So I’ve been having fun thinking, writing, and drawing about my thesis. Lots of fun. Particularly the whole thinking and drawing aspect. When I first started down this road last year, I had no idea I’d been drawing as much as I was… largely because I had no idea that this whole studio workflow model was as stagnant as I said it was. I guess for a while there, there was a part of me that didn’t want to believe in this whole thing I was spouting off on…
Lately, I’ve been reading things on studio design. The few dedicated texts out there (here’s one) just don’t pertain a lot to what I’m doing, since the interface is NEVER the topic of discussion. Mostly I’ve been checking out photos, looking at magazines, reading interviews with engineers and looking at the photos and imagining how they’re moving around the room. How they’re moving their hands about the room.
One of the things that hit me this summer was the classic image of the sound engineer, one or two fingers on faders on a ginormous mixing console. What’s the other, non-mixing hand doing? Most likely gripping the headphones while he grooves to the mix. Something silly like that.
Last year at my original thesis presentation (no, not the one with the 12 tone music, I’m done with that…), I said the nice and very quotable: “Augmented reality is the future of audio design interface.” I’m going to go ahead an say something that’s at least as quotable:
“Audio engineering is a one-handed art.”
That classic image of manipulating those faders a few at a time, waiting for the second pass to record a couple more bits of automation into the sequence… well, that might not be true. But using the mouse on their graphical representation of that 60s era console, traversing its geography with point-click-drag eloquence, that’s just as bad. And very real, almost inevitable in this audio workstation world.
I’m reminded of a sign reminder common to family restaurant staff waiters: Both hands full at all times.
If I can make something where people are using both hands meaningfully and intuitively, whether it be through some AR paradigm or this tablet-mixer model I’ve been fleshing out…oh man. I think I’ll just explode with excitement!