The Carpetbagger, a New York Times blog dedicated to the film awards season we are now in the flush of, has spoken to Steve Boeddeker and Randy Thom at Skywalker Sound.
“Before there was a here here, I was here,” said Randy Thom, the director of sound design at Skywalker Sound, part of George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch complex outside of San Francisco. “It used to be called Sprocket Systems, in the earliest days, and it became Skywalker Sound in the mid ’80s,” said Mr. Thom, who first worked with the company on “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Randy talks a little bit about the history of the Ranch and Skywalker Sound, and there’s a 5 minute video that includes interviews with both Steve and Randy.
In the last year, we’ve all been happy to see the slow emergence of software tools designed explicitly for sound design. The fine folks over at Tonsturm are the latest to release one such tool under the moniker Melted Sounds. Whoosh is a Reaktor based plug-in for designing, as implied by its name, complex and varied motion elements and pass-bys. The basic idea behind the tool is similar to a post here on Designing Sound by Charles Deenen, which was later built into a Kyma patch by Jean-Edouard Miclot. Whoosh simplifies the process of setting up this kind of processing chain yourself. If you’ve got Reaktor, you simply load the ensemble. The source material included with tool comes from some of the best independent sound effects libraries out there. Seriously, the list is hard to ignore. Sounds have been licensed from: Chuck Russom, Colin Hart, Tim Prebble, Jean-Edouard Miclot, Michael Raphael, Mikkel Nielsen, and Frank Bry…not to mention sounds from Tonsturm itself. It’s safe to assume that it sounds good…even if I weren’t about to tell you exactly that. Ultimately, deciding if it is a worthy addition to your toolbox is something we each have to decide individually. There are a lot of tools out there, and we all have our priorities. So, a review should be about its potential impact on workflow. Does it allow you a depth of control similar to Charles’ process at a comparable (or improved) speed?
Let’s take a look at what Whoosh can do.
I 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
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.
SoundSelf is trailed as an interactive and meditated experience in which gamers use their voice, actually their chanting voice, to navigate through the gaming environment. Wired Magazine has an interview…
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…
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…
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…