John Broomhall has published another of his great articles on this month’s issue of Develop Magazine, this time talking with sound designer Mark Knight and audio director Stephen Root on the sound of F1 2010, a game developed by Codemasters.
Relatively few privileged sound designers ever get up close and personal with a Formula 1 racing car.
Even fewer get to satisfy their own particular quest for the holy grail of motorsport audio – a decent onboard F1 engine recording. Having worked on Geoff Crammonds’ Grand Prix sims back in the day, this month’s feature proved something of a nostalgia trip revealing that whilst the recording challenges I faced then haven’t eased, the technology to manipulate F1 audio in production and at run-time has blossomed beautifully.
“You can never have enough access but opportunities are few,” says Codemasters audio director Stephen Root. “The Force India team let us record their Mercedes engine and McLaren gearbox combination during shakedown testing at Silverstone before the 2010 season start.
“Later, Brawn GP – subsequently Mercedes GP – provided us another outing during testing in Jerez, Spain. Both were really helpful working with us the night before to position DPA lavs on the chassis before the car was put together – even building us custom suspension mounts to augment the bespoke cradles and windjammers we’d already created.”
Nothing, however, could have prepared Root and his team for the astonishing heat and vibration generated as the car flies around the track at up to 200mph. Most of the solid state recorders tried were shaken to bits, but surprisingly the relatively cheap and cheerful Zoom H4 got the job done. The team also recorded in test cells at Ferrari HQ in Maranello, Italy where engines on test beds are computer-operated within a controlled environment – although they found their otherwise flawless recordings were somewhat marred by inherent room reverberation, impossible to totally eradicate despite portable acoustic damping.
Download or View Online: Develop 111 – November 2010