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Posted by on Jun 30, 2010 | 5 comments

Charles Maynes Special: Reader Questions

So, this is the end of the amazing special of Charles Maynes. We hope you enjoyed it as we did. Here are the answers to the reader questions:

Designing Sound Reader: Hi Charles, I see you have done loads of weapons recording, I dont have any experience of that but I would love to try it. Do you ever use analogue tape to record gun/explosion sounds?

CM: I have not I must confess- I have used analog tape to process digital source, but not in the field. John Paul Fasal takes a Nagra out on many of his shoots, including ones we diid together for Flags Of Our Fathers and Starship Troopers. The Nagra can have a nice sound to it, but frankly in my opinion what is gained in warmth tends to be at a cost of signal to noise ratio- Since I do almost all of my recording a 96k, the clarity of higher sample rates, at least for me is much more desirable.

DSR: When cutting gun fx (shots,bullet whizz-bys,impacts,etc…) to picture do you end up using a lot of sweetening or do you get most done with raw recordings? How about processing such as Dopler,filtering,etc…

CM: Good question- It ultimately comes down to the creative direction that the team requires- sometimes using more stylisitic processing is right, and sometimes it might be less right- but the ultimate goal is presenting a sound that excites the folks you are working for- whether it is a film or a game.

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Posted by on Jun 30, 2010 | 5 comments

“TOY STORY 3″ – Exclusive Interview with Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, and Al Nelson

Thanks go out to Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, and Al Nelson from TOY STORY 3 for taking time out to answer few questions about their work on the film!

TM = Sound Designer/ Sound Re-Recording Mixer Tom Myers
MS = Sound Re-Recording Mixer Michael Semanick
AL = Sound Editor Al Nelson

JAKE: “Day & Night” the short film that played before “Toy Story 3” was so creative in the way it used sound. Were there discussions early on about how sound design would drive the story? Pixar has a rich tradition of selecting short film ideas from fellow Pixar employees’ pitches. Who does sound for these short films at Skywalker?

TM: The sound duties for Pixar’s shorts are split between Skywalker and Pixar. For some of the earlier shorts, we did all the work at Skywalker, but over the last few years Pixar has developed a small staff of very talented sound folk. On “Day and Night” the sound design was done by Barney Jones at Pixar with guidance from Sound God Gary Rydstrom who splits time between the two companies. I did the mix here at Skywalker with the director Teddy Newton and Barney present.

MIGUEL: When did you guys start on “Toy Story 3”? How did Lee Unkrich interact with the sound department and what was his take on how sound would be utilized in the film?

TM: We saw a storyboarded version of the film in early 2009 and then had preliminary spotting sessions with Lee and composer Randy Newman. I started sound design in late 2009 and the rest of the crew started in January of 2010. Lee was very involved in the process and knew the library very well having been the editor on the first film and codirector on the second. He is very detail oriented, even spending time with the foley crew. His first concern sound-wise was that we make the third film a continuation of the world created in the first two. All three films needed to feel organically part of the same aural universe, just as they were visually.

AN: I came on the show for the first temp mix in the fall of ’09. This was a great broad stroke introduction to how Lee intended the film to sound. We walked away with some great notes to think about for the final, though, I didn’t actually start cutting effects on the film until late February. So, I’d like to acknowledge Dustin Cawood, Terry Eckton and Tim Nielsen who fortunately did all the hard work before I jumped in.

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Posted by on Jun 29, 2010 | 3 comments

Alan Rankin on the Sound Design of "Alan Wake"

Alan Wake is one of my favorite games of this year. This dark story really intrigued me. The sound work is also fascinating, and for that, here are a couple of thoughts from Alan Rankin (Soundelux), sound design supervisor of the game.

Supervising Sound Designer and Academy Award-nominee Alan Rankin headed a team of sound designers who, under the direction of Microsoft Game Studios Audio Director Mark Yeend, helped create the spooky atmosphere of the game, widely hailed by critics as the year’s best new release. In its review, Video Gamer magazine called the game’s soundtrack, which also features a score by renowned Finnish composer Petri Alanko, “one of the best and most memorable I’ve ever heard in a video game.”

“Alan Wake” looks and feels more like a supernatural action film than a conventional video game, as players accompany the title character as he tries to locate his missing wife. Alice has mysteriously vanished during their trip to the idyllic small town of Bright Falls in the Pacific Northwest which is populated with authenticly strange and quirky locals.

The sound design created by Rankin, Sound Designer Brad Beaumont and the rest of the DMG crew helps the game attain a cinematic, richness and depth to help draw players through the innumerable plot twists. “The game offered a lot of chances to build creepy, otherworldly ambiences, environments, and in-game sound effects,” recalls Rankin. “There is a real story to be told and the sound design helps immerse the player in that narrative.”

Continue reading…

We are currently working on an interview with Audio Director Mark Yeend. You’ll find it here very soon!

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Posted by on Jun 29, 2010 | 0 comments

Sound Design Seminar Presents "Essence of Voice Acting"

David Sonnenschein continues with his great series of online seminars. His last seminar about human voice in media was really good. David and his guest gave a cool overview of the power of human voice in media, showed several examples of voice overs, shared tips, techniques, answered questions, and also we listened to an interview with Audio Director David Collins. David is announcing a new seminar focused on voice over… Check:


Seminar 1: Freeing the Voice Through Character Study

Guest Speaker Phil Proctor of Firesign Theatre and VO fame reveals how he approaches character development using improv and physicality. He will also discuss the changes necessary to become a working voice actor today as compared to what worked in the VO field 20, or even 10 years ago. Hosts David Sonnenschein and Donna Summers contribute with psychoacoustic theory behind listening and vocal qualities, and how this affects commercial VO work today. We’ll answer questions on what makes an audition read or a demo stand out, and why having an online agent is important.

Seminar 2: Perfecting Dialects and Accents

Master Teacher and Dialect Expert Eliza Jane Schneider gives you tools about the skills and techniques to eliminate or neutralize your accent. David Sonnenschein explores the magic space between the words and production techniques to make your VO demo and audition stand out from the rest. Donna Summers reveals how to use your story and the copy “story” to develop an arsenal of voice types for commercial and theatrical work, and how to use these tools in the audition environment. We will also discuss the tools of a well-rounded VO talent.

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Posted by on Jun 28, 2010 | 8 comments

"Fotograma Sonoro", New Brother Blog Featuring Sound Design Resources in Spanish

As many of you know, my home language is spanish, and since I started Designing Sound I’ve received a lot of requests and suggestions for a site like Designing Sound, but in spanish. For those who are waiting, here it is: “Fotograma Sonoro“.

The blog will be hosted on, the biggest audio production community in spanish language, with more than 1.200.000 visitors each month, over 95.000 registered users and lots of cool stuff regarding music and sound production. Fotograma Sonoro will not be a simply translation of Designing Sound. It will have his own exclusive content, and also translated texts from interviews and exclusive articles published on Designing Sound.

I’m very excited with this new blog. I’ve learned a lot from this first year of  Designing Sound, so I think  the next step is to reach new territories and spread the word all over the world. I’ll put all my experience and efforts on this new site, and I hope to find lots of fantastic readers such as you and all the visitors of Designing Sound.


Link: Fotograma Sonoro

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