Surrounded by a bustling city environment and flowing traffic from all directions Victoria Park can appear to some as a central location for noise pollution and heavy foot traffic. However, through a collation of the many sounds other than that of the urban soundscape that entraps the park, its centrality in supporting the student life of the surrounding universities can be seen. As you walk from the University of Technology Sydney the relentless sound of traffic tapers off as students walk down to the pond as a place of solace and peace. Muddied footsteps and flowing water highlight how whilst the city has been engulfed in one of its wettest seasons, the park and its purpose as an escape for students still thrive. The sounds of gardeners and birds chirping almost hint at a persistent effort to preserve that environment by nature and those who look to uphold its natural beauty.
As one walks deeper into the park towards the University of Sydney, the presence of student life, even during quiet study periods, can be heard with compilations of laughter, banter, and conversation. Above that, Victoria Park acts as a cornerstone for student activism and protest, as it offers an open and inclusive space for students to celebrate and protest their beliefs and the change they want to see in their universities. Walking towards Parramatta Road and the gates of the University of Sydney, a student picket can be heard all around the edges of the university as students chant in unison in the hopes of enacting institutional change. It shows the symbolism of the park as a basis point for the future generation of leaders to go about building their campaign for better education, quality of life standards, such as wages, and environmental action.
The creative aim of this walk is to represent how through audio, we can illustrate the need for spaces such as Victoria Park for students and young activists to safely and effectively advocate and protest for the change they want to see in their societies. Often through video, these protests are able to be displayed to show the scale and size of these movements, however, through sound, this project points out how in a large environment and soundscape such as Victoria Park, sound can be just as effective as visual aids to illustrate the impact these student movements are making in Sydney. The sound material utilized in the project was collated in between the areas of Broadway (University of Technology Sydney) and the gates of the University of Sydney in Victoria Park. A Rode NTG-3 shotgun microphone was used with a Zoom H6 recorder to capture all content and various mixing techniques were utilized to optimize the audio quality. Subtractive equalizing was used to clean all audio material of resonant frequencies which worsen the listening experience for users, and dynamic processing in the form of a compressor was used for various sound sources in order to control transients and dynamic peaks which cause an un-balance in the mix of the project. Additive equalizing was also used to balance low and high frequencies between foreground and background sounds, with shelf and peak filters allowing for the high frequencies of voices to be heard better in the mix above traffic noise from background sound sources. Further dynamic processing was used on the master channel in the form of a limiter with a ceiling of -1db in order to achieve the loudness requirements for this project. The ‘YouLean’ loudness meter was used to help measure short term and integrated loudness and analyze the mix of foreground and background sounds in order to achieve the target foreground loudness of -16LUFS.
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