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Reminder: 5 Days Left in SDC011

Posted by on Aug 6, 2011 | 0 comments

Just a short reminder, that the 11th Sound Design Challenge closes in 5 days (5PM on August 11th, U.S. Eastern Standard). This is your chance to win a free copy of McDSP’s Futzbox plug-in. All five sounds in the Scavenging challenge have been revealed, and here they are again for your convenience:

  1. A “dry” toilet flush (meaning little to no reverberation). The challenge with this one is how reverberant the rooms they’re in usually are. ;) Good luck.
  2. A babbling brook. If you don’t know what that means, just have a look at this video.
  3. A galloping horse. Try not to get trampled.
  4. A bullet ricochet. Don’t put your eye out!
  5. A LARGE rocket launch. We’re talking ICBM, Apollo 111, NASA shuttle…

We could still use one more judge. So if you’re interested, please leave a comment below.

Remember to get your entries uploaded (as one continuous file) to the SoundCloud group before the competition closes on Thursday.

If you’re late to the party and need more info on the contest, head here.

Good luck!

Tim Nielsen Special: Exclusive Interview

Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 | 9 comments

We’re starting off this month’s special with an exclusive interview with our guest Tim Nielsen, discussing influences, creative methods, techniques, and much more. Hope you enjoy it.

Designing Sound: How did you get started in sound design? What’s been the evolution of your career?

Tim Nielsen: I have to blame my dear friend and brilliant sound person Addison Teague. At USC in the graduate program, you have to crew on a student film in one of a handful of positions: director, producer, editor, cinematographer, or sound. Addison came to me one day, said “I’m thinking about crewing up in sound, but need a partner, are you interested?” To be honest until that point I hadn’t given sound a lot of thought. I entered USC sure I wanted to be a cinematographer, but quickly realized that I hated being on set, hated the energy and the insanity of it. So I thought, sure, I’ll give it a shot.

About a year later, while still at USC, I did an internship at Skywalker Sound with Gary Rydstrom. That was I believe in 1996, and actually I think I might have been the first summer intern Skywalker ever took. When I graduated a couple of years later, I was hired by a supervising sound editor at Skywalker named Tim Holland. His first assistant was going off to explore work in the picture department if I remember correctly, and he needed a new first assistant. I came up to the ranch in April of 1999 to work on Liberty Heights, a Barry Levinson film.

Tim Holland was about the best person in the world to work for, in the sense that even on that first show, when I asked Tim if I could cut something, he was totally open to it, and so I cut a reel. On my second film, Galaxy Quest, I cut more, and Tim being the incredibly great person that he is, went to bat for me and got me my first Effects Editors credit, on only my second film.

From there it’s been a combination of hard work, lots of luck, and having the honor of working with some really wonderful people who have and continue to give me incredible opportunities, even leading up to the project I’m involved with at the moment. I’ve certainly worked hard, and have a pretty good ear for this line of work, but I would be really foolish not to acknowledge the lucky breaks that I’ve gotten that plenty of others haven’t. USC led to an internship which led to my career. That needed have been the case, I had to do my part too, but I’ve been very lucky.

DS: Has working at Skywalker Ranch changed the way you think about sound and film industry in general?

TN: Since my first job ever in the professional world was at Skywalker, I’m not sure how it changed my way of thinking and working, as much as it forged it. I’ve been lucky to have some great opportunities outside of the ranch as well, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Journey 3D, and Prince of Persia were all projects done outside of Skywalker. But certainly my way of working was forged at Skywalker, and I’ve always carried that forward.

Certainly working at Skywalker, where the bar is set so high for all of us, continually reminds me what good film sound can do for a film.


SFX News: Windhowler, Sonic Beatbox, SFX Bible Kit, Tortured Piano Remix

Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 | 0 comments

— TONSTURM has released his fourth sound effects pack, called The Windhowler:

This Soundpack is based on the recordings of the very rare Mole-Richardson Windhowler Moleeffect Type 2281. During extensive recording sessions we captured every aspect of this inimitable sound effect instrument. All sounds are recorded, edited and mastered in HD Audio @ 24 Bit, 96 KHz. With TONSTURM 04 I The Windhowler you get 44 haunting wind sound effects. Split into 24 original and 20 carefully designed sound effects created by using the source recordings only. 4.21 GB (@96 kHz).

More details about the machine and the pack here. Available at 49 €.

— Daniel Gooding has released The Sonic Beatbox. As with the first release some of the money will go to charity.

Almost 300 recordings of different vocally produced sounds. Great for working with abstract sound design, or layering with other sounds for a human element. Over 100 designed sounds, produced entirely from the vocal recordings, and show many of the possibilities. For musicians, there are over 50 individual samples, of vocally produced drum sounds, just put them in your favorite sampler, and start playing instantly. Also included are some simple beatbox loops, that you can throw right into a mix, if you want a quick beatbox sound in your track. Each File is recorded in 24-bit 96kHz.

— The Sound Effects Bible Starter Kit is available during August at $699

This Starter Kit includes an autographed copy of the Sound Effects Bible, a Rode Blimp (the best blimps in the business) and the Sound Effects Bible Hard Drive with 5,000 sound effects!

— The deadline for HISSandaROAR Tortured Piano Remix Competition is approaching (Monday, August 8). More details here.

Rabbit Ears Audio Releases “Brooks Streams Waterfalls”

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 | 2 comments

Michael Raphael has released “Brooks Streams Waterfalls“, the announced new library of Rabbit Ears Audio.

REA 007 is a celebration of moving water in nature. From small trickles to rushing torrents, Brooks Streams Waterfalls is for those who need a variety of water movement in their library.

Locations were chosen based on their variety of elements. Water sounds most unique when it has something to pass through that changes its flow. The brooks and streams in this collection feature currents that are shaped by rocks, boulders, and downed trees. The waterfalls chosen range from small falls fed by babbling mountain brooks to large rushing waterfalls fed by strong relentless currents.

This collection of sounds features 45 files that clock in at 68 minutes. It was tracked on a Sound Devices 744T with a Cooper CS-104 as the front end. Both Schoeps (MK4/MK8) and Sennheiser MKH (30/40) Mid-Side pairs were used. The Schoeps were the “go to” pair, but the MKH’s got a workout as well. Only one human back was slightly damaged during a river crossing and one Rycote back-cap was lost to a waterfall.

Brooks Streams Waterfalls is available at $50. Use this code to get $5 off: WATERSHIPDOWN

Rabbit Ears Audio

August’s Featured Sound Designer: Tim Nielsen

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 | 0 comments

It’s a great pleasure to introduce this month’s featured sound designer at Designing Sound: Tim Nielsen. Mainly located at Skywalker Sound, Tim has a long, diverse and impressive credit list, working both as a sound designer, supervising sound editor and effects editor, and he will share lots of articles, tips and thoughts with us. Enjoy!


Tim Nielsen was born in 1971 and his fascination with film sound started at the University of Southern California where one of his student friends was Addison Teague who years later became a close colleague at Skywalker Ranch.

Tim Nielsen was actually Skywalker guru Gary Rydstrom’s first summer intern back in 1996, and since then there’s been no going back. Two years later Tim got his first proper sound effect job at the Ranch and has since then worked on a number of films and projects, of which the ones mentioned below are just a few selected highlights.

Tim’s fascination with sound effects recording has also led to the release of an iTunes-collection called ‘Natural Sounds for Sleep and Relaxation’. There’s not been much relaxation for Tim himself, though, as he’s been keeping constantly busy – at the moment he’s the sound designer for John Carter, a new action-adventure by Wall-E director Andrew Stanton.

Welcome, Tim!


“Limbo” – Exclusive Interview with Martin Stig Andersen

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 | 2 comments

It takes a strong game to weave so seamlessly the combination of art contained within. Limbo was a game that so totally embodied itself that it found its way atop most “Best of…” lists the year of it’s release on XBLA. With the game properly ported and recently released on PC and PSN, took some time to catch up with Martin Stig Andersen.

When I saw Martin speak this spring at GDC I was struck by how well formed his concept of sound for Limbo was, not only that but how his formative years seemed completely in support of hit contributions to the soundscape. If you have played through even a section of the game you will know that this could be no small feat, as it’s not every sound designer that could inexorably link the flickering black and white images to abstract impressions of sound.

This is a story that follows a complete trajectory. From his days in University learning and experimenting with electroacoustic music, acousmatic music and soundscapes throughout the development and application of interactive audio gestures which help bring to life the action on screen.

Read on for further insight…


Coll Anderson’s Blog and Sound Effects

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 | 0 comments

June’s featured sound designer, Coll Anderson, has been working on some new ideas for his personal site recently. The photo above comes from a short post titled, Idea of the day…

It’s a funny little collection of some workflow thoughts that are worth the read. So head over there to check out what’s going on in that photo.

And while you’re at it, check out some of the quality sound effects libraries that Coll has for sale. There are some very cool sounds available, here are some examples from his Gore library:EFX SD Gore Various by C. A. Sound, Inc.

Check out the rest here.

Frank Morrone: Interview

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 | 0 comments

Izotope has published a short interview with re-recording mixer Frank Morrone (Sleepy Hollow, Lost, When We Were Kings). While it is primarily about RX2, it does give some insight into his workflow (7 Pro Tools HD systems!) and preparation for the new J.J Abrams and FOX drama – “Alcatraz” .

When I made plans for a lunch with Emmy Award-winning sound mixer Frank Morrone, I was in for quite a surprise with where the afternoon would take us. Our lunch in Hollywood quickly led to a tour of his sound stage in Burbank and a private sneak peek into the place of TV commercial legend: The Disney Vault.

Talking about audio over lunch, I asked Frank to give me a background on his musical tastes, specifically what sparked his love interest with sound. He explained that audio wasn’t what drew him into his line of work, but rather his love for recording, with a TEAC 3340 four track serving as his first object of infatuation.

Continue reading here.

Related article: Inside the sound on “Lost”

Axel Rohrbach Special: Making of Cinematic Trailers

Posted by on Jul 28, 2011 | 5 comments

[Written by Axel Rohrbach]

Here is a teaser video showing some of the things we recorded:

But this is only a very small part. Creating the “Cinematic Trailers” was one of the biggest challenges for us so far. The goal was to provide a designed collection with sounds having both, the quality you expect when you are in a cinema watching trailers and at the same time new and inspiring sounds. In addition to that, we wanted to put stuff into the “Construction Kit” that we never found in other sound libraries before.

We started with some basics, to get a feeling for which source sounds we need to create the “Designed” collection. We tried some things here and there, recorded flame whooshes with torches, fire balls and burning arrows. We did textiles whooshes, impacts and eerie Piano scrapes. After those basic standards it became difficult. We thought “having orchestra recordings for those typical rises would be awesome”. This is something used and needed very often, but besides music instrument libraries like “Symphobia” I don’t know of any sound fx library, especially in that price range, that contains such things. As BOOM Library is a spin-off of the audio production company Dynamedion (, luckily we have access to a great and very experienced team for orchestra recordings. I instructed the orchestrators to arrange those orchestra-effects and let them some free space for experiments as well. We did the recording during one of the “Open Orchestra Recorcing Sessions” Dynamedion organizes several times per year, where the team books a high quality German orchestra for 2 days of recording and then gives everyone the chance to “buy in” the session to have music recorded. It is a great way to have smaller amounts of music recorded without needing to go through all the hassle and costs of organizing a complete session only for a few minutes of music.

Recording Taiko drums was another thing, not very typical for sound libraries yet very often used for trailer impacts. For the impacts we figured out that some really harsh crackling / breaking sounds are missing. That brought us to the idea of the plastic cups, shown in the video. We experimented with doormats, duct tape and glass. We put all kinds of stuff on a rope. We recorded very fast car drive bys with quiet engines to get rid of the car feeling as good as possible. Bike drive bys were very cool sounds as well as ski and snowboard pass bys. I had a vacuum cleaner around and recorded a pretty cool sound which actually sounds processed already, simply by turning it on and putting my hand in front of the tube and removing it again.
We prepared sustained sounds and swung speakers playing those sounds in front of the microphone, went to an airport to record starting planes and created some synthetic and processed sounds as well.

For the “Designed” collection we had some days of research before we started. We tried different new Plug-Ins, especially algorithmic reverbs and equalizers. Some new made into our PlugIn folders. I am personally very impressed by the sound of the Brainworx EQs. They are not very precise, but very nice sounding and clean. They replaced the Waves APIs on my system for now. Nebula3 is another EQ that is used quite often on the designed sounds. As for reverbs, all kind of plugins were used, only the Lexicon reverbs are new because they sound dense and crisp. We released two videos, going into the depth of the sessions of two sounds.

Spoken frankly, we are quite happy that this project is over, because it took way more time that we initially thought. However we are also happy because we use those sounds every day. I mentioned that in another interview before: we are our own best clients because we always do libraries that we are missing for our own daily work. Since the library has been released, we used the sounds in trailers already, I did the audio for a cinema logo animation of a VFX studio, used those sounds in movie scores as well as for in-game sound effects. It makes our lives much easier and I hope yours too. Together with Cinematic Metal it is a perfect combination to create fat trailerish title sounds. Thanks again to Charles Deenen for your support!

The greatest thing however is that we are indeed receiving tremendously good feedback from our customers at the moment. Honestly: after our first four releases we couldn’t imagine to have a fifth collection that would even be more acclaimed by our customers. Every release is so exciting: you never know if the sound designers out there will like it or not until the collection is being released. So this makes everything just more fun and inspires us to raise the bar with every new release.

Adam Stiles – Sound Designer (Trailer: The Dark Night, Gamer, Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
“There are so many sounds in here that aren’t anywhere else but needed so,so often. For example, to have that much taiko drum recording at that fidelity is worth the cost alone. Everything is fantastic, an excellent,excellent collection. With the Cinematic Metal library, you could almost do any high end trailer with those alone.
I’m so happy there’s a company like you guys out there. The need for these type of sounds are monumental. Especially for us at Riot Games, we need more, and more.”

Besides the demos, make sure to check out the “Facebook 500″ sounds which you can download for free here.

Those are mostly created exclusively with the Cinematic Trailers library. Some sounds however do include our other libraries, mainly Cinematic Metal.

For some more information check out our website.