going to be a great documentary because we are loving it already. So far we’ve been watching and recording the Ithaca College Gamer Symphony Orchestra, a group of students who arrange, perform, and conduct music from video games. I have to do my best to refrain from humming along to my favorite pieces.

We already have our first interview finished. We spent an hour with ICGSO founder Michael Samson as he told us about the orchestra and his passion for video games and music combined. It was very fun for all three of us, and I’ve enjoyed my time watching what he does for all of the other students.

We spent some time with the GSO a couple of weeks ago, but this past Sunday we were with them for three hours, getting footage of the (very manly) chorus practicing for music from Skyrim, an open-world action-roleplaying game. We then filmed the strings’ rehearsal and later the rest of the orchestra. Boy, is that a lot of music to love.

Kyle and I have our fingers crossed for what we hope will be one of our next interviews.

– Carly

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