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Author Topic: Trent's Bio and Reflection  (Read 22932 times)

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basstronix

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Trent's Bio and Reflection
« on: October 20, 2011, 03:39:23 PM »

I've been working with the Goldeneye Source team for over six years now. When I joined the team, I was a complete noob straight out of high school. I gained many skills at a very young age, and that caught peoples' attention. I had universities offering me scholarships before I even entered high school. But man, the music I made back in 8th grade... was bad. So, so bad.

The first mod I applied to was, ironically, Perfect Dark: Source. I was still in high school at the time, and I was using our AV studio's computer to make music using Reason. I got the job easily and made a couple remixes for them.

Next up was EnigmaComplex. It was a total conversion single player campaign with a suspenseful storyline. This was my first time doing epic, cinematic music. You can tell I didn't know anything about mixing, but the music was still not bad. The mod itself, however, withered away just as quickly as it started. I then applied to Dreamscape: Pin Point Blank. The programmer was brilliant as hell; he hacked new shaders into the engine specifically for the mod. I still, to this day, consider the music I wrote for Dreamscape to be the best I've ever done. Dreamscape would have been my Mona Lisa, but it vanished as well.

In between EnigmaComplex and Dreamscape, I somehow managed to convince Nickster to make me the lead audio developer for GoldenEye: Source. I seriously tear up when I think about him now. He was a great guy that really put a lot of faith in me that, quite honestly, was probably misplaced. I was 17 at the time. I knew nothing of proper production, but I could make a catchy, albeit simple tune in Reason. But hell, look at us now. We have the biggest, coolest soundtrack ANY MOD HAS EVER HAD. And it's not even over yet...

Anyway, I got my first film gig when I finished my first semester of college. I wound up on the set of a movie because my new surf buddy was really into film making. I met the director, told him I do music and I'm interested in trying film score. I said I'd do it for free. My first scoring job was for a feature length film, and I did it for free. Talk about jumping in headfirst. The film won awards at the film festival that year. I made sure to be there with business cards to hand out. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, though. I was about to have the most stressful two years of my life.

Junior year. My friend's film company was starting to take off; their RED ONE camera put them way ahead of the competition. I dabbled with 2D and 3D animation, further delving into the world of film making. I learn how to engineer sound and record foley. My musical abilities exponentially grew with the help of the theory classes I took. I wrote my first movie script. I was officially a one man movie making monster. I'd get paid for graphic design, music, animation, compositing,  voice acting, etc. On average I was making $300-500 per piece of music, typically 30 seconds to a minute in length.

Being a professional composer in addition to an electrical engineering student trying to graduate while maintaining a social life had taken its toll. I was taking 2 credits more than the maximum amount of credits the university allows you to take. That's 21 credits of electrical engineering courses. Electrophysics and electromagnetics, to be precise. Semiconductor physics is the hardest class I've taken in my life. It's too abstract and yet makes so much sense, I hate it. But I love it. Life was not fun. I was sleeping maybe 4 days a week, and my bloodstream had been diluted by Monster and Red Bull. But hey, I built my first autonomous robot.

I continued to compose for money, making a good living doing so. One night I see that I have many missed calls from my colleagues. Not only was my music nominated for Best Musical Score, but it won by a total landslide.



Boredom got the better of me one day, so I fiddled with circuits. I started to wonder if I could drive an LED using an analog audio signal if it were amplified to the proper voltage. I built a quick three band OpAmp using an IC and your everyday resistors and capacitors. It worked.


http://www.youtube.com/v/TOeiQsmaYCg

After securing a research position to develop home automation software and interactive lighting, I went all out making the brighest, coolest, most configurable light show around. This was the first demo in my office. Buggy audio analysis software, but it's still an awesome milestone.


http://www.youtube.com/v/TR7axhdXvoE

Here's a prototype of the LED panels I built. At this point I had switched from I2C to DMX and had to start over on animation code, so the panel doesn't react as much as I'd like it to in this video.


http://www.youtube.com/v/ICynIESZopc

The owner of tetris saw my efforts and offers me a job. Just like that. I was asked to do the biggest stage at the biggest party in the world. I didn't let him down either:


http://www.youtube.com/v/qjj7afR4lYY

My presence at Burning Man was ultimately a result of the Solar Decathlon, an international, multidisciplinary competition that revolved around universities creating conceptual, solar powered homes. I became the lead electrical engineer of the project. This was the peak of my stress level; I wrote a multiplatform home automation interface that allowed users to control all infrared devices from their phone.

From anywhere in the world.

The lighting system was the most advanced piece of work. The $22,000 system was top of the line in terms of smart energy savings and aesthetics. I created 400 panels of RGB, DMX controllable LED lights. These were placed inside the walls, shining through a translucent and diffusing layer of aerogel, which also helped insulate the home. I hacked a kinect camera into an occupancy sensor and locator. By tracking where people are in the house, that part of the house would light up. I'm not talking about the room someone was in; I'm talking about that part of the room. Imagine a portion of the wall by your computer lights up your desk, but the rest of the lights are off. Obviously the RGB lights can take any solid color, including white. They also react to music, animating in all sorts of crazy ways. I even made the TV gesture controlled. Ever wanted to turn on a TV by pointing at it? I made that happen.

Well, that house was never built. I created all the prototypes for our system. Then we ran out of money and time and were forced to forfeit the competition.


The spirit of Hale Pilihonua (Our home's name) lives on. Our home was the coolest, most advanced concept in the competition. A little too advanced. We bit off more than we could chew.


They say it's all about who you know. This is absolutely true. Do your best to appease everyone around you, and they'll take care of you. Seriously, I've donated hundreds of hours of work just to have to have the extra mark in my portfolio. My list of works has become so long I often completely forget about certain films or shows I helped out with. I've produced well over 500 pieces of music over the last ten years, and I'm not looking to stop any time soon. It's funny stumbling on an old project and having it sound rather familiar before realizing I freaking made it.





_______________________________________________________________






Switching gears a bit, I want to reflect on my own development as a producer over the years. Let's be honest; the music I made for GES back in 2005 was rubbish. It was still awesome to have custom music, but damn it was pretty bad. I decided to take a look back at some of the older tracks I've done for this game, specifically by examining their spectra. It was pretty shocking to see how far I've come.

These images represent the frequency information in a 10-20 second clip over time. The brighter the image, the louder that frequency is. As you can see, The bottom of every image is very bright. That's why I'm basstronix  8)

Here's an exerpt of Bondage, the first completely original track I contributed to the game back in 2006.



Any sound engineer will laugh at this picture. Notice that the instruments are clearly defined, and the bass is saturated. I think this song does have a simplistic charm to it, but it's not technically well made. The spectrum is pretty empty and cuts off at 17kHz. This is something that all of my old music is guilty of... and I think it's because I used FL's crappy compression tools. That's what gives people the feeling that FL's rendering engine just doesn't cut it.

Here's an exerpt of the first Silo track I did.



Wow, that looks like crap. You can see that I'm fillling in more of the spectrum, but still getting cut off at 17kHz... hmm... Definitely something wrong with the way I'm producing these tracks. Now the bass is even more saturated. This was done in Reason, and hosts typically have different built in limiters and compressers to work around. FL music seems very flat and devoid of high tones. Granted when Bondage was done, FL was at version 5 I believe. It was still a young DAW.

Here we have the current version of Silo.



17kHz cutoff again. Indicative of over compression.



_______________________________________________________





I owe a lot to the GoldenEye: Source Community.  Thank you all for being supporters and fans of myself, Sole Signal, and Goldenzen. We wouldn't have been able to do it without you.

I want to take the opportunity to say that we all miss you, Nick. Rest in peace. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. I never would have thought my music would end up being heard by thousands of people, let alone being included on a PC Gamer DVD. I miss you buddy. I really wish you could have been around to see how big of a success this game became, and to see the success it brought us developers. Mod communities don't get any closer than this.

You were a bigger influence on our lives than you could have ever imagined, Nick.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 11:01:57 AM by basstronix »
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Jeron [SharpSh00tah]

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 05:21:08 PM »

I actually read every word. Pretty inspiring stuff right there. Its funny how you get older, the more you realize the arrogance. Having to redo Caverns, and runway soon, really was humbling. Definitely agree there!

Proud of you mean, really am

Hopefully my break comes soon!

Cheers
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Enzo.Matrix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 05:35:13 PM »

I would make an epic blog, but I don't like to talk about myself.

^ Canadian
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Emilia

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 06:38:13 PM »

Thought about getting into writing?

You'd make a great author too. Interesting from beginning to end.
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basstronix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 08:51:46 PM »

Writing is one of those things that I'm quite good at but don't particularly enjoy doing. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind in the future.

I am planning on starting a blog based on my devices and music, www.trentrobertson.net

It's blank for now, but eventually...
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basstronix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 09:27:27 PM »

Maybe I should consider writing for cracked.com. I think I have their style, haha
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Jeron [SharpSh00tah]

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 03:20:20 AM »

I would make an epic blog, but I don't like to talk about myself.

^ Canadian



/end offtopic (I dont want to throw this topic into the gutter)
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namajnaG

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2011, 08:16:18 AM »

but don't particularly enjoy doing.

You prove me wrong by writing such blogs, This is great.
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basstronix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 02:55:22 PM »

I recently made a Facebook Page for my music. Like the shit out of me please!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Trent-Robertson/248033465243132?sk=wall


So I decided to message a guy I haven't talked to in a while as a result of a sudden inspiration to be a better friend to people. I never even knew the guy all that well, but I just felt like saying hey. He owns his own beer brewery, Home of the Brave Brewery.

We shot the shit for a while. I asked him how his business was going, and he did the same. After he found out what I do... he hooked me up with an Oakenfold show here in Hawaii. His stoney friend is running the show.

Karma has a way of doing very interesting things...


« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 04:44:52 PM by basstronix »
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Emilia

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 07:15:31 PM »

Liked  8)

After I read this article, I went and listened to all of the GES music.
Because you are inspirational, like that.
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basstronix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 08:02:46 PM »

I just thought of the worst pickup line ever. For a modern generation.

"if you were a facebook post, I'd 'like' you".








You inspired a pickup line, Emilia. You should be proud of that. You must be pretty cool.


So all of your inspiration inspired me to actually start working on my website. This is the most productive day I've had since burning man.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 08:15:11 PM by basstronix »
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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 08:12:30 PM »

"How'd you like to get 'tagged' in my bedroom?" ;)



Got a kick out of that.
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basstronix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 08:13:10 PM »

Well done.
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Emilia

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 08:17:35 PM »

Why thank you Trent. I think everyone needs some inspiration now and then.

I also listened to "Rain" on your Facebook page. It was very sweet.


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There there.



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basstronix

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Re: Trent's Bio and Reflection
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2011, 04:20:06 AM »

I want to add that the primary purpose of me writing this brief biography was to make myself realize that I really am worth a damn. I've been pretty down the last month or so, and I needed to see that I'm a good person and need to continue being so.

I actually broke down because I was so amazed after seeing everything I've done in a concise summary. So thanks again everyone for reading. It means a lot to me.
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