[Written by Axel Rohrbach]
It may sound very easy and clear, but working in a team has a lot of faces to look at (figuratively). I know a lot of audio guys in very different situations. Reaching from “one-man-shows” offering everything related to a specific topic (which could be as wide as “multimedia”) to large pre-production companies doing sound design for movies only, you can find anything in between and around it. The positive and negative aspects listed below can potentially occur, but neither the positive nor the negative issues are there in all companies. I see guys in all of those situations who are totally happy and satisfied in their role and guys who hate being in a specific scenery.
1. Working alone: there are a lot of Sound Designers working freelance from home or a one man studio. This can definitely be perfect for some people – it is not for me. You can organize your time in any way you like (besides sticking up to deadlines and milestones), you have fewer distractions and you are as free as one can be in your evolvement. On the other hand you have to spend more time in doing non-audio-related things like finding jobs or taking care of the studio rooms, insurances etc. Getting feedback from others is more difficult and might be less concrete. This feedback may not only be how your sounds work or how your sound quality is, but also how you communicate with people, how you can maximize your efficiency or anything else you can think of.
2. Working in a small team (two or three guys): this can work perfectly, you have more conversations, more inspiration and your co-workers may become your best buddies. I think there might be the chance that once you have a good working routine, nothing will change for the future. Also, if something goes wrong personally there is no-one more or less impartially involved to get things back on track. I saw a lot of small teams, founded by two friends, which crashed only two years after the start.
3. Being a contract Sound Designer in a big facility takes off a lot of organizational things from you, which lets you focus on your job. In most cases you don’t even have to care about your equipment, everything is there, everything runs – the sound effects library has been installed by a librarian, the network is maintained by an onsite system administrator, jobs are right on your desktop together with schedules every morning, you just have to process them. The downside is that you may be restricted in your freedom. It is not easy to get new equipment; it has to run through a bunch of instancesuntil it finally is ordered. It is not easy to say “My working results are better if I work from 2pm to 11pm, so I prefer having a free morning in the sun and come to work later”. Because of the size of the company, there is quite a lot of great conversation and helpful feedback the whole day. I’ve seen many employees who are not able to look beyond the company’s nose, unable to find jobs / clients on their own because they have never had to, used to expensive equipment, unable to think of what is really necessary for their own work. This results in spending way too much when they start working freelance, or if they start their own company one day.
The human voice can evoke so much meaning and emotion. Therefore, it is an invaluable vehicle for expressing the mood of a location. As a result, this month’s theme is one of my favourite types of sound effect for creating interesting and evocative soundscapes.
This theme lies somewhere between ‘exterior crowd’ fx and crowd ADR. It is not general chat or crowd sounds. It is more specific than that, and should only consist of one or a few people. It is not crowd ADR, it is more distant and worldized than that. The voices need to be raised, if not shouting, in order to carry over this distance.
These type of recordings are perfect for poking through between dialogue to give a scene character. Using distant voices in this way is a really effective way of controlling the vibe of an environment – making it seem anything from intimidating or welcoming to posh or slummy.
A couple arguing in a courtyard; a drunk shouting in an alleyway; noisy scaffolders: a baby’s cries heard from an open window; or a few people talking loudly and laughing in the park – these are the sort of sounds I’m after.
You can ask your own questions to this month special guest Axel Rohrbach. Just leave a comment or send your question(s) to miguel [at] designingsound [dot] org.
Tim Prebble has announced the first remix competition of HISS and a ROAR:
After playing with the sounds in the Tortured Piano library over the last few weeks, I’ve become fascinated as to the ways these sounds can be processed, altered & recontextualised… But I am even more so interested in what other people might do with the sounds…. So I’ve just released the FREE version of the Tortured Piano library (45 x 16BIT 44.1KHZ Stereo .WAV sounds 58MB) and am hereby launching the first HISSandaROAR remix competition!
There will be three winners and each winner will receive a free copy of the full 192kHz 7GB Tortured Piano library. I have no idea what criteria I’ll use when listening and choosing, because I am totally open to what might be created…. Surprise me!
Details at musicofsound
As I mentioned in the winner announcement for June’s Challenge, I’ve got some info to share regarding our little competitions.
First off, let me get the least interesting bit of news out of the way. In the course of running these for nearly a year now, it’s become apparent to me that I can’t keep up the once a month schedule (at least, not the way I’d like to). This thing on top of regular work and other responsibilities associated with general life just aren’t working too well together. I don’t want to stop doing it either though, so we’re moving it to an every other month schedule starting with July’s upcoming challenge. So, the next challenge after July will take place in September. This will give me more time to dedicate to the development of each challenge; to make sure they’re interesting and worth your time.
Now for the more interesting news: (more…)
The Recordist has released Mangled Metal, a collection of 715 sound effects, including metal rips, tears, dents, scrapes, folds, slides, rubs, impacts, crashes, drops and more.
Being a pack-rat runs in the family so I instinctively saved all kinds of metal like my old roof, appliances, stoves, containers, steel bars, pipes, barrels, etc. Recorded with a variety of microphones and recorders, and over many years, this collection captures many styles and qualities only metal can produce.
Most of the library was recorded at 24-Bit 96kHz but also includes the latest sounds recorded with the Sennheiser MKH-8040ST microphone at 24-Bit 192kHz. These wav files are presented individually at 96kHz and as multiple take 192kHz tracks. Be sure to pitch down the 192kHz metal strains and crashes and experiment with extreme processing. These files will hold their own. Most of all, have fun designing your next maniacal metal sound effect.
Mangled Metal SFX Library is available now at $75. Complete file list here (PDF).
Now the turn is for Frank, who tell us how was the making of this new library:
Where Do I Begin?
I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather when I was growing up. He was a scruffy old man that liked to keep EVERYTHING. I guess it rubbed off on me and I tend to save stuff that other people think is crazy. Some of the things I like to keep around are metal objects. Large, small, rusty, you name it I’ve got it stored around somewhere. The stove that I recorded is one of those things. I used it for years and then when it was moved to my ranch it fell off the truck and got beat up. It still worked but it was dented and warped. Perfect for sound effects recording!
To get things started on this month’s featured sound designer, here’s an interview of Axel Rohrbach:
Designing Sound: While we all know about BOOM Library, tell us about yourself. What got you interested in sound?
Axel Rohrbach: I can not remember any day in my life without being involved in any way in audio. The reason is simple: my parents own a music-school. I started with early education in music when I was 3 years old, clapping, singing playing percussion and that sort of stuff. At the age of 5 I started having classical piano lessons. After that I became more and more attracted to music, took lessons in several instruments like E-Bass, Organ, Keyboard, Trombone. There was this Yamaha support programme for young composers. I first went into studios at the age of 10, recording my own compositions, organized by Yamaha. I played in bands, orchestras and solo piano for dinner in restaurants. My first creative tool was a tracker application on the Amiga. I recorded my own samples for that with really unbelievably cheap equipment when I was 12 years old. At the age of 15 I updated to Logic 3 with Audiowerk 8. This was the time I first got in touch with sound design, creating radio jingles and sounds for our school radio.
DS: Wow! That is really impressive. With such a strong musical influence, do you perceive the design of sound effects like just another musical instrument working in an arrangement? Also, does your musical knowledge allow for easier communication with the composers you work with?
AR: I guess it is the best of both. Creating sound effects is a bit like mixing a song. Every instrument has its role which should be featured, in a good arrangement all the instruments have a reason and are completing the other instruments in their sound characters and frequency range. The same goes for sound effects. Differently layered sounds should complete each other to build a sound effect. This sound effect however could be an instrument again, having a special character and frequency spectrum to build the “song” (= movie, game, scene) in combination with other instruments (= sound effects, music, dialogue).Talking to musicians is definitely easier when you understand what they are talking about. Also talking to clients is much easier, because I am able to talk about sound effects as well as music. The most important thing in my daily business is, that I am able to create short snippets of music like winning jingles, confirm buttons, gambling machine sounds, cell-phone ringtones and that kind of stuff.
The new site of Sounddogs.com is now live:
soundeffects.sounddogs.com features a large waveform viewer and audio player that enhances the previewing of sounds before purchase. Individual channels may be selected, this is especially good for polyphonic sound recordings of guns or on-board cars, tanks and airplanes. In layman’s terms a gun could be recorded at the muzzle, five feet away, fifteen feet away, and one hundred feet away. The waveform player allows the user to select the individual channels and specific time points, in and out, of the sound file for preview and or purchase.
photo hotlinked from Rene Coronado's blog
I had been considering something like this, but Rene Coronado beat me to the punch! He’s opened up a Kickstarter page to fund the chartering of an antique trolley…of course, he’s going to plant it with mics in places the transit authority don’t even know exist. The project page was launched today, and has already reached it’s goal. That doesn’t mean you can’t go add to the funding and get in on the sweet gifts he’s offering for your contributions. Head over to the kickstarter page to find out more and get in on the action. [Did I mention that this is the only way to get these sounds...he WON'T be selling them in the future.] Maybe we can convince him to charter out more than one of these antique trolleys. ;)
The Uptown Trolley Sound Library on Kickstarter
Axel Rohrbach is the lead sound designer of Dynamedion, an audio production studio based in Germany and focused on video games content. He’s also co-founder and creative director of BOOM Library. This month we have the honor of feature him as our special guest, so let’s get started!
- Born 1981 in Frechen near Cologne, Germany.
- Parents got a music school, started with classical music education at an age of 4.
- Having the chance to get a wide variety of instrument lessons, including classical piano (main instrument), E-Bass, E-Organ, Keyboard, Trombone, Singing.
- Yamaha support programme for young composer (1989 – 1993)
- Bachelor of Arts in Music Technologies, ArtEZ Conservatorium Enschede (NL)
- Master of Music in Music Technologies, Messiaen Academy (NL)
- Tonmeister Symposium Sound Design, Lecture – Sound Design for Games (2007)
- onmeistertagung 2008, Workshop – Game Audio (2008)
- Tonmeistertagung 2008, Roundtable – Game Audio (2008)
- Tonmeister Magazine, Interview – Interactive Audio (2009)
- Olymptronica, Lecture – Audio in Games (2009)
- Browser Games Forum ,Workshop – Audio in Browsergames (2009)
- Games Convention Online, Lecture – The Importance of audio in online games (2010)
- Conservatorium Enschede, Workshop – Sound Design (2011)
- Diverse Printmagazine Reports / Interviews