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Blog posts from July 2012

The Sound of Burly and Grum

Morning!

Well, this is a turn up for the books (pun intended): I’ve been commissioned to be the voice of the Burly and Grum children’s books by their highly talented author Kate Tenbeth.

These books chronicle the journey of Burlington “Burly” Bear and Grum the Groblin, from their initial (rather bumpy) meeting through their search for a secret city (with help of their friend Max the human boy) to… well, I won’t spoil it.

I am, frankly, both excited and faintly terrified – this being my first official step into the world of audio book recording – and cannot wait to really get behind the characters themselves as I read through the excellent three existing books.

If you know me well, you’ll know that character voices is something I do, but it’s normally not really designed for kid’s books… (Hallooo, pets! (Quiet, Gemma)).

After some initial tests I’ve now established voices for Burly, Grum and Max, and have produced a 5 minute sampler of how the books may end up sounding:

Have a listen to the “Burly and Grum and the Secret City” sample

All three Burly and Grum books are available on the web site here!

Kate and I are also going to be working on converting the existing Burly and Grum web site into a fun, interactive
experience for kids to visit – more on that as it happens.

Right, back to practising being a talking bear and a groblin…

Byeee!

Pat

P.S. The new Pat Scullion web site is coming soon… with plenty more of my portfolio to browse, demos to listen to, things to buy and giraffes to pet. Less of the last one.

Posted on Thu 19 Jul in Creative,Fun,Work with No Comments

Georgie: The Smartphone App For The Blind

Hi you!

Blimey, long time no speak. I must admit that I’ve been rather neglectful of my lovely lil’ blog for a while. Well, that’s going to change now, with at least one update a week so you can see what I’ve been up to, and what sort of interesting things I’ve been finding.

Last Thursday I was invited to the press launch of the excellent Georgie: the smartphone app for the blind.

The Event

It was quite a fun thing to be a part of as there was a real buzz around the place. Also, the lunch we were treated to is… well… I’ve never had anything like it. We ate lunch in a restaurant named Dans Le Noir in London, which is dark.

Not just quite dark. Really dark. Pitch black, in fact.

Through black-out curtains and a lack of windows you literally cannot see a thing in the room. The restaurant’s waiters are all blind, and they help you to your seat at your table, whereupon you have a careful feel around on the table in front of you to discover where things are. You’re then served drinks, food etc as normal – except you’ve no idea what’s being brought to you until you taste it.

Quite the experience! Some of the highlights for me:

  • Learning to pour a drink into a glass without spilling using the “dipping a finger over the edge” technique
  • Feeling very satisfied whenever I managed to get a fork that actually had food on it arrive at my mouth (this was about 50% of the time…)
  • Being rather relaxed about it all, following fearing I’d feel oddly claustrophobic
  • Relying on my memory for placement of objects and spatial awareness to ensure I didn’t knock stuff all over the place (I didn’t. At least, I didn’t hear it)
  • Not getting food all over my clothing *

* I can’t speak for the table, though. That place was probably a bomb site after I left it.

Well worth a visit!

The App

The Georgie application runs on pretty much any Android device and allows you to do all sorts – from finding out when the next bus at the nearby bus stop is, to warning you that there’s a low hanging branch a few metres up ahead of you as you’re walking around. The latter is a particularly strong feature for people who have limited or no sight: when you’re out and about, you can record voice memos relevant to that place that will be played back to you on returning. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It can do a lot of things!

The interface itself is clear, bold and simple, using an audio and vibration feedback method and involving a tap-to-hear, press-and-hold-to-select system.

You can find out more on the Georgie Application Site.

Why Was I There?

I was invited as I’d designed the logo and branding for the Georgie (and Screenreader) application (on behalf of the brilliant Dynamo PR).

The challenge was to come up with a logo, which would match the following core brand values:

  • Legibility
  • Support
  • Contemporary
  • Mobile

These were all met using a careful selection of font, colour, spacing, iconography (e.g. the “mobile phone transmission”/”audio waves” coming from the “i” (itself a side on mobile phone)) and finishing – and both I and the app owners were very happy with the end result:

Georgie Logo

I’m looking forward to seeing the Georgie application take off over the coming months!

Right, back to doing some design work for this very site… there is a redesign coming… oh yes…

Pat

Posted on Mon 16 Jul in Creative,Technology,Work with No Comments

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