For the last 6 months or so I’ve been an avid reader of Stephen Follow’s blog. I stumbled across it when I was looking for some ideas for a class I was teaching and I’ve been hooked ever since. Amongst other things Stephen writes about the business of making films and offers a tantalising glimpse into the murky world of budgets and film finance.
Beyond some of the more eye-opening content on there (Iron Man 3’s 3,310 strong crew for one) I was drawn to a few sound related stats e.g. the average size of sound departments and also the proportion of a £1 million film budget which is allocated for sound (£16,882 in this particular case). Clearly there’s nothing like a good stat to confuse the issue and a figure like this presented on its own means very little but it did get me thinking about the economies of film sound and for this month, the specifics of the business of Foley.
At least my cats were on top of things.
When I first started up as a freelance sound designer and re-recording mixer, I had never been responsible for running a business. Working for myself seemed to be the ultimate job; I could set my hours, pick my projects, and do things how I wanted to do them. Beyond this freedom, what else was there? As it turns out, I completely glossed over that whole “how to run my own business” thing, charging headlong into freelancing with no real understanding of what that entailed. Had I taken just a few moments to sit down and read a bit about being your own boss and business, I would have saved myself a whole lot of trouble down the road. Here are a few of the bigger things I learned along the way; hopefully, you can learn something from my mistakes.
I can’t stand articles that begin with a definition. So please, forgive this imperfect opening to what should really have been a perfect article.
Photo by Flickr user Terrance Heath, used under Creative Commons License. Click for source.
Most definitions of the term “perfectionist” agree that it describes someone who “refuses to accept any standard short of perfection”. I feel that the colloquial use of the term describes someone who “will be dissatisfied with their work which standards fall short of their perception of perfection”. I think this interpretation reflects how perfectionists, whilst dissatisfied with their work, don’t necessarily ‘“refuse to accept” the outcome, that their high standards typically only apply to their work, and that perfection isn’t an agreed upon standard (in most cases) but more of a personal qualitative perception.
The “guts” of the Pd Destruction Patch
Guest Post by Leonard J. Paul
To fit in with May’s theme of “destruction” at DesigningSound.org, I wanted to create a patch that demonstrated how Pd (Pure Data) could be used to create interesting sounds of “digital destruction” with a fairly minimal amount of implementation. Hopefully this patch will be helpful for those wanting to learn a bit about Pd.
Just to dive into things, I made a few illustrative recordings of me playing around with the patch to try to get some entertaining samples:
I found that using Pd patches worked pretty well for the index file and that switching index files while the patch was running helped to keep things interesting. The recordings are unprocessed to give a good idea of what the patch is capable of. With a bit of mastering and effects they could be used for building blocks for different types of sound design and music as well.
image by wgbieber, click limage to view source
Guest Post by Kate Finan
The studio owner skimmed my resume and nodded several times. He glanced up at me, back down at the resume, and then carefully set it back on his desk.
“Your credentials are great. The chair of the Sound Recording Department recommended you very highly, and we have a close relationship with him. So, we will hire you… We will hire you, but you won’t last. We will make sure of that.”
He paused, and I waited for an explanation.
“We don’t hire women. Studio policy,” he stated matter-of-factly.
Guest Contribution by Chris Burgess
There are two points to this article. The first is, if you see something you want to do, get out there and make it happen. The second, being that when an opportunity presents itself to you, be aware enough of your surroundings to scoop it up (and then record some awesome sounds). What follows is an account of my attempt to record dry ice on various metals. What I learned and the mistakes I made in case others wish to repeat this session for their own use.
Photo by Flickr user Kit, used under Creative Commons License
I love building things. I spent a great deal of my childhood building all kinds of creations out of LEGO and K’NEX (and I still do). Of course, one of my favorite parts of the building process was the necessary destruction of the older things to make the new. Working with sound, especially taking apart the normal, everyday sounds to build new and interesting sounds, has always struck me as an extension of this. Though I’ve gleefully annihilated countless LEGO creations over the years, the scars on my fingers from sharp plastic bricks are there to remind me that while it can be a great deal of fun to destroy all the things, a tiny bit of caution can go a long way.
Brighten the Corners of Game Audio
This article is a guest contribution by Damian Kastbauer and does not reflect the views of DesigningSound.org or its Contributing Editors
I wondered how my life post-freelance would change my experience at GDC. Worried that I might not have the drive to meet and connect with people, without the dependency on hustling for opportunities. Ultimately the opposite proved to be true: this year was even more socially pronounced than ever. I met so many new and caught up with so many old friends. People and conversations continue to be my absolute favorite part of GDC; skimming the cream of inspiration from peoples experiences helps drive my excitement for this industry. Coming out of this year’s #GameAudioGDC there’s an overwhelming swell of emotion which can be felt rippling outward across the community with each passing day. It’s through these proclamations of passion and seeing people right-back to working on initiatives surrounding game audio that has helped me pull out of a post-GDC depression. After riding a week of enthusiastic positivity, its hard coming to grips with the hard work that needs to be done to follow up some of the difficult epiphanies about our culture that have surfaced within our industry through the gracious sharing of perception and experience of people in the community.
We here at Designing Sound know that any creative endeavor is about more than just the audio. In order for any piece of media to be successful, it needs a unified creative direction, and the support of numerous skilled people in many different disciplines. In the interest of learning more about other disciplines that run parallel to audio in media, we’re teaming up with Aotg.com to bring you interesting and enlightening articles from other disciplines, including editing and creative direction. Our first cross-site offering is Modern Editing Style, which takes a look at both the wide variety of editing styles in modern cinema, as well as a closer examination of some unique editing choices made in modern films.
Guest Contribution by: Anastasia Devana
With the recent rise of virtual reality (VR), there is a growing interest in fully spatialized 3D audio. Several plugins are available for implementing 3D audio, and choosing between them can be difficult, especially if you’re tackling this technology for the first time.
While it may seem that all 3D audio plugins do the same thing, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right tool for your project, such as ease of use, performance, sound quality, and level of customisation.
The goal of this article is to perform an objective and thorough overview of five leading 3D audio plugins: 3Dception from Two Big Ears, AstoundSound RTI from GenAudio, Phonon 3D from Impulsonic, RealSpace 3D from VisiSonics, and Oculus Audio SDK. I’ll cover their features, compatibility, and pricing, as well as any unique aspects of each plugin. I’ll also report on my personal experience of integrating them into a Unity project, and provide a downloadable interactive demo app that will allow you to audition the plugins, along with video walkthroughs, and performance test results.
This resource is targeted towards sound designers, audio implementation specialists, developers, and anyone interested in using 3D audio in their project, and I hope that people find it helpful!