Feb
24

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LA Underground – An Interview with Charles Maynes

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LA-1-940I recently had a chance to sit down with sound designer and sound FX recordist Charles Maynes and chat about his new “LA Underground” sound library, available from Rabbit Ears Audio. Inspired by the gritty and seedy Los Angeles shown in countless films, “LA Underground” is a 10 GB collection of ambiences from all over the city, from the industrial centers near the LA River to the heart of Downtown.

Designing Sound: How did this library come about?

Charles Maynes: I had been talking to Zach Seivers and Justin Davey over at Snap Sound, who I had met through Dave Yewdall. Basically, a conversation I had with them last summer was kind of the seed for the conversation I eventually had with Michael [Raphael]. They had been hired to do a film in New York, and they were going to go out on location and record a bunch of stuff in the city and at the practical locations, and they were like, “Hey, this is a really big projects for us, so we’re going to actually invest in some Schoeps mics and stuff.” They were debating whether to go M/S or X/Y. Read More

Feb
17

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Journalism Beyond Words: Dirty Wars

Dirty Wars - photo credit: Christopher Barnett

As the documentary format moves further into the 21st century, audio is playing an ever increasing role in helping directors communicate their thoughts and ideas to the viewer. In a recent article posted to doxmagazine.com, Peter Albrechtsen goes in depth with Christopher Barnett, the sound designer for this year’s MPSE documentary sound design award winning film, Dirty Wars. The two discuss the specifics of documentary sound design theory at length, going over such topics as the interplay between sound effects and music, the need for authenticity over sonic perfection, and the placement of voice overs, in order to support the emotion of a documentary’s message.

Dirty Wars is an important film, revealing insights into an largely unknown covert military unit, and Barnett’s sound design frames the viewing experience perfectly. Read Albrechtsen’s article in it’s entirety at doxmagazine.com.

Feb
14

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Viviana Caro: A Career Working With Animal Sounds

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100_2152Guest Contribution by Leonard Paul

You’ve worked a lot with animals as a sound engineer, could you give a brief history of how your initial interest in audio restoration of bird sounds has led to being the recordist for the Colombian Mountain Grackle in the mountains of Colombia?

My interest on animal sounds started when I worked on my audio engineering undergrad thesis. I paired up with a biologist that was building an animal sound archive at the Humboldt Institute in Colombia and he needed the technical help of an audio engineer to help him develop the archive. One of the objectives of this collaboration was to produce the first CD of Colombian bird sounds using the material he recorded in different locations around the country. It was a challenging project since at the time there were no local audio engineers working in this area. They were working in either music, live sound or audio post-production and all the tools available for sound restoration were focused on those applications. I tested out filters from different software including ProTools, Audiosculpt, Canary and Matlab. After a year of research, I ended up programming filters on Matlab and applying them to each recording, based on the information from their frequency content. I found, among other things, that audio restoration for animal sounds is very subjective; sometimes removing too much “noise” from a recording makes it sound out of context and it’s not pleasant to listen to. I came up to this conclusion after doing a survey to people from different backgrounds (musicians, biologists and the general public). They listened to the same recording filtered in different ways and chose the one that was more appealing to them.

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Feb
12

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(Mis)adventures in Cat Recording

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Stella demonstrates how cat recording NEVER happens.

About three years ago, on a whim, I adopted a 6 month old kitten. I had dealt with cats before at friends’ and family’s houses, but had never owned one, and Luna (short for “Lunatic”) was full of surprises. After her initial “moving in” period, in which she hid under the bed for nearly a week, I discovered that Luna was an exceedingly outspoken individual that needed to make sure everyone knew that she was here and ready to conquer the world (or at least the apartment): Read More

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Gordon Hempton – Recording Rain and Thunder…plus a bonus

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gordon Hempton has a new post up on his blog about recording rain and thunder that is well worth checking out: Winds may be among the most difficult…

Short Film On Sound Recording

Monday, November 25, 2013

This great short film on sound and the experiences of a sound designer Justin Boyd comes via the Audible Worlds forum. There is fantastic attention to detail here…

R.I.P. Pioneering Electronic Composer Bernard Parmegiani

Friday, November 22, 2013

Highly influential electronic composer Bernard Parmegiani – a key member of Paris’ iconic Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), and a major figure in the development of 20th century…

What Is ‘The Most Beautiful Sound In The World’?

Friday, November 22, 2013

 BeautifulNow and The Sound Agency are accepting entries for the ‘The Most Beautiful Sound in the World’. Anything that encourages people to stop and think about the ecology of…