Back around the time I was first starting out, I remember opening up a demo of Cubase VST (on my trusty PowerMac 6400) and taking a look through the various menus. Everything seemed pretty standard, but something in particular caught my eye, a menu item labeled “Ears Only”. Curious, I clicked on it, only to have my monitor go completely blank. After a few seconds of panic thinking I had broken everything, I realized that Steinberg had programmed a mode that completely disabled the monitor and forced you to just listen. At first, this option seemed like a strange addition. Why, when I’m creating sound, would I not be listening to what I’m doing? Listening while working with audio seemed like a no-brainer. However, after gaining a little more experience, this “just listen” mode began to make a lot more sense. (more…)
Let’s start out with what to listen for in a recording location. Naturally, we’re always going to be looking for a space that isn’t going to introduce too many environmental and human generated artifacts into the recording, but the physical layout and acoustic properties of a location can contribute as much character to your recordings as microphone selection…sometimes even more. On top of that, recording vehicles and weaponry (what you’ve specialized in) isn’t something you can do just anywhere. So, what do you listen for when scouting potential recording sites?
The biggest problems I face when searching for a recording location is traffic, especially airports and expressways. I’ve scheduled multiple jobs where I had to find ideal locations away from these environments. Fortunately I live and work in a quieter area away so I don’t have to travel too far. However, that rare Ferrari I need to record is located in the middle of a downtown so it’s crucial to make generous car owner friends who are willing to drive an hour or so to a quieter location. Most microphones I’ve tried are quite sensitive in capturing unwanted background sounds. This is why I often use my Sennheiser MKH-418s M/S shotgun mic. For isolation with a mono mic I use either my Neumann 82i or the Rode NTG8. On bigger budget jobs I will rent the Neumann RSM-191s mic (probably one of the best field recording mics ever made). (more…)
One of the benefits of our tight-knit recording community is the availability of dialogue and exchange on the subject and techniques of recording. What do you use and how you use it? What tips have you got? Any questions? There is certainly no shortage of websites dedicated to the subject and forums to air our views in- the first being Twitter of course! Recording chat is plentiful among us recordists. But what about the other end of the recording process- the listening?
Guest Contribution by Rodney Gates
Welcome, and thanks for checking out this (TL;DR) article on the creation of the virtual instrument sample library, GuitarMonics, designed for Native Instruments’ Kontakt software. It was a long road from concept to completion, and I thought it might be a good idea to discuss some of the processes and discoveries I learned along the way for those that may be interested in creating their own sample libraries, for commercial or personal use.
Having been a Sound Designer and Audio Director for video games for over a decade now, and always a huge fan of virtual instruments that load up in the computer and sound stunningly real, I felt the desire to branch out into this field and begin establishing a foothold of my own with my new company, SoundCues. (more…)
With this article I really wanted to find out about the nuts and bots of vehicle engine sound design and implementation. So I contacted a few people and got some great responses and a fascinating insight into the process. My thanks to Stephen Baysted, Audio Director and Composer at Slightly Mad Studios, Greg Hill, Sound Designer at Soundwave Concepts, Adam Boyd, Sound Designer and John Twigg, Software Engineer at Crankcase Audio and Nick Wiswell, Audio Creative Director at Turn 10 Studios. (more…)
Indiewire has published a guest post by Dolby Institute’s director Glenn Kiser in which he talks to filmmakers about the importance of sound design from the beginning of production.
Making a movie is a never-ending series of compromises, and nothing is as good as the original concept you had in mind. But if you’re really lucky, there’s a moment of alchemy that can happen in the editing room when you put the right piece of music or the right sound effect into the cut. Suddenly something magical happens, and the thing comes to life. You forget about the perfect location you couldn’t secure and the cold your lead actor had on the day you shot the emotional scene. It stops being a maddening litany of disappointments and becomes a movie.
The gents with impressive facial hair over at the Beards, Cats and Indie Game Audio Podcast have glommed onto this month’s theme of “Listening”. You can check out the full episode here.
Thanks go out to Matthew Marteinsson (@mattesque) and Gordon McGladdery (@AShellInThePit) for contributing to this month’s discussion!
We have two words that are most commonly used to discuss how we interact with sound: hearing, and listening.
Hearing is a passive act. Pressure waves move our eardrums, the motion is converted to an electrical signal, and our brain tells us that there is a sonic phenomenon in the space around us…perhaps it even provides us with identifying information. It’s what comes after that is fascinating, when we stop to LISTEN to the source. The act of directing attention allows us to focus in on the sound, to the (albeit sometimes limited) exclusion of others. Sometimes the steering of that attention is a subconscious mechanism, but the act of listening is always a conscious one.
That’s our focus this month; “Listening.”
We here at Designing Sound always appreciate the community’s enthusiasm and contributions to the discussion, and we know the community also appreciates anytime a member does. If you’d like to contribute to this month’s topic, drop us a line; either through the contact form, or to ‘shaun [at] this website’. If you prefer to plan ahead a little, next month’s topic will be “Space/Spatial.”
A lot of new and recently-released independent sound libraries to bring to your attention. Don’t forget – you can let us know about an independent sfx release by filling in the SFX Independence Submission form and be listed in subsequent roundups.
Soundbits new online store
Soundbits has a new look and to celebrate they are having a sale. They are giving 30% off all purchases until August 17th. Plus, every new customer who create a new account automatically qualify for a €5 credit at the Soundbits store.
Check the Soundbits website for full details.
HISSandaROAR – Tortured Wood
HISSandaROAR have been busy this past month putting together a new collection of all things wood. Tortured Wood features recordings of pallets, planks, furniture and 40kg poles that have been thrown around, broken and destroyed.
Recorded at 24-bit/192KHz, for a limited time Tortured Wood is available to purchase for $79.00 (usual price is $99.00).
Pro Sound Effects – World Cup Sound Effect Download Pack
The FIFA 2014 World Cup may be over but the new collection from Pro Sound Effects will keep the samba vibe going that little bit longer. Comprising all of the footie sounds you’ll need: 62 professional sound effects, including 11 versions of announcers yelling “GOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!” and the infamous vuvuzuela of the 2010 World Cup. All sounds are delivered as 16bit 44.1 kHz .wav files, and with other sounds such as crowds cheering, booing, net swishes and ball smashes, this makes a great collection for and can be used royalty-free in any productions – whether a fan video or a feature length documentary.
World Cup Sound Effect Download is available for $20.14
Samplephonics – Hollywood Tension FX
Hollywood Tension FX is a collection of designed movie trailer impacts, risers, larger than life film percussion hits, tension evoking ambiences and abstract percussion loops perfect for enhancing any film trailer, heavy production and more.
Crafted by sound designer Alessandro Romeo with no attention to detail spared and comes in the usual 24 bit .wav and sampler instrument options. All sounds are royalty free. The samples come preloaded in your choice of sampler instrument, including EXS24, Reason NN-XT, Kontakt, Ableton Sampler, Motu MachFive, Steinberg Halion and SFZ.
echo | collective: fields – utility helicopters
Granted exclusive access to the airport at Bell’s corporate headquarters in Ft. Worth, Texas, Echo| Collective: Fields have put together a library of Bell 407 and Bell 429 aircrafts. With the ability to capture starts, hovers, aways, returns, spin ups and spin downs, Utility Helicopters features interior and exterior recordings, as well as many beautiful long tails in and out.
Utility Helicopters comes packaged as over 1 hour 45 minutes of recordings, recorded at 24-bit/96KHz.
Kpow Sounds – Industrial Disquiet
Recorded in industrial locations, Industrial Disquiet is great for scenes relating to industry, urban horror, and suburban unease. The library pack includes 53 tracks in total; 25 day-time tracks and 28 night-time ones, and all tracks were recorded and edited at 24bit, 96kHz.
Stavrosound – San Francisco: City Life
Recorded over two sessions and 12 hours of exploring and listening, San Francisco: City Life comes packaged as over 3 hours of ambiences from the heart of downtown San Francisco. From detailed street-level traffic of various flavors, sidewalk pedestrian activity, urban streets and side streets with unique spacious characteristics, rooftop-perspective traffic, and even a construction site, this library is workable for many urban cityscapes – not just San Francisco!
Gael Nicolas – Spheric Collection
Spheric Collection is a library dedicated to ambisonic sound recordings. All the sounds have soundminer metadatas embeded for an easy access, and a choice of free plug-ins: Free Surround Zone 2 in AAX, VST and standalone harpex player. With a variety of packs available, including Applause 1, Birds 1, Fireworks 1, Forest, Announcing 1, Rain 1 and Room Tone 1, they come with template sessions for all main DAWs included.
surroundsoundlibrary – Synthetic Blend and Whoosh Bundle
The Synthetic Blend and Whoosh Library is a toolkit for creating movement, movement of objects, scene changes and/or cuts to life is not an easy thing to do. This pack features blenders, whooshes, swooshes, slides, fly-bys, rises, landings, swells and stingers. Drag and drop the 5 separate sounds into your DAW for balanced and panned surround sound – from front to rear, rear to front, left to right, right to left, or circular movement.
All files are 24-but/96Khz and come as a bundle Design Box and Construction Kit – all for €69.00
Soundeffects.ch – IR1 Impulse Response Set
The IR1 Impulse Response Set from Soundeffects.ch lets you create real multichannel reverb from True-Stereo, 5.1 surround sound and (for the first time) Auro-3D® 11.1 Sound. This new set realises two technological achievements: the principle of creating multichannel impulse responses
as well as the creation of impulse responses for 3D sound.
With 54 sets of impulse responses ranging from domestic rooms and staircases to concert halls and theatre auditoriums, it will enable you to create natural, highly
realistic spaces for multichannel and 3D applications. Compatible with True-Stereo – optimized for TL Space and Altiverb.
Special Introductory Price: €72.00 for a single user licence (normal retail price: €86.00)
Luftrausch – Ambience Packs
Not much information to give you on this one, but Austrian outfit Luftrausch has a range of surround atmospheres and sound effects available on their website.
Noise Creations – Glass
The NoiseCreations collection ‘GLASS’ features glass debris recorded on various surfaces. Included are shard smashes, glass panes, mirrors, pint glasses, jars and bottle smashes, and footsteps, with attention to detail given in every performance of to give as many variations as possible
Guest Contribution by David Nichols
An engine is, in essence, an air pump. Air comes in, gets mixed with fuel, goes bang, and leaves again. When talking about ways to make more power, the most obvious is to make a bigger bang. However, gasoline works best at a very specific ratio of fuel to air, which is roughly 14:1. So, if you want to make a bigger bang, you need 14 times more air than your increase in fuel to get it.
When trying to get more air, one solution is to use a bigger engine. More, larger cylinders means the pump can inhale a bigger breath, which means more fuel and more power. However, this so-called “natural aspiration” or NA for short, has a limitation in air pressure. Just like a straw, the inhale of an engine works by creating low pressure, which atmospheric pressure then fills in. So, another way to get more air into an engine is to pressurize it, or use “forced induction.”
There are a few different methods of forced induction, but today I want to talk about one in particular: turbocharging. A turbocharger is a turbine that is connected to the exhaust gas leaving the engine on one side, which then drives an impeller on the other side to create air pressure. The more and faster exhaust gas comes out of the exhaust, the more and faster the intake side compresses air. When the amount of pressure generated by the propeller is greater than atmospheric pressure, the system is making “boost” and the amount of boost can be measured in PSI. (more…)