19 August 2006

The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" is Complete

All 17 chapters have been uploaded. Not counting the project introduction, the chapter files run for about seven hours. Wow! I can't quite believe it is finished.

If you are interested in the novel itself, I have written a longish essay on The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" for Wikipedia; see the Wikipedia article here. Wikipedia now also has the glossary I was working on earlier; there is a link to it on the main page for the novel. There are some more words I need to add to that glossary when I get around to it.

I am generally quite satisfied with the result, although there are things I would have done differently.

While I've used hardware compressors before, this was my first time using a software compressor. I got a little bit better as I went on, but there is still no doubt room for improvement in my compression settings.

I am aware of the occasional "glitches" (crackles, like static) in the voice recording. The inexpensive USB headset microphone I used for the project was not my first choice; I purchased it out of desperation after I was unable get rid of "glitch" problems affecting my more expensive, higher-quality USB microphone. I had already switched computers, versions of MacOS X, recording software, hard drives, cables, and everything else I could think of. For a while it seemed like the headset did not exhibit the "glitching" problem, but then it began to show up, and got worse as I continued to record.

This is a hobby project, and I was rapidly becoming fed up. I've been a software engineering professional for for almost 20 years, and yet couldn't make a relatively simple voice recording without technical problems. I nearly dropped the project until such time as I could purchase all-new hardware, but that might not have been feasible for a year or more.

Instead I made a conscious effort to let go of my usual technical perfectionism and use the setup I had, defective though it was. This meant using a very time-consuming editing process, re-recording the worst of the "glitched" words and phrases and paragraphs, some of which wound up with "glitches" of their own. Some of them I left alone, realizing that trying to re-record portions of the text and edit them in often produced a very discontinous-sounding recording. When that happened the cure was worse than the disease.

I am working on a more reliable recording setup for the next project; the USB microphone went in for repair and the manufacturer sent back a brand new one, one that (so far) does not seem to exhibit the data loss problem. I have made some test recordings and if it works reliably I will use it for my next project. A reliable setup would allow me to focus much more attention on my reading, which could only improve things.

I would welcome any comments on this production. I am also considering what piece of Hodgson's work to adapt next, and how best to do it. I'm considering lots of possibilities ranging from radio drama to live ambient music and vocal performance. Get in touch if you are interested! "Boats" will be 100 years old next year (or 250 years, if you take as fact that the "Glen Carrig" sank in 1757!) and it seems like I should do something to celebrate the novel's centennial.


LB said...

You may have heard this, but there is a German rock band called Ahab who is doing an album inspired by The Boats of the Glen Carrig. They are well-regarded in their subgenre of heavy metal, "funeral doom".
Here is a press release about the album: http://label.napalmrecords.com/blog/?entryID=418


Paul Potts said...

Thanks, LB! I will have to listen! Although heavy metal has not really been my thing since I struggled to play Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs with a garage band back in high school...