Guest Poster Introduction: Ariel Gross

Editors note: This series of articles by Ariel were initially planned to be for the ‘Featured Sound Designer’, but due to recent changes to Designing Sound they will simply be posted each Wednesday over the month of November. And now, please allow Ariel Gross,  Studio Audio Director at Volition to introduce himself in his own words.

The year is 1991. Ariel Gross is 12 years old. He’s cracking open Scream Tracker for the first time with a Sound Blaster 16. He proceeds to cobble together a terrible arrangement of Spring Yard Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog. This arrangement would never see the light of day but it would set Ariel off on a certain trajectory in his life. Man, the tune to Spring Yard Zone. The little intro before it drops… So rad. The point is, game audio had always been his favorite thing and now he was emulating it. This third person stuff is kind of weird. I’m dropping it.

I got my start in the demoscene after getting pretty comfy with Scream Tracker. I was in a bunch of demo groups and tracker music groups using Stalker as an alias, the most popular probably being a group called Five Musicians. Contacts in the demoscene ended up providing me with my first contract game audio job at the ripe age of 16. I was introduced to the president of Webfoot Games through my friend RaD Man from ACiD Productions. Weird how these things line up. Never stopped doing audio for games since then. Always composing music or designing sounds for some game or another.

Things really blasted off when I joined Volition, though. That was in 2007. I had just wrapped up school at The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. I had a bunch of indie casual games under my belt, but nothing for consoles. Unless you count handheld, because I did compose music and design sounds for Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku for Game Boy Advance. But other than that, no consoles.

Working at Volition was a whole new world, though. This was serious, big budget games. I started as an Audio Designer on Saints Row 2 and then rolled onto Red Faction: Guerrilla after that. Then I was Audio Lead on Saints Row: The Third. I must be doing something right, because now I’m Studio Audio Director at Volition and most of my colleagues seem to find me only mildly annoying 93% of the time. Don’t worry about the other 7%.

It’s crazy to be a featured sound designer among these industry titans here on Designing Sound. When I was asked, I was like, hell yeah! That sounds fun! And then I looked at the other people and I projectile vomited. I’m still projectile vomiting, even as I write this. I don’t know when I’m going to stop.




One Day Workshop at London Film School

The London Film School is offering another one day workshop focusing on the role of sound in story-telling. The workshop will take place on Saturday, November 24th. They’re also offering a 20% discount to Designing Sound readers.

What is it that makes the dream sequences in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, Bergman’s WILD STRAWBERRIES and Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION so disturbing? What makes the ‘trip’ sequences in TRAINSPOTTING and EASY RIDER so real, the flashbacks in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and BLADE RUNNER so palpable, and the levels of time and memory in INCEPTION and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND so distinct and immediately recognisable?

In each case, the answer lies in the sound design.

In this new 1-day workshop, Dr. Gilbert Gabriel focuses on how characters’ subjective thoughts and feelings are signified in their experience of altered states such as those in dreams, intoxication, memory and flashbacks, terror and insanity. The workshop explores how pitch, rhythm, timbre, reverberation and fluctuation of sounds as well as the cultural import of music or song can significantly sway the emotions and audience interpretation of a film scene. It offers both a theoretical and practical way for directors, editors, composers, sound designers and screen designers to understand the relationships between speech, music and sound on film soundtracks.

For more details, and to register, follow this link. Our discount code is: Gilbert20%

Sound Forge Pro MAC Review

A long time standard of most Windows-using audio professionals, Sound Forge Pro has finally come to Apple OS X. While there have been functional audio editors on OS X for a long time: Wave Editor (now Triumph), the ill-fated BIAS Peak, Adobe Audition and even Audacity but these don’t seem to have the name recognition and user-numbers that Sound Forge has held among all audio professionals.

Many Sound Forge fans (including myself) were hoping this new Mac port would be Sound Forge Pro 10 with OS X style buttons. Instead, Sound Forge Pro MAC has been touted by Sony Creative as “Built on a clean slate for OS X, Sound Forge™ Pro Mac provides a contemporary application environment that’s perfect for recording, editing, processing, and rendering broadcast-quality audio master files.”  Sound Forge Pro MAC seems to be an entirely different application than Sound Forge Pro 10, which could explain the different version numbering conventions as well as different price-points.  (Windows version = $374.95 and OS X version = $269.95).

All that said, this new MAC version does look pretty. It looks like an OS X application and seems to behave like one as well. While playing around with it I have access to all of my Audio Unit and VST 2’s, and there are little differences/improvements I have seen so far over SF 10 such as Fade-ins/Outs having their fade types right in the submenu is super cool (although having to go into a menu at all is tedious).  Also the Media Browser which by default is on the left side of the screen is cleaner and nicer than SF 10’s Explorer. Be warned: Pro MAC requires OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, which may be a deal-breaker for some Snow Leopard holdouts.

Read More

Using a Zoom H4n in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Guest Contribution by Chris Groegler

Hi, my name is Chris Groegler and I am a Senior Sound Designer at Ubisoft-Red Storm Entertainment. Our latest project was Ghost Recon: Future Soldier where I was audio lead for Multiplayer. We have an audio team of five people and basically all of us have a Zoom H4n audio recorder. We have our Zooms with us all the time in case we are in a situation where we need to quickly record a sound and don’t have our Sound Devices 744 with us. Since the H4n is such a handy device to have around (it can fit in your pocket) I’ve always wanted to try and record the majority of environmental sounds with it and implement them into a shipping title. Well, that opportunity came about when I was working on a DLC pack for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Future Soldier shipped in May of 2012 and we started working on our first DLC pack a little before the ship date.

Read More


"The Sound Behind The Image" Lecture by Ben Burtt at AES 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ben Burtt will give a lecture called “The Sound Behind The Image” at the 129th AES Convention. Much has been documented about the technical history of motion picture…

The Recordist Releases Ultimate Mud SFX Library

Monday, October 18, 2010

Frank Bry (The Recordist) has announced the release of the Ultimate Mud SFX Library, a new collection of 464 mud sounds recorded at 24-Bit/96kHz. This awesome royalty free…

October's Sound Design Challenge Announced

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shaun Farley has announced the October’s sound design challenge. This time the challenge is without picture, and the prize is a pack of Drag Race recordings. Well, another…