Ian has always been fascinated by the power of sound and, from an early age, started working on sound production with a number of local drama groups. After leaving school, he worked in BBC Radio as a sound engineer before forming his own mobile recording business; during this period he designed the sound for a number of provincial theatre productions.
Ian's second love is computers and these two strands came together in the form of OmniBus Systems, a company he founded to develop computer automation systems for TV and radio stations. These software systems are now used to run TV stations around the world, including the BBC, and in 2000 OmniBus Systems was awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation.
Ian retains his passion for the theatre and regularly helps out with sound production and design for school performances. He recently developed FX Live, a software application for the iPad, which he hopes will allow pupils and staff to improve the quality of their sound design in school productions.
We know that mobile technology can work wonders for the classroom, but how can it be used during Performing Arts productions? Ian Fletcher of Driftwood Software explains how the iPad is the perfect tool for setting the right atmosphere.
Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? If the answer is “nothing”, then try again. There are very few places in the world that are completely silent. Every room, every environment has a sound. Understanding this and using these soundscapes correctly within a school or college Drama production can make a massive difference to the suspension of disbelief you are trying to create. And the act of thinking about and designing them can be a fun exercise for a drama class and make sound a more inclusive subject.
We've all been there: an expectant hush falls over the audience as the houselights go down, only to be shattered by the sound of distorted music from a CD player which is then abruptly cut off as the curtains open.