Feb
28

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Music + Sound Award – Sound Design winners!

Music Sound Awards

Music Sound Awards

The UK Music+Sound Awards took place last night in London, recognizing outstanding work in music and sound design across all the visual media industries.

The awards include entries from computer games, feature and short films, television and cinema commercials, non-broadcast or viral advertising, branding and title sequence and television programmes.

The 2014 UK Music + Sound Award winners for Sound Design include:

Gaming
‘The Last of Us’ (Sony Computer Entertainment)

Television Advertising
Honda ‘Hands’ (Anthony Moore at Factory / Weiden & Kennedy)

Cinema Advertising
London Short Film Festival Trailer (Phil Bolland at 750mph / Ben Campbell at Cut & Run)

Television Programme
‘Misfits’ Series 4 (Tony Gibson / Molinare / Clerkenwell Films)

Short Film
‘Post Personal’ (David Kamp)

Non Broadcast + Viral Advertising
Audi R8 V10 Plus ‘Evolution on the outside, Revolution on the inside’ (Will Cohen at String and Tins / BBH)

Trailers + Promos
‘Skins – Time Changes Everyone’ (Arge at Envy Post / 4Creative)

Congratulations to all the winners!

For non-UK residents, there is still time to enter work for the International Music + Sound Awards online. Also, be sure to check out the other categories!

 

Feb
28

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The making of Geosonics by Soniccouture

Geosonics1

Geosonics1

Chris Watson is probably the world’s most famous field recordist. Without a doubt he has more recordings of animal sounds than we could listen to in a lifetime, However, we’re straying slightly off of animal recordings and into Watson’s collection of natural sounds – and how they ended up as one of the most unique and exciting sampled instruments: Geosonics by Soniccouture. Designing Sound chatted with Soniccouture’s James Thompson about the project.

DS: How did Geosonics come about?

We’ve made our name with unusual, niche, libraries. One of our first products was the Hang drum library. That’s what inspires and attracts us.

Over the last few years, there was a period where we were there were a lot of ideas flying around. People would email us and say “Have you seen this?” That happened with the Novachord synthesizer.  For the Skiddaw Stones – I think I saw something on QI about that – so we were always picking up ideas from the media, we’re quite attuned to that.

A couple of years ago there was a little bit in the media about the Wired Lab in Australia (where Chris Watson was then a resident artist), and I had never heard of this recording technique before; using huge runs of wires. I heard the BBC Radio 4 documentary and Chris Watson was the main part of the documentary, and we’d always been fans of his – I remember years ago Dan (Powell, the other half of Soniccouture) played me one of his wildlife recordings on CD.

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Feb
27

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A Modular Creature Design System

creature

I’ve been working on a game project on and off over the past year and a part of the design is of relevance to this month’s theme — animals. The gameplay revolves around creatures of various kinds — some good, some evil, some tiny, some large. I had to conjure a vocalisation system that achieved the following technical and design criteria:

  • Actions by the user would directly affect the state (and sound) of the creature
  • The player must be able to perceive some sort of emotive response from the creature
  • A modular system which would work for various creature types and characters
  • With mobile devices being the primary target, it had to be simple, effective and portable
  • Low CPU and memory usage, which translates to maximising the design capabilities of the system with little DSP and few samples

Design Considerations:

As with most people, I’ve found creature/animal vocalisations easier to design when using material that consists of either human or animal vocal sounds. It is easier for players (or the audience) to make visual and mental connections if they find something remotely similar to reality. It was important for me to make the resulting design as close to what animals sound like.

I collected sounds that matched the above criteria and then shortlisted them based on recording quality (to ensure maximum quality after subjecting them to DSP mangling), character (sounds that created an image or an emotion in my mind) and frequency content (important when grouping sounds together).

‘Emotion’ is tough to parametrise or quantify. It is a loose descriptive and can mean different things to different people. Instead of going after specifics, I put down a list of questions to help me made decisions:

  • What size does the sound convey? (the relative size of the animal)
  • Is it irritating, menacing, timid or defensive? (dogs were a good reference for this)
  • Does the sound convey speed and energy? (this is related to the previous question)
  • Is there enough content to make the creature expressive and not boring? (player-creature encounters were expected to last a few minutes)
  • Is the sound distinctive enough? (it is easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of perfection)

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Feb
26

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A Few Independent Animal Sound Libraries To Check Out

Animal Sound Design and Recording Month is coming to a close so we thought it would be neat to do a roundup of just a few of the indie SFX libraries out there that have great animal recordings.

(Disclaimer: I sourced suggestions from the Twitter community and my own experience so this list is not intended be comprehensive, simply a few strong suggestions. If you feel there is a fantastic library that we left off this list; please post it in the comments!)

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