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Picture Post: Abbey Road Studios Visit

February 15, 2014

Arrival at Abbey Road Studios

A real treat for me this month as I visited Abbey Road Studios for the first time and was treated to a tour around what is pretty much hallowed ground for audio geeks and music fans, both of which descriptions apply to me. Arrival over the iconic zebra crossing and I was met by Jon Eades from Abbey Road who was kind enough to show us around. First up was Studio 3 for a run down on the history of the studios and of the changes in audio tech that have taken place during its illustrious career. The building was first converted into a recording studio in 1931 by The Gramophone Company, later becoming EMI Studios and finally becoming known as Abbey Road Studios in 1970. We’ve had a couple of students on work placement here from our audio courses at University of Salford over the years and one is still working there today.

EMI TG21345 console

EMI TG21345 console. A piece of music history still in use today at Abbey Road (the TG name is from ‘The Gramophone Company’, EMI’s predecessor)

Studio 3 was our starting point and is one of the smaller studios here, mostly used for pop and rock music recording – Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here was recorded here.

There’s a lovely analogue SSL desk and Pro Tools setup but the most unexpected feature for me was that at one end of the studio sits a 1970s TG12345, perfect and ready to go. The distinctive audio quality of its circuitry is still so in demand that it is still in regular use at Abbey Road.

In fact the mix of classic old and new is a theme throughout the building. The sound of the mixing consoles developed by EMI in the 60s is still considered so good that sessions at Abbey Road often use these TG desks as part of the signal path. The signal is routed through the TG12345 as part of a Pro Tools recording workflow.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Trust me, I’M A DOCTOR!

February 4, 2014

Well I finally did it. PhD viva is now over. Passed. Subject to some minor corrections I’m a doctor!

After a lot of years of work, and three years of interruption in the middle to work on our MediaCityUK campus development, I finally submitted my thesis on ‘Improving Television Sound for People with Hearing Impairments’ just before Christmas and defended it successfully in a viva last Wednesday. Hence the lack of posts here, if I was going to write it had to be proper work! It’s more than a nice feeling, very very good indeed. Definitely a relief. I’ve spent all weekend celebrating and enjoying the congratulations and good wishes of family, friends and colleagues.

Screen shot 2014-02-04 at 13.57.02To cap the weekend off a parcel arrived in the post today from Wiley. Complementary copies of Media Production, Delivery and Interaction for Platform Independent Systems: Format-Agnostic Media, the book I co-edited and co-authored with colleagues on the FascinatE project last year. Ha! 2014 is shaping up very nicely.

So what comes next? I’m fortunate enough to Read the rest of this entry »

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‘The future of television?’ FascinatE: The Final Demonstration

June 1, 2013

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This week has seen the final demonstration of research developed over three and a half years of  the FascinatE EU FP7 research project. The project has developed a complete end-to-end future broadcast system which combines ultra high definition panoramic video, 3D ambisonic and object based audio, new methods for delivery of interactive AV content and new interfaces and methods to interact with the AV media at the user end. It’s been my pleasure to lead University of Salford’s part of the project and this week, to host the final demonstration of the project.

We hosted the final demonstration event at our MediaCityUK building – it’s one of the few places that could actually support what we were trying to do, the infrastructure of the building was actually designed for this kind of thing but we pushed it pretty hard this week. FascinatE partners worked through Read the rest of this entry »

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Posterous blog migrating to Tumblr. WordPress blog staying right here

March 18, 2013

My Posterous blog has moved over to Tumblr:

http://bengshirley.tumblr.com/

WordPress staying right here thanks, I like it :)

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3 years of blogging?

March 9, 2013

It seems I’ve been doing this for three years now. I started this blog off as a test to see what video streaming tech I could get to work through common SM platforms. It turned into a place for organising and finding links between the disparate bits of work I do, and a repository of thoughts that I may need to refer people to later.
Thanks for sticking with it :)

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Dolby Atmos – a visit to Dolby’s new screening room in Soho

January 30, 2013
Dolby's creening room in Soho Square, London

Dolby’s screening room in Soho Square, London

Last week I had an opportunity to visit Dolby Labs new London home in Soho Square, the trip was mainly to visit one of our students from one of our audio engineering programmes at Salford University who is on placement there for 12 months. The screening room here is impressive in itself – a small cinema with near-perfect acoustics and a 4K projector, pretty much an ideal listening environment and as part of the visit I got to experience Dolby’s Atmos demos. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while…

Atmos is an exciting prospect for many of us involved in audio research as it is the first commercial object based audio system that has potential to go mainstream. Read the rest of this entry »

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UK Govt report: Not using social media “could appear unusual or even suspicious” in 10 years

January 22, 2013

Silver_Social_Media_Icons_by_WebTreatsETC

My eye was just drawn to a couple of pieces about the UK government report that was published today. The document, entitled Future Identities, Changing Identities in the UK: The next 10 Years is covered in an article in The Telegraph here whose headline, Rise of social networks in Britain ‘risks fuelling social unrest’ will certainly help fuel its readers suspicion of social. Is this just media paranoia? Certainly there has been plenty of that over recent years, remember the furore over the riots here in the UK?

Reading the article more closely though, and looking at the report itself there are some interesting, and yes, some quite unnerving things to consider. The report speaks of a changing situation where people have several overlapping identities rather than a single one. We knew that. Our students learn about the importance of digital identity and how to separate their personal from their public identities. My kids and their friends are not so switched on about it unfortunately but hopefully they will learn. They’ll have to be very good at it.

The report talks of social media remapping the social relationships of the UK, of Read the rest of this entry »

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