Creative Uses of Reverb

Guest Contribution by Ian Palmer

There are a lot of technical articles on Designing Sound so I thought I’d try to balance that with this month’s theme of Reverb. We all know that reverb is used to create realism. Adding the correct or appropriate reverb to ADR will instantly make the dialogue fit better into a scene and remove the artifice of the replacement. However, we can use reverb in a creative way and in a wide variety of techniques. We must remember that what we do with sound always serves the narrative. Here is a small collection of examples in no particular order.

Emotional Effects

I’ll begin with a well known example from Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List (1993). After an argument over a building’s foundations, the camp commander Goeth orders the execution of a Jewish engineer. A guard pulls out his pistol and shoots the woman in the head, instantly killing her. We hear the initial bang of the gunshot very clearly, we are also fairly close to the incident. Immediately after, we hear the gunshot bounce around the hills that surround the camp. Obviously, guns are loud but would a small pistol really create so much echo? I would argue that the echo is at least enhanced and deliberately exaggerated. The reason is that this is a very shocking and emotional moment and the echo exaggerates the shock that the audience will feel. This is a heightened reality where we are focused on a single element of that event through the sound. This link will play a clip of that scene, skip to 2:50 for the execution. Read More

Dec
6

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Holiday Sales (2012)

Black Friday/Cyber Monday wasn’t your only opportunity to take advantage of some awesome deals. Whether it’s the holidays or the countdown to the New Year, deals start popping up out of the woodwork. There are already a bunch in available in the lead up to 2013. Here’s a run-down of what we’ve seen so far… Read More

Dec
5

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Triumph – Review (and giveaway!)

[The kind folks at Audiofile Engineering have put together a giveaway of apps - including Triumph. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how you can be one of the three lucky people to win!]

OS X has suffered from the lack of a good and dedicated audio editor. There was a lot of hope pegged on the release of Sound Forge Pro Mac, but we all know how that went. There are a few alternatives though – Amadeus Pro ($59.99), TwistedWave ($79.90),  Adobe Audition ($349) and Triumph ($79.99).

Triumph, by Audiofile Engineering, is version 2.0 of Wave Editor. While it does retain majority of the functionality from Wave Editor, it has also been rewritten ground up to take full advantage of the latest features in OS X – Auto Save, gestural input and support for retina displays, to name a few.

Before I dig into the details, here are some of the new features:

  • AppleScript Support: AppleScript (Apple’s easy to learn scripting language) has been deeply integrated into Triumph. Most of tools, actions and processes are AppleScripts, which makes it easy to create custom templates and automate processes
  • Auto Save & Versions: Triumph supports Auto Save and Versions in 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Snow Leopard). I’m not a fan of these new features in OS X and thankfully they can be turned off from the Preference menu in Triumph
  • Effects Groups: Probably one of the most useful features – to save a chain of effects as a group
  • Effects Automation: Useful for expressive and detailed sound design
  • Hardware Output & Channel Mapping: Configurable channel mapping – both at the project and hardware level.
  • Redesigned Meters: Don’t we all need gorgeous looking oversampling meters?
  • Scrubbing: For intricate editing
  • Notification Center (for OS X 10.8 – Mountain Lion): I’m still a Lion user and haven’t been able to experience the new Notification Center. It allows “you to be unobtrusively notified when operations complete”

First Impressions:

Installing and registering Triumph was a breeze. The first thing that impressed me was how quickly it opened up – almost instantaneous. On creating a new project I was greeted with a gorgeous and well designed interface. It took a bit of clicking around and reading the user guide (which unfortunately isn’t as extensive as it should be) to get some understanding of what Triumph is capable of. I’ve used Wave Editor only once (about a year ago), so I was quite new to the workflow. If you are a Wave Editor user, you might find it easier to get started right away.

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Dec
4

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Upcoming Workshops, Seminars and Symposiums (2013)

There are a few educational opportunities coming up next year, all around the globe, and now’s a good time to start planning for them.

This will take up a fair bit of real-estate, so follow the jump to see what’s coming up. Read More

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