Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SIMS for TV creatives

Imagine the SIMS program, but then adapted in a way to use the character animations to preplan and produce TV drama or documentaries. No broadcaster will pay for rehearsal time any more, so you must arrive at a scene with a storyboard and a camera shot list already in your mind before the camera's role. I first saw Antics version 2 at IBC 2005. After a period of silence, the fruit of their work is now on sale for under 1000 Euros and, judging from the paces I have been putting it through, it is quite simply brilliant. Download a trial copy and try it for yourself. You need to devote some concentrate time to learning how to play with it, but it is a gentle learning curve. The great thing is being able to save the final scenes that you've planned as a DVD, so you can show the client just what you have in mind before any production starts. Better by miles than any paper storyboard and a great way to practice the shots. I particularly like the fact you can record dialogue and have the animation speak it for you. I am sure some people will use this program to make shows in their own right. In short, good news for the creative world - obviously a huge amount of love and care went into this. By the way, I have no commercial connection with these guys. I just believe good news should be celebrated.

Monday, October 16, 2006

More Background to what I am doing

This post is to tell you that the people behind this blog have come up with a new -free- Critical Distance Newsletter , the October 2006 Edition 9. It deals with news about this blog, but other broadcast related material as well. You can subscribe, if you like, by signing up at the Critical Distance switchboard. Unsubscribing is also easy, so don't feel locked in. Likewise, we do not use the mailing list for anything else than sending the newsletter. No phones will ring, no salesmen will call. It is in PDF format.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Podcasters Microphone

UK distributor Source Distribution has announced the availability of the new Røde Podcaster – which claims to be the world’s first broadcast quality USB microphone.

Based on Røde’s acclaimed Broadcaster microphone, like the NT2, the Podcaster delivers "studio-grade results through a tight cardioid response that seamlessly connects directly to PC or Mac with a single USB cable, avoiding the added cost and complexity of a separate computer audio interface".

Ideal for online broadcasters, the mic also provides a convenient solution for anyone who records audio directly to their computer, including journalists, voice-over artists, musicians, students and multi-media professionals.

The Podcaster is powered entirely from the USB bus, and uses high-grade A-D converters for optimum quality. It comes complete with an onboard high-output headphone amp for direct monitoring purposes, along with a dedicated volume control and a 3.5mm minijack headphone output. A green status LED indicates that the mic is active and ready for recording.

The microphone comes complete with a microphone stand mount and 5 metres of USB cable. Optional accessories available shortly include a suspension mount and an anglepoise table mounting arm.

To further enhance the Podcaster’s features, Røde has also developed optional downloadable software that allows the user to control the Podcaster’s recording level, to monitor levels via an LED level meter, and to mute the microphone when playing back recordings. This software is available from - a dedicated site that also provides podcast hosting as well as offering a wealth of podcasting information and tips.

Oh, and the price? UK 149 pounds including UK VAT.

Monday, October 09, 2006

started an experimental thread on the Philips blog about the future of radio.

Your're invited to play along for the next couple of weeks.
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

This portable studio costs 229 pounds in the UK. Hang it behind a microphone for studio quality in a bedroom, without having to acoustically treat the room. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Level Your Levels with the Levelator

So what is The Levelator? It's a piece of free software (for individual use) that runs on Windows or OS X (universal binary. It adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. The softwave is written in Java. It's not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It's much more than those tools, and it's much simpler to use. The interface is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler's application window, and a few moments later you'll find a new version which just sounds better.

My experiments show it's a kind of Optimod for podcasters or broadcasters or anyone with audio in a WAV file format. Note that MP3 is not supported (yet). Worth playing around with. Let us know here what your findings are.
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