Today we’ll be touching on the interactive side with this months Featured Sound Designer David Sonnenschein regarding his Sonic Strategies: Animal Sounds Memory Game.
This is one of many Sound Games to be created by Sonnenschein that open ears and minds to hearing the world in new ways. Focusing on the neurobiology of audiovisual input and memory, the game draws upon film and music theory, and provides one of the cornerstones for creating story, character and emotion with audio. It uses the memory flip-card model as one example of gameplay.
This game challenges the player to move from visual to audio awareness and memory in four variations that gradually bridge one sensory input (sight) to another (hearing). See how fast you can complete each level, and how many cards you need to turn over each time. How does your performance compare when aided by sight and/or hearing?
Have fun! See if your friends have the same or different experience. This is the first of many Sound Games to come that will open your ears and mind to hearing the world in new ways and learning to create story, character and emotion with audio.
What follows is an discussion between myself (DK) and David Sonnenschein (DS) on the topic of sound interactivity and the work he is doing to further our understanding of how we related to the world around us with sound.
New GameSoundCon seminar announced. Here’s the official info:
April 28, 2011 Seattle, WA – SoundCon, LLC announces the addition of Los Angeles, CA to its list of 2011 locations for GameSoundCon, conference on game music composition and game sound design. GameSoundCon 2011 LA is an intensive full-day seminar for composers, sound designers, recording engineers and other audio professionals, teaching the unique creative, technical and business challenges of working in the game music and game sound industry.
“We began GameSoundCon in Los Angeles in 2009, and are thrilled to return,” said Brian Schmidt, Executive Director of GameSoundCon. “Since then, GameSoundCon has attracted attendees from five continents to learn the information critical to let them hit the ground running when they land their first game audio job.”
“Writing music for games is different from anything most composers have ever come across; game sound design also presents challenges that are technically and creatively unlike those for film, tv for music production,” continued Brian. “Although many schools teach music composition and sound design, few cover the additional technical and aesthetic skills needed to compose game music and create sound effects for interactive video games.”
GameSoundCon 2011 LA will be held on June 6, 2011 at the Dolby Labs screening theater in Burbank, California.
More at GameSoundCon.com.
New video of SoundWorks Collection featuring Marie Ebbing and Jonathon Stevens who talk about their work on removing noise from recordings.
Marie Ebbing & Jonathon Stevens offer advanced noise removal services for music and film post production using a suite of tools by the software developer Algorithmix. These noise removal tools are divided into 2 categories, broadband — including surface noise, hiss & hum; and transient — including camera hydraulics, coughs, page turns and other instantaneous noises.
Their use of these tools extends into the non-standard as well. They can remove unwanted dialog and music from stereo or multi-channel master recordings. Rebalancing or complete removal of instruments in a master recording is also possible and on occasion pitch correction to a specific instrument in a mix. All of this is done with the utmost respect to the sound quality of your original master.
Projects that have benefited from their noise removal services include:
Tron: Legacy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Capitalism, Public Enemies, San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score Series, The Lord of the Rings: Complete Music Boxed sets
This is part 2 of the conversation David and I had about aesthetics. Part 1 can be found here.
Designing Sound: So, we’ve been talking about ways to identify and develop your own personal aesthetic. I’m just wondering, do you feel it’s important to track changes in your personal style over the years? Is it beneficial to consider how your aesthetic has changed over the course of your career?
David: It’s been an interesting observation. I’ve made intentional changes from being a classical musician, to one that can improvise. That’s one of the major changes, stylistically, for me. But more than just style, it’s been a way of training my ear/finger coordination as a musician, not just eye/finger coordination. While being a very strong sight-reader and classical musician, that shift opened me up stylistically to many things that would have been “wrong” as a classical musician. It allowed things to come in as not “wrong or right,” but interesting…and an exploration of different ways to make sounds with the same kind of instrument. That was one tracking that I did.
The other went beyond even the Western ear, and was listening to other cultures. Listening to the speech of other cultures, their musical scales…getting used to the micro-tonal scales of India and Bali…the use of “beat frequencies” in Balinese music that helps induce the trance in their dance and masked dramas. Those things influenced me and influenced my styles. I’m noticing that I may come full circle and come back to explorations and styles, and they now have a richer contribution to what I can do. (more…)
David and I sat down for another interview, this time to talk about aesthetics and personal style. We tried to focus on a discussion of one’s personal stylistic approach in the contexts of self-development and collaboration. It was a long and interesting discussion, so I’m going to break this up into two posts. Here’s part 1 of the transcript…
Designing Sound: I wanted to take the opportunity to talk with you this month about aesthetics: developing a personal style, and meshing that style with other peoples’ in a collaborative project. I thought you could bring into scope some interesting perspective for our readers, since you have experience as a sound designer, a producer, a director and a writer.
David Sonnenschein: It’s really a very specific role that most sound designers take in a project, where they’re serving a bigger vision than their own personal aesthetic. How does that work so that you can collaborate well, so that you can get the jobs and so that you can have some room for creativity? I’d also like to touch a bit on the idea of “free reign” and where you might be able to find those open grounds for exploration. (more…)
New article at the official website of “Star Wars: The Old Republic”, featuring sound designer Scott Morton.
Hi, my name’s Scott Morton, and I’m one of the audio designers who helps create the soundscape for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. I spend half my time coming up with new sounds for different parts of the game (explosions!), and the other half conceptualizing technical approaches for getting sound and music playing in the game engine. The art of sound design can sometimes be a little mysterious; audio is always a supporting element and tends to be secondary to visuals in the player’s mind. Yet audio’s importance in helping craft the aesthetic feel of a player’s actions and experiences shouldn’t be underestimated.
Jamey Scott and Kevin Riepl talk about Sound and Music with the developers of “Hunted: The Demon’s Forge”.
Giant Bomb Video: Sound Designers Talk Shop
Realtime vehicle audio simulation is one of the trickiest implementation challenges and definitely has the most moving parts. While most agree on the complexity and necessity for special handling when it comes to vehicle sound, the approaches can vary widely. From recording techniques to tools and implementation, Track Time Audio has been providing a resource for enthusiasts interested in the sound of fast cars and has been exposing some of the tricks behind making them sound good in realtime.
The current interview with Greg Hill from Soundwave Concepts includes some great insights into the process and passion involved with taking sound from the track and getting them in the game.
Track Time Audio Interview: Greg Hill
The line between music and sound can sometimes be incredibly thin, and so I think it is worth noting the recently launched Minnesota Public Radio series of interviews with video game music composers that exposes some of the process and insight behind the scenes presented in tersely edited podcast format. The series provides some great background on game music in general as well as, in the case of the Jason Graves (DeadSpace 2) Interview, the implementation side of thing:
“What makes the music so great in any game, is the implementation….and having it be as interactive as possible. Especially with horror it’s really important that you have the music come in, start and stop, make you jump, make it suspenseful and on the edge of your seat. The timing has to be just right.”
Other additions to the series include the folks from Double Fine talking about the classically leaning Stacking, and Inon Zur and Dragon Age 2.
Minneapolis Public Radio: Top Score with Emily Reese
New Sound Lab has released two new sfx packages:
Chorus Echo 501 ($25)
The classic 1980′s era Roland Chorus Echo RE 501 captured in 24bit 192khz HD format.
This library features 217 sounds processed by a mint condition Chorus Echo RE-501, including metal impacts, church bells, chainsaws, voices, and water. In addition, self-oscillation sounds from the RE-501 are included. All of these sounds can be used in a wide variety of ways and work well for both sound design and music production. The combination of the 192khz high resolution sample rate and the tape saturation/warmth from the Chorus Echo make these samples sound great when pitch shifted and/or time stretched, even at extreme settings.
From a Pro Tools session, the original sounds were routed into the XLR input of the Chorus Echo where processing occurred. The Chorus Echo output was recorded DI into a Neve 1073 preamp, and an Empirical Labs Distressor with “Dist2″ setting added a little extra 2nd harmonic distortion to the signal. Subsequently, the signal was sent into a Apogee Rosetta 800 A/D converter and back into Pro Tools HD.
And Pacific Ocean ($25)
This library features recordings of the Pacific Ocean at various locations along the beach within Refugio State Park. The incoming waves collide with large rock formations, creating great wave impacts and rushing water through small channels and hollow rocks. A variety of mic placements at various distances from the ocean were used, from directly over the water to larger distances, recording ambience behind massive rock walls and inside natural beach caves. In addition, a hydrophone captured underwater currents from waves splashing into small tide pools on the rocks.
Sounds were recorded with a Sanken CSS-5 Stereo Shotgun microphone in 120 degree stereo mode and an Aquarian Audio H2A-XLR Hydrophone. The shotgun microphone was mounted in a full Rycote windshield kit and connected to a Sound Devices 702 recording at 24bit 192khz.
All sounds in this release are in mono & stereo 24bit 96khz Broadcast Wave format. Files are in a zip file, which includes a PDF with detailed metadata. Upon purchase, you will receive an email with a link to instantly download the library.