Symbolic Soundhas expanded the real-time sound-computing power of its Pacarana sound engine by making it possible for Kyma sound designers to chain two or more multiprocessor Paca(rana)s together via the built-in A/B Expansion ports. To the Kyma software, a network of Paca(rana)s appears as a single sound computation engine with multiple processors. Kyma automatically detects the number of available processors and schedules the execution of DSP-intensive signal processing and synthesis algorithms across multiple processors.
How it works
Two or more Pacas, Pacaranas, or combinations of both can be connected by plugging the orange cables, provided by Symbolic Sound, into the Expansion A and B ports on the backs of the units. A combination of audio and control signals is transmitted over the orange wires from each Paca(rana) to its neighbor. One of the Paca(rana)s is connected to a Macintosh or Windows computer (running the Kyma sound design software) via FireWire 800 (or 400). A single FireWire audio interface on the same bus handles all of the analog and digital audio inputs and outputs and, depending on the audio interface, MIDI. (A list of compatible converters can be found here). The composite super-Pacarana shows up in Kyma as a single sound computation engine with extra processors. To the sound designer or musician, the expansion is completely transparent; Kyma automatically takes advantage of the additional real-time processing power and memory.
This is the end of the Dane A. Davis Special, finishing with another article about his masterpiece Matrix, this time with the second part of the trilogy: Matrix Reloaded. Let’s check another article at Mix Online with interesting info about the mix, the music and some sound effects of Matrix Reloaded.
Dane Davis: “It was all about the angles that things would bounce. We had to drop the cars right in the middle of the microphone array, and then keep them from rolling over the mics or over all of us. We also had a couple of wrecking balls — including one that weighed 3,500 pounds — that we dropped through the cars. At one point, one of the balls went all the way through the cars, through the concrete under them, into the dirt and back up through the car, then rolled over a bunch of mic cables and came to rest on a PZM mic, completely crushing it. We got some really great sounds out of that.”
Dane Davis: “The Sentinels had to be very monstrous-sounding, very alive and very lethal; yet we know that they’re machines. Each one has eight motor and gear tracks, plus about four Foley tracks that are done live [mostly for the tails]. Each track is a composite of a bunch of sounds, and every move that the Sentinels make has to be expressed in every one of those tracks. The dubbing mixers then had to carefully pan each element of each Sentinel as they moved through space to give them a very real, three-dimensional power and menace.”
Dane Davis: “A really key part of the sound of The Matrix is the way air is pushed out of the way. The whooshes are the power: all those molecules of air being moved out of the way so that fist or foot can connect with you in a bad way. It’s unlike a lot of Hong Kong movies that go ‘thuk’ — with no air. The way we approach it is that every limb is a combination of different whooshes. They’re very complicated, with a lot of sound manipulation, but they all start out with real sounds: me swinging things around my head as hard as I can — computer cables, phone cords, unraveled nylon rope, lots of odd things on the ends of rope — you name it, we flung it.”
Always mixing, predubs in the world of effects-heavy film re-recording. Very interesnting article recently posted by Mix Online:
Given the complexity of high-action movies, and the fact that technology-savvy directors retain their creative options right up to the final print-mastering stage, re-recording mixers face some difficult choices. “As soon as I had read the script for Watchmen, I knew that we could use an extra three to four weeks on the mix,” recalls Chris Jenkins, who, with Frank Montano handling sound-effects tracks, mixed dialog and music for director Zack Snyder’s film about costumed super-heroes in the dystopian world of an alternate America. “But you never get the luxury of working in a linear fashion on a very special effects-heavy film that won’t be locked [until close to print mastering]. The schedule just didn’t allow us that luxury; it’s always fluid. We joke now that picture and predubs aren’t locked; instead, they are ‘latched’ — the film is fastened together, but not necessarily glued together!”
There is an interesting article covering the info about the sound of Dark Sector, a third person action shooter that “thrusts you into Hayden Tenno’s mysterious world”. Let’s read:
Sound Design and Music
The sound design of Dark Sector was also really important to the storytelling. We created a number of ambient sound design pieces that combined traditional musical instrumentation with elements of sound design. It was really effective to infuse the pieces with sounds that made the player feel on-edge. Things like prepared piano scrapes, metal creaks and groans, as well as infusing some of the scarier NPC sounds into the music. These sound design cues allowed us to help the player perceive that the infection was spreading throughout their body through the use of audio. Altering the state of the soundscape to not include what you’d traditionally hear brought about a sense of unease. We would create a list of a few different cues which would play randomly and constantly, but at the same time it didn’t feel like the cues were switching at all. It helped with the immersion factor that there were no jarring and noticeable cue changes. It also helped to avoid creating any musical fatigue by not having to play the same tracks over and over again.
The production of Dark Sector wasn’t without its fair share of pitfalls, though. One major obstacle that we ran into with the music implementation was the fact that the timing for our cinematics wasn’t fully locked down before Keith scored them. Quite often we had to edit his score to fit the newly arranged timings. Whole shots would get cut-out and lines of dialogue would be cut. It’s important to have as close to final timings as possible before writing music.
Our dynamic music system is still in its infancy and we have a ton of ideas that we’d like to implement. While we were able to dynamically crossfade music we were not able to mix and match cues together based on gameplay. For example, having the ability to trigger a musical breakdown that plays underscore in response to gameplay changes, then switching to a different melody when the action heats up again etc… would have enabled us to incorporate even more control over the moment to moment feel of Dark Sector.
We had already seen the Gary Rydstrom Sound Show at “Big Movie Sound Effects: Behind the Scenes and Out of the Speakers”, an special Show Co-Produced by the Motion Picture Sound Editors and the American Cinematheque.
Hello, I’m Dane and I design and oversee the sounds in movies.Bill Pope, Director of Photography, told me after the premier of one of the Matrix movies that we were the “Invisible Crew” and that even if he turned the camera around 180° on every shot nobody would see us. So nobody knows we’re there. They just know that in the theater those Styrofoam and wood sets sound like heavy iron. You know that three-foot tall tower they crashed and blew up on the set and STILL looks three-foot tall in the dailies? When they go to the theater it’s scary and huge and heavy and dangerous. And they know that somehow those amazing visual effects people are cooking up monsters and spaceships and all these amazing things that don’t exist on earth, that somehow the sounds for all those visuals go through their light pens into the movie theater as well. But that’s not quite how it happens. There are people like Gary and me and all of the people on our teams and the people in the MPSE, and we have to cook up all of those sounds. It’s a little sad that all the people that create and edit and mix all these sounds for these movies to make everything feel real and exciting and dramatic are invisible. In fact, on most of the “making of” videos that you see, they’re still all invisible. We do our job so well we disappear.
So I had a hypothesis I thought I’d try out. Since turning the camera around 180 degrees didn’t really help, let’s try turning the projector around 180 degrees. Now let’s watch some highlights from “The Matrix.”
[Clip with no picture but the sound effects mix exactly as heard in the movie in narrative order.]
So, how did it look? You take away the actors that everybody can see and everything else on the set you can see and even the orchestra, which most people can pretty much imagine is there somewhere, and this is what’s left. What you just heard.
When we’re brought onto a project, we can’t always see a whole lot. It’s great that Gary played some of those animatics. That’s very often how movies like “The Matrix” look when we first see them.