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MOUTHWIDEOPEN

by Dan Akers, 19 June 2023

If you want people to believe you, you say it like you mean it, and because we're people, we understand meaning (it's what separates us from computers). PCs don't even understand 0s and 1s; they're just following a software developer's instructions. Humankind, on the other hand, has been communicating creatively since we were cave-dwellers. Compared to us, even AI is a dumbass.

 

Creativity makes us human. It keeps us sane in an insane world; it lifts us up and pushes us forward. It drives inspiration, empowers ambition and fuels our motivation. 

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Now, imagine a world without creativity, where speech lacks passion, art has no heart, and music has no soul.

 

A world where culture is consumed without appreciation; where speeches are read in mechanized tones and music is played but never performed.

That world already exists, with the unthinkable unfolding before our very eyes: we're replacing the unique content of human hearts and minds, with digital vomit thrown up by soulless, artificially-intelligent boxes of electronics.

Yes, AI is fascinating, but it should fascinate us in the same way that nuclear power and ferocious lions do. Just as we'd never risk getting up close and personal with either a ravenous lioness feeding her cubs at mealtime, or a faulty  nuclear reactor as it approaches meltdown, we should admire artificial intelligence from a distance, too, because if we embrace and accept it wholeheartedly, we shall forget what it means to be creative, and lose our purpose in life.

Properly policed, AI has its uses: for example, those who have no voice could benefit from having their own AI voice (most famously demonstrated by the late Professor Stephen Hawking, although when he was given the option for a more human-sounding upgrade, refused because it wouldn't sound like him), but AI voices replacing fully-functioning human voices capable of far more nuanced performances than those coming out of a computer? This is a perfect example of someone inventing a solution to a problem which simply did not exist. However, the problems caused for voice artists ever since, have seen many plunged into poverty and forced out of business. The voiceover industry is at risk of extinction.

Artificial Intelligence can contribute to the creative process, but it should never replace it.

​Human creativity - art, literature, music or the spoken word - can be a thing of great beauty. When creativity is based on emotion - a feeling, a memory or a desire - it's more likely to provoke an emotional response; to resonate with the viewer, the listener or the reader.

So let's draw something beautiful or downright ugly;  write something scary, romantic or quirky; let us speak words that change lives and sing songs that lift spirits, letting our hearts beat the rhythms for the music in our souls. 

Whether we make it or consume it, creativity rewards us with a reason to live and gives us a lust for life. A world without creativity is a world free of emotion, and without emotion, just what is our purpose?

I'd prefer a future in which AI contributes to creativity, rather than replaces it.

Dan Akers is the writer, content producer, voice actor, presenter and composer behind Danmade Content, Voice & Music.

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Music for a mad man in a box Danmade by a mad man in a box

(it's ok, Doctor Who fans will get the reference)

by Dan Akers, 19 June 2023

To whet your appetite ahead of the launch of Dan Akers' brand new music reel, here's something he's been working on for the past 6 months, and will be of particular appeal to fans of the world's longest-running science fiction series.

This year, Doctor Who is 60 years old, a mere baby when compared to the age of its 2,000+ year-old protagonist The Doctor, a role soon to be reprised by David Tennant in a series of anniversary specials coming soon to BBC One and Disney.

Dan, a life-long Whovian, previously worked with former Doctors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann and the late, great John Hurt, 4 of the greatest voices on the planet, who inspired Dan to become a voice actor himself, and it was the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop that inspired him to become an audio producer and composer, specifically Delia Derbyshire's groundbreaking, way ahead-of-its-time, otherworldly arrangement of Ron Grainer's timeless theme for  a timelord.

For many years, Dan wanted to create his own version of the Doctor Who theme, and now he has. It features a faithful recreation of both the bassline and melodies from Delia's arrangement, through extensive use of tone generators, and Peter Howell's 1980 middle 8, using Arturia's Yamaha CS-80 and ARP Odyssey emulators. Providing strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion, the Workshop's studio companions since 1936, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, via the BBC SO Core Instrument Library recorded by Spitfire Audio at BBC Maida Vale Studios in London.

Please remember to like and subscribe to the official Danmade channel at YouTube.com/@danmade.studio

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STUDIOTECH




 

STUDIO ONE: VOICE BOOTH

Custom-built voice booth with concrete floor and ceiling, brick walls and no underlying infrastructure, 4 layers of acoustic absorption and isolation, sloped, acoustic foam and rubberised surfaces and all noise-making electrical equipment located in the main control room.

Neumann TLM 103 large diaphragm condenser mic
Solid State Logic SSL2 pre-amp with Series 4000 emulation
Presonus Faderport for DAW and teleprompter control
Beyerdynamic DT 880 studio monitoring headphones
Samsung 32" LCD panel
 for script delivery and voice-to-picture
Screen mirrored from control room via an Amazon FireTV stick

Android tablet running Studio One DAW controller app
Teleprompter app for electronic script delivery to tablet or screen
Pro-grade mic arm with original Neumann shockmount
Metal mesh and foam popshield
Pro-grade XLR microphone cables 

Bluetooth keyboard, mouse and trackpad
200mb/s WiFi connectivity
Low-power LED lighting



 

STUDIO TWO: CONTROL ROOM

Icon Qcon Pro DAW control surface with flying faders
Mackie MR624 monitors with Big Knob Passive controller 
Beyerdynamic DT 880 headphones via Sabaj headphone amplifier
DAWs: Avid Pro Tools Studio & Presonus Studio One 5 Professional
NLEs: Filmora Pro, Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve
Workstation: Apple Mac mini with M1 CPU (late 2020)
M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 MIDI controller/keyboard
200mb/s WiFi connectivity
Remote direction via Source-Connect, ipDTL, Zoom, Skype or phone
12TB on-site data storage + 4TB cloud-based data backup
Samsung 55" LCD panel and Optoma DLP projector + Chromecast
Pro-grade speaker stands and cables

 

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