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Interview with Ralph van Dijk – Radio Director

Posted by on May 23, 2011 | 1 comment

Despite being huge sound design fans, when we listen to any narrative soundtrack, our attention is naturally focused on the voice. “Dialogue is King” – plays a particularly key role when listening to radio, where you don’t have the benefit of pictures to tell the story.

I spoke to Ralph van Dijk, who is an award winning, radio commercial’s writer and director, to find out more about the techniques and considerations that go into getting that great voice performance. You can listen to his work here

Designing Sound: First of all, what got you interested in making radio commercials?

Ralph van Dijk: I reckon it was because it combined a few of the things I really enjoyed at the time when I was deciding what to do. I love music, I love writing and I like acting. I was doing all of those things to varying degrees – of awfulness. Advertising itself was interesting because it was a combination of all those things. Plus comedy. I’ve always enjoyed comedy. Radio was like a very condensed version of all those things. I could experiment with all those different areas in a very short space of time.

That’s the other great thing I love about radio, is that you can conceive and execute the idea in a matter of days. Whereas with television, back when I worked in an advertising agency, it was just so frustrating to have an idea, then to have to wait for months whilst it went through research and client changes, before you could even go anywhere near actually making it. And when you have a very short attention span, that’s not a good thing.

I guess it was also very satisfying creatively because writing radio is quite liberating. You can do whatever you want. And I felt I could do it well.


Interview with Mick Gordon

Posted by on May 21, 2011 | 1 comment

Game Career Guide has published a very inspiring and fun interview with award winning composer, sound designer and audio director Mick Gordon.

Without a doubt, one of the finest examples of uncorked enthusiasm (and unbelievable humility) is my audiophile hombre Mick Gordon who I met and worked with earlier this year on a cool game project.

He has been an audio director in the games industry for over half a decade and successfully runs his own award winning studio, Game Audio Australia, servicing most of the big boys, from EA, Sony Entertainment, THQ, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Ubisoft and continues to work at a fervent pace to add to this already impressive client list.

His resume reads like a treasure trove of delights, he sports a luscious mane of hair along with ass kicking tattoos and is regularly invited to speak at large game conferences such as the GDC in San Francisco earlier this year because of his unique combination of accomplishments and electric personality.

Recent commercial work on Need For Speed: Shift and the historical museum exhibition A Day in Pompeii have netted him a slew of nominations and awards. Rather deservingly I might add!

Mick’s continued enthusiasm for what he does so well, his positive demeanor, genuine character, his business sense and work horse ethic all continue to inspire me.

So how have you been mate? How is life and humidity over in Brissy treating you?

Mick Gordon: Argh! Life’s been a complete whirlwind of sound, deadlines, ones & zeros, fast cars, superheroes, demons, elemental powers, monsters and machine guns!

Sounds like you have been busy as heck since we last caught up.

MG: It has been crazy busy man, but incredibly fun nonetheless!

You know what it’s like — we tend to lock ourselves in our studios for days on end without sunlight or human contact and we start to go a little crazy!

So whenever I get the chance, I try to get out and get involved with any events that my schedule permits.

I was recently on a design portfolio panel at QUT where members of the audience showcased their game design ideas and we got to see some incredibly creative bright sparks that are going to do wonders for the future of the game industry!

Read the full interview here.

TONSTURM Releases The Whoosh

Posted by on May 17, 2011 | 2 comments

TONSTURM has released The Whoosh, a new sfx library loaded wih 160 whoosh/pass by recordings, containing 1030 different sounds.

For The Whoosh we did quiet some research. Again we wanted to come up with fresh and unique sound effects so we tested all kinds of things and build our own custom made whoosh devices.

We build a wooden bullroarer with three thick rubber bands which is emitting very cool deep and droning sounds. We also took big plastic pipes which we prepared in a special way so that we got these nice howling pass by sound effects.

Furthermore we recorded the sounds of arrows passing by and curly steel shreds fired by a slingshot. These arrows were prepared with different kinds of whistles, fluttering magnetic tape and burning cloth. We also build a big fireball with which we performed huge fire whoosh effects.

Again we recorded the sounds at different locations and some devices were recorded in the field and in this very nice sounding wooden orchestra hall. Certain devices like our custom bullroarer had a really thick pleasing sound when recorded in this orchestra hall. Something that you can not reproduce with a plugin hall!

The Whoosh is available now at 49€ for the 96kHz/24-Bit version and 59€ for the 192kHz/24-Bit version. More at TONSTURM.

Here’s a Q&A I had with Tilman and Emil, who talk about this new release.

Designing Sound: What inspired you guys to do this library?

TONSTURM: There were a lot of sources that inspired us for The Whoosh. First of all the film projects each of us have worked on so far. We were never really happy with the source material we had when it came to designing whoosh effects. But through all these independent libraries it gets better and better! Also we think natural recorded Doppler shifts are the best! So we only had to think about the coolest devices to record some thrilling pass by sound effects. I once used the sound of a bull roarer in one of my projects. I was fascinated by this instrument. So we googled and youtubed everything about bullroarers. For the other props Designing Sound TV was also a big inspiration! So we collected all these ideas and started to experiment quiet some time ago.



Posted by on May 17, 2011 | 3 comments

“There’s no excuse for having a mental or creative block in sound. You can just go out and collect things in the real world – they make the sound, not you. It’s very restricting to always use a library for sound effects. It’s much more interesting and freeing to go out and record new sounds because you never know what you’re going to get.”

- Gary Rydstrom

David Sonnenschein Special: Sound Spheres Pt. 2

Posted by on May 14, 2011 | 2 comments

Following up on David’s previous post, the excerpt from his Sound Sphere article, he and I had a conversation over the phone to go into a little more detail. Here’s the full transcript.

David Sonnenschein: So, I know you read the excerpt that was posted for Designing Sound, but have you read the whole article as well? [ed. full article appears in “The New Soundtrack” volume 1, issue 1]

Designing Sound: Yes, I read the whole thing, but it’s been a few days and the two are kind of merging in my mind. If I remember correctly there were a few more examples…

David: Basically, yeah. It has more examples, and it also has a section of applying this model more specifically to film sound. So it was bit more detailed, and there was some exploration of where it could go…some possibilities of expanding it into other arenas. The earlier section was also relating it to previously established models. It just kind of expounds a bit more in an academic way on the whole issue. So, we can just talk about some of those things in general, or specifically if you want to. Or there are other questions you’ve mentioned that are really pertinent. And people can read more in the article itself. It’s available some place else. So I like this idea of talking about it in ways that are a little bit new.


The Recordist Releases Snowballs HD Ultra and Free Bear Trap Libraries

Posted by on May 13, 2011 | 2 comments

Frank Bry has released two new libraries on The Recordist. The first one is Snowballs HD Ultra, a package loaded with 298 snowball sound effects. The second one is a free library with great metal sounds recorded from a bear trap,

Presenting Snowballs HD Ultra Sound Effects Library. My first 24-Bit 192kHz sound effects library release. Recorded over the 2010-2011 winter season here in beautiful North Idaho. This collection contains 69 multi-take wave files totaling 298 individual snowball sounds. These snowball sound effects were captured in many types of snow conditions. Wet, dry, normal cold and extremely frigid snowballs were dropped, hit, kicked, rolled, slid, rubbed, scraped and crushed along with very big chunks of snow dropped from my trusty JD tractor.

Highlights include: Large heavy snowball impacts, movements on very dry cold snow pack and falling down snowbanks. Some of the intense tension rubs and squeaks make for perfect avalanche and snow glaciers breaking apart.

Medium and small snowballs are also included and round out this diverse collection of snowball effects. Recorded with a Sanken CSS-5 and a Sennheiser MKH-416 in stereo and mono, both 192K and 96K versions are included.

So, in appreciation and thanks to all who have followed my crazy recording experiences and have purchased my work, I give to you: “The Danger Bear Trap Sound Effects Collection”. 15 multi-take sound files recorded and mastered at 24-Bit 96K. I have included full Metadata and have provided three versions of what I recorded that short day, The composite mix, The MKH-416 (mono) and the CSS-5 (stereo).

If you want to know more about the bear tramp recordings, visting the original blog post is highly recommended. Snowballs HD Ultra is available at $50. If you want to know more about the process behind, let’s read what Frank said to us:

Recording and Mastering Snowballs HD Ultra

First, a little background and set up on how I made the giant snowballs used in this sound effects library.

North Idaho gets quite a bit of snow in general. Some years more than others and this last year was one for the record books. I had a sense at the beginning that lots of snow was going to fall so I prepared massive snowbanks in my yard with my JD tractor. I piled it up high. One of the things I did not plan on was the six long weeks of bitter cold that started in mid December of 2010. This worked to my advantage though as I was able to carve out massive chunks of snow from these snowbanks I had built with the tractor. Once on the snow cover ground I could have my way with them. These snowballs were so frozen and light they could be picked up with one hand and thrown all over the yard. So, that’s what I did for six weeks in brutally cold sub-zero temperatures.


Rabbit Ears Audio Releases “Bells”

Posted by on May 11, 2011 | 0 comments

Rabbit Ears Audio has released Bells, its sixth sound effects package, loaded with 440 sounds of awesome bells of all kinds and sizes.

Bronze, Brass, Chrome, Gold, Stainless Steel, and Steel are just some of the materials that forged this library. We spent a day at one of the few remaining bell foundries in the United States and we rang bells until our ears nearly fell off. We hit them with mallets, clappers, and shook them with our bare hands. We also spent time on an old barge and percussion rental facility for rare and unusual bells.

Each bell was recorded from multiple perspectives . . . if you need a heavy attack or just a warm roomy bell toll . . . we’ve got it.

All the sounds were recorded at 192k and are available at REA in two different versions: 96kHz at $50 and 192kHz at $70.

Interesting release, huh? Let’s hear about some details of the process behind it:

Designing Sound: How did you get started with this library? Any special inspiration?

Michael Raphael: I love the sound of Bells and the way that they generate rich overtones. Most recently I was inspired by a sound installation by Stephen Vitiello called “A Bell for Every Minute”. It was after hearing that piece and talking with Vitiello that I really started to think about how often we are surrounded by bells, and subsequently how useful they could be for sound editors and musicians.

It is a multi-channel piece installed at the High Line in NYC and Vitiello went all over recording different types of bells. Each minute a new bell tolls and then on the hour they all play simultaneously. It was after that piece that I really started to think about how often we are surrounded by bells, and subsequently how useful they could be for sound editors and musicians.


Cinematic Trailers, New Library of BOOM Available for Pre-order (Save 25%)

Posted by on May 11, 2011 | 0 comments

BOOM Library has published details for their upcoming library called Cinematic Trailers, a huge collection of sources and designed sounds of whooshes, stingers, impacts, rises, and more, all of them delivered at 96kHz/24-Bit with Soundminer metadata.

As usual in BOOM, there are two packages available:

Construction Kit – Over 2000 WHOOSHES, STINGERS, IMPACTS, RISES and more, delivered as high quality source recordings. This collection is ideal for all kinds of headlines, titles, transitions, cuts and fadings. Any movement you can think of in your trailer, presentation, movie, or game – give it a boost with these sounds.

Designed Pack – 150+ “ready to use” sounds, pre-designed huge IMPACTS, WHOOSHES, TRANSITIONS and RISES. You want to get incredible sounding results but only have 30 minutes to go? You can do some real magic with this collection! Pull out some sounds – put them in your production and blow away your audience.

Cinematic Trailers is available for pre-order at BOOM Library with a 25% discount. The price is €119 for the construction kit and €79 for the Designed package.

Interview with Eric Lalicata & Dan Snow of Anarchy Post

Posted by on May 11, 2011 | 1 comment

Hollywood Shorts has published an interview with Eric Lalicata and Dan Snow, talking about relationship with filmmakers and work flow at Anarchy Post.

Eric Lalicata is an Emmy Award winning Supervising Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer specializing in sound supervision and sound mixing for television and feature films. Eric is the co-founder of Anarchy Post with Dan Snow, a veteran Post Operations executive with extensive film and music video production experience.

As co-owners of Anarchy Post, along with film producer Ryan Harper, they strive to help filmmakers avoid many of the pitfalls that can plague the post audio process. Anarchy Post just won the MPSE GOLDEN REEL AWARD and CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY AWARD for their work on Sony’s 30 Days of Night: Dark Days. We asked Dan and Eric to share some of their insights on what filmmakers should know to ensure a great sound design and mix for their projects.

Continue reading…

Via @postaudiomixer