C33 Notes 3.31.09

Club 33

Playlist Author
So for the first time, yesterday I went down to the Disneyland Resort on my own. Usually I go with family and friends of course, and seeing as I live an hour away I can't really just jet down there on the drop of a hat. However, the opportunity arose, and it seemed like a good chance to use some Single Rider lines and make some recordings without FUFS (Fed-Up Family Syndrome). This is all going to be factual, btw, not April Fools.

Some notes and stories:

~Noticed the HISTA pre-show playing before the attraction opened. Thought it might be a good chance to do a recording but unfortunately they mute it until the attraction opens.

~Made a test recording in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot restrooms, to the left of the Hyperion Theater. I'm still not entirely sure what music plays there. It's definitely not the HPB loop; it may be the Tower of Terror loop (which would kind of make sense being that the Tower is close by) however there is no "ghostly" echo effect to it.

~Finally got a good(ish) score on Toy Story Mania! Also, I noticed in listening to a previous induction recording I made of the Spring Action Shooters (they have a little speaker on the end that plays the sound of the projectiles firing) that you could hear the game audio (character voices/sound effects, etc) very faintly in the background. Not sure exactly what this means.

~Need to find out more information about the ToT exit loop; it plays from speakers hanging from the ceiling in the hallways leading from the unload to the gift shop. Not sure if it's original or needledrop from Twilight Zone episode scores. Also not sure if an induction recording is possible.

~I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but the pre-show screens on Soarin' Over California have been upgraded to 16:9 flatscreens, as opposed to the 4:3 CRTs they've had since the attraction opened. I think the last time I rode was in January, must have happened since then.

~Still looking for a good way to capture audio from pole speakers, in both parks. Yet to find one, though I do have a couple of ideas. More on that in a bit.

And now, two stories:

My Favorite Kind of Induction Recording

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of recording audio loops. Simply finding a suitable speaker (if, indeed, one can be found) can be a pain, and often that speaker will leave you stuck in some weird place (the bathrooms at Germany in Epcot, the exit to Splash Mountain, etc). And, of course, wherever you are you have to stay there for 30-60 minutes (or more). And then there's the added difficulty of identifying the music in the loops later on.

Yesterday, however, I found myself making one of the most enjoyable recordings ever. The goal was to record the Grand Californian hotel loop. After a bit of poking around I discovered to my dismay that there are actually two loops, an interior loop and an exterior loop (still not sure how to record the interior one). Including the two restaurants that makes four loops for this one hotel alone! At any rate I discovered the best way to record the exterior loop was from one of many rock-shaped speakers dotted in and around the pool area.

So, I made my way into the pool area (a bit tricky because you need a hotel room key), attached a pickup to one of the fake-rock speakers, and then proceeded to simply sit under a shady umbrella for an hour or so. It was really quite enjoyable and a needed break from running around the parks. While I was recording I also attempted to identify each track as it played, using Shazam on my iPhone, which was very successful. Of course, I'm sure a few people were curious as to why I kept moving over to next to this rock temporarily every now and again but generally I wasn't noticed. I just have 2 or 3 more tracks to identify now and I'll have a full listing up on my blog. If only all recordings were this easy.

But, there is a balance to life, and so:

My Least-Favorite Kind of Induction Recording

Parades. Generally I don't watch parades; I rarely care enough to want to stake out a spot in advance, and I'd rather take the chance to take advantage of the shorter lines while everyone else is watching. But, of course, Celebrate! A Street Party had just premiered and I felt a certain obligation to make a recording.

The nature of the street party is both good and bad from a recording perspective. The fact that it only stops in certain locations along the parade loop means that there is a limited supply of speakers playing the audio. The stops, however, mean that you are guaranteed to get the entire thing (and indeed the only difference between the parade route speakers and the float speakers is the DJs talking on the mics on the floats) and will even have multiple chances to record it if you simply run ahead of the parade from the first zone to the third zone.

But this all assumes that you can find a speaker to record. There are really only two ways to record a pole speaker. The first way is to place the pickup on the speaker itself. Nearly any location on the speaker will get you some sort of signal but a properly balanced and good-sounding recording requires a good placement. The second way is to find a spot on the pole where you can pickup the signal of the cable running through the pole and up to the speaker.

I went to the It's a Small World mall in Fantasyland half an hour before the parade was set to begin. I inquired about the route from some CMs, who were nothing shot of ecstatic to hear me refer to it as "the street party". One even high-fived me.

In the end, the only speaker location I could find was a pole speaker that A) was fairly close to the ground but required sitting on a ledge to reach it, and B ) was extremely visible. I waited until just before the parade started to place the pickup but being as you could clearly see me and the cable running from the speaker for about 10 yards in every direction, I really didn't have a good feeling about it. And then, of course, a crowd control CM end up standing about 5 feet from me directing traffic flow.

At first she merely asked me to get off of the ledge, which wasn't an issue because the pickup was already placed. I was more than a bit surprised that she didn't seem to notice the pickup taped to the speaker with a cable running down. I even went back and asked here where it was safe for me to stand, pickup still there. I was thus lulled into a bit of a false sense of security.

It took about 4 minutes, but eventually the CM didn't have any guests to control for a moment and then finally noticed the pickup. She was fairly nice about it, but after inquiring from me what it was and me telling her it was a microphone, asked me to take it down because she wasn't sure if that was okay. It is a bit of a tricky thing for many CMs; audio recordings aren't against any posted rules, but usually if a CM wasn't sure they will ask you not to just in case. I'd rank it about a three on my five point scale of CM reactions:

1 - Ignorance. They either don't notice the pickup, or do notice and don't care.
2 - Interest. - They notice, ask what it is, and then respond with some sort of "gee wiz, cool" and don't make an issue of it.
3 - Uncertainty. - They notice, and without implying that you have necessarily done anything wrong ask you to stop because they're not sure if you are allowed to do so.
4 - Anger - A lot like 3, only this time they do imply that you are doing something wrong and in a not-so-nice way ask you to stop.
5 - They call security.

And let me tell you, all of these have actually happened. I've never had security get called on me but it can and has happened to people. Oddly, I've found that in cases 3-5 the CM will often emphasize that you need permission to make a recording, which does beg the question of permission from who and why would they ever grant it?

Retrospectively in listening to what I did get for the 3 minutes or so I was recording, it wasn't the best recording, but it was decent. Even though as I said she didn't imply that I had done anything wrong per se, I hate getting reprimanded by CMs and so I felt a little dejected about the whole thing for a bit.

And so afterward I racked my brain to try and think of another, less obvious way of recording the street party. Normally I would go for recording one of the speakers at the Main Street train station, but the street party doesn't go by there and so those speakers wouldn't be playing the audio.

And so I returned once again to the idea of recording off of a pole speaker, but from the pole this time. Now this is a style o f recording that while it does work, has never ever worked for me. Unlike a speaker where you can put the pickup pretty much anywhere, and the shape makes it clear where the best placement is, with a pole you're guessing in the dark. An inch in any direction could mean the different between getting a signal or not, and as such you have to use the pickup kind of like a stethoscope.

I did manege to find a signal though, and make a fairly muddy recording of the street party. More tries will be necessary. But that's all part of the job with trying to make these recordings. Hopefully Horizons can give me some tips for next time.

So all told it was a fruitful day, as always I was able to find some useful info for future recordings, and was able to cross another loop off of my list. And I did ride a bunch of stuff, too.

Club 33

Playlist Author
I liked it actually. I know some people aren't fans of the parades using pop music, but I found the arrangements upbeat and fun. Actually, I liked the music more than the parade itself, which due to it staying in the same place got a little old after a while, since its just more and more dancing without a lot of change. I was also in between two of the DJs so it was hard to hear either of them over the other. I'm not sure as a guest I would feel the need to see it again, but I don't mind the idea of watching it again for making my recordings and such.


Playlist Author
I'm probably in the minority, but I really don't care for any of the new afternoon parades Disney is offering, at least musically. I am curious what other members think.