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Posted by on Aug 31, 2010 | 1 comment

Rob Nokes Special: Reader Questions

Wow, August just flew! Here is the final post of the Rob Nokes special, with the answers to the questions made by the readers during this month. Hope you enjoyed this month, and get ready for September! :D

Designing Sound Reader: How well do you take care of your microphones? Do you leave them out in the studio overnight or do you put them away the minute the recording session is over? And how often do you get them serviced?

Rob Nokes: I store my microphones in a temperature controlled room that also stores the SoundStorm library, 75F and 38% humidity. I don’t use the Neumanns in dangerous situations but I have placed an MKH-60 adjacent to a car’s muffler. Cheaper microphones are placed in harms way, such as the SANKEN CUB-01’s and AKH C4000B. I have lost some Sennheiser E835’s.

The studio sound proofing controls temperature and humidity so I don’t have a problem leaving the microphones out over night. Microphones get serviced when they have problems, it’s important to have backups available when a microphone starts to sound bad.

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Posted by on Aug 30, 2010 | 5 comments

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" – Exclusive interview with Supervising Sound Editor Julian Slater

Full disclosure, I haven’t seen Edgar Wright’s first film (A Fist Full of Fingers) but his two other theatrical releases(“Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz)” I enjoyed immensely and were both very sound friendly. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” follows suit and interviews with Wright confirmed my suspicion of his love for sound. Below is an excerpt from a interview with Edgar.

Cinematical: I had a conversation with a friend who mentioned that there is a sound effect that comes from Sonic the Hedgehog, which I actually didn’t know or recognize. How much are people supposed to be identifying the specific little sounds and details like that, and how much is meant to be just a part of the overall pastiche?

Wright: I think it’s not the central part of that joke, but the Sonic the Hedgehog noise is, and I feel like those things are kind of to create almost a pavlov’s dog response for people in the audience who have grown up with those sounds. I think it’s more that I wanted to create – those sounds and audio references and motifs are not supposed to stop the film dead. If people don’t recognize them, it’s not what the scene is about or even the joke is about. It’s more that what I kind of figured is that with some of that music, and even like Mac and PC and Blackberry noises, is that they’re the kinds of sounds of the last 15 years. So it’s sort of like a pavlovian response to like a Mac error sound is that you know you’ve done something wrong (laughs). Because I think if you actually put a microphone in somebody’s apartment that uses a lot of technology, there would just be a number of sounds that we take for granted that are just part of our lives – vibrating cell phones, Mac errors, the sound of trash.

Basically, Scott Pilgrim is like living his life through the pop culture he’s consumed over the last 30 years, so there’s like this endless jumble of resonant sounds. So to the character and to me, it’s like the Sonic the Hedgehog noise is basically just like 1993’s lightbulb sound, do you know what I mean? Ding! That’s it – there’s nothing and not extra jokes written in that, and it’s sounds that you recognize and have grown up with over the last 20 years. I love that it has that sort of pavlovian response; I mean, some of them are very kind of buried in the mix, but it makes me laugh because we went through all of the Windows and Mac sounds of the last 15 years, and just when somebody wakes up it has the sort of startup sound, so that it just happens to be in the background. But a lot of them are diegetic as well, and I’ve done that in Spaced as well; I always find that interesting, trying to soundtrack things rather than raid the Hanna-Barbera sound effects. You sound diegetic from the technology we use.

I’d love to share more examples of Edgar’s thoughts on sound (There’s plenty more) but I’d better get on with our interview with sound supervisor Julian Slater.  Slater has been working with Edgar since 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead” and I actually interviewed him for 2008’s “In Bruges”.  Anyway, Thanks to Julian for answering some questions about his work on “Scott Pilgrim v. The World” and you can see him in The Soundworks Collection’s interview for the film too.

DS: When did you start working on the film and what were the initial conversations about sound with director Edgar Wright like?

(Julian Slater) JS: Edgar first approached me around December 2008 to talk about the project and what he felt would be the overall ‘feel’ of the soundtrack. He actually showed me some test footage they already shot which turned out to be very accurate to the finished film. I started on some initial sound work around May of 2009 which included new video game and 8 bit sounds to send to the cutting rooms over in Toronto while they were shooting.

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 | 1 comment

The Art of Sound Design, An Interview with Tim Prebble

Tim Prebble has been interviewed by Ande Schurr at “The Big Idea”. The interview is really interesting and full inspiring, don’t miss it!

Sound Designer Tim Prebble is at catch for my freelance series. He has an office across the road from Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post, is a thrice finalist in this year’s Qantas Film and Television Awards for Best Sound Design and has a fan base that only a genre director could rival.

Tim epitomises many of the things that could be classed as best freelance practices. His developmental and DIY attitude with social media, websites and e-commerce; his emphasis on collegial rapport and being in good standing among colleagues; his efforts to map out the territory he wants to play in – exploring his passions – and turning them into viable sources of income.

A recent graduate of an Auckland audio school told me that that his home page is Tim’s blog. The Music of Sound covers it all – from comparing the major audio editing software packages to crowd sourcing sound fx to methods of creating great SFX (Sound Effects).

Packed full of ideas for people in all film and TV departments, Tim Prebble is a freelancer who has raised the bar for those of us wanting to make our passion our work.

Full interview here

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 | 0 comments

Rob Nokes Special: The Work at

Here is an interview that Rob Nokes had some time ago, where he talks about the work on his sound effects company. Let’s read:

Question: What is the quality control for sounds available for the users and customers?

Answer: A librarian will review the recordings and master them before they are imported in the web site for users to purchase and download. The librarian ensures that only good quality sounds are making it onto the web site. There are a lot of substandard sound recordings out there and we take pride in providing a great library with a money back guarantee on all purchases.

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2010 | 1 comment

The Sound of "Metroid Prime 3"

Jayson Napolitano, from Original Sound Version has created a new section on the site called “Blast from the Past”, which will include interviews made previously in the Music4Games site (offline several months ago). He started with a great interview he had with composer Kenji Yamamoto and Retro Studios sound supervisor Scott Petersen talking about their work on “Metroid Prime 3”.

Petersen: Right from the start of pre-production design on Prime 3, we knew that this had to be the most impactful Prime yet. To help focus on this goal I spent a lot of time thinking about how the sound design and music could support this idea of the best Prime ever.

For the sound design, I identified that the core of our audio aesthetic is that everything Metroid should be highly stylized and/or synthetic. To push this further and to help carve out some new sonic territory, I wanted all of our stylized and synthetic sounds to have very little midrange content; I really wanted our world sounds to mainly be just highs and lows. This would ideally leave the middle range for creatures and weapons and music. While we didn’t slavishly follow this guideline for everything, it really helped all of our sound designers focus on a concrete aesthetic and sonic palette. It also came with a catchy description: “Sci-fu.”

A parallel consideration was that we knew from the outset that were going have Phazon everywhere and integrated into the entire game. This meant that we had to come up with a greater depth and variety of Phazon sounds (lovingly referred to as blue goo) than we had in the first two Primes. To do this, we sketched out a whole mess of loops based on what Phazon might sound like. We even had the opportunity to persuade our audio engineer Jim Gage to build a couple of Tesla coils, just so we could record the sounds in the hopes that it would be the secret element for our new Phazon. (It was pure bliss recording the sound of 30” arcs of high voltage electricity). We ended up taking the Tesla source and a variety of other sounds and digitally mangling them together to form the root of our new Phazon. This root sound was given to each sound designer who was to be creating anything remotely related to Phazon or Corruption for them to reference, use and abuse. The funny thing is that as a result of this you never really hear Phazon directly; it is much more about how Phazon corrupts and affects things than what it is in and of itself. This was not something I expected at the outset and was really part of the evolving concept of what it means to do sounds for video games.

Full interview

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