Category Archives: Voice Overs

InnovoxVR

Innovox_Title

The past month, I’ve worked with programmer Keith Kaisershot and artist Samuel Hum to develop an awe-inspiring VR experience. I combined both composition and vocals into 360° surround sound. I really believe this is one of the most incredible ways to experience being inside a voice.

Short Description:

InnovoxVR is an interactive music/art experience inside virtual reality.

It was created during the 2015 mobile VR jam by opera singer/composer Elizabeth Zharoff, programmer Keith Kaisershot, and artist Samuel Hum.

The user appears inside of a dark sphere, which has 12 surrounding vertices. Each vertex corresponds to a unique vocal track. When all tracks play simultaneously, the user hears one voice weaving into a song. The audio projects from each vertex, so that the user is encompassed, and can experiment with auditory perception.

There is no directional movement inside the experience other than turning the head. To trigger a track on, the user taps once on the Gear VR headset. To trigger the track off, the user taps once more. Thus, the user can select different layers of the track, choosing which to hear. We used Unity 4 to develop the experience.

The art perfectly complements the audio, also flowing once a track is triggered. When a vertex is activated, an image resembling a galaxy spirals outwards. As the music intensity increases, the spiral speed also increases, making the entire sphere seem to pulse faster and brighter. Floating creatures also emerge and float around the user. At the end, the creatures and galaxies all explode with light, as the screen fades to white and the music ends.

 

Global Game Jam 2015

Me, Luke, Rob, and Joe (Mark's taking the picture!)
Me, Luke, Rob, and Joe (Mark’s taking the picture!)

This is a little overdue, but I’ve been super busy with ENO Traviata rehearsals!

Global Game Jam is the biggest game hackathon in the world, as you might have guessed from the name. I’d originally intended to do it remotely with a team from Silicon Valley, but found out that the rules required participants to be onsite. Luckily, I’ve met some awesome and smart and ridiculous Indie Devs in London, so I asked a couple if they’d like to team up.

The theme was announced Friday at 6:00PM: “What do we do now?”

For the next few hours, our team brainstormed, and finally decided to approach the “we” part from an unusual angle: dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder.

The game is set inside of a long corridor, symbolizing a hypnotherapy session. Like actual treatment for this mental condition, the goal is to put the pieces of the personality back together. Each room has a part of the personality, which we based on trends and research in DID. The personality piece needs an item or series of motions to help it move past a particularly critical moment in time, at which point it is then “solved.”

We decided to make each room completely black, save for the occasional significant object (like a teddy bear). This, combined with exact audio positioning from Visisonics, increased the impression that everything was really happening inside the player’s mind. Players use sound to locate objects they can’t otherwise see, or approach invisible characters.

The biggest chunk of audio work was actually the voice overs. We made all of the rooms/personalities the same female character, but at different periods of life. So- I recorded 8 different characters. Some I edited to be lower/higher, but most were just me and a mic, and a rather surprised escort. My favorite to record was probably the angry woman, because she yells and curses so much… I just don’t normally do that! It felt strangely liberating. You can listen to some of the voices below.

I used the same musical theme throughout the game. It appears in the music box (see below), radio, and end scene. I’d like to also have it be hummed somewhere in the future.

Overall, I think we accomplished tons during 48 hours. That said- there’s lot I would change. I think that I went too sappy on the end scene, and also perhaps too dark in the rooms. But it IS a heavy subject, and I was hoping for some sort of balance. Also- I had to complete the script in one night… not an easy task. You can listen to the over-sappy end scene below. ;-)

Sending out a huge thanks to Joe Bain, Robert Ramsay, Luke Thompson, and Mark Backler for working on this with me. Guys- I really hope we make a more finished version. I think this could go somewhere good.