Categories Menu

Recent articles

Ann Kroeber Special: Exclusive Interview

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 | 4 comments

Ann Kroeber is this month’s featured sound designer here at Designing Sound and this opening interview introduces several different aspects of Ann’s impressive and wide-ranging talents. On a personal note, I’ve collaborated and met up with Ann a few times during the last couple of years and her energy and enthusiasm is always infectious and inspiring. Hopefully, this shows here:

Designing Sound: How did you get started in sound?

Ann Kroeber: I started in sound quite by accident. I was working at the United Nations and was asked by my boss to record outdoor Chinese New Year celebrations. As a girl, I wasn’t allowed to touch any of my father’s records and was strictly forbidden from even turning off his stereo, so it seemed like this guy was asking me to do astro-physics, but, well, he persisted. After meticulously writing down the rules I nervously trudged down to Chinatown with expensive mic and Nagra in hand. I put the headset on, turned on the recorder and a world of fascination and beauty opened to me. I was so excited that I just followed my instincts and captured what sounded cool too me. My boss was delightfully impressed. I was hooked. (more…)

Nick Wiswell on “Forza Motorsport 4”

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 | 1 comment

New article from Develop Magazine, October’s Issue:

PUT TOGETHER Forza Motorsport 4 and racing car audio specialist Nick Wiswell, and arguably you have a marriage made in game audio heaven. UK game audio’s loss was US studio Turn 10’s gain as Wiswell and his family upped sticks, moving from Cheshire to Redmond just over one year ago.

With a wealth of experience garnered whilst working on global hits like Project Gotham Racing, he nevertheless faced some fresh career challenges. Previously heading an in-house team of sound designers and audio programmers, he was confronted with a fundamentally different modus operandi – a small core staff team ‘focused on the bigger picture’ scaling up with outsourcers and freelancers based on specific project needs and using audio middleware.

“The manifesto for audio was clear: to make the racing sound more exciting, improving the car audio to be more visceral,” explains Wiswell. “My predecessors had been looking at the potential for additional dynamic mixing and DSP which fell right into my wheel house; so I took that and ran with it. We didn’t want to over-amp things too much and break realism, but we were definitely looking for enhanced excitement.”

Download here.

October’s Featured Sound Designer: Ann Kroeber

Posted by on Oct 1, 2011 | 4 comments

It is my distinct honor to introduce this month’s featured guest at Designing Sound. Ann Kroeber has graciously agreed to share her experiences and thoughts on our profession and industry. Her career has spanned some of the most significant changes in our profession, and her background provides us a wonderful opportunity this month. Please join me in welcoming her. (more…)

FMOD and Android

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 | 0 comments

Peter Drescher has put together a wonderful overview of working with FMOD and the Android operating system with a breakdown of examples on the O’Reilly Community blog.

FMOD is a popular game audio development system by Firelight Technologies, in Melbourne, Australia. It is used to create sophisticated interactive soundtracks for Xbox, PS3, PC, and iOS games. Representing a modern technology solution to age-old problems of interactive audio production, it allows sound designers to make sounds, implement interactivity, and deliver event and soundbank files to programmers.

Android is an open-source operating system for mobile devices by Google. It is written in Java, and represents the fastest growing cell phone market on the planet, beating out even Apple. This is because carriers can easily customize their own products to maximize their own profits, plus it’s free. Carriers like that.

For me, personally, these are currently my favorite two technologies. FMOD I like because it runs perfectly on my Mac, which is networked to my ProTools rig, facilitating content creation and implementation. The programming APIs are accessible and flexible, and tech support has been excellent. Plus we love those guys.

Continue reading here.

Walter Murch at Chicago Humanities Fest 2011

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 | 0 comments

Walter Murch will be talking about sound at Chicago Humanities Fest 2011. The event is scheduled for Nov 13. Price is $10 in general admission and $5 for students.

As a film editor and sound designer, Walter Murch has worked on classic films of our time, includingApocalypse NowThe Godfather, and The English Patient, among many more. The winner of multiple Academy Awards, Murch, with his technological know-how, has helped to elevate the art and impact of film sound to a new level. His latest projects, which include editing Phil Kaufman’s Hemingway & Gellhorn and directing an episode of Lucasfilm’s animated Clone Wars, are quintessential Murch: eclectic, distinctive, and visionary. In conversation with Lawrence Weschler, CHF artistic director emeritus, Murch discusses the evolution of film technology from the creation of the 5.1 sound format to today’s Final Cut Pro.

via @pulsetrain

ARTSEDGE: Ben Burtt on The Sounds of “Star Wars”

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 | 0 comments

This is one of a series of podcasts exploring the ways sound and sound effects can be used to help bring stories to life.

Meet Ben Burtt, Sound Designer for films like Star Wars,Raiders of the Lost Ark and WALL-E. Learn how he comes up with sounds that complement the amazing things seen on the silver screen – from laser blasts to whirring, buzzing lightsabers. Find out the story behind some of his signature effects and how he first got interested in sound design.

Listen here.

via @usoproject

Paul Davies Special: Sound Design of Hunger – Exclusive Interview

Posted by on Sep 28, 2011 | 3 comments

It’s still Paul Davies’ month here at Designing Sound and now is the time to dig into one of Paul’s most celebrated works: Hunger.

This 2008 film tells the story of the fierce battle between the Irish Republican Army and the British state, which in 1981 led to a hunger strike in which 10 IRA prisoners died. A haunting, intense drama that has received worldwide acclaim – it premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, winning the prestigious Camera d’Or award for first-time filmmakers. It was also a major breakthrough for the lead star, Michael Fassbender. Paul Davies talks about the film’s extraordinary stark soundtrack:

Designing Sound: How did you get involved in Hunger?

Paul Davies: My initial contact for the film was the producer Laura Hastings-Smith, who I’d worked with before, on a film called The Lives of the Saints, directed by Rankin, the well-known British photographer. Laura, because of my work on this film, suggested me and Richard Davey (who had been the re-recording mixer on Rankin’s film) as the sound team for Hunger. I went for a meeting with Steve, which went well, and subsequently we were appointed as the sound post team for the project.

DS: The director Steve McQueen has a background in video art. How did that influence his filmmaking, particularly the use of sound?

PD: As you say Steve has a background in film and visual art, however my relationship with him was no different than with any of the other directors I have worked with in the past. Steve related to me as a narrative filmmaker, and not as a fine artist. The only time I was really aware of Steve’s fine art background was in our initial meeting which happened before the film had been shot and he showed me his visual reference book, which contained images of renaissance paintings and contemporary photographs from the period of the hunger strike. After this Steve’s concerns were with narrative and atmosphere, and how we were going to convey the emotion of the story in sound and images.

DS: How was your working process and your schedule on the project?

PD: As I indicated in the earlier section I had read the script and had a meeting with Steve about the conceptual approach before filming began. After this, because the film was actually shot in two sections three months apart, to allow Michael Fassbender the lead actor to lose weight, I saw a cut of the first two thirds of the film, before the second shoot and then saw a couple of versions of the complete film before starting work on the sound design with my assistant sound designer Chu-Li Shewring.

The sound post process started with a detailed spotting session with Steve and the picture editor Joe Walker, Joe had also compiled his own sound notes which acted as a basis for the sound design. Already from the cutting copy Steve and Joe’s intentions regarding the minimal use of music and the use of production sound effects recorded by Mervyn Moore the location sound recordist, provided a clear template for us to follow. The actual time we had for sound editing was actually quite short, four weeks each for me, Chu Li and Peter Shaw the dialogue editor. Fortunately Mervyns’ tracks were very well recorded and provided a firm foundation for us to build the sound design upon and also meant that we only had to record minimal ADR. Tim Alban recorded and edited the foley, which also provided a crucial element in the sound design. We knew that much in the way we had worked on Lynne Ramsay’s films we would want to be able to foreground well recorded Foley in the mix so as to “zoom” in to the characters in the film, to draw closer to them and feel their physical presence.


Hollywood Edge Products Survey, Free SFX, Discounts, Chance to Win Mechanical Morphs

Posted by on Sep 23, 2011 | 1 comment

The Hollywood Edge is doing a survey about sfx distribution and his products, with some good freebies, discount on next purchase, and chance to win Mechanical Morphs.

After completion you will be given a link with your free SFX comprised of sounds from this years releases, including Mechanical Morphs and the upcoming Segue Surround 5.1, as well as a coupon code for 15% off your next purchase! On top of that, enter your email to be entered into a competition to win a free copy of Mechanical Morphs!

The Sound of “Angry Birds”

Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 | 0 comments

Finland based composer and sound designer Ari Pulkkinen seems to be one of the most listened to composers in the world right now with over 250 million people who have heard his original Angry Birds theme. Pulkkine’s catchy theme was also recently performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra which was part of a music festival in the city.

Angry Birds has been praised for its successful combination of addictive gameplay, comical style, and low price. Its popularity led to versions of Angry Birds being created for personal computers and gaming consoles, a market for merchandise featuring its characters and even long-term plans for a feature film or television series. With a combined 350 million downloads across all platforms and including both regular and special editions, the game has been called “one of the most mainstream games out right now”, “one of the great runaway hits of 2010″, and “the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far”.

Ari has also worked on other very popular games such as Trine (PS3/PC), Dead Nation (PS3), and Outland (PS3/360). The games have received rave reviews and praise for their soundtracks and sound design.

SoundWorks Collection