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Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 | 9 comments

Changes to the Site

We (the editors) sat down recently to talk about the site…how it’s been over the past few months, what its strengths are, where it’s weak, and what we need to do keep the site at its full potential. So, we’re going to be rolling out some changes, and I want to give you an idea of where we’re going…because this is, first and foremost, a community site.

First, allow me to reintroduce the editorial team: Jack Menhorn (primary site admin), Varun Nair, Peter Albrechtsen, Michael Taylor, and new to the team…Colin Hart. [Right…forgot to mention myself. ;)]

Now, let me talk about what we’re doing and why.

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since we’ve had a Featured Sound Designer. It’s not something that any of us intended, but the schedules of potential contributors…and our own…have conspired against it. Providing a month’s worth of original content is a huge commitment. To be frank, it’s not something any of us are comfortable asking someone to do. So, we’re eliminating Featured Sound Designers completely.

What we’re going to be doing instead is focusing on featured themes and topics. Each of us will be ensuring that at least one piece of original content makes it to the site each month. Whether it be something we’ve written ourselves, interviews we conduct, or helping a guest contributor pull together an article, Designing Sound will still be a source of new and original content delivered by working professionals. We are still going to be tracking down special contributors. It’s just much more realistic to ask them for one article on a specific subject.

Themes will be introduced at the beginning of the month, just as the Featured Sound Designers were. We’ll also be announcing the coming month’s theme in the same post. Why are we going to do this? As I mentioned, this is a community site. We are occasionally approached by people who have interesting ideas for articles, and we want to give them the opportunity to contribute to the rest of the community. This is a chance to help their voice reach a larger audience…and yours.

We can’t possibly know every person out there who will have interesting perspectives to share. So, we will be accepting pitches for articles on the site, and I’ll be the one managing those pitches and submissions. If you have a topic related to the coming month’s theme that you’d like to write about. Send in a brief description of what you want to write (shaun.at.designingsound.org). I’ll work with you to get the article ready for the site.

The final change we’re making, and this will take us a little while to sort out the logistics, is to the layout of the site. We recognize that there are people who find the announcements of new products and educational events interesting, and their aggregation on the site useful. We don’t, however, want the site to turn into the mouthpiece of corporate marketing departments; even more so when you consider that we don’t sell any advertising space on the site (and never will). We’re going to be adjusting the layout such that the featured content takes, and keeps, top billing on the site. This will take us a little while to sort out. So, please be patient with us while we do.

Thanks for helping make the site what it is today…and with your help, we look forward to making it even better in the future.

9 Comments

  1. Will you also start implementing the Sound Design Challenges as well or is that something that will still be on hold?

    • That’s still off the table for now. It needs the perfect alignment of some widely disparate circumstances, and they’re just not there at the moment. If the alignment ever happens, you can be sure it will pop up here.

  2. I’d love to see more tutorials again, sort of in the style of the awesome Jim Stout videos from before. They weren’t just like “here’s how you make a sound”, they showed some level of experimentation. 

    I don’t know who you could get to do it, but I’d love to see a guy like mark lampert from Skyrim or someone in that area just sitting with stuff, watching how they get there. Or even just to get an important sound from the game and watch the production of it. It’s tough, but it would be a lot less time intensive than a month’s worth of content. 

    • Thanks for the feedback, David. We’ll keep that in mind.

  3. I personally think that you have quite a difficult task.

    I don’t know, maybe I am getting older or it’s just my (I hope provisional) pessimistic condition, or maybe because I am working alone as a freelancer and I have a lack of communication with pro colleagues… but for some past time I often notice, that there is so little things happening in the audio post production world. I mean, can you remember some big things which could shake our community like Avatar in graphics, Unreal or Cry engine in game development or Oculus Rift in tech zone?

    I personally have only one example in the last years, it’s the sound in Battlefield 3. I have never heard anything like that in games before and for me it is an indisputable breakthrough in the game sound. But I can’t say the same about movies and I can’t say anything about audio software or hardware section.

    So, therefore in my (supposedly stupid) head I have two version of what is going on:

    1) Positive one
    In this case everything is fine with sound. People create great works and sound design is just another form of art like painting, music or literature. Nobody will say that music or literature have some kind of crisis in the development, because it’s stupid.

    2) Negative one
    There is some kind of stagnation in the audio post production sphere. Nobody invents something really new, nobody cares about it, nobody wants to discuss it (or maybe wants but apparently in some small personal live conversations).

    If it is the first case, then there is only one problem – my (now for sure) stupid head and I just have to stop working alone and get some in-house job.

    But, if, somehow, the second one is more correct then somebody, presumably, have to do something. I don’t know, maybe a small audio community is the problem, or because nobody cares about sound just like about graphics, or there is something else.

    My personal opinion, both of the aforementioned cases have right to live. I very much like the current status of sound as an art. A lot of movies have amazing sound, they sound naturally and truthfully, because we are using recordings of real sounds. Games, imho, still have a lot of problems with the implementation and believability, but projects like BF3 create right courses for the improvement. I have a big list of claims for technical sphere though, like a DAW for sound designers with completely different working structure or new processing software, I am not a technical geek but I feel that there is a huge room for the improvement.

    I understand that it is not quite suitable place for such a topic and my “excellent” English, but Designingsound is a very special resource for me and I thought that maybe somebody will want to write some ideas or suggestions.

    • There are a few fundamental flaws in your critique of the state of sound design, Constantine. First and foremost is the idea that something has to be BIG to have an impact on the work that others do. There’s a diverse world of approaches and aesthetics out there, and judging the state of the industry based on the practices of the “blockbuster” pieces is a bad idea. Another thing to keep in mind is that game audio is extremely young when compared to film. It should be growing in leaps and bounds. One day it will slow down and fall into a pattern of subtle development and aesthetic growth, just as film sound has. If nothing else, think of it this way…if the things you are paying attention to no longer inspire you, then it’s time to expand your palette.

  4. Designing Sound Team! Ever since I got to know your portal this is my favourite website. I want to say, thank you for being here, and thank you for thinking ahead. My best wishes and regards to all of you guys.
    Tom Noise

  5. Although featured sound designer will be missed, i see the featured topic to be just as good.

    that way you get multiple points of view on the one topic.

    and thanks to sticking to your guns re: advertising :)

  6. I’m a new comer to the site (the last 2 months or so) and I love it so far. As a beginner sound designer, everything here is helpful. I’m excited for the changes.

    Since you will not be continuing the featured sound designers, will the section still stay up and be available?

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