Oh The Variables
When you consider the variables in play when dealing with audio, it amazes me that we’re able to create anything that sounds even half-decent to someone else.
- How the authorship software processes audio
- Digital-to-analog conversion quality
- Unbalanced monitors / headphones
- The acoustic space
- Monitor placement
- Mix position
- Your ears
- Your brain
When the topic of restriction first came up I immeadiately thought of the Dogme 95 movement. It seemed like such an obvious response that I spent some time hunting around for another topic. Inevitably though I’ve come back to Dogme. Partly because it really is a great example of working under restriction, but also because the films created within the movement are so striking in their subversion of the restrictions placed on them. This also gave me the opportunity to revisit two films I enjoy immensely, Festen (1998) and It’s All About Love (2003); both directed by Thomas Vinterberg and written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov. (more…)
“A live rooster in the studio, 1930s.” by Yle Archives – Yle Arkisto. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_effect#/media/File:A_live_rooster_in_the_studio,_1930s..jpg
This is the beginning of a new series to recapitulate each month’s SFX library releases. If you have a release occurring soon and you would like it to be included on our list, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission form.
September brought us several SFX libraries with an overarching theme of darkness. Deep-water beasts, mysterious sci-fi ambiences, rumbling howitzers and stormy nights can be found on this list, so let’s take a look back at last month’s releases and explore the sounds you may now purchase for your future projects.
The Battlefield Howitzers by Airborne Sound
Every once in a while a sound effects library comes out and you know very well you have nothing like it in your audio arsenal. For some, The Battlefield Howitzers is that library. These authentic recordings of World War II-era ordnances contain the grace and ferocity of the M101 C1 and C3 howitzers and the British 25-pounder, along with 169 bonus clips of designed artillery shots and battlefield montage soundscapes.
(239 sounds, 4.89 GB) (more…)
Photo credit to: Nic McPhee
From time to time, while working specifically on the audio portion of film projects (this is true for other mediums as well, though this month is focused on film), a sort of “tunnel vision” can occur and it is easy to overlook the importance of film as a complete artform and its impact on the world around us.
This month’s theme of Film Theory gives us all a chance to take a step back and review the purpose, power, and importance of film in our society. Also, this month serves as a great chance to reexamine and look deeper at what each of us sees as audio’s role(s) and importance within all genres of film.
We here at Designing Sound always encourage contributions from the community. If you would like to add your thoughts on Film Theory, please be in touch and let us know. As always, feel free to contribute to this month’s theme, or possibly next month’s topic is of more interest to you (which will be “Pure Sound Design”), or go completely off-topic. Anything is fair game. Please contact doron [@] this website and we will get the ball rolling.
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.
Image by flickr user Boston Public Library. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.
In my relatively short career, I’ve been fortunate to work in a variety of roles within different frameworks (freelancer, startup, in-house and a contract employee). Whilst we sometimes hear people discussing what specific roles are like, we don’t often hear about these different frameworks and how they compare. I thought it might be interesting to share my observations on what pros and cons I found in each of these frameworks. So whether you’re a student looking for your first opportunities or a seasoned pro looking to transition roles, I hope some of these insights prove useful. (more…)
There’s a common joke among game audio artists and designers: if you ask any number of sound designers what genre they’d most like to work on, the odds are good they’ll all say “horror”, twice. It’s no surprise it’s such a common answer, either; horror games offer designers some of the most interesting and diverse sound design opportunities one can come across. There’s no doubt that Frictional Games’s upcoming title SOMA fits this mold as well, evidenced by a fantastic blog post on Frictional’s website by the game’s audio director, Samuel Justice.
In the post, Sam discusses the approach he and the rest of the team took towards defining the distinct above- and underwater worlds of this eagerly-anticipated horror title. Sam goes into extensive detail on the techniques they used, both in the game’s engine and in content creation, to achieve a unique sonic identity for the game. Check out the post here, and also take a look at Sam’s other online home over at Sweet Justice, which features another great blog chock full of good info.
In a recent blog post, A Sound Effect spoke to sound designers Ruslan Nesteruk and Glen Bondarenko on the techniques and tools they utilize in creating sci-fi weaponry SFX. The post delves into layering, synthesis techniques, breaking down each weapon into its constituent components, and a great deal more. If you want some insights on creating better sci-go weaponry, you owe it to yourself to head over to the post now.
This is a guest article written by Justin Spasevski, a freelance sound designer and mixer based in Sydney, who is currently editing and mixing “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia”. You can view his credits and portfolio on his website Braided Audio.
When looking into the creative aspects of sound design, I’ve always found it interesting how certain workflows can influence the end result. Sure, most of us have developed methods that work well, but sometimes we need to approach things differently in order to achieve something unique. So in light of this, I’ve decided to focus on an area that is of particular interest to me - the use of touch and motion controls for sound design.
Given recent technological advancements in capacitive touchscreens and consumer-level motion sensors, I have found the tech to be increasingly useful for sound design applications. What makes them so interesting is their unique approach to user input, often adding extra dimensions to the standard ‘click’ and ‘type’ interactions we’re all accustomed to.
In this article, I will demonstrate sound design techniques that utilise touch and motion controls and discuss why they can be a valuable asset to any sound designers’ toolkit. Let’s start with the most popular piece of hardware - the iPad. (more…)
Photo: Marc Solaris. “…interaction between video, sound and movement”
This is a guest article written by Will Tonna, a sound designer and audio engineer based in the UK. He is currently the sound designer for One Minute, a play by Simon Stephens, which runs from September 10th to October 3rd at The Vaults in London. You can view his showreel and portfolio on his website LampEight Audio. This is a hold-over from last month’s “Favorites” theme.
On this month’s topic of “favourites”, I decided to share my thoughts on a somewhat underrepresented area of sound design; live performance and theatre. It’s an area that I’ve always felt most comfortable producing in and where my working practices have always seemed to best fit. Hopefully, through sharing my reasoning and experiences in sound design for the live experience, I can offer a glimpse into a lesser-known and exciting area for creative sound.
The funny thing is that theatre isn’t exactly in my blood. Short of a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in drama and a few weeks in stage school as a kid, live performance was never something I went out of my way to get involved with or felt any great pull towards. But when I took up an offer to provide sound for a performance art student during my time at college, what I found it offered me – and anyone else I would encourage to get into this exciting area of work – is an expressive and evolving environment for sound design, ripe for experimentation and interaction.
I’d like to share with you some of the key characteristics that drew me in to live performance. (more…)