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The Sound Design Challenge

The Sound Design Challenge is currently on hiatus.

What is The Sound Design Challenge??

The Sound Design Challenge is a chance to challenge yourself, experiment with new ideas, see how other people might approach the same problem(s), and have a discussion about the unique ideas people come up with. They’re designed to challenge you creatively and technically. As such, the rules may sometimes seem a bit arbitrary, but they’re that way for a reason. They’re designed to force you consider different approaches. It draws a lot of inspiration from the film “The Five Obstructions.” Anyone who is interested in participating is encouraged to do so. It’s great to see a wide range of skill levels: enthusiast, student, pro, whoever. Yes, there are still chances for those of us who have been doing this for years to get new ideas from someone who’s just starting out. So, don’t exclude yourself if you think you’re not good enough yet; you should be involved too. Hopefully, it will help you, me and everyone else both develop our technical skills and spark some creativity.

How Does It Work?

When a challenge gets posted, that challenge will have a specific set of rules. It will either be a goal, a set of roadblocks that you have to work your way around, or a combination of the two. You’ll have a full 3 weeks (21 days) from the announcement of the challenge to get it done and posted to the groups on Vimeo or SoundCloud, as dictated by the challenge. You’re still welcome to post your entry after the deadline (that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it), but it won’t be considered in the competition. Any materials that are required for a challenge will be available during that Challenge only. Sometimes the challenge will be video oriented, sometimes a picture might be used, maybe just audio, or maybe something more sinister and diabolical.

How Does the Judging Work?

Once we’ve passed the completion date, I and a group of volunteers (your peers) will pick the five that we think are the strongest entries, and repost them here on the site. At that point, it’s up to the community to decide which is the winner. We’ll open up a poll for people to vote on those five finalists.

Anyone is welcome to volunteer as a judge for the Challenges. It’s a great way to hone your critical listening skills. Simply contact us and let us know you’re interested.

Are There Prizes?

Yes, I’m happy to say there are. We’re pulling in sponsors to provide the winners with some awesome prizes. Sponsors and the actual prizes available will be announced with each challenge. We can’t thank them enough, so you’ll see some shameless love for those sponsors in those Challenges they’re sponsoring.

General Rules of the Challenge:

  • Participation indicates that you’ve read and accept the legal disclaimers below.
  • You’ll have 21 days to download any materials and complete your entry.
  • Post completed video entries to the “Dynamic Interference Sound Design Challenge” group on Vimeo, and completed audio only entries to the “Dynamic Interference Sound Design Challenge” group on SoundCloud. Obviously, this means you’ll need accounts on these services (both of which are free).
  • An additional requirement regarding entries: For video entries on Vimeo, the “Allow other people to add this video to groups, channels and albums,” in the Privacy settings of your video must be activated; for audio entries, the “Widget” feature in the settings of your audio file on Soundcloud must be enabled. These two features are necessary for the judging process. Failure to activate these settings (for all challenges after SDC012) will result in the disqualification of your entry.
  • Limit 1 entry per person.
  • Unless we specifically say, “You can’t use/do…” for the challenge, go ahead and do it.
  • Please calibrate your monitors (speakers) for either a film or television mixing listening spec (the television spec is suggested). See this tutorial if you don’t know how.
  • If you volunteer to judge, you cannot be nominated as a finalist.
  • We’re on an honor system here for the specific rules for each challenge, please keep it fair.

Legal Info:

  • All materials provided for use in the monthly challenge remain the property of the original owner. They are provided for use in the Challenges with the permission of that owner.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all materials provided are copyrighted and may not be used for any other purposes; with the exception of use in reels (either as physical media, or as a clip on a personal website) and as a component of a completed challenge.
  • Materials provided for a particular Challenge will be available for that Challenge only. They will not be made available for download outside of the challenge, nor may you redistribute them.
  • By participating in the Challenge, you acknowledge that you have no legal claims to ownership of provided materials (e.g. derivatives, sales, redistribution, etc.).
  • Participants retain ownership and rights to all of their personal audio work for the Challenge, but give permission to Designing Sound to post or link to said material on the website for the purposes of the Challenge (e.g. community voting, winner announcements, discussion, etc.). Material will not be distributed by the site in any other way without explicit permission.
  • Indemnification – You acknowledge and agree that you are personally responsible for your conduct while participating in these Sound Design Challenges and agree to indemnify and hold and its contributors harmless from and against any loss, damage, liability, cost or expense of any kind (including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys’ fees) that may be incurred in connection with a third party claim or otherwise, in relation to your participation in the Sound Design Challenge or your violation of this agreement or the rights of any third party. Your obligations under this paragraph shall survive in perpetuity.

Now that the scary “cover our butts” section is out of the way, have fun with the Challenges!