As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…
Sound is a representation of time.
Actually, that doesn’t sit right. Sound IS time.
If you think about the differences between a picture and a sound captured over an infinitely short span of time, you’ll understand what I mean. A picture is a representation of space. Something captured in a true instant generates a visual field which can be looked at, studied…understood. Time may be required to do all of those things, but the image exists.
The same is not true for sound. A sound captured in the same way is nothing. Attempting to continuously play back that representation for study would be like running a DC signal into a speaker. It would instantly deflect to a given position, and remain there as long the current continues. You would hear nothing.
Without time, sound does not exist.
Photo credits: “Long time no see” by Zlatko Vickovic
If you are releasing a new SFX library and you would like it to be included in our recap, please send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission Form. Now excuse me as I mourn Alan Rickman.
I know I’ve let half the month go by again without the recap, but – what can I say? – buying a new house means a lot of moving and planning and building and raking and adopting a dog – you know, living the American Dream or something. However, February is not yet upon us, and 2015 still needs a proper wrap-up! So I present to you the libraries which became available to our ears last month. There is an assortment of big vehicles, massive drones, fat 8-bit SFX, giant monsters and.. was that a monk?
Motorsports 1 by Airborne Sound
Many car sound libraries exist – they are fun to record, after all – but Paul Virostek and his Airborne Sound studio have offered us something slightly different. Motorsports 1 contains 241 recordings of high-performance cars during nine races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal and the Exhibition Place in Toronto. These aren’t the jerks who speed down your street at 3am. These pros fly around the track like giant android hornets, growling and sputtering with explosive backfires as they accelerate. This library features the Formula One, Ferrari Challenge, IndyCar and Pro Mazda – with single performances from each car – as well as yellow flags and formation laps from various recording positions. The tracks have also been mastered to remove distracting noises such as crowd reactions and helicopters, and naturally the library includes Soundminer data. With a “1” in the title, we know we can look forward to hearing more from this series.
(241 WAV files, 4.87 GB, 24bit/96kHz)
Ultra Drones by 3maze
Going the extra mile in a project can often go unnoticed by others and feel like a waste of time. However, with a solid plan and interesting data to support it, this effort can result in charm and distinction. Peter Smith and his 3Maze studio produced this magic in their new library, Ultra Drones. Containing 27 ambient drones, this library blends synthetic and acoustic personalities through a mixture of atypical techniques. The tracks were first designed with FM and analogue synthesizers, then re-recorded at freezing temperatures in a 300 foot-long concrete tunnel. The resulting tracks emote other-worldly dissonances, ones that might creep through the windows of an isolated cabin or represent the unease of being inside a living cybernetic Cylon Raider. These drones will make your stomach drop and likely add the right amount of anxiety to your project.
(27 WAV files, 2.32 GB, 24bit/96kHz) (more…)
Sound effect synthesis is finally coming back into vogue and with recent increases in development as well as processing power; we are seeing great leaps in quality. In that regard I have asked Charles Verron, a developer of PANO to write this article explaining what they have been up to with their “foley synthesizer.”
This is probably evident to a lot of people, but your boss has a huge impact on how good your project sounds. I’m talking about the director, or the game designer. If you want to get any of your ideas into the project, you have to get them to buy off on it. This is probably an obvious statement, but how often do we remind ourselves of it? MPSE does an awesome job of honoring those directors who appreciate what good sound brings to their films. Kudos to them! Without the support of the boss, even the most skilled sound professionals will have a hard time contributing their best work. It goes deeper than that though.
I can clearly remember the first time I realized how important that top level boss is to making an awesome sounding design or mix. I remember hating that specific idea my boss wanted me to do…not try, do! It was an order. I remember the first time I realized that the problem wasn’t the request, but my approach to that request. That moment changed the way I did everything ever since. If we want our ideas entertained, we need to entertain the ideas of others.
Of course, that’s not to say that every idea that comes down (or goes up, mind you) is a good one, but there at least might be the kernel of a good one buried somewhere underneath.
The new year has just dawned and we still have 360 days of 2016 to enjoy. How many of those days will you spend editing, designing, mixing, implementing, programming, or listening? No matter how much you wish you could use the TCE trimming tool to extend your year, the seconds on your watch will continue to count even if your DAW is not.
This month, Designing Sound is looking at the ways we view time, whether that be managing your day between desperate projects, speeding up your workflow to fit more in every day, taking time out to listen and reflect so you can return to a project with a fresh set of ears, or using temporal-based processing to fix simple sync issues or take your sound design into an otherworldly abyss. So, what does time mean to you?
As always, we here at Designing Sound encourage our community (and yes, that means you) to contribute an article for this month’s theme, or any sound design related topic that may be on your mind. Your contributions, and added perspectives are a large part of what keeps this site vibrant and fresh. So please, keep reading, thinking, and writing about sound design, and anytime you would like to contribute, just contact doron [@] this website. Thank you for being a part of our community.
The year 2015 has been one of many great articles, interviews, and discussions here at Designing Sound and we want to thank all of our readers for their attention, suggestions, contributions, and overwhelming support. There have been so many great films, shows, games, and events this year that we thought we would share some of our favorites for you to go back and check out in case you missed them!
Happy New Year! You may have noticed that I’ve been far less active on the site lately […or maybe you haven’t and I’m just a narcissist]. I’ve taken a step back from the site’s more regular content, but I wanted to challenge myself to something. I’m going to try to post a musing on sound once a week for the next year. I’ll probably fail, but I want to keep the juices flowing. Contributing to this site over the years stimulated a lot of paths of exploration for me, and I don’t want to lose that impetus. While I no longer have the time to contribute in a more dedicated way, these little bite sized musings are something I should be able to handle. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution, but the the start of a year sure makes it easy to keep track of. ;)
So here’s the first “Sunday Sound Thought”
Our hearing changes throughout our lives. That means that no matter how many times we hear something, we can always hear it in a new way. Even if you eliminate the ideas of experience and reference from the equation, there are biological changes that affect how we hear. Children’s ears have a wider frequency response than adults, but the neural structures that interpret our sonic environment don’t mature until our 20’s. Even if you fastidiously protect your hearing, presbycusis sets in and attenuates the higher frequencies in adults. And let’s face it, we can’t perfectly protect our ears.
So remember the next time you hear something you’re tired of listening to, even that mental state means that you’re hearing it a little differently.
In keeping with the festive spirit of the holidays, Asbjoern Andersen of A Sound Effect has compiled a collection of brief guides on how to create some iconic Christmas sound effects. Head over to the blog to find some quick and useful tips on recreating some very familiar SFX– but don’t be fooled, these tips will help you long after the new year rolls round!
Photo credits: “French Flag in the Sky” by Guillaume Ulrich
If you are releasing a new SFX library and you would like it to be included in our recap, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission Form (and yes, I know there are less than two weeks left in December, but don’t let that stop you).
“I can’t believe this year’s almost over!”
…you know they can believe it though. Unless the Gregorian calendar recently became their planner of choice, they knew 2016 was coming, regardless of their hyperbole. Yet even if they’ve invaded your ears a million times with this remark, they bring up a good point. We are on the final sprint to the new year, one that with a single, confusing day will assure our celebrations are properly aligned with the locations of our celestial counterparts. But let’s slow down for a moment and take a look back at November and the flock of useful SFX libraries our community produced.
Rooms by 3maze
Every so often, you enter a room with a stillness that seems to amplify each disturbance around you. It could be a buzzing fan slowly modulating as if the room might take off any second, or the flow of fluids and energized air within the bellies of the walls. Even the hum of a fluorescent light can feel like a pinpoint through the rush of hot air through the heating vents. As a collection of hypersensitive recordings, Rooms captures characteristics of the indoors that make you feel as if the building is breathing your air and digesting your livelihood.
(30 WAV files, 4.8 GB, 24bit/96kHz or 16bit/44.1kHz)
Electronic Drain for Kontakt 5 by SampleTraxx
Electronic Drain is a sound collection that explores the magnetic field. Its hisses and crinkles are lovely and pop out easily in a mix to subtlety hint the environment without dominating the context. Am I lurking through an abandoned spacecraft? Was I abducted and my brain violated with an implanted radio? Who is this Serbian man noting all the flickering bolts of lightening around my head? This library contains eleven Kontakt 5 instruments with processed and looped tracks for quick implementation into your electromagnetic world.
(11 Kontakt instruments with 1.1 GB of samples, 300 WAV files, 24bit/96kHz, requires paid version of Kontakt 5)
This Saturday (December 19th), attend a discussion of the sound for Alejandro Iñárritu’s The Revenant with Supervising Sound Editors and Sound Designers Randy Thom and Martin Hernandez. The presentation will be held at the Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, CA, at 7PM. Please note that this not a film screening, but a discussion of the design work that went in to particular scenes of the film.
To RSVP, contact Rachel Aberly at: rachel.aberly[at]gmail[dot]com.
Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an epic story of survival and transformation on the American Frontier.
While on an expedition into the uncharted wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally mauled by a bear, then abandoned by members of his own hunting team. Alone and near death, Glass refuses to succumb. Driven by sheer will and his love for his Native American wife and son, he undertakes a 200-mile odyssey through the vast and untamed West on the trail of the man who betrayed him: John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).
What begins as a relentless quest for revenge becomes a heroic saga against all odds towards home and redemption.
THE REVENANT is directed, produced and co-written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu.