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Pro Tools 10 at AES

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 | 6 comments

I watched the Avid at AES 2011 streaming press conference so you don’t have to.

The AES presentation took a few minutes at the beginning to give an overview of where Avid and Pro Tools are today, in particular going over the products that Avid released in 2010, in particular:

  • The new M-Boxes,
  • The HD Native hardware and interfaces,
  • And the opening-up of Pro Tools to 3rd-party audio interfaces.

So given this context, the big news is the announcement of Pro Tools 10, with “over 50 new features.”  Several were demoe’d and I’ll try to characterize them as best I can.  There are two tiers of software, regular and HD, and there are new, next generation DSP cards.  At times they were a bit fast and loose about what software/hardware configuration gave you which features, but there is now a feature grid at Avid that you can check out yourself.

New features below the fold…

(Edit: I’ve gotten ahold of the new manual and will update some of the questions I had with answers.)


Congratulations to Judge Rice!

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 | 0 comments

Congratulations to Judge Rice, the winner of Sound Design Challenge #12: Lifeless Howl. It was a fantastic challenge, with so many excellent entries that I quickly lost count. His win was well earned, and it nets him a free copy of the Creatures sound effects library from Boom Library.

A big thanks to Boom Library for sponsoring this Challenge. The next will start on Thursday, November 17th, at 5PM U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Ben Burtt’s Sound Lab for “Forbidden Planet”: Artifacts from the Krell

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 1 comment

Ben Burtt explains how the electronic score of “Forbidden Planet” was created. The video is at the right side of this page.

Prior to the screening, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt investigated some of the secrets behind the making of the film. Barron examined the film’s breakthrough effects sequences that used miniatures and matte paintings, as well as explored how Joshua Meador created his animated “id monster” effect and combined it with live-action photography. Burtt explained how the electronic score was created, using newly discovered source tapes from the film’s composers, Louis and Bebe Barron (no relation to Craig).

via @vfxblog / @usoproject

The Sound of Fear – BBC Radio 4

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 3 comments

Fantastic broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on the sound of fear.

A door creaks, footsteps echo, someone’s breathing – and we are terrified. But why? Sean Street investigates the psychology of fear, so potently sensitive to sound.

He hears from musician and writer David Toop and film-maker Chu-Li Shrewring how sounds trigger fear and the way this inspires them. The neuro-scientist Sophie Scott explains how our brains process terror.

Context is important: anomalous noises, disembodied voices and sounds whose origins are mysterious – all these frighten us. David Hendy reveals that, in its early day, radio itself was alarming. Louis Niebur, author of a book on the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, reveals how in the 1950s, the advent of electronic sounds allowed programme-makers to use sounds that frightened people because they didn’t know what made the noises. Sound researcher Marcus Leadley explains how this triggers a state called schizophonia.


via @soundesignblog

Interview with David Stone

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 0 comments

Great interview at Woody’s Sound Advice with supervising sound editor David Stone.

If you’ve seen any 70′s era Hanna Barbera cartoons or any major motion pictures over the last several decades you’ve heard the craftsmanship of David Stone.  He has worked with some of the most creative and unique directors and producers in Hollywood and picked up an Academy Award along the way for his stunning work with Tom McCarthy on Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.  Now a full time educator at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), he is currently serving as Chair of Sound Design.  Working along with other stellar professionals such as Peter Damski, those students are getting their money’s worth in Georgia.

Along with his sound career David was also the editor of the Movie Sound Newsletter.  It was a chronicle of audio for film from the trenches of Hollywood.  The Newsletter is long since out of print but David is bringing it back to life on the web.  You can find online versions of the original Newsletter here.  There were numerous notable contributors to the Newsletter including David’s brother, Richard Stone, a composer and multiple Emmy award winner who, among many other projects, composed the scores for Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.

An accomplished visual artist as well as a consummate audio professional, David is truly a man of many gifts.  Probably most key of all is his curiosity, sense of humor and temperament.  David hosted me for a weekend series of workshops at SCAD in the Spring of 2011 and I found him to be an extremely personable, approachable and popular guy.  In an industry filled with nervous and insecure individuals, David is a shining light.  He kindly found time between classes to chat with me about his past, present and future plans.

Continue reading…

Ann Kroeber Special: Sound for Games – Exclusive Interview

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 5 comments

Don’t forget to sign up for the live chat with Ann on October 29th.

You’ve contributed to a number of very well known games and franchises in recent years. What’s are some of the similarities and differences you’ve encountered between the game and film industries?

As far as sound in these two industries, both film and game sound brings us into the picture and stirs up our emotions.  It also helps make the images come alive. In film as the story evolves the sound is used to back up the story, and helps make us feel a certain way about the images. There are usually longer and more elaborate sequences to take the viewer through a story with film, and with game sound there is a far greater variety of generally short sounds.  Unlike films, these sounds elicit an immediate, active, reaction from the player.

I think whereas more time goes into pre-production sound work on games than most films, unfortunately for freelancers, an awful lot of this time can be spent dealing with contracts and legal issues instead of being creative. Though sometimes on high budget films there is a fair bit of legal back and forth that is needed, I find that there are way more contract negations with game companies over licensing.


Soundminer Pro v4.3 Available, Lion Compatible

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 | 1 comment

Soundminer Pro v4.3 has been released, including new features and fixes.

Main New features

  • OS X 10.7 Lion Support
  • Brand new Rewire engine which thus far has proven to be more reliable, faster and less CPU intensive. This is part of ongoing developments for our next pro version.
  • Auto-Detect Pro Tools session – Soundminer will check when moving between the two applications to see if the current session has changed and alert you as well as import the new session parameters. A configuration file can turn this on or off.
  • Improved Foreign character support – umlauts, accents and other ‘non-English’ characters are parsed without issue in the boolean search area.
  • Improvements on speed – we’ve begun to roll in some of the ‘new code’ that will see huge improvements upon speed in both searching nd conversion over time.
  • VST RACK now with 16 slots for sound design! And we’ve added a new XML configuratin file for better SAVE/RECALL of presets.
  • Improved iTunes import – v4/v4pro now pre-reads any iTunes library file and parses any and all playlists.
  • AAC scanning of metadata.- added to this version is improved metadata embedding and reading for AAC files.


Water Foley, New Library of HISS and a ROAR

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 | 3 comments

Water Foley is a new sound library of water movement, footsteps and sound effects released by HISS and a ROAR and recorded by Tim Prebble.

This library was recorded in two exterior swimming pools, one interior pool, a sandy beach at low tide, a river, a stream, a rock pool at low tide and a swamp. Apart from human movement, footsteps and splashing I also used kelp and seaweed to emulate the more complex sound of tentacles, which along with some of the mud suction sounds are very useful components for creature design. In all cases I have minimised background ambiences as much as humanly possible; through microphone choice and placement along with time of day & tide movement. The two exterior pools were recorded multichannel, using two MKH70s and a stereo Sanken CSS5.

Water Foley is available now at $49. The package includes 1,663 sounds in WAV (96kHz/24-Bit).

Now here’s our usual q&a with Tim, talking about the release:

DS: What inspired the library?

TP: It is motivated by my past experiences of having to edit water effects or footsteps with not quite enough source material… so now I have too much! When you think of someone walking along a beach, and then into the waves a foley performer can only do so much. Even when foley studios have a pool of some form it can often be problematic  for violent or aggressive movement, and even knee deep water has such distinct pitch to it that really the only way to solve it is with the real thing. But when you need it the season or weather may make it difficult to record, so I’m trying to solve my own problems!


The Sound of “The Thing” – A Sound Designer’s Dream

Posted by on Oct 17, 2011 | 1 comment

New article by Mel Lambert for MPSE, talking about the sound of “The Thing” (2011) with supervising sound editors Scott Hecker and Elliot Koretz.

Serving as a prequel to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name, The Thing is director Matthijs Van Heijningen’s feature-film debut and comes from the producers of Dawn of the Dead and In Time. It opens October 14 through Universal Pictures. Sound for the new offering was overseen by co-supervising editors Scott Hecker and Elliott Koretz, and re-recorded on Universal Studios Sound’s Feature Mix Stage 6 by Jon Taylor covering dialogue and music, with Bob Beemer handling sound effects.

“The opportunity to work on The Thing was a sound designer’s dream,” Hecker emphasizes. “To create sound for this creature that takes so many forms was a huge and satisfying job. Atmospherically, we considered the winds, literally, as a character––what would the wind be saying right now? The film takes place in one location with just the wind; no birds, no traffic and no crickets.”

Koretz and Eric A. Norris oversaw sound effects design, with Rick Hromadka working with Hecker on creature sound effects design. Other crewmembers included supervising dialogue/ADR editor Thomas Jones, dialogue editor G.W. Brown, ADR editor James Simcik, Foley supervisor Derek Pippert, Foley editor Michael Dressel, and assistant sound editors Bruce Barris and Josephine Nericcio. Gary Hecker and Katherine Rose served as Foley artists, with Nerses Gezalyan as Foley mixer.

Continue reading…

via epicsound