There was a time when people argued that theatrical (even home) sound has long been three dimensional. Maybe there are still some that make that claim. With the rise of binaural audio, Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D, sound actually is entering the third dimension. This is just a small semantic argument. Surround sound, in its traditional 5.1 and 7.1 formats, wasn’t technically three dimensional. It was still a two dimensional plane, but that plane was perpendicular to the screen. In a way, it made the viewing experience three dimensional. Here we had the 2D screen on the vertical plane, and the 2D sound on the horizontal. The world of the film could extend away from the screen to envelop the viewer. As the presence of three dimensional image grows in our media consumption experiences, it’s become even more important to make good use of the surround technology at our disposal. The visual experience is now as immersive as the aural.
With that fact in mind, we turn our focus this month to the topic of “Surround.”
Next month’s featured topic will be “Silence.” As always, we want your guest contributions. If you have an idea you’d like to explore, or something you want to put in front of the community, whether it be as part of our monthly topic or something further afield, please contact us. Email Shaun, or use our contact form to get the ball rolling.
As April comes to an end and we wrap up our topic for the month, “broken”, I wanted to take a moment and share something that I learned when I was first starting out, and something that I find myself having to remember quite often: how to react when everything starts to break.
We depend on a lot of complex technologies in our day-to-day lives, some more intricate and convoluted than others. As sound designers, we often find ourselves using even more complicated and specialized gear and equipment, adding to the complexity. While a lot of time and effort has gone into making these technologies work perfectly, the simple fact of the matter is that things have a tendency to break, often when you need them the most. As an old friend of mine likes to say, “Murphy was an optimist!” (more…)
Guest Contribution by Ivo Ivanov
Take a moment to think about the magnitude of all the rejected material that disappears during your editing process. Material with unwanted artifacts, discarded without much further thought, as it is rendered useless due to a number of auditory issues or location-specific problems. Now imagine if those discarded bits of audio were actually what you were truly looking for. Welcome to my world: I search for the sounds in between sounds.
While on a recent field recording trip with a few local colleagues, the day’s conversations and varying points of interest illuminated intriguing differences in our technical goals. While we all had essentially the same equipment (the usual field recorders, mics and accessories) and we were recording many of the same subjects, our focus and subsequent approach turned out to be significantly different. This raised some interesting discussions about perspective and context, which got me thinking about how much time I actually spend trying to deconstruct things and harness the “broken”.
SoundMorph celebrate their 1st anniversary with the announcement of their newest release Intervention.
Intervention is the most complete and researched SWAT sound effects library ever made, featuring 26 weapons recorded by Hollywood’s premier weapons recordist, Charles Maynes.
We’ve compiled a collection of the most frequently used weapons by American SWAT units, offering you a complete sound set to work on modern films, television or games.
We’ve even included the source recordings for you to design your own gunshots, and plenty of additional foley, utilities, boots, explosives, gun handling and gear body movements, making this the most developed soundpack library in its genre.
All files are 24bit/96khz stereo files, meticulously embedded with Soundminer & Basehead metadata, including:
26 weapons commonly used by US SWAT teams
Suppressed and burst variations for most weapons
Shot variations for dry, open exterior, interior and urban locations
4 source layers for each weapon, allowing you to design your own shots
14 gun foley weapon sets including reloads, magazine inserts and cocking
SWAT body gear movements
Utilities like night vision goggles, batons, battering rams and more
Large explosives and explosive sweeteners
Designed gun handling files for gun movements
Charles Maynes’ work includes Spider-Man, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Resident Evil 5, and he is regarded as one of the go-to people in Hollywood and games for weapons recording.
Intervention also contains gun foley recorded by another Hollywood sound pro, Matthew E. Taylor.
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]
Forest Scene by Narcisse Diaz de la Peña, photo by flickr user Cliff. Click image to view source.
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.
SoundWorks Collection have just released The Sound Of Transcendence an exclusive sound profile with the sound team behind Director Wally Pfister’s debut film Transcendence.
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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