Great interview at Thirteen with Alan Howarth, talking about scoring and creating sound for horror films, his early influences and experiments, anecdotes from works with Hip-Hop artists, and more.
RC: What’s the craziest contraption you’ve used to capture a wild effect?
AH: When I was developing sound effects for The Hunt For Red October I wanted to record underwater sounds, I rented a hydrophones for the take, but it sounded too tinny for my needs. So I wound up using expensive studio mikes with condoms stretched over them to make them waterproof. It worked great. I went recording in swimming pools and off Long Beach [California]. I got some great tanker ship propeller effects from an underwater perspective that got used for the submarine propeller cavitations effects.
The craziest place? Recording effects for Star Trek, I was recording sounds for starships and shuttles at the Skunkworks for Lockheed. I was in top-secret facilities recording hypersonic wind tunnels and advanced aero devices. A few times they would allow me to be in the hallway, but not in the room were the sound was being made. I would hand them a mike on a long cable and one of the Skunkworks guys actually went into the area.
Thanks to Matteo for the link!
Many thanks for everyone who sent me all those kind messages! The new editors are:
While there have been numerous videos and interviews on the sound of “Apocalypse Now“, Andrew Quinn’s posted two awesome videos on his blog, featuring discussions between Walter Murch, Francis Coppola and the rest of the team. It does show how important collaboration, ideation & conflict is when trying to achieve what is best for a film. Also featured are interviews with Richard Beggs and Randy Thom.
On a related note, here’s an interesting recent interview with Coppola on Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration.
The Recordist is releasing a new library called Toy Guns HD, a small but interesting sfx pack that includes recordings of two “airsoft” guns:
- Crosman Pulse R76 (Clear and Black) – 6mm Electronic Full or Semi-Automatic Military-style Rifle With high quality gear box, pivoting collapsible stock, tri-rail accessory mount and adjustable hop-up system. 350-round clip features rapid feed ammo dial. Includes UL-certified rechargeable battery with charger, shoulder sling and 500 heavy (.20 gram) airsoft BBs in easy-pour dispenser.
- H&K G36C Black Dual Power Rifle – The H&K G36C Airsoft gun can go between semi and fully automatic with the flip of a switch. The powerful motor allows this electric AEG gun to fire at a very high rate of speed for guns in its class. The foldable stock and adjustable hop-up allow for ease of use and quick reloading. The gun contains an adjustable rear sight for aiming and tactical railing. The 300-shot capacity will allow you to shoot for a long time between reloads.
Toy Guns HD – $10 | 62 sfx on 10 files | 19.3MB | metadata ready
Sophia Tong of Sound Byte has published an interview with audio director Stefan Strandberg, who talks about his work on “Battlefield 3″.
“Many people might think that we are trying to create the ultimate weapon sound in every single case, but it is the other way around. We create sounds that match the palette that we have decided upon. So it is not about creating an awesome gun sound; it’s about creating a war. This might sound trivial, but it is still a key aspect of the whole sound experience.”
[Written by Rodney Gates for Designing Sound]
The Blank “Page”
As we sit at our desks each day, creating new sounds for a game, it’s important to think outside the box when it comes to choosing your source material from which to design from.
Most of the sounds you hear in games or film are usually not a single recording edited and dropped into place to represent the things you are looking at. They are complex sounds that are arrived at through careful design and mixing and are usually comprised of elements that you might not expect.
Take a laser blast for example. Since none of them truly exist, we can use our creative license and create them from all sorts of source material, and no two Sound Designers will do it the same way.
Ben Burtt used recordings he made of a suspension cable struck with a hammer as the basis for the blasters in Star Wars. Others may use synth elements blended with existing real-world weapons recordings to arrive at their sound, often times run through a Doppler plug-in or using similar pitch-shifting effects. Even Formula 1 car bys can be pitched way up, creating an almost ricochet-type element that can become part of the sound. In my case, pitched-up ricochets themselves can be used, as I did for my original demo.
Fred Pearson has launched Arrowhead Audio, a new independent SFX company focused on producing royalty-free small sample packs for sound editors/designers with really affordable prices.
The company has been launched along with a new library called “Squelch, Squish and Splat“, a sfx package loaded with 455 samples at 96kHz/24-Bit. Some of the items used are: Grapefruits, Tomatoes, Oranges, Potato Mashers, Vacuum Pipes and Fruit Bowls.
- Lite – 100 samples | 16-Bit/44.1kHz | approx. $4
- Full - 220 samples | 24-Bit/48kHz | approx. $7
- Max – 455 samples | 24-Bit/96kHz | approx. $10
This is what Fred said about the process of making this library:
I had to decide what kind of sound effects I wanted to record and sell, and how to achieve this. The first pack I thought of was “Squelch, Squish and Splat”. This was because it was easy to get hold of the materials to create these sounds (which turned out to be tomatoes, grapefruits, baked beans and fruit cocktail amongst other things). I ended up recording the entire pack in roughly two hours of getting messy (with good friend Matt Meachem) with a Rode NTG-2, Rode NT-5, Audix D6 and AT 4050 through an Octopre which was recording into Pro Tools. The recording process was good fun and consisted of setting up the mic (with protective gauze) and leaving it rolling whilst we made sounds in the live room.
The editing process took a lot longer however. Matt and myself spent several days editing, cross-fading and normalizing all the sounds until we had got through the full two hour file. Throughout the process we found that the NTG-2 sounded the best, it had the flattest sound in regard to frequency with the least amount of proximity effect out of all the mics. It was also the quietest (best signal to noise ratio) which was one of our main reasons for choosing it consistently.
Find out more on his blog.
Arrowhead Audio on Twitter
Independent SFX Libraries
Niall Collins and John-Paul Borchardt have recently launched Box of Toys, a new blog dedicated to explore the audio post industry on Canada, but also sharing a useful news, videos, articles, and all kind of general content.
Box of Toys is a platform to broadcast new, exciting and nerdy audio related news to you, the surfer! From video interviews with today’s top Canadian post audio professionals to blogs about the technology that will shape the future of sound editing, Box of Toys’ mission is to showcase Canada’s post production audio industry. The site was formed by two post production audio editors and re-recording mixers working out of Toronto Ontario, Canada. Niall Collins and John-Paul Borchardt have been working in the film industry since 2007 and have already earned a reputation for quality and professionalism.
There are already some great posts, including a really nice profile on foley artist Andy Malcolm, who is also owner at Footsteps Studios, Uxbridge. Take a look:
More stuff of the Box:
A Conversation with Morgan Freeman
MOS: Location Sound Horrors That Bleed Through to Post
Sound: The Rodney Dangerfield of Film Production
Here, there or everywhere?
Box of Toys on Twitter
The Hollywood Edge is showcasing three new SFX libraries at NAMM, including the following titles:
A must have for sci-fi and fantasy sound design. A library of 1372 sound effects recorded and mastered at 96kHz/24/Bit by two talented sound designers: Jim Stout and Richard Devine. Includes a lot of different sounds, such as gears, machines, mechanical devices, an all kind of toys and rare sources. All included into 10 CDs and two DVDs
Hollywood Foley FX
More than 1600 foley sound effects provided by Soundelux. Will be available soon as a collection of seven CDs and two DVDs.
Animal Planet Sounds, Vol. 1
Over 750 sounds on four CDs and a DVD. The files were recorded initially for several TV programs. The list includes birds, horses, leopard, monkeys, rhinoceros, sea lions, penguins and many species more.
These three libraries are being presented at NAB 2011 and will be available soon.
The April’s issue of AudioMedia is available on-line and includes an article on the sound of “Submarine“. Paul Mac talks with the crew behind the sound the film, including re-recording mixer Nigel Heath, sound mixer Martin Beresford, sound engineer and music mixer Jake Jackson and director Richard Ayoade.
“The director wouldn’t say to the actors, ‘walk four and half paces, stop for three and a half seconds, and look, and then remember your lover, close your eyes slightly’. He’ll tell the emotional story and the actors interpret it.” – Nigel Heath