R.A.P. Interview: Ty Ford

JV: Do you think the skill set most production people have is enough to get them into the video side of things without too much of a learning curve scaring them away?
Ty: I don’t know. I think it’s different for each person. I think that the software developers have made it easier and easier. I’m working right now as a technical editor on a 40-minute documentary about the country of Turkey. The story basically is they’ve talked to four or five people from around the world who have ended up in Turkey and really, really like it. And, by the way, Midnight Express is a horrible example, a mis-example of life in Turkey.

This came to me about two months ago. They shot it. They had a guy working on it. He’s working in Final Cut Pro. Something got bogged down and the people who were behind it were acquaintances of mine and had worked with me in audio and they said, “What do you have over there?” I said, “I’ve got Final Cut Pro on a fast Mac.” They said, “Can we bring this in and can you edit it for us?” So the hard drive was shipped to me and we plugged it in. I saw what was on the timeline, and I talked to them about what they needed, and hey, I’ve got 20 paid hours over the last two weeks working with the artistic editor/producer, and he and I are old friends and it’s a great time. We can usually work for two to four hours at a shot putting this documentary together. Maybe three years ago I could not have done that. So anybody who’s at a radio station now, that’s why I say get into it now. Stick your face in it. Maybe get Final Cut Express, which is the low dollar entry version. I’m big on Final Cut Pro and not Avid, which used to be the leader. Friends of mine now who are in post production shops that are failing because the business is no longer there have told me that wherever they’re looking for new work, being able to run Final Cut Pro is a must. You have to be able to use Final Cut Pro.

JV: The most exposure to video in radio is going to be to Vegas, Audition, Pro Tools, that type thing. But eventually they should look at Final Cut Pro. Is that what you’re saying?
Ty: For now. I mean surely that pendulum will swing, and I don’t know who will be there then. I know people who still work in Adobe Premier and do their video in Adobe Premier, and apparently they’re making a living with that. So that’s another contender.

JV: You have another book out. Tell us about it.
Ty: It’s called The Audio Bootcamp Field Guide. This is for people who own cameras. It was written specifically for people who went out and bought anything from a $1,000 to a $4,000 camera to do their personal films and/or more commercial things and found that they could make pretty good pictures but the sound was horrible. It’s about audio for video, specifically location audio. I don’t cover post.

JV: You’ve also created a CD of soundscapes for mediation and healing. How’s that doing?
Ty: That’s moving well. This is a very interesting project. In October of 2007 I had a hemorrhagic brain stem stroke during a job on a weekend where there was a gal in from California who’s just extremely remarkable. Her name is Rosalyn Bruyere, and she’s a healer and lectures on the topic. The venue had hired me for the last three or four years to record when she comes into town, which is fun from the audio side. I’ve got a Countryman E6 on her ear. I got two room mikes up. They go into my Sound Device’s 442 mixer, and they split out and go into an HHB CD recorder and an RCA CD recorder, and I just hit the index buttons and keep rolling. The reason why we have two machines is in case one does burp and, you know, one will.

My background is electrical, and she graduated from college as an electrical engineer and then got into the more mystical side of things. Maybe because of that I kind of understood what she was talking about. I did some research and that led me to the concept of chakras, and these are energy centers in the body. There are seven: One at the base of the spine; one at the top of the head; every place you have a joint in your body is considerably defined as a chakra, and there are other places as well that are not on joints. The concept being that the seven main chakras from the base of the spine to the top of the head are assigned the colors from red to purple. I had always wondered as a kid what it would be like to compose in light frequencies but didn’t have the Internet to help me out to do the math, and this time I did. So I looked it up, and I’m looking at red, and the center of red is 435 terahertz, and of course infrared we don’t see. Red is the first visible color, and you go up from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to violet and then we’re into ultraviolet, and you can’t see that. So I looked at the spectrum… 435 terahertz for red, 750 terahertz or so for violet, and I went, “Oh, interesting. This is an octave in terahertz. I wonder if anybody saw this coming.” So I said, “All right. Let’s decimate it. Let’s take away the powers of ten. Let’s make it 435 to 750. Now we have 435, which is really close to 440, which is A. So the first chakra is A, and the seventh chakra is G. Isn’t that something?

Well that conflicted with much of the stuff that was already out there, which was that the first chakra was the key of C, and I said, “Well, why would this be?” I asked around to some of my other keyboard friends and they were like, “Well, you know, it’s the first key. You learn it first. It’s simple. It’s all white keys…” blah, blah, blah. And I went, yeah, right. But this is not about music. This is about sound frequencies.

So I proceeded to create a CD of seven sound pallets, if you will, soundscapes, each one of which had nothing but sounds in A. For example, the first chakra, A, had A and octaves and harmonics and sub-harmonics of the 440. Then I went all the way up through the scale through G. At the end of the project I had the seven cuts up on Pro Tools and I’m looking at it going, “What would it sound like if I played them all together? Would that be cacophonous? Would that be horrible?” I played it, and it was cosmic. I never expected this. I didn’t know what it would sound like, and when I heard it I thought, “Wow.” I’ve got samples of that up on the website. There’s a chakra balancing link on tyford.com that explains how I got there.

So I made the CD. I played it for different people because this is all theoretical stuff. I don’t have any science to back this up other than that which I’ve already said. So now I’ve got this CD, and I’m working through other people who are very sensitive and into these kinds of body energies, and the feedback that I’m getting is, “Yeah, you’re right on. Good for you.” So that’s starting to take off now. So in addition to the little book, I made a presentation to 40 people about three weeks ago and sold $200 worth of CDs that night.

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