BillyRadd Music

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Synergy of Sound and Picture

A little over a year ago, while my wife and I were living in the small central Utah burg of Ephraim, I decided to hang my proverbial butt out the window and enter a local juried art show at the Central Utah Art Center, narrative blogs about which you will find here and here.

Of course, making an ambient video about natural scenery which locals can access easily themselves within a few hours drive may be akin to preaching to the choir.  So, while my video's involvement in the art show did not produce any tangible rewards for me as the creator of the video, it did provide me with some insight into human nature.

I found that, by observing those who stopped to observe my HD video of scenes of Pleasant Creek slowly flowing through a desert wilderness, I noticed a kind of double take effect.  First, it appeared to appeal mostly to the very young and very old among the attendees, with the middle-aged only giving the large HD screen a passing glance.  My only logical conclusion to this phenom must be, unscientific as it is, that those of us in the middle years of our lives cannot concentrate our minds long enough for the few moments it takes to let the "willing suspension of disbelief" take over and focus our attention on images and sounds that have a calming effect on our psyche.

And please, keep in mind that this is merely a personal observation and not a criticism of humanity as a whole.  It's just the way it is.

I remember the feeling of being middle-aged myself.  That feeling of constantly living either before or after the moment of reality I was in (the now, the present).  Work, children, politics, taxes, health concerns, bills to pay all flooded my waking and sleeping moments in a never-ending torrent of sights and sounds, real or imagined, that kept me uptight, moving, planning upcoming moves or obsessing about past inadequacies. Most of my waking time was spent "in the moment" alright, but that moment was pretty stressful.

Jeez, I'm glad I'm past all that now.  But, back to my point.

The very young or very old can isolate their attention long enough to forget worrying about their past and future and "meditate" or experience the now of reality, which philosophers and even scientists generally agree is really all that there is.

So, my personal quest is to give peace to others through the use of the trick I've learned over my career to create a visual and aural "scene" that can become part of a viewers personal reality in the moment of experiencing it, if only they will take the time to give it a try.

So, as one of my heros, sci-fi writer Rod Serling used to say at the open of each episode his TV show, "imagine if you will . . ."  Please, check out one or both of the videos that I have posted at the bottom of this page.

Click on the video to expand the page to full screen, choose to let it load up at the 720 HD resolution, turn up the volume on your computer to a moderately high volume, and look at the screen, no, stare at the screen.  Let a hint of a smile cross your lips.  Then, breathe deeply and regularly.  Try to relax and concentrate on the scenes of water, rocks and plants.  Listen to the water sounds and the minimal musical score (on the Zion River program).

Give it a few minutes and see if your heart rate and breathing rate don't diminish.

Then, forward this blogpost to a friend.  It may give them a few moments of peace, even if they are middle aged.


  1. If only we could be old and young at the same time. I'm definitely guilty of letting the moment slip by too much these days; and with that said I'm going to go pay some bills and mow the lawn.

  2. Woke up early today with wedding details jumping around my head. Pleasant Creek was a nice way to break my thought cycle and get some perspective - it's all just water over the rocks. But I only got 5 minutes in - I blame Jax the cat; he demanded breakfast. Maybe I'll put your DVD on in the background all day as we go about our wedding prep tasks...

  3. Thanks for your comments. I'm happy that the videos are having the intended effect - relaxation. BTW, I am working on another HD video of footage I shot of aspen trees in the Rocky Mountains. I am carefully editing the sound of the leaves rustling in the breeze since that is such a calming aspect of being in an aspen grove, especially in the fall when the leaves are golden and a bit dry.