SIGGRAPH 2008 Audio Portrait

SIGGRAPH, the penultimate computer graphics gathering, is only a couple months old and I'm still thinking about it and listening to various interviews and recordings I made there. Some of the recordings were spur of the moment interviews, and some were selections from panels I had attended. I even spent a good deal of time simply recording interesting sounds that I heard while I was there. Since I do so much sound editing in animation and machinima, I tend to listen a lot at events and SIGGRAPH was filled with incredible sounds.

What follows is a collection of some of the best audio from SIGGRAPH 2008. I've decided to simply present the raw audio with minimal editing or cutting (except for distortion or glitches). I've grouped them into three sections; the first is a collection of “spot” interviews I did with mostly random people I met at different places. Sometimes it would be in a hallway or right before a panel. I really wanted to chat with folks to find out who actually comes to SIGGRAPH and what they are there for. I was fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people this way.

-Flavio Mandriola, is a student with Animation Mentor. We met on the subway ride back from Day One of SIGGRAPH. His enthusiasm and excitement, even after a full day of SIGGRAPH, was infectious.


Flavio Mandriola, student with Animation Master

Audio Interview with Flavio (mp3)

-Matthew Bain is an inventor and programmer who created a program called “Arctic Fracture”, which creates real-time visualizations for live music. He was one of many fascinating people who stood by large bulletin boards with posters of their work tacked on.


Matthew Bain, Arctic Fracture program inventor

Audio Interview with Matthew (mp3)

-Animation students, Brian and Raquel, were part of a larger group visiting from the School of Communication Arts @ Digital Circus in Raleigh, North Carolina. I wished we had more time to talk because I liked them both immediately.


Brian and Raquel, computer graphic students

Audio Interview with Brian & Raquel (mp3)

The second group of audio clips is from two of the panels I attended: The “Future of Character Animation” and the “Games: Evolving on an Order of Magnitude” panels. Both were very impressive and left me with a lot to think about. The ability to communicate ideas and simplify them for a huge audience really made me want to look at the backgrounds of many of the panel members. Especially glad that the “Character Animation” panel had a female (Michelle Papandrew) who worked with Flash animation at the Cartoon Network.

Audio from Character Animation panel (mp3)

Audio from the Games Pipeline panel (mp3)

The third group of clips are from the exhibition floor and were originally intended to be part of larger articles for each of the products I was interested in. But I thought I'd share them with you here since I'll most likely do more direct interviews closer to when some of the articles are published here at Renderosity. I spoke with a variety of people who were either reps at booths or were the actual creators of the product they were showing. The interviews were on-the-spot and rough in places, but a lot of fun, I think.

-Zane Conran, at the NewTek booth gives us the rundown on a very successful product for them: Tricaster Broadcast. And from what he has to say, I can see why. Tricaster is an actual portable TV studio. Amazing.


Ralph & Zane at NewTek booth

Audio from Zane Conran interview (mp3)

-Motion Capture was a big deal at SIGGRAPH. I think someone at the Renderosity.com booth suggested I chat with Tracy McSheery, Vice-President and Chief Engineer at the motion capture company PhaseSpace. Their booth was very interesting because they were capturing motion during the entire 3- day Exhibition schedule. You could watch the artists create, capture and catalog hundreds of motions which, if I recall correctly, were going to be given away for free. Mr. McSheery certainly knew is product and his knowledge of the business is impressive.


Tracy McSheery, VP for PhaseSpace

Audio from Tracy McSheery interview (mp3)

-Shapeways is a company specializing in 3D designs created by the user and sent to them for printing. I spoke with Peter Paul Cornelissen, who patiently explained the ideas and tech behind this future technology. I was impressed with the process of 3D printing that he described and felt like I was looking at Star Trek technology in the making.

Audio from Shapeways interview (mp3)

And finally, with the help of my good friend, Phil Rice (Overman), who edited the sounds and composed original music, I put together a long sound portrait of the entire SIGGRAPH experience. From waiting for the subway, to sitting in on panels, to collapsing in the media room, the portrait is filled with what sounds were interesting to me. I'm really very proud of the piece. I hope you find it interesting. By the way, it's best listened to with headphones. Turn off the lights, close your eyes and listen.


Crowd in North Convention Center entrance

Audio from SIGGRAPH Sound Portrait (mp3)


Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.
October 20, 2008

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Member Opinions:
By: nickcharles on 10/25/08
Ricky- Thanks so much for a very interesting look at SIGGRAPH 2008! Enjoyed the interviews and the sound portrait! Very well done! Great work from Phil Rice on the music, too!
Oh, and that conversation with Quasi the robot was priceless!

By: gToon on 10/25/08
Thanks, Nick. I quite enjoyed the whole experience. Since I work with sound so much, I couldn't help but record what was interesting to me. And, yes, the conversation with Quasi was so realistic that I actually came back and checked behind the drapes he was standing in front of. I though that maybe there was a human being behind them with a microphone. Nope, it was all Quasi. Amazing!


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