The year 2015 has been one of many great articles, interviews, and discussions here at Designing Sound and we want to thank all of our readers for their attention, suggestions, contributions, and overwhelming support. There have been so many great films, shows, games, and events this year that we thought we would share some of our favorites for you to go back and check out in case you missed them!
Happy New Year! You may have noticed that I’ve been far less active on the site lately […or maybe you haven’t and I’m just a narcissist]. I’ve taken a step back from the site’s more regular content, but I wanted to challenge myself to something. I’m going to try to post a musing on sound once a week for the next year. I’ll probably fail, but I want to keep the juices flowing. Contributing to this site over the years stimulated a lot of paths of exploration for me, and I don’t want to lose that impetus. While I no longer have the time to contribute in a more dedicated way, these little bite sized musings are something I should be able to handle. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution, but the the start of a year sure makes it easy to keep track of. ;)
So here’s the first “Sunday Sound Thought”
Our hearing changes throughout our lives. That means that no matter how many times we hear something, we can always hear it in a new way. Even if you eliminate the ideas of experience and reference from the equation, there are biological changes that affect how we hear. Children’s ears have a wider frequency response than adults, but the neural structures that interpret our sonic environment don’t mature until our 20’s. Even if you fastidiously protect your hearing, presbycusis sets in and attenuates the higher frequencies in adults. And let’s face it, we can’t perfectly protect our ears.
So remember the next time you hear something you’re tired of listening to, even that mental state means that you’re hearing it a little differently.
In keeping with the festive spirit of the holidays, Asbjoern Andersen of A Sound Effect has compiled a collection of brief guides on how to create some iconic Christmas sound effects. Head over to the blog to find some quick and useful tips on recreating some very familiar SFX– but don’t be fooled, these tips will help you long after the new year rolls round!
Photo credits: “French Flag in the Sky” by Guillaume Ulrich
If you are releasing a new SFX library and you would like it to be included in our recap, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission Form (and yes, I know there are less than two weeks left in December, but don’t let that stop you).
“I can’t believe this year’s almost over!”
…you know they can believe it though. Unless the Gregorian calendar recently became their planner of choice, they knew 2016 was coming, regardless of their hyperbole. Yet even if they’ve invaded your ears a million times with this remark, they bring up a good point. We are on the final sprint to the new year, one that with a single, confusing day will assure our celebrations are properly aligned with the locations of our celestial counterparts. But let’s slow down for a moment and take a look back at November and the flock of useful SFX libraries our community produced.
Rooms by 3maze
Every so often, you enter a room with a stillness that seems to amplify each disturbance around you. It could be a buzzing fan slowly modulating as if the room might take off any second, or the flow of fluids and energized air within the bellies of the walls. Even the hum of a fluorescent light can feel like a pinpoint through the rush of hot air through the heating vents. As a collection of hypersensitive recordings, Rooms captures characteristics of the indoors that make you feel as if the building is breathing your air and digesting your livelihood.
(30 WAV files, 4.8 GB, 24bit/96kHz or 16bit/44.1kHz)
Electronic Drain for Kontakt 5 by SampleTraxx
Electronic Drain is a sound collection that explores the magnetic field. Its hisses and crinkles are lovely and pop out easily in a mix to subtlety hint the environment without dominating the context. Am I lurking through an abandoned spacecraft? Was I abducted and my brain violated with an implanted radio? Who is this Serbian man noting all the flickering bolts of lightening around my head? This library contains eleven Kontakt 5 instruments with processed and looped tracks for quick implementation into your electromagnetic world.
(11 Kontakt instruments with 1.1 GB of samples, 300 WAV files, 24bit/96kHz, requires paid version of Kontakt 5)
This Saturday (December 19th), attend a discussion of the sound for Alejandro Iñárritu’s The Revenant with Supervising Sound Editors and Sound Designers Randy Thom and Martin Hernandez. The presentation will be held at the Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, CA, at 7PM. Please note that this not a film screening, but a discussion of the design work that went in to particular scenes of the film.
To RSVP, contact Rachel Aberly at: rachel.aberly[at]gmail[dot]com.
Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an epic story of survival and transformation on the American Frontier.
While on an expedition into the uncharted wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally mauled by a bear, then abandoned by members of his own hunting team. Alone and near death, Glass refuses to succumb. Driven by sheer will and his love for his Native American wife and son, he undertakes a 200-mile odyssey through the vast and untamed West on the trail of the man who betrayed him: John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).
What begins as a relentless quest for revenge becomes a heroic saga against all odds towards home and redemption.
THE REVENANT is directed, produced and co-written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
As sound designers, our jobs usually entail creating a vivid sonic world to accompany a narrative. But often, the nature of the worlds we are creating presents some unique challenges; there’s no doubt this was the case on ABZÛ, an upcoming underwater exploration game from Giant Squid Studios.
In a recent blog post, Giant Squid’s sound designer Steve Green delves into their approach to creating the sonic elements that would accompany and enhance this underwater world, with some special attention to how the audio would help create the narrative experience the team was looking for. Head over to the blog to read more!
Want to score some excellent plugins from perennial favorite manufacturer SoundToys? Want to give to a worthy charity during the holiday season? Well, good news: you can do both, thanks to a great initiative SoundToys has recently started, called “Give a Little, Get a Little.”
The idea is, SoundToys will be offering one of their “Little” plugins as a pay-what-you-can purchase every week, and 100% of your purchase price goes towards Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The current plugin is Little MicroShift, but act quickly if you want to get it– there’ll be a new plugin available starting tomorrow. Head here to read up on the Give a Little, Get a Little campaign, as well as Migrant Offshore Aid Station’s mission.
This article is a guest contribution by Damian Kastbauer and does not reflect the views of DesigningSound.org or its Contributing Editors.
The article Brighten the Corners of Game Audio, that I wrote earlier this year, attempted to bring forward some of the things that I’ve experienced, specifically at the Game Developer Conference, and have gleaned from conversations with people in the game audio community over the years in relation to the organizations that represent us. This follow-up article presents the results of the survey that accompanied that article and gives further voice to the community. It’s my hope that continued discussion can influence the future of the organizations that represent game audio.
Sometimes the last thing we as audio professionals want is the degradation of the audio that we are working with, though often, we use sonic degradation for many creative audio endeavours. This month, we would like to explore the good, and the bad of sonic degradation within sound design.
As always, we encourage contributions from our community of readers. Please feel free to chime in on this month’s topic, and also, as always, you can always go “off-topic” or start preparing something for next month’s (which will be “Time/Project Management”). Just email doron [at] this site to get the ball rolling!
Guest Contribution by April Tucker
Meet Yuki, one of my cats. She’s a tiny, feisty 6-year-old tabby. Earlier this year, we learned that Yuki had gone deaf after having normal hearing most of her life. She probably lost her hearing gradually, but it wasn’t obvious until one day when I was vacuuming and realized she was right by me, happily curled up and sound asleep.
There’s a learning curve to owning a deaf pet – especially a cat that’s already stubborn and sleeps in places you can’t find. Deaf pets get extremely startled if you touch them when they don’t perceive you first (through vibration, sight, or smell). Words that they responded to before (like “dinner” or “no”) suddenly have no meaning. Yuki became cautious, spending a lot of time just trying to gauge her surroundings (like the other cats who were unaware of her condition). (more…)