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Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 | 0 comments

Pushing the Boundary – Your Stories: SFX Creators, Part 7

Photo: A man shows two other men how to operate a digital recorder and boom mic in Vietnam. Article edited by Adriane Kuzminski.

Photo: © by Avosound

If you are a sound effects or synth creator who has submitted a library to the Designing Sound monthly recaps and you would like to contribute to this series (and for some you haven’t received the questionnaire—check your spam folder), please email adriane@designingsound.org.

 

In this seventh installment about how SFX creators have pushed artistic and professional boundaries, we hear from Pro Sound Effects, Mindful Audio, BLINKSONIC° and Collected Transients. Stay tuned for more stories from our community next week.

What is your name, and who are your team members/co-creators?

Pro Sound Effects @prosoundeffects: My name is David Forshee. I’m the Library Specialist at Pro Sound Effects. Other key members of Team PSE include Douglas Price (Founder and President), Jeremy Siegel (Licensing Manager), and Andrew Emge (Operations Specialist).

Mindful Audio @theGeorgeVlad: I’m George Vlad, and I do audio for games and field recording.

BLINKSONIC° @blinksonic: I am Sylvain Stoppani (aka Ambor Grieko), founder of Blinksonic and the only member. With this project I create virtual instruments and sound banks for NI Reaktor.

Collected Transients @coltransients @stosh_t: My name is Stosh Tuszynski. Collected Transients consists of me and my microphones ;)

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Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 | 0 comments

Pushing the Boundary – Your Stories: SFX Creators, Part 6

A mic with a thick wind muff faces the propeller of a private jet.

Photo: Frank ‘The Recordist’ Bry

If you are a sound effects or synth creator who has submitted a library to the Designing Sound monthly recaps and you would like to contribute to this series (and for some you haven’t received the questionnaire—check your spam folder), please email adriane@designingsound.org.

 

In this sixth installment about how SFX creators have pushed artistic and professional boundaries, we hear from The Recordist, contortDistort, Sound Ex Machina, Pablo Valverde, and Avosound. Stay tuned for more stories from our community later this week and next week.

What is your name, and who are your team members/co-creators?

The Recordist @the_recordist: My name is Frank Bry and I own and operate The Recordist.

contortDistort @contortDistort: Christian Kjeldsen, and I’m currently a solo operation.

Sound Ex Machina @soundexmachina: Hello there, thanks for having us! My name is Kostas Loukovikas and my co-creators are John Varelidis and Nick Zlatko.

Pablo Valverde @Valvertronix: My name is Pablo Valverde and I work alone, unless I need someone else.

Avosound @avosoundsfx: Guido Helbling.

When was a time you felt you pushed the boundaries to capture the perfect sound effect?

The Recordist: Back in 2009 I had a tendency to record in dangerous locations or perform risky actions to record sound effects. Whether it was crawling around a steep rock quarry cliff with a boom pole and a microphone, recording close up gigantic fire bursts, or setting off explosives, I tried to capture the “unique character” of the moment. I have since mellowed with my older age, but I still strive for that “once in a lifetime” sound event. I record lots of thunder and lightning and found that it’s hit and miss most of the time, but I have devised ways to effectively capture the wide dynamic range of thunderstorms. I had to build devices and create special locations to keep the recording gear safe while still capturing the raw power of thunder effectively.

Also, back then the Sennheiser 8000 series microphones were not widely used for recording sound effects. After a good friend sent me some sound effects he had recorded with the microphone, I was hooked. I was one of the very first vendors to release sounds using those microphones, and since then they have really caught on. Some wonderful material has been released by many people using this setup.

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Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 | 2 comments

Pushing the Boundary – Your Stories: SFX Creators, Part 5

A digital recorder is suspended off the ground in a makeshift bamboo tripod. Article edited by Adriane Kuzminski.

Photo: Sebastian, Sonocaine http://www.sonocaine.com/blog/2015/6/16/robinson-crusoe-style-boom-wind-shield

If you are a sound effects or synth creator who has submitted a library to the Designing Sound monthly recaps and you would like to contribute to this series (and for some you haven’t received the questionnaire—check your spam folder), please email adriane@designingsound.org.

 

In this fifth installment about how SFX creators have pushed artistic and professional boundaries, we hear from Sonocaine, Foley Collection, Daan Hendricks and The Sound Pack Tree. Stay tuned for more stories from our community later this week and next week.

What is your name, and who are your team members/co-creators?

Sonocaine @sonocaine: Hi, my Name is Sebastian Morsch and I run Sonocaine.

Foley Collection @foleycollection / Surround Sound LAB: My name is Alvaro de Iscar, founder and main sound designer of Foleycollection.com and Surroundsoundlab.net.

Daan Hendriks @AudioDaan: Daan Hendriks

The Sound Pack Tree @SoundPackTree: My name is Heiko Lohmann, and I work at the Hidden Track Studio in Cologne, Germany.

When was a time you felt you pushed the boundaries to capture the perfect sound effect?

Sonocaine: I’ve carried a lot of equipment to many places and record under different and sometimes hard conditions, but I’m not sure if that actually qualifies as “pushing the boundaries”. I’m not saying that doing these things to capture beautiful sounds is not a great and valuable effort, but if I am just working hard, I’m probably well inside those boundaries. When I recorded my last library ‘Quad City Berlin’, I carried five mic stands, five windshields and a 788 in a backpack around town on a bicycle (I really badly wanted spaced omni quad plus MS). It was physically challenging but I didn’t really push boundaries with doing so. It was just hard work. There are much greater stories in sound recording (i.e. clever worldizing setups, etc.) that constitute pushing boundaries, because they were actually thought up outside the box.

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Posted by on Jun 17, 2016 | 0 comments

Pushing the Boundary – Your Stories: SFX Creators, Part 4

Trees wind into the fog set high into the atmosphere. Article edited by Adriane Kuzminski.

Photo: The Nature Sounds Society Japan – https://www.flickr.com/photos/naturesoundsjp/5823704520/in/photostream/

If you are a sound effects or synth creator who has submitted a library to the Designing Sound monthly recaps and you would like to contribute to this series (and for some you haven’t received the questionnaire—check your spam folder), please email adriane@designingsound.org.

 

In this fourth installment about how SFX creators have pushed artistic and professional boundaries, we hear from Detunized, BOOM Library, and Lilesoundlibrary. Stay tuned for more stories from our community through the next couple weeks.

What is your name, and who are your team members/co-creators?

Detunized @detunized: Hello community! My name is Stephan Marche. In 2009 I founded Detunized where I develop and distribute themed sound libraries and live packs for the Ableton DAW, as well as universally formatted instrument banks. My current catalog offers about 80 releases. I don’t have employees or freelance supporters, so Detunized is a mere one-man business. Nevertheless I couldn’t run Detunized without the help of some alter egos. (Maybe it is funny to get to know the “team” ;-) )

BOOM Library @BOOMlibrary: My name is Axel Rohrbach from BOOM Library. My team members are Michael Schwendler, David Philipp and Patrice Börding.

Lilesoundlibrary @Lilesound: Hi, we are Carl and Francesco, co-founders of Lilesoundlibrary, an independent audio studio. In the beginning we dealt only with sound design and music for animated films and short movies. We realized that more and more we had to create and synchronize our own sounds to get the “perfect match” for our projects. So why not embark on the creation of libraries? It really is something we value with lots of fun and learning throughout the creative process.

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Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 | 6 comments

Sunday Sound Though 24 – Proper Use of Clichéd Sounds

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

Besides the obvious answer of, “DON’T!”

This week’s post was inspired by the use of the Wilhelm Scream in the film Warcraft, and various conversations surrounding its usage that spotted last night. One of which I got involved with, despite not having seen the movie. [ed. …and no. I don’t plan to…ever, if I can help it.]

Regardless of how you feel about it (I personally want the madness to stop) clichéd sounds can have their place, but it’s all in how you use them. If you absolutely must see if you can sneak it past the director and/or producer, then I can only see two ways of doing it:

  1. Bury it. Make it so that YOU have a hard time hearing it in the piece you’re working on. Only people who are actively searching for it should be able to find it. Don’t let it draw attention to itself.
  2. Use it in an exceedingly clever way. The problem with this is that as soon as someone has done that, you can’t use that approach again…ever. Sounds like the Wilhelm have been bouncing around for decades. It’s getting harder and harder to use it in a clever/subtle way. If you can’t do something new with it, DON’T! A good example of a clever use comes from Tron Legacy (2010):

YouTube Preview Image

There’s one other instance where it can be acceptable to draw attention to a clichéd sound, and that’s by turning it into a self referential joke. If you can make people who are sick of it laugh, then people who aren’t aware of it will probably enjoy the joke without the full knowledge of what’s happening. The film Over the Hedge (2006) did this very well with a mosquito.

And that’s about it. Anything other than these three approaches is likely to earn you the ire of soundies and the general populace. You have been warned!

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Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 | 0 comments

“How did you get your start in the industry?”

This is a guest contribution by Ashley Coull. Ashley is the Audio Coordinator at Anki, a robotics and tech company dedicated to making artificial intelligence accessible to the everyday consumer. Fueled by passion and sometimes beer, she loves interesting research, good conversation, and new friends.

Ashley Coull

Ashley Coull

 

“How did you get your start in the industry?”

There is no one way to get a job in the audio industry. That much is fairly obvious. But just because everyone has their own unique story, doesn’t mean we can’t distill the essence of how one can break in. My goal with this article is to help give people the tools they need for the best chance of success. To do this, I’m going to talk about common themes derived from audio professionals’ answers to the question, “How did you get your start in the industry?” These common themes form the pillars that provide the foundation upon which a career in audio can be built.

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Posted by on Jun 5, 2016 | 1 comment

Sunday Sound Though 23 – Training the Audience?

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

I was watching Indie Game: The Movie on Thursday for the first time (yeah, I’m a little late on seeing it), and something Edmund McMillen, developer of Super Meat Boy, said caught my attention. He was talking about designing levels to train the player in the game’s mechanics. In particular, he was expressing the importance of giving the player the opportunity to discover the mechanics for themselves. He argued that throwing text up on a screen to explain it would be less effective, because most people would probably ignore or skip it. If they were forced to figure it out for themselves though, it would ensure they remember the mechanic while also giving them a sense of accomplishment.

This got me wondering. A few years ago, I wrote a two part article about semiotics and language as they relate to sound design. McMillen’s comments made me wonder…

Can we train our audience to understand the language we build in each project, so that we can affect them at levels above the sub-conscious? Can we do it in a way so that they are actively engaged in the discovery of meanings? How would that have to be structured, and how much buy in would we need from the film director or game designer to pull that off?

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Posted by on May 30, 2016 | 0 comments

Sound Design: Affects on Physiological Performance

This piece is a guest contribution by Darrin P. Jolly. Darrin is a recent Valedictorian from the Bachelor of Science in Recording Arts program at Full Sail University. Currently completing a Masters of Science degree in Game Design, Darrin is conducting research on the applied influences audio has in saccadic time performance.

Darrin_Jolly-BW

Darrin Jolly

Abstract

This experiment was designed to measure the influence audio has on the saccadic response time of users viewing a two-dimensional plane. With potential applications for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms, it must be understood that neurophysiologic processes can be difficult to grasp, and designing studies to assess these can be complicated to construct.  This pilot test was conducted to see if primed audio impulses improve saccadic responses as opposed to no impulse. Once the data was coded and results analyzed, the significance was not only relevant but also quite intriguing.

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Posted by on May 22, 2016 | 1 comment

Sunday Sound Thought 21 – Visibility Problem…Still

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

I’m trying to remember on which podcast I heard it this week [ed. I’ve been searching, but to no avail], but there was a news story about Emeka Ogboh and his reconstruction of Lagos soundscapes as art installations in which, I believe it was a curator somewhere, talked about him as if he was the only artist in the world working exclusively with sound…”without some sort of visual component.” Please understand, this is in no way a critique of Ogboh or his work. I’m happy that his art is out there and getting the attention it deserves. It was just a reminder of how overlooked sound is within the arts community. If you want a more visible example, just look at the Tony Awards brouhaha from 2014, which is still being felt today.

I can quickly pull up examples on Google from prominent news sources. I could event point to Audium in San Francisco; which, despite its success, is still a rather underground art experience. Why do I define it as successful? Well it hosts two performances a week (many of which sell out), and does so from it’s own permanent installation on Bush St. near the border of Nob Hill and The Tenderloin…a space which it has occupied since 1965!

That curator pissed me off. Yes it’s her job to find the next big thing and promote it as a way to bring patrons into galleries and museums, but it’s also her job to put that work into the context of the broader art community. This comment is demeaning in two ways. She belittled the work of all those other sound artists out there, of whom she is apparently ignorant. She also belittled the work of Ogboh by not explaining why his work is important within that broader field of sound art.

It’s easy to be important when no one else is doing it, and far more impressive when a work has genuine value in a wider community. Sound work still has a visibility issue, so Ogboh needs to be celebrated for his success and thanked for the attention it brings to our craft. Well done, sir!

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Posted by on May 15, 2016 | 0 comments

Sunday Sound Thought 20 – Pulling Focus

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

A few weeks ago, I talked about the idea of a sonic version of the “visual zoom.” This past week, I had the realization that there’s a sonic analogue to another camera trick…pulling focus. Quite simply, it’s pulling a fuzzy picture into focus using the lens (or maybe taking it out of focus). Depending on the budget, the camera department on some projects will have a single person dedicated to “pulling focus.”

I can think of two key ways we can emulate this in sound, though there arguably are probably more.

The first is with reverb. Think of the a wide open and very reverberant space, with a single speaker blasting out a spoken announcement. Depending on you location in that space, the reflections may make it impossible to actually interpret what is being said. If you move closer to the source…giving yourself a more distinct time separation between the source and reflections…you’re likely going to have an easier time comprehending what’s being said. The sound is more in focus.

The second way is by applying atypical recording techniques with your microphones, especially with those that have a less-than-flat frequency response as you move off axis. The shift from off-axis to on can increase the clarity of the sound you’re recording. Additionally, you may be adjusting its position to the source in a way that alters the timing of the sound’s arrival at the capsule…adding doppler shift to that change spectrum! Don’t think that’s an interesting sound design technique? Someone people might disagree with you. Watch one application demonstrated here.

 

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