Here are the questions made by the readers and answered by our special guest Jamey Scott.
Designing Sound Reader: You said you enjoy building scenes from scratch. Where do you like to start? Background to foreground? Foreground to background?
Jamey Scott: I prefer background to foreground. Frequently background stuff gets discarded as mixes get bigger, but I like to have it to work with.
DSR: How heavily baffled is your ADR recording room? Is the ideal space for ADR a completely dead room, or do you like having reflections in it for options?
JS: My ADR room is relatively small with 702 fiberglass on the walls and a cloth covering, so reflections are minimized. There’s a window, but I usually have it covered with a thick curtain to eliminate bounce. My ADR recordings don’t have any reflection problems and there is no “room sound” in them, so I think it’s a better way to go for flexibility rather than having a built in sound. You can always give it color later but you can’t take it out, so it’s important to record as dry as possible, in my opinion.
DSR: Which type of mouse do you use? Are you a trackball or classic mouse user? How do you mix string swells and emotional music where you “feel” your way through the faders with a mouse?
JS: I just use a regular old optical mouse.. $9.95 @Frys. I’ve tried to get used to trackballs as a lot of friends swear by them, but I never could. When I make fader moves with music, I use the virtual faders in ProTools and just move them up and down with the mouse. Frequently though, I get better results just tweaking the automation envelopes.
Here is the last article of the Jamey Scott Special. It’s an interview with him, talking about the sound of the Unreal Tournament video game series.
Designing Sound: Please tell us how you get involved with Unreal Tournament and how has been your relationship with the audio team and other crews on Epic Games.
Jamey Scott: I was actually pretty heavily addicted to the original Unreal Tournament when I was working for Presto Studios. We used to play on the LAN incessantly. Usually after 6pm into the wee hours of the night. It replaced Quake for many obvious reasons. When Presto closed its doors and I went freelance, I was graced with the lucky opportunity to do some of the UT2003 dialog recordings with Lani Minella who was casting the sessions. Working with Cliff Bleszinski in that capacity gave me the opportunity to do some odds and end for him and eventually he started contracting me more frequently to improve the quality of some of the sounds that were in the game at that point. In terms of my relationship with Epic, I’m a preferred contractor and they hire me when there’s need for sound designs that they think I’ll be able to do well on. For the Unreal Team, I did quite a bit of work for UT2003/UC1. I did a bit of dialog processing for Unreal Championship 2 but not a lot of sound design. For UT2007 (which later became UT3), I think I did the vast majority of the sound design and the dialog processing. I worked on it for a long time and did a lot of very unique designs for it.
DS: In terms of sound, what have been the differences and different challenges between the titles of Unreal Tornament that you’ve been worked in?
JS: The tech has evolved a lot. The first UT game I worked on was UT2003, which was for the original XBox, so space was limited and the Unreal engine was not yet really optimized for next gen sound at the time, so it was still a very old school approach of cramming as much low-res sound as possible into the RAM buffers and hoping for the best. UT3 was a much more liberating game to work on during the design phase, but in the final hour there were some memory issues that forced us to once again cram everything we could into a very small buffer and hope for the best. As a result, the PS3 version of the game didn’t sound as we had hoped for. It was very compressed and hashy sounding and a very large chunk of the content that I had developed for the game had to be cut. That was a bit of a bummer at the time, but there really wasn’t much we could do about it. I have all of my source content in my library from that game and every now and then I’ll happen upon some of it in a search and I’ll be really amused by some of it. I really hope at some point we could do a re-release with a modern audio spec so that some of that great content could be realized as it should have been.
Jamey Scott has created a fantastic 15min long video tutorial on stem workflow. He showcases several Pro Tools templates he uses on sound design and mixing, giving details of the tracks, Aux/FX routing, stem organization, groups, etc.
SoundWorks Collection has published a new video featuring sound re-recording mixer/supervising sound editor Ren Klyce and music composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross discussing their work on “The Social Network”. The 45 minute discussion was moderated by Bruce Carse.
Bruce Bueckert of Juice Studios in Santa Monica, California has started Bottle Rocket Fx, a royalty-free sound effects library. His first two releases include Drones 5.1 and Drones 2.0.
Drones 2.0 ($35) – 24-Bit/96kHz – 62 Stereo Sounds – 1.59GB Download
These stereo ambiences are a collection of sounds forged from tormented guitars and percussion instruments as well as eerie chimes, haunting vocals and droning synths. All of this comes together to create an assortment of horror and sci-fi sounds. Everything from dream like transitions to forbidding rumbles can be combined or used as stand-alone pieces to help design any atmosphere or transformation.
Drones 5.1 ($35) – 24-Bit/96kHz – 32 Sounds (32 Surround / 32 Stereo Downmixes) – 4.61GB Download
This library includes 32 drones, atmospheres and ambiences ranging from ethereal to ominous capable of evoking a wide range of emotions. If you are looking to set the tone for your horror or sci-fi project you can find it here. There are 13 base drones as well as alternative versions of many of the drones to give you options in case a certain sound competes with other elements of your mix. Instead of using only virtual instruments or synths I’ve also tried to incorporate organic, instrumental and real world sounds. Many of the effects have a combination of guitar, voice, percussion and interior ambiences as well as synth sounds. These drones also come with a stereo downmix for your stereo projects as well.
You can also get both libraries as a bundle for $60 as well as a free version.
“I started Bottle Rocket Fx as a royalty-free sound effects library intended for use by anyone looking to enhance their media production. It is my intention to offer a variety of specific libraries that are easily downloadable and affordable so you can get to work sooner rather than later. All of the sound effects are 24bit/96k WAV files embedded with metadata readable by your sound effects database. My mission with Bottle Rocket Fx is to build sound libraries I think will be useful to sound designers, editors and mixers in a way that is easy to use and manipulate.”
Bottle Rocket Fx