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Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 | 0 comments

“Secrets for Great Film Sound” Webinar Report #6 – The Final Mix

[During this month, I’ve been doing weekly reports about “Secrets for Great Film Sound“, a new webinar series hosted by David Sonnenschein and Ric Viers]

The last week we finished the webinar series, discussing a lot of things regarding the final mix

Ric started giving a lot of advices and overall overview of mixing. He talked about how to focus the audience with the mix and also stems workflow, how to find balance in the mix, dealing with processors, and more. All his examples, anecdotes and advices were really useful for me.

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 | 5 comments

Peter Albrechtsen Special: Backgrounds in the Foreground

[Written by Peter Albrechtsen for Designing Sound]

Let’s start with talking not about choice of sounds but choice of words.

In the US, background ambiences are called backgrounds – or just BG’s. In Denmark, though, we call them atmospheres. For me, that’s actually a better word to describe this part of the soundtrack, as background sounds can add so much texture, feeling and – yes – atmosphere to a scene. It’s an amazing tool to shape a scene, not just mapping out the geography and time of day, but also setting the mood, creating a vibe and building an underlying rhythm. It’s one of my favorite sound design tools because it works quite subliminally and can be extremely effective, nevertheless.

I want to start out showing a commercial I did a couple of years ago, which I think showcases ambiences in an interesting way. It’s an IKEA commercial directed by a very visually and aurally imaginative Danish director, Martin de Thurah, who really created this commercial with sound in mind. Here it is (even though this youtube-link isn’t exactly the greatest quality, sorry):

YouTube Preview Image

First of all, I need to point out that the sound design of this commercial wasn’t just done by me but by two talented colleagues as well, sound designers Morten Green and Mads Heldtberg, the latter also being a very skilled composer. It took a lot of experimentation and building of sounds to establish the very different universes and small tales that unfold very, very fast in this commercial.

If you’re very strict in the way you describe the layers of the soundtrack, some would probably point out that several of the sounds you’re hearing in this commercial aren’t really background sounds but foley and effect sounds. But still several of the small scenes are utilizing these foley and effect sounds like they’re part of a background ambience track – like the typewriter on the boat, the radio program at the apartment buildings or my toothbrush rattling in a glass at the end. This is not the point for me, though. What I find interesting is how the sound sets up a world of each image that goes beyond what the eye sees. The backgrounds really set the tone and the background sounds are in that sense very much in the foreground.

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 | 1 comment

An Interview with Craig Berkey

Vancouver Sun recentlty published an article featuring Craig Berkey, sound designer and re-recording mixer on “True Grit”.

When Craig Berkey quit his job at a BC Tel subsidiary to study sound recording, the company president called him in.

“‘He said ‘I’ve seen people do this before,’ ” recalls Berkey, 48. ” ‘It’s okay, I’ll leave a slot [open] for you, because usually people go away and wind up coming back because they can’t get another job.’ ”

But Berkey didn’t fit the mould.

He was so good at sound recording, he wound up teaching at Columbia Academy at the same time he was studying there.

Two decades later, the Burnaby native is one of the top sound designers in the film business. Sunday night, he’s up for two Academy Awards for his work in the Coen Brothers’ acclaimed remake of True Grit, for sound editing and sound mixing.

Working with the Coen Brothers has been fruitful -he also received an Oscar nomination for his work on their film No Country For Old Men.

Currently he’s working on the next X-Men film, X-Men First Class. It’s slated to come out in June, which means he’ll have three movies out in three months -he worked on a thriller called Hanna that comes out in April, and a Terrence Malick movie called The Tree of Life that comes out in May.

Continue reading…

Thanks to Matteo Milani for the link.

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Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 | 2 comments

Inside the Waves Sound Design Suite [Pt 6] – Other Important Tools

Welcome to the sixth and last article in these series dedicated to explore the plugins included in the Waves Sound Design Suite. Finally I’m going to talk about some important tools included in the bundle:

  • DeEsser
  • LoAir
  • PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer
  • PS22 Stereo Maker
  • S1
  • TransX


Although DeEsser is dynamics/frequency processor, I think it’s more a special tool for certain tasks, that you may already know. That includes dialogue treatment, shaping sound effects, killing some frequencies from a sound recorded in the field, treating something in your foley elements, etc. It’s a full featured de-esser that you definitely like to have in your  plugin folder.

What this processor does is an special type of compression in a specific range of high frequencies. It was created mainly for vocals and dialogue recording, but it can be also useful for treating other kind of content, and of course using it creatively by just experimenting with the parameters there. The operation is very simple. There are controls for the frequency, threshold and channel configuration. Also has some great meters for attenuation and output signal.

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