We used a great deal more audio than we ever have before (in fact, more audio than I’ve seen used at a LARP event before). Overall, including the radio programmes, we had 36 hours of audio.
We had a number of different setups that we used in various places throughout the weekend. All the ghosts had associated audio, and we also had audio for a number of the set pieces – and obviously we had the radios as well.
Here’re a whole selection of tracks (there were a lot more, this is just a sampling).
Most are cobbled together from things available on http://freesound.org – some we recorded, including (of course!) Ella and Charlie MacFadzean as the children Eleanor and Robert Northmoor, who were good enough to come down and record for us.
All sounds were edited using Audacity.
Two players (Roz/Gloria and Jo/Barbara) had audio of the children (talking to them specifically) sent to them as part of their briefing packs on USB sticks marked ‘A recurring dream you’ve had since you were a child’. And other diary entries etc. (sometimes for other players) referred to Eleanor and Robert as friends of Gloria and Barbara. They were, of course, invisible friends.
Vibration speakers (Pritt Stick for scale) – these little beauties are essentially like normal speakers but without speaker cones. You hold them against a surface – such as a door, or a wooden floor, or a grandfather clock, or a pane of glass – and it uses that surface as its ‘sounding board’. This means they’re very portable, but they also make the surface shake, and if you’re touching it the whole thing feels a lot more real. On the floor, it can let you ‘feel’ footsteps, for example. Held against a door, and anyone with their ear pressed to the other side will be damn sure the things on the speaker are real.
All three are Bluetooth capable and you can also just plug an MP3 player or phone against them and hold them against a surface. They’re superb – highly recommended.
On the left you can see a vibration speaker concealed inside a candle, which made the dining table shake during the Overture sequence.
Airfoil Wireless Speaker Setup
We had 4 Extreme Mac Tango Air speakers. 3 of these were concealed, along with a wireless router, on the upstairs corridor, and we moved them around from time to time. We did have a few wireless failures due to the ancient wiring in the house interfering, so they were harder to use than we’d hoped.
They were triggered from a piece of control software I wrote which lets you control the ‘position’ of a sound across a bunch of speakers, so you can have it move in small increments between different speakers as if an invisible object is travelling across a space. We’d hoped to do a lot more with this rig, but the wireless situation was just too dire. The control software was Python code wrapping up Applescript controlling a bunch of hacked instances of something called Airfoil, which can turn almost any device into a speaker.
We used a variety of other wired speakers – quad-surround tiny speaker cubes and sub-woofers – in various other rooms, and portable speakers, and all sorts of other things, including the tiny MP3s+speakers inside the radios. We even had a Bluetooth pillow we were intending to wind people up with, but unfortunately conditions weren’t good for wireless in general.