Guest Contribution by Rob Bridgett
For the past 14 years I’ve been a proponent of sound as a deeply integral part of the video game development process, getting audio involved earlier, allowing it to become a part of decision making and concepting, allowing sound’s early presence, excitement and enthusiasm to influence the other disciplines involved in the collaborative sport of video game development.
Recently, you may have noticed a trend towards narrowing down the focus of what we consider to be multi-disciplinary game development, there are small team, minimal, retro, and almost inevitably towards audio-only games. At the Game Developer’s Conference Nicky Birch of Somethin’ Else’s spoke about their audio-only games (such as Papa Sangre) as did Brian Schmidt on a similar theme in 2013). These are games in which the player has little or no visual input or stimulus, but relies entirely on spatialized audio cues. (more…)
R. Murray Schafer at “listen” short film
“One can look at seeing but one can’t hear hearing” – Marcel Duchamp
As you may know, silence is the topic chosen for this month here at Designing Sound. One may think silence is not existent if we value it as an absolute sonic absence, but here I’m going to examine its role and possibility towards the act of listening to sound, silencing, not as that state of complete sonic deletion but as a force able of letting sound to be. Here’s not about asking “what is silence?” but just creating an invitation to be silent and just listen. (more…)
A quick round-up of recent releases from independent sound designers …
Sonic Salute – Rock & Roll
First up this month we come bearing gifts – an exclusive 20% off coupon for the latest Sonic Salute library pack.
ROCK & ROLL: Rock/Concrete/Metal Impacts and Dirt Debris contains over 300 LCR recordings of rolling rocks, rock and concrete impacts, dirt, debris, you name it. Basically, all the rock, with a lot of extra roll. All files are 24-bit / 192KHz and the product page has some cool info and video footage of the backstory of this collection.
Designing Sound have teamed up with Sonic Salute to give our readers 20% of this collection. Using the coupon code: ROCKTOTHEROLL20 on checkout will give you 20% off the usual $45.00 price, valid for 48 hours from the publication of this here post.
Rock & Roll product page
Sonic Salute homepage
AudioGaming is about to celebrate five years of developing procedural audio plugin magic and would like to offer two DS readers a post-production bundle each — for free — through a simple competition.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Help them find a quote for the procedural audio plugin bundle
- A quote that could go on a box like the one below
- The quote needs to be ten words or less
- One entry per person, email your quote to contest[at]audiogaming[dot]net
Example: “Sculpt your audio in real-time”
The folks at AudioGaming will then choose two of the best quotes. This competition closes on 14 July 2014 at 00:00 GMT. Good luck!
A few months ago Glitchmachines released Quadrant a “modular sound generator and effects processing plugin geared toward experimental sound design and electronic music production.” Quadrant also ” includes a Eurorack modular synthesizer sample library comprised of over 1500 samples.”. For $49 this sfx processor + library gives you a lot of content to learn and play with.
This looks like it could be a great resource for sound designers too :
xeno-canto is a website dedicated to sharing bird sounds from all over the world. Whether you are a research scientist, a birder, or simply curious about a sound that you heard out your kitchen window, we invite you to listen, download, and explore the bird sound recordings in the collection.
But xeno-canto is more than just a collection of recordings. It is also a collaborative project. We invite you to share your own bird recordings, help identify mystery recordings, or share your expertise in the forums.
Guest Contribution from Randy Thom
It was announced that the people who run the Tony Awards have decided to cut two of their awards categories….the two sound design categories.
This is a sad piece of news for all of us in sound. It’s yet another slap in the face for an important art form that struggles for recognition. The people who run awards shows feel constant pressure to populate those shows with pretty people, famous people, and people who are highly entertaining when a camera and microphone are pointed at them. Advertisers pound their fists on tables in anger when their ad follows an unglamorous and unknown statuette recipient’s earnest “thank you.” One year when I attended the Oscar telecast, and left the building at the end of the show in my tux, a guy ran up to me in the middle of the street with a pen and paper in his hands screaming to me “Are You Anybody? Are You Anybody?” I said “Sure!” and he smiled big as I handed him my illegible signature. Though the Tony Awards have promised that they may, in the future, occasionally give an award to an especially noteworthy job of sound design, the message we should get loud and clear from their announcement today is that as far as they are concerned we, sound designers, are not ‘anybody.’ How sad, how dumb.
Guest Contribution by Jeff Talman
Seong Moy, my drawing professor at City College of New York, had students lightly shade their sketchpads with hand-smeared charcoal to prepare a background for the drawing. This neutral background helped to create an illusory sense of depth in a 2-dimensional medium. The negative space of the drawing was activated by this treatment. Had there been no shading, no defined background, the objects in the drawing would not have existed anywhere, but would have been only representations, floating and free of context. The background helped to create a space in which to work.
Similarly, audio engineers know how important the background silence is in recording. In the early days of Audio CDs engineers learned that absolute silence between tracks created a void that the listener could find to be unpleasant, as if the CD was somehow unnatural because it did not exist in any space itself. The problem was compounded in that LPs had a consistent background sound. So sound on the early CDs seemed to ‘drop out’ between tracks. Soon engineers added low levels of ambient, background sound to fill these voids just as the charcoal smears did for the drawings.
Hidden within the program of the 2014 AFI Docs festival is a short film that provides a glimpse inside the world of Foley recording, mixing and performance.
The Secret World of Foley follows artists Peter Burgis (Edge of Tomorrow, The Monuments Men, Kick-Ass 2) and Sue Harding (The Selfish Giant, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Philomena) as they work their way through a challenging series of moves, walks, and other sync sounds. A deliberate ploy by writer/director Daniel Jewel was to not have any dialogue in the film, or wordy explanations of the Foley techniques involved. On the best way of showcasing the work and talents of Peter, Sue and sound designer Glen Gathard, Jewel says, “I thought we could create a specially shot short film and and then film the Foley Artists interpreting that film, with props of their choice and then cut between the two ‘films’. So without any words, we would get the sense of what Foley Artists do to bring films to life.”
The effect of this juxtaposition between the film and the Foley performance is quite mesmerising, and The Secret World of Foley will be screening on Thursday 19 June at the Goethe-Institut in Washington D.C. and Friday 20 June at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland as part of the AFI Docs festival. Those not going will be able to catch it online later in the year, once it has completed its run of festivals.
The Secret World of Foley official website
2014 AFI Docs homepage
Third Man Films on Twitter
The SAE Sounddesign contest has just been announced. Contestants will be asked to create the audio (foley, sound design, atmosphere, no music) for a short monster animation, and the first through third place winners will take home a share of over 5500€ worth of prizes from companies like Rode, Boom Library, iZotope, Avid, SoundBits, Sugar Bytes, Fluid Audio, and Presonus.
The contest is open to all, and will be judged by Thomas Johnson, Axel Rorbach and Saro Sahihi. Boom Library has also offered a few sounds from their high-quality construction kits for use in the contest (though their use is optional).
The SAE Institute offers education in a number of media production fields. Submissions for the SAE Sounddesign contest will be accepted until June 23rd, 2014. For more information, see the SAE website.