When we say “space”, people generally think of two things: outer space, or a bounded area that something fits into. It’s a safe bet that most people in the sound community immediately think of the latter. So often we focus on the characteristics of a space…how far a sound carries, reflections and reverberation time, etc. Certainly that helps us define a space, but…for the most part…only on a technical level. What really defines a space, is what occupies it. There’s no denying that production designers and location scouts in film, or level designers and artists in games, have a strong role in creating a space, but we in the sonic branch of our respective mediums have the unique ability to refine…or even redefine…those spaces they create. Sometimes, we’re even given the opportunity to create spaces where they cannot. What I want us to consider in light of that, is how we approach the creation of that space.
If you made it to the Designing Sound mixer we held during the AES conference in New York last year, you may have met Neil Benezra. Neil is a Brooklyn based sound designer and mixer, and he’s just shown up on the cover of the latest issue of CineMontage (the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild Journal). We’re always happy to see members of our community being recognized. Why not go give it a read? ;)
GameSoundCon, gearing up for their 10th conference, which will take place October 7-8 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, have made two recent news announcements.
Game Audio Workers Survey
First up, the results of the GamesSoundCon and Games Audio Network and Guild (GANG) joint survey that looked at working in the game audio industry are out. Whilst the results give cause for optimism with regards to general pay for composers, sound designers and audio developers, less encouraging news emerged, with the fact that women remain under-represented in the industry accounting for around 5% of survey respondents. A PDF of the full survey results, where respondents were also invited to comment on things such as work environment and contract terms, are available form the GamesSoundCon website.
$100 off entry to GameSoundCon14 and a chance to win EastWest CCC2
GamesSoundCon and EastWest have teamed up for a sound design contest that offers multiple winners a $100 entry discount to October’s GamesSoundCon AND automatic entry into a draw to win a copy of EastWest Complete Composers Collection 2. More of a social media treasure hunt, for a chance to win contestants are asked to follow the contest link, provide an email address, and then use the power of social media to earn points that unlock the discount code and give entry into the draw. All the tasks are pretty straightforward, so don’t let that put you off!
There is a cool crowdsource library getting organized over at Audible Worlds. Site runner Mike Niederquell’s explanation says it best:
The goal of this library is to capture 3-5 minutes of crowds or walla from your local region. It’s best if the conversations in the recordings are unintelligible, which is why we are using the term “walla” to describe this project. We realize it’s probably unrealistic for most people to have access to a group of performers to capture proper walla, so recording large groups of people in a public area is also being accepted.
Everyone is allowed to contribute and your contribution awards you everyone else’s submitted recordings which from the looks of it will be a *lot* of people! The Submission window is Oct 1, 2014 to Oct 20th, 2014 so there isn’t much time left! Go check it out along with the rest of Audible Worlds. Its a great resource.
Over at G.A.N.G.’s site is a new interview by Kenny Young who chats with Naughty Dog’s Phillip Kovats and Jonathan Lanier about the mix of Last of Us. Its a fantastic read that I recommend for anyone in or interested in game audio. The mix won a GANG award for a reason!
Guest Contribution by Karen Collins
Listening is the most important skill a sound designer has, and yet, it’s probably the one that’s the most ephemeral and difficult to nail down. What is listening? Are we born with this skill, or is it something that we can learn? Listening is the process that takes the information that we hear and makes meaning from that sound. To listen requires a conscious effort, and it’s this effort that you can learn how to train. Some blind people have learned to listen so well that they can echo-locate: we have a remarkable to hear all kinds of things in our environment that most of us just miss out on.
You’re reading this article, so you’re someone who is probably already listening to sound more than your friends. Maybe you’ve gone to a movie and stepped out with your friend afterwards and said “wow, what great sound in that film” and your friend gives you a blank stare and says they didn’t notice. But we can always improve our ability to listen, to focus our attention on sound. I’d like to take you through some exercises I do with my students when I teach sound design so you can build your listening skills. (more…)
The world we inhabit is ever shifting. People and animals are constantly on the move. Water laps against wood or crashes against a sandy beach. If considered from a somewhat solipsistic approach the buildings, trees and mountains around us even shift in position. With all of those positional changes comes a new sonic interaction. The squirrel’s chitter no is no longer to our left, the wave passes above us when we are under water, or the reflections of nearby traffic now reflect off of a different building of steel and glass…confusing its location. Space is not fixed nor are the elements within it.
This month, we look at that mercurial idea of “Space.”
This site is a space by and for the community, and is made special by all of the contributions that come in from that community. If you would like to add something to the conversation around this month’s theme…or when we turn our attention to Synthesis next month….please contact us through the contact form or by e-mailing shaun (shift+2) [this site].
At first glance, you may not think of this site as one where we would care about reactions to critical analysis of media. We care very much, in fact, and feel it is necessary to take a moment to discuss the recent reactions to the latest in Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games” series.
I’m sure you’ve seen commentary about it on other sites already, but we feel that it is important to point out that we are a part of the community she is speaking to. She has seen a similar reaction every time she has released a video…the idiots come out of the woodwork to attack her. It has also seemed to escalate with each new round. Case in point: (more…)