Episode 37

E37 - Audio Production in the Age of AI with Adam Mart

In this week's show, we welcome Adam Mart. Our conversation covers topics such as podcasting expectations, Adam's background in sound engineering, the evolution of production technology, the psychological effects of media production, the impact of AI and deepfakes and the importance of emotional response in content creation.

The conversation explores the evolution of tools and the fear of change, discussing how new technologies impact industries and the need for adaptation. The conversation also examines the ability of AI to create indistinguishable content and emphasises that AI is just another tool.

Takeaways

  • The evolution of production technology has allowed for more creative possibilities and streamlined processes.
  • The psychological effects of media production and the authenticity of content are important considerations.
  • AI and deepfakes have the potential to blur the lines between reality and fiction, raising concerns about trust and authenticity.
  • There is a growing movement towards more authentic and unedited content while still valuing high production values.
  • Technology continues to evolve, shaping audience expectations and creating new opportunities for content creation.
  • Emotional response plays a crucial role in content creation, and the impact of media on individuals should be considered.

Links relevant to this episode:

Thanks for listening, and stay curious!

//david

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Tools we use and recommend:

Riverside FM - Our remote recording platform

Music Radio Creative - Our voiceover and audio engineering partner

Podcastpage - Podcast website hosting where we got started

Transcript

00:08 - David Brown (Host)

is own production business in:

01:03 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Thanks for the most part. It's really good to be here. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

01:05 - David Brown (Host)

18 years at the BBC. That's a good run.

01:11 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Yeah, I was lucky. I started out as a white van man in London After moving down from the North of England in rural North of England where I played violin at school, played drums at school, and I started out as a white van man. So, having been at university with my popular music and music technology degree, you know thinking I'm going to make it big straight away and next thing, you know, you got to pay the rent. So I got my job as a white van man and luckily the company who I was careering for was a recording studio company that had a and R and all these various kind of facets to it is owned by Iron Maiden and so they had kind of big names coming. Wow, it's crazy and it was brilliant. You know, we had a 64 track SSL studio, one of the top 10 studios, mixed studios in London. All the big names came through. We were charging 800 pounds a day, and the accountant then came in and said look, the square meter in London, we can make more money for the company than you're making as a studio.

02:20

And we were around, right, but at that point, we were using a lot of two-inch tape and so I was well versed in the dark art of kind of lining up tape machines, and my job as a T bar at that point would be to be on point at four in the morning when the band has finished their days recording and to make sure that everything that they captured was then captured to court wrench. And we also use a digital system called radar. But there was a tiny, tiny room downstairs which was getting absolutely rammed and rinsed constantly and that was where the money was being made. And that was because there was a tiny, tiny little bit of software that they had introduced into that studio called Pro Tools, and we didn't have that at that point anywhere upstairs. We had this radar systems. Everyone was doing all the stuff in their bedroom, bringing it to that studio for mixing and for mastering and and took it out predominant dance stuff at that time because we were kind of a rock and an indie studio upstairs.

03:19 - David Brown (Host)

Okay, I got you. I was about to say that, yeah at the time for like recording in your bedroom and then bringing it in. But I can see if it was sort of dance tracks and like EDM and that sort of thing. Absolutely, that makes sense. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

03:31 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Yeah, so there's a lot of that going on downstairs and that room was just making the big money, right? So so my room upstairs. Sorry, when was this, did you?

03:39 - David Brown (Host)

say this is round about:

03:41 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Okay, cool, yeah. And so I then. I mean, it was an absolutely beautiful studio room, has it cost two million pounds to make in the 80s. All the cables were in kind of lead lining it was. It was a beautifully crafted studio and the head engineer at that time so by the time, you know, we got to the point of closure the engineer who I was working to move on. I then became an engineer and setting up sessions and mixing my own sessions and all that kind of working with really good names, bands, and it was awesome, right.

04:08

But so when they closed that down I then thought, right, either I can take advantage of the opportunities being presented to me by the company and go and work in the archiving department or I can phone up my local BBC studio backing that I just straight to where I'm from and see how to get into the BBC, because that seems like a nice solid job and it's got, you know, great career prospects the other other. So I phoned them up and they said, oh, hang on, are you that guy who came and was a bit nosy in the broadcast truck when we came to record your school years ago? Because there aren't that many tech types who get interested in. There's like, yeah, that's me. So turns out. And there's a guy called Adam who's leaving a job at Radio Cumbria to go into this new thing called online media and so we've got a vacancy for a guy to come and work on broadcast desks, do outside broadcast type stuff in the late districts. Do you want to come up and check?

05:08

So did that, thankfully, got the job, went back home and work there in that area for four years, then came to the BBC and then spent another 14 years working in network radio radio one radio to six music and operations capacity. So we were driving the broadcast desk routes over all casts and for the big set piece programs and events like Blast and Bre and Reading and Ibiza and all that kind of stuff you know, going out to tiny little places recording and broadcasting from the middle of absolutely nowhere sometimes but bringing absolutely beautiful content to the masses. And that 14 years was an absolute game changer because, yes, you're absolutely right in your intro. Thanks for that.

05:52

That was a very pivotal time in the evolution of the tech side of the industry, for the industry as a whole really, because we went from kind of linear broadcasting using, you know, infrastructures that have been placed for some significant time and through to the use of 3G and 4G to get signals back where it used to be down copper wires via BT. We were broadcasting using the internet from Ibiza for live shows instead of using you know, you know wired infrastructures, which was amazing and gave us so much flexibility, had its own problems. 7pm I didn't know this until I worked for Radio One. 7pm historically is when a lot of the businesses on Ibiza decide to chuck all their financial transactions back to the mainland for processing.

06:49 - David Brown (Host)

Interesting. Yeah, I can see where this is going.

06:52 - Adam Mart (Guest)

So you've got Pete Tong live on Radio One at 7pm on a Friday big dance show and next thing you know who falls off there. Because it's all got a bit wrong, because all this data has been chucked off the island and we're using the internet as well.

07:04 - David Brown (Host)

It's literally gone, Pete Tong. Literally. Sorry, I had to do that.

07:07

ed to start my own company in:

08:09

After nine months as a Managing Director for another production company studio facility I was there for nine months after being established for quite some time because Kobe comes along and the model which was in place before, which was destined to shift anyway, couldn't shift fast enough and we had to close the studios down. So first way of Kobe, I'm thinking right either I start my own thing up with my business partner or I try to apply for a new job in the first way of Kobe, when everybody was trying to apply for a new job and there was nothing going. So so we started that up and we've been trading ever since, in the main quite successfully, thank goodness, delivering podcast and TV audio production facilities to those industries and and all through that time. So since the radio, since radio Cumbria days, there's been a kind of a constant thread that's flowed through all those changes of evolution in the tech sector and what that is then meant for people who make the stuff and people who consume the stuff.

09:23

And so this is a really interesting discussion because for me, as we all know, content is is king. You know, there's this Dave in a cave on one side of the valley and then this Pete on the other side of the cave, on the other side of the valley, and Dave shouting across to Pete right, I've got a carry boo, you want to come across for a barbecue? That message has been, you know, conveyed by one person to another. How that message then is able to flow is academic almost, because it will change in time. That's the one certainty with everything that we do is that whatever we do will not be doing it, especially at the moment, in the same way in the in a prescribed amount of time.

10:02 - David Brown (Host)

Next week.

10:04 - Adam Mart (Guest)

At the moment. Who knows? I mean, I might be kind of on a physical screen in front of you in a few year’s time.

10:11 - David Brown (Host)

It's a ration of the holograms.

10:13 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Have you seen the?

10:14 - David Brown (Host)

hologram boxes? No, where you can? Sorry, slight diversion. What they are is they're like a. They're like the size of a small, like a tiny closet, like the size of one person, and it has a screen on the front and what you do is you record one person on one end and it creates like a 3D hologram.

10:33

On the other end and it is amazing I saw it at a show in Amsterdam a few years ago and, literally out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was someone standing in a like a lit box just to get attention and handing out like brochures or something. And I walked past this box probably 10 times and literally just thought that there was someone in there. I never even occurred to me that it wasn't actually a person, because immediately.

11:01 - Adam Mart (Guest)

My mind is then going to. You know how does that manifest itself for meetings, or or gigs.

11:07 - David Brown (Host)

Well, they're they're trialing it in a school. So I saw a similar technology and I apologise, I can't remember the name of the company who I saw first, but I will put it in the show notes so that people can go and check it out because it's amazing. But I saw an article on LinkedIn yesterday or day before where they were talking about their trialing it in schools, because what they can do is they can set this box up in a classroom and they can have a teacher from like MIT or Stanford teach a class in the.

11:37

UK. And what they can do is they can put a camera on the top so the person on the other end can have a screen in front of them and they can see the classroom and they can interact. So if a student raises their hands, they can call on the student, they can give real time answers and they're I mean it's really really cool, it's really interesting because I think what the thing that boggles my mind with all all this is that they're almost kind of two facets to it.

12:09 - Adam Mart (Guest)

diately come to mind from the:

14:29

So my lad he's just started secondary school and he is really getting into using his phone, because he can buy a second hand phone, because it's cheap to adjust images that he's taking using AI software on his phone in images. So he was here the day is a picture of him and his friend and he adjusts his picture of them pushing their bikes somewhere, so there is a mountain in the background and there's all these kind of bits and bobs happening around him which weren't there in the original picture, right. And he says look at this, isn't it amazing that I'm going? Actually, you know what? That's quite incredible because it looks so real that it was difficult to ascertain which was the real and which wasn't. So I then see a picture on Facebook, a black pool tower and because it's been really, really windy recently because of the recent storms, and this picture is a black pool tower like literally bent over in the wind. It's like it's a tree right, like it's really struggling to stay upright. It's properly bent over to the point of collapse.

15:41

And I send that through to my little lad and say look at this, isn't this amazing? How windy has it been in black pool recently? Dot, dot, dot. He writes back and says crikey, omg, lol, and I know it's really windy. That's incredible. Did it fall down? He says so. Of course, from a psychological perspective, he's not able to differentiate between what's real and what's not. But that's nothing new, because in my radio one days we were broadcasting live sessions where a guitarist might have been made available and the singer might have been a studio in LA somewhere, and we brought them together in real time and broadcast it live as if they're in the same space.

16:31 - David Brown (Host)

Really, yeah, because you can do that right Because of the internet. That's amazing that there was that little lag that they could do. I mean, I guess if you're professional and you know what you're doing, then you can do that. But still, do you know what I mean For me as an amateur musician who can't sing and play guitar at the same time? I just, yeah, I find that incredible.

16:51 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Give it time; you’ll be fine to keep practising.

16:53 - David Brown (Host)

Yeah, exactly.

16:55 - Adam Mart (Guest)

But the tech was expensive, yeah, so that's why a few people could do it. But then go back further in time and this kind of perception of what's real and what's not. I'm talking to a friend of mine who has nothing to do with media industry whatsoever, or he just likes consuming content, and he was bemoaning the fact that one of the programs that we were broadcasting late night on radio one was pre-recorded. It's like one of my payment licenses. He was kind of, you know, ribbing me a little bit but still and he said well, hang on a minute. So when you watch EastEnders, do you assume that's live Because that's pre-recorded too? And so there's this notion now, and it goes back. You know there are a million of one stories that you can. You can go far back as you like, this notion of what's real and what's not. When you listen to a record, do you think that that group of people play those instruments at the same time in the same place?

17:52 - David Brown (Host)

I think some people do, because that's how it was done in the beginning. Exactly, and so you assume that that's how it's done now. But I mean, even I know it's not necessarily done that way anymore, but is it a percentage of the population?

18:05 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Yeah, I don't know what percentage would assume that it actually did happen, right, or whether actually anybody actually questions it really, or cares, or cares, and this is the thing, this is the crucial aspect of it. It's like so what is the public? Well, what is the personal benchmark, equality? What is the understandings which lead to that and which of those matters to those individuals enough for them to care about if those are either changed, altered or remain the same? So, when it comes to podcasts, for example, so now the company that I founded, we have guests of ours and presenters of ours all around the world. I mean, we're doing it now, so you're not in the same space as me, and we're, by the process of some kind of weird ethereal magic, a company that's in Israel.

18:58 - David Brown (Host)

So all this is being recorded physically in Israel and then sent back to us later.

19:03 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Of course, this is permitted through the development of tech, over some considerable time investment, all the stuff that you need to make a product as reliable and stable as it needs to be for the masses to actually want to engage with it. And so the podcast that we produce not just our company, every single company under the sun who produce a similar kind of content they will edit it, so what is actually heard might actually be what was actually recorded, the elements of it taken out, it's been it's same in print. You know I said something. Well, we're going to take what you said here, put it in different sentence.

19:45

So there's this notion of reality and what actually happened versus what the distributor wants to convince the audience actually happened. So the psychological element of that relationship between content creation and the tech that you have at your disposal to be able to create that, on one hand, is shifting because it permits different things, but the core value stay the same what happened? What do you want your audiences to believe happened? So there's Dave and Paul on their, on their respective sides of the valley, and there's no ambiguity there because that message hasn't been inverted. Commerce edited between Dave saying and Paul receiving put two or three of the people in there Charlie whispers comes into play. Those two of the people that nowadays can be classed as technology.

20:40 - David Brown (Host)

Yeah, no, 100%, and I'm I'm really glad you you mentioned the psychological part of it as well, because that's something that I've really wanted to dig into that I haven't. I haven't found the right person to talk to about that Because I'm a person. No, no, it's great, but I'm but I'm glad people are thinking about it, but I want to have like a like a proper clinical psychologist on. You know I'm aiming for Jordan Peterson, but I think that might take a while why?

21:09

not, I might need a bigger audience before I can have JP on, but but anyway, I think that there's a lurking. I think there's a lurking issue that's coming behind all of this and it's it's interesting that you mentioned sort of the history of it, because I think people who've never, who've never been involved in the process, like I've never been in the involved in the process of recording music, for example, like an album. But a couple of years ago I went to Helsinki and I went in a studio with a friend because he asked me to do a little bit of voiceover for one of their songs and he said oh, you know I've got the studio and you know it'd be cool if you'd come in and you know, would you mind doing it? Because they wanted, like a Southern preacher kind of thing which, being from Memphis, like you, got the whole, you got the whole.

21:53 - Voiceover (Announcement)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

21:55 - David Brown (Host)

And it was actually quite funny because I was super self-conscious back then, and it took ages. But what the cooler thing about that whole experience was. First of all, I rocked up and I expected him to have like a small like studio in his house or something. No, they had like a 2,500 square foot studio with three separate recording areas, a living room like proper you know what I mean like a proper studio and everything and it was.

22:23

That was quite cool, first of all. But what I didn't realise is his guitarist was there, and he was trying to lay down a guitar track, and he literally played about a three or four-second piece of music 500 times, trying to get it exactly the way that he wanted it. And then he would put that in and he'd go okay, cool. And then he'd go to the next little bar and he'd try that like 300 times and he'd get it exactly the way he wanted it. And I was fascinated watching it because I'd only ever done, I'd only ever seen live music, and I'd only ever done. I had done a little bit of TV back when I was younger for the public TV station when I was a kid, but that was live TV. So I'd never seen anything really pre-recorded and what the process was like of how you actually do that. And since then I've been.

23:20

Obviously, I do the podcast now. So but I the way I do the interview style. It's not heavily edited, like you said. You know I'll cut out little things. Like you know, amazon delivery comes or something; I’ll cut that out, but generally, I like to just keep it as unedited as possible. But I know a lot of the scripted shows are heavily edited in a lot of the other shows, and I think we talked about this the other day. It's like, you know, Joe Rogan, once you sort of understand how to see edits and you can hear it, you start to realise that for a show.

23:51

That seems really casual. It's probably edited a lot.

23:55 - Adam Mart (Guest)

And that takes effort and skill and knowledge and expertise right.

23:57 - David Brown (Host)

Exactly, exactly. It's interesting that you talked about that, because I think a lot of people don't understand how contrived isn't the right word, but it's the one that came into my head, but it's.

24:09

line. I mean, even in the mid-:

25:17

And again, my sort of thing about it is is, with the advent of AI on top of that and what you were talking about with your son, now we're getting into the realms of people, can create anything, and then you get into the world of deep fakes, so I am bringing this around eventually, but now you're in a situation where you can change a video of someone else and make them say something different than what they actually said at the time and basically no one would know, and that's a. I think there's going to be a lot of potential issues around that, and there are going to be more about. It is the psychology behind it, though. It's the what can I believe? What can I believe? I mean, I think we're going to get to a point, probably in the next five to ten years, where you literally will not be able to believe anything that you see or hear.

26:16 - Adam Mart (Guest)

I. So In my career, I think everything that I've helped other people create so I work in an operations capacity right. So my job is to bring people together to get the stuff done, and everything that I've helped content producers create has been created in order to help listeners feel something and have an emotional response to something. Whether that's what make them, you know, have a feeling of escapism because they listen to radio on essential mix or they're listening to some politicians who used to be on the opposite side of the dispatch box, you know, talking to each other and thrashing stuff out, it's been an emotional response to something. Yeah, you put in your favourite piece of music in the day, and it can change your mood instantly. So Everything that's been created nowadays is either consciously or subconsciously Evoking some kind of emotional response, right, and I get the feeling that, Well, there's a movement at the moment called the anti edit movement, when content is purposefully being created with rough edges so it's not been polished and it hasn't been edited to give it that slightly more human feel.

27:44

So people are more inclined to believe that it is authentic and that what you're actually hearing actually happened or what you're watching actually happened. But this isn't new right. Immediately my mind goes back to the advent of Big Brother and the notion or the feel or the assumption that what you are actually watching actually happened and to a point it did. But of course then it comes out once you know you start to delve a little bit deeper, if you care about this kind of thing that there were kind of script editors in the background and choosing moments from those millions of hours that were recorded across series to create storylines. Then it comes out in the papers, of course, that some stories might be manipulated. But then again there's an assumption as a field that what you're watching is actually rower and more authentic than something that has been polished and what you assume, because you have that knowledge as as a lay person, that, OK, now I see that you know there's a film here.

28:53

As you said, the film is likely to have been edited. There's a lot of people around it. There's different kind of production values in play here. Then you have platforms like Be Real coming through, which younger generations have really taken to. I don't know how it's performing nowadays; I haven’t heard as much about it, but things like Snapchat and Be Real and then WhatsApp and having the auto-deletion of their messages have to have been read. You know, all these new facets that are coming in, new systems and platforms and ways of interaction which are actively engaging users and encouraging users to To make it look as though that what they're actually creating is authentic and real and actually happened. Because there's this kind of anti-edit movement where there’s an assumption that people are actually getting a bit sick of the contrived, as you say, or the manufactured overproduced.

29:51

Yeah, but that's on one side. This is how my brain works. You might get to know this is literally backwards and forwards, backwards across the fence, right. So on the other side, I was somebody to commit either way.

30:02 - David Brown (Host)

I'll just let you guys.

30:03 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Well, I could go forever to stop me, right? But on the other side of the spectrum, then there's an absolute need for the highest production values to be allowed to surface and for people to consume these to know what best in class could look and feel like so planet.

30:30

Earth for example, you know, mass budget, huge amounts of time required to capture the most intimate moments of nature, which might take months or even years. They might only happen once in a generation, you know. But to be there and to have the skill and be ready when that moment comes Takes untold amounts of resources across the spectrum, personal resilience, all that kind of stuff right, and that then is heralded as best in class in that moment. The results of that, very much like Kevlar on a spaceship. The results of that then trickle down through the layers to the everyday. So without those production values, without those beautiful lenses on those cameras which have the capacity to capture those moments in clarity which we would never imagine, we probably wouldn't have the type of lenses that we have on our mobile phones. So there is this process of technical evolution which can filter us down to the everyday in the same way that Kevlar on a spaceship and I find itself on our pots and pans in our kitchen. Without the money and time and knowledge that was invested in creating those products, we wouldn't. So there is this idea that we have to have best in class and there should be a way for the best ideas to work alongside best in class and then for those skills, not just in the content creators but in the, in the kind of the engineers and the IT and all the kind of support networks around it, to be able to stretch themselves and to grow in line and it's very symbiotic relationship, growing line with audience expectation but also and you know, if you cut me, bbc still bleeds out of me to create content that audiences will never expect. You know, this is exactly the same as when Steve Jobs released the iMac, which I'm still, the Apple, which I think was, you know, I can't remember, was it 40 years ago today? That's that all.

32:38

When it was the iPhone came out, people kind of no idea, absolutely no idea that this could be a thing. Same with the iPod, all the you know, we could name a load of them off our heads. You know, all these technical advances that come along, people have gone. I had no idea that people could even think that that was a possibility, but they did, they developed it and now we just can't live without them and those kind of, those kind of things. And the same is true for AI, right? So AI is allowing us to do things, to work on things, to deliver things, to streamline processes, to free up time, to allow us to do the stuff that we need to do elsewhere. We'll go back to the psychology of it and we don't necessarily know yet what implications that will have, but I do know that my little lad will be actively using it in ways which I don't even know about yet. You know there will be jobs that he will have available to him which I have got no idea even exists. We don't know exist. And I think for my industry at the moment it's an interesting moment because you know, I've got engineers. I say I, it's our company. We have engineers that are working with us and they're starting to want to bring in tools which are driven by AI and we're listening to them and thinking, wow, that's mightily impressive. Not necessarily the right use of them in this context, because the human ear still needs to be able to decide whether that is actually the right choice to make or whether there's a more traditional way which might sound better, struck different and qualify better.

34:24

People say vinyl, here we go. People said people say vinyl sounds better than I don't know CD or MP3 or whatever. But I think what people don't necessarily understand is that the process that's that is used to create that vinyl inhibits or as artefacts to the original recording to make it sound different. And there's a direct correlation to it between what people think is better and people think is different. And this is the case.

34:57

They don't necessarily have a lexicon to be able to say how it's different or how it's better. They just feel it. And this is what I'm saying earlier on about the emotional response to the content and the stuff that we create. The layperson shouldn't have the lexicon. In the same way that I don't know, when I go to see my doctor, exactly what the doctor is going to say and the decisions that they're making in order to give me information that I need to hear, they're able to say it to me in a way that I understand. And it's the same with the true of audio industry and media industry. The layperson shouldn't have that lexicon. If there's no reason why they can't, they've got other things to think about, but it is that that feel which overrides everything. No, I'm absolutely right.

35:46 - David Brown (Host)

That's how I got into tech. Funnily enough is I early in my career. When I was very young I worked in the travel industry and I ended up getting my first job in tech because they needed somebody. I knew enough about tech to be able to talk to the database guys and the engineers and explain what it was that the person needed. But I also could translate for the customer and tell the customer what the engineers were talking about.

36:10

And this was back in the early 90s, when sort of client services and that sort of customer manager role didn't really exist and tech companies were just groups of engineers that were building software and they had no idea how to interact with people. And so you're absolutely right, that's a skill in itself and that's how I got into tech ultimately, and that's why I ended up running teams of consultants and engine and data analysts and that sort of thing, because it was you very much had to have one foot in each camp, and I did. Sorry, I want to jump back to one thing, though it's something that's come up in my mind a few times as we've gone along and I remember. Well, I want to get your opinion on this and I'll try and make it quick, but I remember back. A good example of this is when digital cameras came out and there was within the photography community there was some like undercurrent almost, that using a digital camera was cheating somehow. I remember this, yeah, and it's and I'm assuming that in the audio business and in the broadcasting business and everything you there have, probably at every step of evolution of tools, there's been some sort of concept of, oh, there's this new thing and it's like cheating somehow, and I think that was.

37:44

And I remember when, again, I'm old enough to remember when CDs came in and then you got MP3s and MP3 players and the argument was it was vinyl was better because it was driven off of something physical. There's physical grooves on the disc and it's picking that up. And it's like when you go listen to a band like we've just taken my son to his first few concerts over the last few years and he'd only ever heard music on YouTube and Spotify and all that sort of stuff and the first time you stand in front of a live band and you feel the music and you can hear the performer actually singing at the same time and you know we were lucky enough to be right at the front so he could actually hear. You know he could hear the, the vocals from the people singing and I don't know if you heard of this band.

38:38 - Voiceover (Announcement)

Yeah, I don't know if you heard this band called Heilung before.

38:41 - David Brown (Host)

Have you heard of Heilung? They do this crazy, like tribal type stuff. Anyway, we took him to see Heilung the first time.

38:48

He's totally ruined to see any other band now because it was probably one of the best shows I've ever seen, and I've seen all the big bands, and I've seen massive stuff like Glastonbury, all the way down to, you know, sing, singer, songwriter with a guitar.

39:02

But anyway, the point was is that that, moving from you know a live experience to an LP and a disc, there's still a physical thing to it, and as soon as you switch it all to digital that was the argument that it loses something along the way. And then and then all the tools come in, and then you get the pro tools, and then you get Adobe Audition and you get all the different stuff, and you've got all this stuff for video and everything else. And it feels like every time we take this step and it's the same thing that's happening with AI, which is the reason that I'm going here is that you know people at this point are now viewing AI like it's cheating, and I think it's just another evolution of the tools that everybody uses, but at the same time, it does feel a little different.

39:57

So, Sorry, there's a lot to unpack in that no no, no, not at all.

40:04 - Adam Mart (Guest)

I'm just trying to figure out what you're all to I should comment on. But I think so. Go back to before the advent of recorded music, and people used to be able to own the music of artists by going down to the Belucca Music Shop and buying printed versions of it. So they bring it home, go into the parlour room on a Sunday and knock out you know whatever truck it was on there on the piano and and they then were able to own that music as a result of it. And then, of course, recording music came in and the publisher industry feared this because they have an impact on sales, because of course their sheet music sales will go down, because all this new stuff would be bought and the technology would be created. And there's a whole different sector now being created right and I absolutely hear you around the digital camera introduction into the industry.

41:15

Many of my family are heavily into photography, landscape, predominantly in the Lake District and around the world, and and there was, I remember there being a big conversation around that that time as well you know, what was the right thing to do Was it? Was it better to shoot on film? Which was film better? Because it was more saturated. Of course there's OK. Well, which type of film do you use? Because some films better than others? It might be that digital camera version is better than the bad type of film. So but who will quantify better? What does better look like, what does better feel like? Right and then, but all all this, I think you say cheating. I would offer that we could replace the word cheat with the word fear, Because I think when there is an advancement technology and therefore a, an evolution in workflow that comes as a result of that technology advancement, there's a section of the community who cares about the end result, which doesn't want to adapt the ways that they're working in order to produce that end result, because they fear that shift.

42:32

And whatever that shift might look like, they might have to update their knowledge. It might mean that they've got to employ new people. If they're a business specialising in this kind of thing, it might be that there's a cost implication to it, a training implication to it, without necessarily understanding the benefits to it. And the same is absolutely true of AI. You know there’s, there’s a section of any industry you care to mention which would fear the introduction of AI because it’s not necessarily aware of what it’s able to offer and also the long-term and short-term implications of using it.

43:07

Would their clients trust the end result? We're finding that it's a very mixed economy still, because it's a very, very new mass usage phase to our industry. You know, people have been using it for quite some time beforehand, but not in the way that they have been, especially last year, and those words AI have been cropping a lot of our conversations and there's been seminars on it and all you know there's been a deep dive. I hate that phrase. Why did I use it? Focus? It's been a focus.

43:37 - David Brown (Host)

What deep dive.

43:39 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Yeah, I've got a list of really annoying management phrases that you hear in meetings that I think people use because they feel comfortable using it because they feel part of a club. Anyway, different conversation, but I think there is, once people overcome that fear or they are able to accept and balance the notion that it's almost a fate. To complete, you know, there will be zeitgeist moments where there's this wholesale shift in the way that people do things. The advent of the microwave, you know. Same case in point. Well, why would you want to cook in a microwave? Well, I don't know, I can warm up, get a porridge in 15 seconds. Why wouldn't I want to do that?

44:26

Nothing ever stays the same and that is the beauty of humanity, that humanity is highly creative and we will keep evolving. Because we keep having these annoying things called ideas and the people kind of go oh yeah, that's a great idea, let's have a go at that. And it turns out to be utterly incredible. And you know, my brain seems to work in discussing one thing; something else comes to mind, which is linked to cigarettes. People thought cigarettes was a great idea.

44:53

Further down the line, we discover that it gives you cancer. Doesn't turn out to be a great idea after all, right, but there's an entire industry about it and that industry is saying, well, I mean, let's not put the money to cigarettes, let's put me to e-cigarettes instead, because we can make more money of that. And so everyone shifts over there. And and so you get these massive big companies, who are then global companies, who say, well, I mean, there's money to be made if we invest in AI, in case you point the companies in you know abroad. And and because that's the future, and if we don't jump on the bandwagon now, especially if we're not investing in A and D sorry, r and D and putting money into developing our products to to at least make use of AI, if not the whole scale shift across to it, then we're going to fall behind and we're going to die. Kodak, case in point, just died when the digital camera came out, right.

45:49 - David Brown (Host)

That's why Polaroid yeah, polaroid, but but the same. I mean, do you know what I mean? It was all the film companies, yeah, yeah and really really suffered, and some of them, you know, like Fuji. Fuji had hardware anyway and so they were able to kind of hold it together. But the the entire film business has collapsed and now films enormously expensive compared to what it used to be. But there's a huge resurgence of people going back to using film again and actually using film cameras.

46:19 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Yeah, yeah and not. You know, there's a whole notion of kind of CGI and and what allows you to create. But you know, we we watched Jaws recently for the first time, and of course, all in film, but it was a story that carried it, and this is the common thread through everything, isn't it? As long as your story is strong, then it doesn't matter how you convey it, that will. The vehicle is academic. So, whether it's if you use AI, if the idea is strong, that's all that matters, because in five years time you're gonna have something else that's gonna replace something element of it, and the evolution of it is inevitable.

47:00 - David Brown (Host)

Yeah, you're right, and while you were talking I'd made a note and it's interesting that you brought up Jaws, because there's kind of a point that ties in there, but one of the things and again, because you're sort of in the, I know you've been more on the audio side but you will have been across film and stuff as well. But there's been huge discussions about and this is, I'm sorry for everybody listening, he's not technical, but I'm gonna get technical for a second there's this whole battle between do you film at 24 frames per second or 30 frames per second, and then what does that look like? And then there's all these tools that you can use in post-processing to make it look like it was filmed on film and to add the grain back and to make it softer, because film isn't as 30 or 60, if you do 60 frames per second you get a super razor sharp video but it doesn't look. People say it doesn't look real and all these discussions and it made me think it's exactly what you were talking about and using new tools and all that. But I wanted to go back because I love this as an idea.

48:07

But do you know the story of the new Dune film that came out? No, and why it looks the way it does. No, go on. Have you seen it? No, okay, well, this will make it maybe slightly more interesting if you do go to see it, but when you watch it it doesn't look like it has. I mean, it's enormously CGI. Right, they did build some physical sets, because films are going back to doing big physical sets again, because they actually look better than all the CGI stuff and they don't age so badly. But sorry, that was my watch vibrating on my desk. So what they did is is he recorded the whole film digitally, did all the special effects and everything, and then they physically printed the digital film onto physical film, right? They then took that physical film copy that they made and they re-digitised it.

49:07 - Adam Mart (Guest)

See, this is really interesting, right.

49:08 - David Brown (Host)

But it gives it the real film. Look, but what it did is-.

49:14 - Adam Mart (Guest)

But real. But why real Qualify real right? This is the point. It gives it a look that people are familiar with.

49:21 - David Brown (Host)

s and the early:

49:42

It had loads of CGI in them absolutely horrendous now, but what he was trying to accomplish was he was trying to remove that effect. So he took the digital, put it on actual physical film and then put it back in the digital again and it has this real as it seems more real, even though you know that that sandworm is CGI. It doesn't look CGI, which? Is really cool.

50:10 - Adam Mart (Guest)

I'm sitting here bouncing on my chair, so when I was working in the recording studio, there's so much to unpack there, it's brilliant when I was working in the recording studio we're at 53 minutes, by the way, so just to let you know I'll keep the contents, I'll keep it sweet.

50:32

So Pro Tools just about made it into our studio before we enclosed down, right, and what we used to do when we were recording drums was we call the drums onto tape to get the tape saturation to make them sound big, right, and then we would bounce them out into Pro Tools. So it's the reverse of what you've just said. So to capture that, what people thought was better in the Berger Converse, into the digital space, to maintain that integrity. But again it comes down to feel because if the audience wasn't familiar? So you take a person who's landed on Earth for the first time, no idea what film is, you put them in front of Doom and you show them what it would have looked like, just shot on film, if you could take the CGI out. Money wasn't an issue. Just shot on film or just shot on CGI.

51:31

They have no preconceived ideas, they've got no blueprint as to what is the Berger Converse better? How would they be able to differentiate which one's better? They wouldn't have that idea as to which one they thought they were most familiar with. Therefore, that must be better because they're more familiar with it. It takes a big leap of faith to kind of go. Ok, I'm familiar with that one, but actually this one over here is better to my sensibilities or to my blueprint of what I think this could or should look like, and that's the difficult thing. So people still say I mean, I will be shot down in flames for this. But people still say that vinyl sounds better. My argument is always it just sounds different.

52:16 - David Brown (Host)

Yeah, it does.

52:16 - Adam Mart (Guest)

I agree, Because you think it sounds better because that's what you're familiar with. You know, frequency response, all this kind of stuff. There's more bass in vinyl, true, no argument, but there are frequencies that I could have introduced into that process which allow that. People, I'm sure, will be able to expand on this and I will probably get shot down in flames, as I say, but that's my interpretation of it, right? And so there are a million and one reasons why people choose to adopt the workflows that they do. All that matters at the end of the day, regardless of the workflow or the tech that you choose to invest in or use, or the skills that used to bring into your productions or your workflow or your work environment, whatever is. Does it make the end product better by some kind of metric and what impact has it had elsewhere? Because what you're doing there isn't done in isolation. There are other factors which have influenced how that thing has been achieved.

53:17 - David Brown (Host)

And what are you trying to do? If you're trying to go for cinematography and you want people to sit in the seat and go, oh my god, that's beautiful. Yep, right, that's one thing. If you're doing dune and you're doing these massive desert escapes and these incredible buildings and stuff, and you want people to just sit down and look at it and go, that looks amazing. But I don't know why you go through all these steps to give that feeling. But if you're recording Avengers and you're in space or whatever, you want it to have a different feel, and you might want it to be more crisp, and you might want it to be more cold, and you might want it to be sharper and those sorts of things which, again, the stuff that I'd never until probably two years ago not anything that ever really particularly entered my mind. I'd never, like I said, I'd done some live stuff on TV or whatever, or maybe done a couple of amdram-type plays and stuff when I was high school age, but I wasn't into performing or any of audio video. None of that stuff.

54:22

All the stuff I've learned, I've learned in the last few years, but learning all of that and this is old school for you. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but it's just been really interesting to actually start to understand how all that happens and then seeing that context in what AI can create, and again it's like people say, oh, but it's not human, so it can't do the same thing, and I'm like, but I could show you. And, to take your exact point, I can show you something in a lot of instances written by AI and something written by a person, and you won't know the difference Exactly. A lot of times you will, but a lot of times you won't.

55:04

And only if you're a professional at whatever that thing is doing. If I gave it to 100 random people from around the planet, they probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them or they'd get it backwards.

55:17 - Adam Mart (Guest)

And I think companies have that classic triangle, don't they? A time when it results, and if you're to one, then that has a benefit on either two or a detrimental benefit on either two, depending on how you look at it. And so, if a company is going well, we used to attain this standard and clients or audiences or customers came to us because we had that standard. If we can achieve a similar standard, but by using ways of working that enable us to achieve it, but for less money, it takes us less time, less people why wouldn't you want to do that? I mean, again, the psychology of that is a completely different conversation, which we've touched on, but that's for somebody else, right?

56:06

But I think the advantages of using AI are untold. We haven't explored them enough yet as a society or individuals actually to understand where the end game is with it, what it's capable of doing positively and negatively. We were talking about deep fakes earlier, but we're talking about my son and my family, friends of ours, creative industries, whatever being able to do things that they couldn't do before. Do things faster, do things cheaper, do things better in some cases. So you've got that example of Balad and his bedroom with his guitar, wanting to create an epic sounding track. You can do that now Even better than you could do with Pro Tools in his own bedroom, because it's limited at that point to acoustics, whereas now you can clean that all up.

56:56

You can get rid of echoes in the background really easily, make it sound like name your favourite artist, copy, whatever you want yeah exactly I want to sound like that Guitar tones, all this kind of thing and for me, in our industry, ai is I don't know whether I'm making this too simple or not, but it's just another tool that we have at our disposal and we can choose whether to implement it or not, and I think, ultimately, this is where we just have to be able to sit back and kind of go right what do we think is the right thing to do, and allow ourselves the time and the freedom to be able to do that, because AI might not always be the right thing to use in a certain application, but it might be, and if it is, why wouldn't you want to do it? We have to be brave enough as societies and cultures to understand that change is inevitable always, and so it's having that capacity to adapt which I think is important, and to accept, to question, but also and challenge either our peers or ourselves to just make sure that what we're doing is being done for the right reasons. We can't always make that choice ourselves, because, of course, there are big old companies who are spending a lot of money and convincing us to do things in a certain way. You go into any supermarket and the first thing you see is what the thing they want to buy most right. So there's a lot of psychology behind that, but it's time, and I think that's the thing.

58:33

Regardless of what phase of humanity we're in, there has to be a certain amount of time that is dedicated to making sure that what we're unleashing on and for ourselves is right and proper. As we know, you know, the developers in the internet and the AI said you know, we didn't necessarily think that this would be the intended use of it in some respects, but it's too late at that point, because it's out there and people who've got minds that work differently to theirs are using it in ways that they never dreamed of. But that's just. If you're gonna be in that seat and they're gonna be developing stuff for humanity to use, then there has to be an understanding and an assumption and a willingness to know that it will be used by people who want to use it in ways which aren't creative and constructive and for the greater good, and they need to work alongside each other. So that's my view on it.

59:27 - David Brown (Host)

Really, that's an awesome place to end the sort of formal discussion, I think because we're also right at an hour. I do. Before we finish up completely, though, I do like to ask people in my question of the year and I've said this before, but my question of the year for people is when you use AI like a chat GPT or something I assume you've used chat GPT just to play around with, if nothing else.

59:54 - Adam Mart (Guest)

Yeah, on one or two occasions. Yeah.

59:57 - David Brown (Host)

So when you talk to AI, are you polite to it? Do you think it's important to be polite or do you just talk to it like it's a machine?

::

See, the really interesting thing is to hear my children saying please and thank you to Siri or to Alexa, and I think they assume, with their younger naivety, that you need to behave similarly to an AI as you would do to a human. They don't differentiate between the two. I think there'll, probably unwittingly, be a lot of research carried out into how many people treat it with respect or just see it as a machine. Machines don't have feelings, right, so why should you be polite and kind to it? It's there to work for you like a Hoover, and so why should you transplant the ways that you deem acceptable in terms of etiquette onto a Hoover or similar? You wouldn't, so why should you do it to AI? So to me, I'm very much a human being. I'm very much, again, on the middle ground, as you probably expect, because my children are quite often in an air shot and I want them to know that you should always be polite because you never know who you're dealing with and you want to be consistent into your approach with dealing with anything, anything.

::

yep, totally agree. I think that's a good way to approach it. And this came up because I saw an article by a lady who said that she was asking this question sort of as well, like should I be polite to it or not? And the reason it came up is because she said I would use like co-pilot to help me when I got stuck on working through a coding problem.

::

Don't apply your plane yeah, yeah, okay, different. And she said, you know, I would ask it or give it some code and say, can you help me figure out what's wrong with this? And then it would come back with an answer and it would actually fix the problem. And she said she felt gratitude, but she didn't know what to do with it. And I thought that was such an interesting way to express that funny interaction that you have, because that's exactly what it is, because it helps you, and it's like if I ask you, like you know, like happened yesterday you know, if I ask for some help, and then you come and help me, I feel gratitude. I'm like, oh man, that's amazing. Thank you very much for your time and.

::

I really I appreciate that, but if it's AI like, what do you do with that?

::

You can't it doesn't care, it's very, very quickly Cause I know we're gonna wrap up soon. But you know you've got an entire generation of people not just children, adults as well who have been playing things like FIFA, right. So you go to traditional football much I'm not a football fan per se and something bad happens on the pitch and you have a very vocal response. There's an adrenaline which comes up and that adrenaline surfaces and comes out because of that vocal response, you know, and there's a collection of, there's a collective around you who have the same response. So you have that notion of kind of tribalism. You're playing FIFA.

::

You sat in a chair at home and something happens on the screen in front of you and the adrenaline's risen and where does it go? You don't know what to do with it. You know You're shouting at a TV screen for no reason and people who are walking outside are probably hearing what's going on in that house. Why is it being so abusive? Who's it being abusive to? It's to scream, and so, again, you know it's how the brain is able to process the feelings that it has for something which hasn't been around long enough for us to have blueprints for, and that, I think, is an ongoing discussion which we can't resolve today.

::

No we definitely can't resolve today, but that's a really good. That's an interesting way to think about it as well. So I'm gonna put that in my catalog of thoughts on that particular topic and have a think about that one, because it's a really good example. And you're right, we haven't even got to the point where we can deal with video games, much less than AI that seemingly can talk back to us and has more human traits.

::

What if AI says to you don't be rude.

::

Exactly Well, and somebody else had a point where they said you know, I'm always polite to it because every interaction we have with it is training it just like a child right. And so if we want it to be nice to us, we need to be nice to it, because if it starts seeing that everybody's mean all the time and that's how everybody interacts, then that model is gonna train itself to be mean.

::

And it could be psychologically profiling us and 10 years time we might get something through the post and say I'm gonna met your best type of person because you've reacted with an AI this way. So we know you to be that kind of person, so you're likely then to end up doing this kind of crime and end up in that kind of prison. So here's your life and out front of you.

::

Yeah, I mean I jokingly say that I just I want it to know that I'm a nice person, so when it takes over it's gonna go. Oh well, Dave was always nice to me, so I'm not gonna bother him too much, but that guy over there was a real dick, so I'm gonna go get him.

::

That's it.

::

But done.

::

Evolution sort of done.

::

There we go. Thank you very much for your time, Adam. We could probably go. We could pull a Joe Rogan if we wanted to and go for like three hours, but I think we've got other things to do. That was amazing. Yeah, thank you very much for that. Would you like to give a shout-out? I mean, I'll have your company name and stuff in the show notes, but if you'd like to give a shout out, tell everybody where to go, where they can find you.

::

So we are well. Firstly, I just like to say I agree. I mean this discussion has been. It's been lovely chatting to you; it's been absolutely fascinating. So thank you very much, Dave. Having me on this it's very much appreciated. And on the podcast to do on the subject, which I have limited knowledge of as well as, but hopefully, I've offered some kind of insight. I'm not sure, but in terms of shoutouts, it's fundamental. I guess it's just my website. You know it's A-I-R-A-P-H-O-N for November. We're an audio post-production company specialising and producing audio for TV, podcast and digital assets. One eye on the future, one eye in the past, and hopefully, then we'll get to work with some lovely, lovely people as we're coming to you and see where the world takes us.

::

Awesome, brilliant; thanks, Adam.

::

Take care. Good day, man.

::

We'll speak to you soon. Cheers, bye.

About the Podcast

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Creatives With AI
The spiritual home of creatives curious about AI and its role in their future

About your host

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David Brown

A technology entrepreneur with over 25 years' experience in corporate enterprise, working with public sector organisations and startups in the technology, digital media, data analytics, and adtech industries. I am deeply passionate about transforming innovative technology into commercial opportunities, ensuring my customers succeed using innovative, data-driven decision-making tools.

I'm a keen believer that the best way to become successful is to help others be successful. Success is not a zero-sum game; I believe what goes around comes around.

I enjoy seeing success — whether it’s yours or mine — so send me a message if there's anything I can do to help you.