This is the portfolio/blog of Lucas McCalllister, producer, audio engineer, and academic. I write here about ongoing projects, and comment on the industry. It's also the home of my portfolio. If you're an employer or client, take a look at that. Let me know you're looking, and I can provide you a password so that you can look at the copyright protected content.
My wife and I started our own podcast: Late Nights and Food Fights. It’s a podcast about amateur cooking, a chance to edit audio again, and a way for my wife to work on her writing all in one.
It’s been a bit of a learning experience, especially recording these first three episodes. We do our vocal sessions with a brand new Blue Yeti set on Bi-directional, with my wife and I across from eachother. I record in our kitchen with the Yeti on Omni, and recently started using a little handheld Olympus voice recorder to capture specific sounds for the audio montage. I mix it in Garageband since I’m lazy and I want to include the podcast metadata without a lot of work. That, and since the Yeti is a USB mic, I can’t use it with Pro Tools 8 (a bit of a lack of foresight on my part).
The Yeti is really competitive for it’s price point. We were feeling really cheap about this since we’re barely scraping by right now, so it was pretty much a draw between the Yeti and an MXL and a fire-saled AKG that all had multi-pattern capabilities. (BTW, shoutout to Matt at RecordingHacks for this great Mic Database and Mic Sale tracker). Recording compatibility issues aside, the Yeti was a little disappointing to me at first. I felt like the noise floor was rather high, though I later came to the conclusion that the ambience of our little apartment has a lot to do with that. The Yeti also still feels incredibly sensitive to plosives to me, too, though I’ve fixed some of that by…
I haven’t posted in far too long, so here is a brief update on ongoing projects.
I’ve had to shelf audio projects for awhile due to other work. I’ve been stagehanding with a couple places here in Nashville. It’s left me pretty drained and unavailable mentally and physically for really investing in side projects. Plus, I decided to abandon Ardour completely for now, meaning that any mixes I had going will have to be redone before I can upload. I have a few that are nearly ready, I just need time to re-mix drums and get a chance to hear them through monitors.
BUT! Good things are on the horizon. My wife Lydia and I are investing in a new project, which will have a companion blog and more. I’ll post more as it is revealed. It feels good to be working on audio again.
This image pretty much sums it up.
I realized recently that I hadn’t put in a lot of work on my two Ardour projects. This is partly because I have a part time job that was working me full time for awhile, but there was something else to it, too. I dreaded working on them. A file which had become corrupted and stalled the mixing of a project had left me at a dead end in one, and in the other, the process of trimming audio and getting it to match the video had become so tedious that I simply just didn’t enjoy it anymore. And I typicall enjoy the tedium of work like that – there’s something kind of Zen about it to me.
While I still stand by the fact that Ardour is miles ahead of any other open source DAW I’ve tried, I must say it is unusable for regular stable audio production. And that’s okay – I want to see Ardour become better. To a degree, instability and the need for workarounds is somewhat expected in the land of open source. But in the meantime, it has a lot of stability issues to work on. Its interface has drastically improved between 2.x and 3.x, but the tools within it could still use improvement. Trimming is clunky and I’ve had tons of problems with plugins crashing (which I’m not even sure if the problem is Ardour in that case). When editing an 18+ track session on a laptop, I began to hear…
I’ve been working with WIDB Alum Tony Youngblood of Theater Intangible and his crew, preparing for the Circuit Bender’s Ball here in Nashville.
If you aren’t familiar, it’s a big ol’ event about Circuit Bending (let’s take electronics and repurpose them sonically though modification), complete with 2 stages, over a dozen acts, workshops on circuitbending & DIY electronics, and some interactive Art. I’ll be running sound there, and I’m assissting with a collaboration between Josh Gumiela (who helped me build Vidarr) and Kelli Hix, Curator of Moving Images at the Country Music Hall Of Fame.
The Ball itself is on September 29th at the Brick Factory here in Nashville. Workshops at 10 am, with music at 8pm.
You can find out prices and more details by reading Tony’s big post about it all on Theatre Intangible. You can also visit the Kickstarter Page to donate.
I wish I had time to do a proper post about the Superman redub project, but it’s taking a long while. It requires a lot of sound effects, and I’ve had some trouble getting enough good ones that I can use for it. I’d record some myself, but my recording facilities are…. limited at best at the moment. I’ve also got about 3 songs near mixed for my portfolio, I just have to get around to doing the final little cleanups, and exporting them. Ardour has been a bit of a roadblock in one, as I can’t port the session from 2 to 3, and in Ardour 2, the sub-channels aren’t routing correctly due to a program error that I can’t resolve.
But it isn’t all bad news. I’ve picked up an internship with Music City Roots, and it’s been a blast. I haven’t worked on a live production of this scale before, and it’s really great to hear some unique music and be a part of it. I even got to do micing for Chis Thomas King. Gibb Droll also has a new act – Eaten By Dinosaurs – that sounds great. I also found out about Jonathan Scales, so that’s pretty rad. It’s been a good time.
I’ve managed to pick up some part time work with some friends-of-friends, and I think the next month should show some new work. I’ve got some interviews late in the month, who knows where I’ll end up.