There is no such thing as ‘moving pictures’. A movie is a collection of still pictures or ‘frames’ shown in sequence at so many frames per second – giving the illusion of movement. The most common frame rates are 24fps – frames per second, 25fps and 30fps. The name given to the code that gives a unique number to every frame of a movie is called SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) and is often referred to as TIMECODE.
Any machine or computer that has the ability to reference TIMECODE can locate any single frame of a movie. So a TIMECODE of 01:04:25:12 refers uniquely to the 12th frame of the 25th second of the 4th minute of the 1st hour of a movie – precisely and consistently.
The Auricle is DOS based computer program that has such an ability. It uses this to calculate the speed – or tempo – a piece of music is required to be played in order to fit precisely between two specified points in a movie. It then has the ability to generate an audio click (or metronome) and visual streamers (a line that moves across the screen arriving at a given point at exactly the right time) to act as a ‘road map’ to enable musicians to perform that piece of music to fit the picture – precisely and consistently.
As an Auricle programmer and operator the following skills are vital:
1. A musical sensibility and knowledge while working with a composer. The Auricle is a machine and therefore constant and mechanical. Music is primarily an emotional art form rather than mechanical – so an operator needs to be able to provide a road map rather than a strait jacket – giving the musicians enough room for musical expression but not so much that they lose their way.
2. A technical knowledge of movie mechanics while working with a director. Movie music is ultimately functional within a movie rather than music for it’s own sake. It serves the movie director’s artistic vision – therefore it has to fit certain technical as well as artistic criteria. An Auricle operator needs the ability to strike an artistic balance between two polar opposites – an artistic emotional musical performance and the technical ability of that performance to fit the picture. Both are required to meet the movie director’s artistic vision.
In short – as an Auricle programmer / operator – you serve two competing masters who wish to arrive at the same destination from two competing directions. The composer requiring their music is performed musically and the director requiring that it fit the picture as intended to meet their artistic vision. If I do my job successfully then my contribution to this process will be transparent.