The fine gentlemen over at The Tonebenders Podcast have a new offering. “Soundbytes” are shorter, self contained, stories that they’ll be releasing in addition to the regular podcast. They saw our theme this month, and realized they had the perfect interview to go with it. So, give a listen to this interview about “circuit bending” with Moth Robot! [...and make sure you subscribe to their podcast, on the off chance you haven't already]
Guest Contribution by Randy Thom
When someone tells me that they admire the sound design work my team has done on a project they often go on to say that what they like most is the little sonic details we’ve covered in a given scene, like the sound of an object being picked up by a character in the background of a shot. I thank them for the compliment, but I’m usually left with an awkward feeling, because “details” are actually low on my list of priorities. I think sound design is an art form. I aspire to be a good artist, and I think sound work is similar to painting and other art forms in lots of ways. Great paintings are praised for the feelings they evoke. It’s pretty rare that the work of a master painter is praised for its “details.” In fact, the most intricately detailed paintings, the ones that depict a scene absolutely realistically in a straight forward “photographic” way are almost never considered great works of art. Great craft maybe, but not great art.
Featured interviews include Director Wally Pfister, Supervising Sound Editor Mark Mangini, Re-recording Mixer Terry Porter, Re-recording Mixer Jeremy Peirson, Dialogue and ADR Supervisor Byron Wilson, and Music Editor Erich Stratmann.
Below is an interview I conducted between Capcom’s Tomoya Kishi and Media Molecule’s Kenneth Young. I started them off with a few questions and let them go back and forth from there. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as we had putting it together.
Jack: Please introduce yourself and tell us about your experience in audio.
Kenny: My name is Kenny Young and I’m the Head of Audio at Media Molecule, one of Sony’s first party (wholly owned) game development studios, based in Guildford, UK. I had a fairly strong musical background as a kid, but sealed my fate by doing an undergraduate degree in Music Technology at the University of Edinburgh, which turned me on to working creatively with sound before then going on to specialise a bit more by doing a masters degree in sound design down at Bournemouth Uni. I landed my first full-time job in the industry 10 years ago as a junior sound designer at Sony’s London Studio, working in their centralised audio department on a wide variety of games in different genres and on different platforms. That broad experience stood me in good stead for when I joined Media Molecule in 2007, setting up their audio department and trying my best to make LittleBigPlanet sound awesome. That involved me doing the vast majority of the sound work, some of the music, directing the composers and the creative side of the music licensing process, producing the voice localisation from the Mm side of things, not to mention being heavily involved in the design of the audio-centric UGC features of the game. That led to the inevitable sequel, and the joys of trying to juggle the managing and directing of my staff whilst remaining a hands-on sound designer and composer. Most recently, we just released Tearaway, which I wrote about in December for Designing Sound, where I supervised a team of talented sound designers and managed to keep my hand in there whilst also co-writing the original score (with Brian D’Oliveira), co-writing the voice script (with Tearaway’s creative director, Rex Crowle) and generally just trying to help the project in whatever way I could. All of which is why I’ve been on holiday for the last two months! But I’m just back in the saddle and trying to get our unannounced PS4 project into good audio shape having ignored it for a while :) (more…)
Quadrant is a new modular sound generator and effects processing plugin geared towards experimental sound design. It features a broad selection of modules, connectable through a graphical patching system, allowing for a very wide and customizable range of sounds and effects. The plugin can be used to generate textures, or as an effects processor, providing a number of different ways to create uniquely futuristic sounds.
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We’ve published the website policy that we use internally. We’d like to be as open as possible so it works to the benefit of everyone. If you’d like software reviewed or have something to share with the community we recommend you give it a read.
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It is fitting that with our theme of “Broken” this month I would accidentally wash my Zoom H1 Handy Recorder in the washing machine. I had taken the H1 with me to GDC just in case any cool sounds popped up for me to record (they didn’t). So when I got home and tossed the backpack in the wash to get the San Francisco grime off of it I completely forgot the very light H1 was inside! Fast forward to me opening up the washing machine and finding the H1′s body sans-capsules and the capsules and their housings in various places in the machine.
Bit short notice but if you’re in NYC on April 19 there is a pretty cool master class happening:
“On Saturday, April 19th, come join us at the Media Center to watch the Academy Award winning film GRAVITY with master sound designer, Skip Lievsay. We’ll have lunch together and Skip will walk you through his experience working on GRAVITY. Skip Lievsay has an outstanding history of collaborating with major American filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, the Coen Brothers, and John Sayles. “
“Skip Lievsay has an outstanding history of collaborating with major American filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, the Coen Brothers, and John Sayles. He served as sound editor for the Coen brothers on Blood Simple(1984) and was their sound editor supervisor on Raising Arizona (1987), Miller’s Crossing (1990), and Barton Fink (1991). The frequent Coen brothers’ collaborator received two Academy Award nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing for his work on NoCountry For Old Men (2007) and was nominated in the same categories for True Grit (2011). For Spike Lee, he provided sound design for Do the Right Thing (1989), Mo’ Better Blues (1990), and Jungle Fever (1991). Lievsay began an extensive collaboration with Martin Scorsese on After Hours (1985), continuing through The Age of Innocence (1993). For John Sayles, he worked on Matewan (1987) and City of Hope (1991).”
An interesting investigation into how cars ‘should’ sound.
While our cities are in continuous visual and tactile evolution, our sonic landscape is primitive and disordered. With the dawn of silent electric vehicles comes a need for pedestrian warning sounds. This represents an opportunity to reflect upon the noise of our streets today and fantasize on what the future of our cities could sound like.
Semcon, in a unique collaboration between its Design and Acoustics divisions, with pioneering music/art duo Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst, invite you to experience the project initially premiered as an installation during Frankfurt Motorshow 2013.
The result of this innovative fusion, SONIC MOVEMENT imagines a new paradigm in the audible character of the city.
Guest Contribution by Richard Gould
…and a hold-over from last month’s “Voice” theme
I didn’t realise it until recently, but I’ve been a sound designer for most of my life. I may have only discovered the term “Sound Design” a few years ago, and I may have just graduated from studying the craft of sound design itself, but like most of us, I’ve been designing sounds since I was a kid, I just didn’t know it. True, I wasn’t sitting behind a console discussing aesthetics with directors, nor was I packing up my gear for a field recording session, but just as I might find myself today making sounds for non-existent worlds, beings and spacecrafts, I was doing the same thing when I was six years old.
I would run through the woodland up in the valley near my house, only it wasn’t a woodland, it was an alien landscape on a distant planet, or a medieval forest where a beastly dragon placed me in mortal danger. I could see these creatures, I could hear them (and I wasn’t afraid to let others hear them either). I was using the two most powerful tools in my sound design toolbox to realize the sonic sources of these worlds; my imagination and my voice. As I grew older however, I had less and less time to go up to the woodland, less time to visit these other worlds, and as a result, my first career as a sound designer came to an abrupt end around the age of eleven.