LIFE Lancashire International Film Festival 2013

I am pleased to announce that I have been asked to return to my role as Press and Promotional Coordinator at this years Lancashire International Film Festival.

LIFE 2013 will take place 12th – 14th April @ The Media Factory Preston.
Here is the LIFE 2013 teaser trailer.

Audio and Visuals produced by Paul Bannister

LIFE Online
For updates about the great programme and details about the prize competitions in short film and animation , the screenings, conferences, master classes and opportunities follow us on:


LIFE IS SUPPORTED BY UCLAN’s School of Journalism, Media and Communications, CADG at UCLan,and Creative Arts Festival.

Co-ordinator Ric Michael Media Factory (ME330)
01772 895960



Twin Planets – Space

I am pleased to announce that I will be now working as Sound Engineer/Music Producer at Sound Affects Music Studios, Ormskirk.

This is a brand new studio and here is our first promo release…

Local band ‘Twin Planets‘ recording their track ‘Space’ at Sound Affects Music Studios

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Bannister
Visuals by Rotted Grape Productions


Amped Clothing / Mercedes Vito Sport Sync

My composition ‘Corona’ has been used  by Amped Clothing in their new video, sponsored and released by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport.

Filmed by Dan Oliver, the video includes some beautiful shots with slick editing.

Amped Clothing

Based on it’s two wheeled heritage, Amped Clothing is a UK based action sports brand that creates lifestyle clothing for the extreme minded people out there getting wild and fired up doing the action sports they love.


LIFE Lancashire International Film Festival 2012

I have recently been working as Press and Promotional Coordinator for the Lancashire International Film Festival 2012 which takes place in March.

In the process I have produced some Marketing Media to promote the event.

Audio and Visuals by Paul Bannister

(LIFE) Lancashire International Film Festival 2012
March 15th – 18th
@ The Media Factory and The Continental Preston.

Tickets are free and can be booked here!

LIFE IS SUPPORTED BY UCLAN’s School of Journalism,
Media and Communications,
CADG at UCLan,and Creative Arts Festival.

Co-ordinator Ric Michael Media Factory (ME330)
01772 895960


‘A Minute for an Hour’ Audio Installation

Dates: 28/04/11 & 10/06/11
The Atrium, Preston, Lancashire UK
Swerve 2011 & Creative Festival 2011

Programme Notes:
‘A Minute for an Hour’ is an audio installation focusing on revealing particular sonic aspects within a space. Capturing the relationship between the location and its visitors, processing will be used to accentuate sonic detail as the captured minute is experienced over an hour.
Participants are invited to enter the space and proceed uninterrupted, treating the space as they normally would. Sonic aspects that occurred within the space during the recording may then be experienced for a longer duration, allowing the listener to witness sonic aspects in greater detail and from multiple perspectives.

A Minute for an Hour Diagram

In Production:
The location was chosen because of the acoustics apparent within the space. As it is a large area with hard surfaces there was an appealing amount of reverberation that was predicted to achieve interesting results when time-stretched 60 times.
Whilst visiting the space a diagram was made to help figure out the best microphone positions. It was decided that the microphones would be positioned in each corner (rectangle shape), pointing towards the center. To capture most of the space within this ‘rectangle’, x4 AKG C1000’s were used because of their wide cardioid polar pattern.

On the day of recording x4 Marantz 660 were used to record what the C1000’s were capturing, each using their own power source.
When setting the levels it was decided that one microphone (in the loudest position) would be set to -12dB allowing enough headroom for unexpected peaking. Rather than setting the rest of the microphones in accordance to the level indicator, the gain knob on each Marantz was set to the same position as the initial microphone. Therefore each microphone in the space captured it’s own dynamics.
Once all of the Marantz devices were recording, a sound was made within the space to use as a reference point when lining up the audio in software.
Although only a minute of audio was needed, over an hour was recorded so that there was plenty of audio to pick from.

Atrium Stereo C1000'sAtrium Top Left C1000Atrium Bottom Left C1000

When listening back to the recordings, a minutes worth of audio was selected which included dynamics, a variety of sounds created by the visitors and a good sense of space.

Experimenting within software it became apparent that when time-stretching audio 60 times, unwanted granulized artifacts are often apparent. Researching alternatives, Paul Stretch was found. Due to the waveform smoothing, it allowed the audio to be stretched 60 times without picking up unwanted artifacts.
After ensuring 4 channels of audio at exactly one minute were prepared, they were then processed using Paul Stretch
Note: No further processing was used (inc. Normalization)
To arrive at the exact time-stretching algorithm, trial and error was used as x60 did not give accurate results.

Once the material was processed, the rigging/performance was planned.

For the first performance ‘Swerve 2011′, x4 Genelec speakers were used. When listening to the hours worth of audio in the studio it became apparent that the piece would develop slowly with only subtle changes. Rather than use PA speakers the Genelec would produce greater clarity.
To output the four channels of audio a Laptop running Logic Pro 9 was used. Connected to a Focusrite Saffire Pro10, the 4 channels of audio were played back in the same positions as they were recorded, at roughly the same volume.

A Minute for an Hour Top LeftA Minute for an Hour Bottom LeftA Minute for an Hour Top RightA Minute for an Hour Monitor Top RightA Minute for an Hour Bottom RightA Minute for an Hour Set-up

Walking around the space whilst the audio slowly developed created some interesting sounds that could be heard from different perspectives. As the audio was played back in the same space it was recorded, it became apparent that the recorded time-stretched reverberation was reverberating within the same space and producing ambient long tailed reverberated sounds. I feel this type of installation could be repeated in many different locations and ultimately achieve very different results.


How to Make a Contact Microphone

This post aims to look at ‘How to Make a Contact Microphone’

Whats Needed?

  • Piezo Transducer  (I purchased a couple from my local Maplin store which offered different sizes ranging from £1 – £3)
  • 1/4 Audio Jack Lead
  • Wire Cutters
  • Soldering Iron
  • Tape
  • Blu-Tack

Contact Mic 1

I purchased two Piezo Transducers and a 10ft Audio Cable to create two Contact Microphones, each with a 5ft lead.  

Step 1
The first step is to cut the audio cable into two halves, each sized according to preference. Once cut you need to strip the cable (about an inch) to expose the wires.

When exposed you should see a center wire surrounded by many copper wires. Group and twist the copper wires and pull to one side. Then expose about an inch of the center wire.
Pictures Below…

Now that you have an audio cable with two wires exposed, it is time to connect the Piezo Transducer.

Step 2
Connect the two wires on the Piezo Transducer to the exposed wires on the audio cable, twisting them secure.

Contact Mic 2Contact Mic 3

Once secured proceed to solder the wires in place.

Contact Mic 4

Whilst soldering it became apparent that the solder was rolling off of the exposed center wire, making it difficult to fix in place. Once soldered I check the lead in an amplifier to test the connections.

Step 3
Now that the audio cable is soldered to the Piezo Transducer it is a good idea to try and further protect the connection. I simply taped around each connection separately and then taped them together.

Contact Mic 5

If you have access to a glue gun you can make a much better connection.
I found some solid looking designs here: Feisty Little One

Step 4
Using the Microphone…

I first began by attaching the contact microphone to different guitars and in different positions using Blu-Tak. Depending on the instrument there is no right or wrong place to attach the contact microphone just experiment to see what sounds good.

Contact Mic 6Contact Mic 7

However, when positioning it became apparent that the most resonant parts of the guitar are likely to create feedback when using an amp/PA. Ensuring that the contact microphone is flat against the instrument also helps avoid feedback issues.

Contact Mic 8

As shown above the contact microphone is coming away from the guitars body and causing feedback.

Being able to attach the contact microphone to a variety surfaces without capturing unwanted sound makes them appealing in consideration to other microphones.


Contact Mic 9

  • Attaching the contact microphone to an amplifier created feedback, that when controlled allowed the amplifier to be used almost like an instruments by hitting the amp. Using the built in effects, some intersting sounds were created that could be used for Sound Design.
  • Throughout university a friend of mine attached multiple contact microphones to the bottom of a board to record footsteps.
  • Mixing the signal of contact microphones with your usual drum mic recordings can help add punch and attack to your drum hits.

Some more ideas can be found at ExperimentalNetwork.org

I hope this guide has helped, feel free to send me any examples from your Contact Mic projects.