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
Michael Semanick is a two-time Academy Award winner and has been nominated six other times for Achievement in Sound Mixing. He was nominated for all three Lord of The Rings films and won for Return of the King in 2004. He received his second Academy Award for Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Semanick has been nominated twice for his work with Pixar on Ratatouille and Wall-E, and for his efforts on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008. His nominations for both Wall-E and Benjamin Button were given in the same year. Semanick was recently nominated this year for his work on The Social Network. Michael is excited to be joining our Ex’pression family to speak with the students, faculty, and staff upon the completion of Cars 2 for Pixar.
Ex’pert Series with Michael Semanick hosted at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, CA on June 23, 2011.
Peter Kirn has published an interview with Joseph Fraioli, talking about his work for the awesome Google Chrome speed tests campaign.
What does speed sound like? Sound designer and electronic musician Joseph Fraioli, aka jafbox, was charged with giving a campaign just that feeling. The spot, directed by Aaron Duffy and promoting Google’s Chrome with some clever tricks and photography, has been a huge award winner in sound design because of just how masterfully he pulled off the job.
Read the interview at CDM.
It’s still June and the gifted Coll Anderson is still the sound designer of the month here at Designing Sound. Among many other things, Coll has done a long list of impressive documentaries and doing an interview focused on this part of his work was an obvious choice.
Among many award winning documentaries, Coll has worked on Restrepo (2010), Catfish (2010) and the Academy Award winning The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003). For this interview, he shares some thoughts on all these films and about the general collaboration with documentary filmmakers.
Designing Sound: In the interview earlier this month, you mentioned how you really love documentary filmmaking. Could you elaborate on that?
Coll Anderson: I became interested in making films through the School of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard (I knew a girl who went there, go figure…). VES has really strong roots in documentary film making and through the people who I met there I fell in love with these films that studied life, real life… Sure we can all understand that having a film crew around affects the life of any subject and thus “document” is a bit of a misnomer, but the work of people like Dick Rogers, Robb Moss, Ross McElwee, not to mention the filmmakers of that community, naturally has an affect on you, and regardless of its ultimate truth, I started to love creating that seamless believability of documentary film in its most Wisemanesque form.
DS: It seems like there’s generally way more focus on documentaries now than, say, 15 years ago. Do you feel the focus on documentary sound has changed during that period, as well?
CA: Sure, ever have to deliver a fully filled M&E for a doc…? Viewers become more sophisticated, more aware, every year. That just naturally feeds into the stories documentaries tell. It becomes so important to keep the interaction between viewer and film on a subconscious level and sound is to me the plane where that connection happens.
New libraries have been released.
Daniel Gooding launches Affordable Audio 4 Everyone, with the introduction of The Magic ToyBox, a SFX library released as “pay as you can” model. Any purchase over $5 will go to charity.
From the great depths of the basement, came forth the sounds of toys, and games of old. Over 320 recordings of 22 different wonderful sounding toys, and games plus a few extras found in the toybox. Over 80 designed sounds to add to the mix, and show many of the possibilities. Each File is recorded in 24-bit 96kHz. All sounds were recorded with a Rode NTK Condenser mic, with an Apogee One Pre-amp.
More info at Daniel Gooding’s site.
Martin Pinsonnault, supervising sound editor and sound designer based on Canada has released Water and Trains SFX Collections.
- different watercourses: ditch, brook, stream, lake, river, cavern, sea
- sounds of water in home interior: basement, shower, pipe, drip, sink, drain
- Long ambiences
- Particular sounds and acoustics
- An American steam train with many manoeuvres and a good driver!
- A 24-hours Electrical train ride, in Eastern Europe that I did in 1996. Train movements, pass-by’s, Squeaks, Dopplers, creaks, clatters, rattles and other are numerous, long takes!
- Sounds in rail yards with locomotives, rail clatters, screeches, with roaring diesel engines and good train cars coupling
- Many Train passing at different speeds and distance: Diesel, TGV and Electric Trains with horns, bells, squeals and whistles!
- Train Station engines and motors, different perspectives
Both are available at Martin’s site. Price: $50 each.
Jon Tidey of Audio Geek Zine has released Springs, his first sfx collection, aimed to musicians and sound designers.
HD Quality Spring hits, scrapes, squeals, drones and rattles from two unique spring sources. The first is an old rusty spring of unknown origin with a very dark tone that squeals when you rub it wrong. The other is a vintage Accutronics Spring Reverb tank with a much looser spring and very bright tone. The reverb tank was recorded separately in both mono and stereo. Slow them down, add a touch of reverb and delay, and you’ve got instant horror suspense. The samples in this pack were recorded at 24 bit, 96kHz with plenty of headroom and are edited but otherwise unprocessed.
Last but not least, take a look at these two libraries coming:
A preview of the mangled metal library that will be released soon at The Recordist.
and Hologram Room vol 1, the first sfx library of U.S.O Project.
Coll has sent us a video sharing one of the ways he likes to create abstract, yet related, sounds for the projects he works on. I’ll let the video speak for itslef. Enjoy!
Update: Coll has sent us some samples of the types of sounds he created. They’re embedded after the jump. (more…)
New article at M.P.E.G featuring the sound crew of “Super 8″, including sound designer/co-supervising sound editor Ben Burtt, co-supervising sound editor Matthew Wood and Re-recording Mixers Anna Behlmer and Andy Nelson.
For the pivotal train crash during Reel 2, Burtt faced a major challenge – how to sustain the tension without overwhelming the soundtrack. “My thought process was: How do you build to a climax when the first sound in the sequence is justifiably equally as loud as the last?” he offers. “I wanted to leave spaces in the sound effects so that the audience could appreciate discrete events without it becoming too muddy [as sounds build on one another]. I had a range of metal crashes and explosions that I time-stretched, pitch-shifted and processed to create choreographed sequences that continually build [as the full extent of the crash is appreciated]. My final decision was that there should be no overlapping sounds; each element would have a specific start and finish.”