Rob Bridgett Special: Lectures About Game Audio Production

Four lectures of Rob Bridgett with information and good tips for game audio production, focused on the audio model on Scarface.

GDC Canada 2009 – Post-production Audio Panel
GDC Canada 09 – Post-production Audio Panel
By Rob Bridgett, Leonard Paul, Gordon Durity, Jason Ross
Genre: game audio
Tags: audio, games, lecture, post-production, sound design
Download : MP3 Audio
A moderated panel discussion on game audio between Rob Bridgett from Radical Entertainment (Scarface), Jason Ross from Relic Entertainment (Dawn of War II) and Gordon Durity from Electronic Arts Canada (Def Jam Vendetta) moderated by Leonard Paul of Lotus Audio (Facebreaker). Topics focus on the final stage of game audio schedule such as mixing, mastering, sound replacement, 7.1 surround and last-minute fixes before shipping.
Intended Audience
Sound directors, sound designers, composers, audio producers and anyone directly involved in the audio production process will benefit from this session. A strong knowledge of game audio is advantageous.
Idea Takeaway
Attendees learn how the game audio pros polish their audio in the final stages to achieve AAA title audio. An inside look into the techniques of advanced game audio for leading game companies is contrasted and demonstrated.

1. GDC CANADA 09 – POST PRODUCTION AUDIO PANEL

A moderated panel discussion on game audio between Rob Bridgett from Radical Entertainment (Scarface), Jason Ross from Relic Entertainment (Dawn of War II) and Gordon Durity from Electronic Arts Canada (Def Jam Vendetta) moderated by Leonard Paul of Lotus Audio (Facebreaker). Topics focus on the final stage of game audio schedule such as mixing, mastering, sound replacement, 7.1 surround and last-minute fixes before shipping.

  • Intended Audience: Sound directors, sound designers, composers, audio producers and anyone directly involved in the audio production process will benefit from this session. A strong knowledge of game audio is advantageous.
  • Idea Takeaway: Attendees learn how the game audio pros polish their audio in the final stages to achieve AAA title audio. An inside look into the techniques of advanced game audio for leading game companies is contrasted and demonstrated.

2. AES 2008 INTERACTIVE MIXING LECTURE

In video game development, audio postproduction is still a concept that is frowned upon and frequently misunderstood. Audio content often still has the same cut-off deadlines as visual and design content, allowing no time to polish the audio or to reconsider the sound in context of the finished visuals. This tutorial talks about ways in which video game audio can learn from the models of postproduction sound in cinema, allotting a specific time at the end of a project for postproduction sound design, and perhaps more importantly, mixing and balancing all the elements of the soundtrack before the game is shipped.

This tutorial will draw upon examples and experience of postproduction audio work we have done over the last two years such as mixing the Scarface game at Skywalker Sound and also more recent titles such as Prototype. The tutorial will investigate:

  • Why cutting off sound at the same time as design and art doesn’t work
  • Planning and preparing for postproduction audio on a game
  • Real-time sound replacement and mixing technology (proprietary and middleware solutions)
  • Interactive mixing strategies (my game is 40+ hours long, how do I mix it all?)
  • Building/equipping a studio for postproduction game audio.

3. DEVELOP CONFERENCE 2007 – INTERACTIVE MIXING LECTURE

  • Dynamic Range: A Study of Software DSP & Run-Time Mixing
  • With reference to his work on ‘Scarface: The World Is Yours’,Bridgett will examine the absence of subtlety and silence in the audio of many recent video games, manifested by a lack of dynamic range, over-compression of sound and music assets, and leaving little potential for narrative tension and release

Specific topics will include:

  • Production practices in which sound, music and dialogue have been consistently over-compressed at the individual asset level
  • Interactive mixing and post-production as a valuable area where dynamics can be artistically controlled via such real-time DSP effects and run-time snapshot mixers to dynamically shape and prioritize the overall sound in an interactive environment
  • Delegates will take away a greater understanding of how run-time mixing can re-define the dynamic range of game audio.

4. GDC SAN FRANCISCO 2007 – POST PRODUCTION AUDIO MODEL ON SCARFACE

  • Session Description - Scarface used a unique model for its audio, combining conventional audio development from the beginning of the project and augmenting this with a movie-like post-production audio phase at Skywalker Sound. This essentially concentrated on two major elements, sound design and a final mix.
  • Post production Sound Design - The audio development team spent a week with Oscar winning sound designer Randy Thom reviewing the game’s audio and took away assets just prior to alpha. Returning two months later with most of those sounds implemented for a final week of concentrated sound effects replacement.
  • Post Production Mix - The entire audio development was also taken to a movie mix stage for three weeks where all the sound for the game was mixed. This used unique proprietary technology that allowed a mix control surface to be attached to all the sounds in the game and enabled the game to be mixed by a motion picture mixer Juan Peralta.

The lecture talks about the work flow aspects of taking the audio development off site, as well as the technical and aesthetic advancements made during the Scarface project.

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