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Posted by on Oct 18, 2015 | 5 comments

Audio Branding in Coca-Cola Advertising


So last weekend I was on vacation in Atlanta with my recently proposed-to fiancee. In addition to going to a Ghost show, zoo, and the aquarium; we hit up the World of Coke.

The World of Coke museum is less of a museum and more of a huge advertisement for Coca-Cola beverages. From getting funneled in a short guided tour of memorabilia and then getting herded into a huge theater to watch a 7 minute commercial for Coca-Cola, the entire experience feels very much targeted at emotion, sentimentality, and and nostalgia.

The most interesting thing to me about the visit throughout the museum was the lack of actually seeing the brown liquid. Outside of a miniature working version of the Bottle Works, where you get to see them bottling Coca-Cola, you don’t *see* it.  However, you certainly hear it.

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Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 | 3 comments

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Restrictions


Guest contribution by Matthew Marteinsson. Audio Director at Klei Entertainment.  Klei recently released Invisible Inc.

Restrictions. Usually it’s a bad thing. Something we fight against and
work around. I certainly look back at the restrictions of old consoles
with no fondness. But then you look at what The Beatles did with a 4
track (well a couple of 4 tracks and some bouncing) and you start to see
some magic in restrictions. These days with unlimited power in our tools
(relatively) putting some restrictions on ourselves can be a good way
to force yourself into some creative solutions.

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Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 | 5 comments

Emotional Beings A Creature Sound Design Discussion

Cattle grazing through the fields

Cattle grazing through the fields


Guest Post by Beau A. Jimenez


While on a calming walk, a car drives by me. As it zips by, some jerk in the passenger decides to scream at me as loud as they could. Being caught unaware, I jump. A feeling comes over me. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. I feel scared, concerned, and worried within a fraction of a second.

My roommate’s dog whines and cries as his master leaves the apartment. I can hear the sadness translate to my understanding. It’s a universal sound that says ‘Hey wait, don’t go!’ Through this sound, I can sense how much the dog cares for this person.

There are countless examples of vocalizations that make us feel something. There are emotive sounds that capture happiness, curiosity, sadness, pain, anger, fear and more… These sounds break the barriers of language and don’t need to have comprehensive words to understand their intent. As humans, we perceive emotive vocalizations in a deep-rooted, relatable way. These sounds are more felt than understood. They are visceral sounds that light up our brains in a profound way.

Within this article, I’d like to talk about what happens to us when we hear these vocalizations, talk about examples of emotive creatures in film that demonstrate expertly-done creature sound design, and give my own outlook on the significance and fun of creature sound design.


How We React to Vocalizations

We all have a reflex system built into us from birth. It’s a startle-response system that triggers upon an unexpected, loud, or jarring sound. This response can take us from an idle state to a state of high alertness within a fraction of a second. Centuries of predator & prey interactions have designed us to react in a fight-or-flight manner for our survival. That jerk-in-the-car’s scream caused my body to release certain chemicals inside my system, putting me into a temporary alert mode. It doesn’t feel great when you don’t expect it! But in film, it progresses the story and strategically steers the audience towards the sound designer and/or director’s intent.

A great example of a startle-response sound moment is the jarring picture cut into the ‘raptor feeding’ scene in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Dr. Alan Brand holds a supposedly vicious baby raptor is his hands as it coos sweetly & innocently. On the picture cut to the adult raptor cages, an absolutely terrifying blend of shrieks and squeals blare across the front and surround speakers. This puts the audience into a state of high alertness. As a result, the audience becomes cautious of the terrors living within the cages. (Which I believe is the exact goal of this scene!)

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Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 | 3 comments

Women In Game Audio Panel: A Review

Guest contribution by Natalia Perez

Let me begin with a brief preface about myself.  I am a woman studying film music and game audio at Berklee College of Music. I came to GDC for the first time this year wide-eyed and eager to learn.  Coming from an institution that is 70% male, I know all too well the gender disparity that exists in everything I love and do.  Though I have been fortunate enough to not let this affect me in a negative way, it is still a problem I am very passionate about addressing, hence why I decided to review this particular panel.  I will be going over the topics that were presented, the answers the panel provided, and what I learned myself. Please note that any answer not directly quoted is to be taken as a mutual consensus by the panel. 

The goal of the Women In Game Audio panel was to address the difficulties women face as they try to cultivate their careers, the pros and cons of versatility versus finding your own distinct voice, and how both men and women can help support more diversity in the industry.  

Speakers included Laura Karpman (Lead Composer, Laura Karpman Music), Penka Kouneva (Lead Composer, Kouneva Studios), Paul Lipson (Senior Audio Director, Microsoft Studios), Corina Bello (Sound Designer, High Moon Studios), Benedicte Ouimet (Music Supervisor, Ubisoft Montreal), and Belinda van Sickle (President, Women in Games International).   As you can see, we have quite the line up here. So what did our speakers have to say?

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Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 | 1 comment

The Japan Sound Effects Collection Interview

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.58.30 PM

At the time of writing, recent graduate and field recordist Chris Trevino has a Kickstarter campaign called “The Japan Sound Effect Collection” which he plans to be a collection of ambiences, train passes, and walla. Chris was kind enough to answer a few questions about his current campaign.

Designing Sound: Tell us a little bit about your own background in sound and field recording.

Chris Trevino: I was enraptured at a young age by the games that were coming out of Japan in the 90s. The music of Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy Series) and Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger/Cross) gave me both the game and Japan bugs. These games inspired me to take up the tenor saxophone and then later choir when I was younger and made me want to be a game composer.

I first started my undergraduate as an anthropology major, because of my love of cultures, but quickly discovered that I loved the ideas but was not passionate about the work.  At the end of my first year, still dreaming of game music, I took summer music composition classes and my first sound design class. Needless to say, I got hooked.

Since then, I’ve sound designed a handful of theater productions and have done a lot of field recording on my own. In the summers of 2012/13, I trained with Ric Viers at The Detroit Chop Shop.  While there, I helped record and edit four commercial sound effects libraries for BlastwaveFX. I started the Japan collection in Fall of 2013 while I was studying Japanese at a language center in Japan.


DS: What made you choose Japan as a subject for field recording?

CT: Choosing Japan as a subject for field recording was a natural choice given how much Japanese games influenced me when I was younger. When I was accepted into the language center in Japan, I knew that I needed to do as much recordings there as I could.


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