Categories Menu

Recent articles

“Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound”, Fourth Edition Now Available

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 | 1 comment

I was browsing some suggestions Amazon did for the Kindle and found that Focal Press recently launched the fourth edition of “Practical art of Motion Picture Sound” (by David Lewis Yewdall), one of the best post-sound books out there. If you don’t have read it yet, you definitely should!

Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound, 4th edition relies on the professional experience of the author and other top sound craftspeople to provide a comprehensive explanation of film sound, including mixing, dubbing, workflow, budgeting, and digital audio techniques. Practically grounded with real-world stories from the trenches throughout, the book also provides relevant technical data, as well as an appreciation of all the processes involved in creating optimal motion picture sound. New to this edition are exclusive sound artist lessons from the field (including 2 new production cases studies), including insight from craftspeople who have worked on the latest Harry Potter and Batman films. All technological changes have been updated to reflect the most current systems.

  • Detailed step-by-step explanation of the craft as well as professional insight from the various people working in the industry provide readers with both practical knowledge and inspiration
  • Author provides a complete overview of creating effective sound for film, including motion picture protocol, budgeting info, dealing with onset politics, and technical information about recording
  • Includes a DVD with video demos of techniques, sound clips, examples from the author’s films, effects, and more!

The book is available at several stores and costs $49,95. There’s also a Kindle version available for $29,47.

Happy Birthday DS!

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 | 14 comments

Photo credit

I found out today that turned 2 years old on June 18th (and also crossed 1000 posts)!

The amount of time, energy and dedication Miguel has put into this project is nothing short of commendable. It’s been wonderful to see this website grow over time. Like me, I’m sure it’s a great resource for everyone who reads it.

A BIG thank you to the community, all the designers/recordists who have shared their thoughts and Miguel of course – for keeping this alive and rocking!

Till the next 1000 posts, cheers!

Behind the Art: Craig Berkey

Posted by on Jun 17, 2011 | 5 comments

It’s time for another “Behind the Art” interview, the section of Designing Sound created with the goal of studying the artistic and creative aspects of sound design. We’ve asked one of the most prolific sound designers right now, Craig Berkey, to share some thoughts with us.

Just recently, Berkey has been the sound designer for both the latest mutant magnum opus, X-Men: First Class, and Terrence Malick’s poetic The Tree of Life, winner of this year’s Palme d’Or in Cannes. Two very, very different movies which just goes to show the diversity of Berkey’s impressive career. Berkey has been in charge of the sound department on blockbusters like I, Robot and Superman Returns but has also collaborated closely with sound supervisor Skip Lievsay on the four recent films by the Coen brothers, including No Country for Old Men and True Grit – which resulted in Berkey receiving three well-deserved Academy Award nominations, two for mixing and one for editing.

The Vancouver-based Berkey shares thoughts on music, philosophy and experimentation – and how the net has helped his creative process.

Designing Sound: Could you describe your sound design philosophy? What’s sound design for you?

Craig Berkey: Sound design for me, in the world of film, is the overall thought/concept and execution of the entire sound-track. Philosophically my role as a sound designer is to help filmmakers achieve and exceed their aural aspirations for their films. I approach this with an ears wide-open attitude. I like to get a feel for the film I’m working on, not by me deciding what I think it should sound like, but by letting the images and sounds present at the time of my initial viewing soak in. This experience, in conjunction with discussions with the filmmakers, helps me discover any unturned stones the sound team can work towards revealing. If I am not open to original ideas at the start and forge ahead with the soundtrack, it can be nothing more than previously expressed concepts, perhaps with different execution.


Sound Design Challenge #10 Announced

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 | 2 comments

June’s Sound Design Challenge is now open:

YouTube Preview Image

After a short break, the Sound Design Challenge is back. There’s a saying that goes, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” When we hear something interesting we’re to ask ourselves, “How was that made?” Obviously, the easiest way to get an answer to that, is to ask someone who knows how it’s done. That isn’t necessarily the best route though. It’s often more fulfilling, in more ways than one, to sit down and at least try to figure it out on your own. That’s why, this time around, your challenge is to reproduce a sound effect from The Matrix. I’ve also got another wonderful sound effects pack, provided by Rene Coronado, for a prize this month.

Continue reading…

IR Reverb Comparisons

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 | 0 comments

I published an article on IR reverb and deconvolution comparisons on my blog. Quite a few people found it useful and Miguel thought it would a good idea to share it with the rest of the community who aren’t on Twitter. If you aren’t on Twitter, join now! The sound community is nothing short of fabulous.

After my previous post on recording and mangling IRs, I decided to find a way to use the sweep I recorded for Altiverb in other convolution reverb plugins. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to compare the sound of these plugins and listen to how differently they deconvolve sweeps. The list of plugins include:

This is not a comparison of their features but of how each one of them sound.

Deconvolution Comparison:


The Altiverb sweep generator produces a sweep with a start and end beep (which it uses for identification). Since most other deconvolution tools don’t recognize these beeps, I created two versions of the sweep – one with the beeps and one without and normalized them to -0.3dBFS. The recorded sweep at the venue also included broadband noise and AC hum, which Altiverb’s processor did a good job of neglecting. The other plugins weren’t as good and included the noise along with the impulse. To make the comparison easier I used some amount of noise reduction on both versions of the recorded sweep.

1. AudioEase Altiverb:

AudioEase’s IR Pre-Processor needs to be used to deconvolve a sweep that is usable in Altiverb. The process is very simple – select a folder with the recorded sweep (make sure they are stereo-split SDII files), an output folder (your Altiverb preset folder), an input description file (in this case, “Sweeps, not to be equalized”) and hit “Process”. Re-scan your IR directory in Altiverb and it should show up.

Here’s what the sweep recorded at the venue for Altiverb sounded like (with beeps, noise reduction and normalization). Make sure you aren’t monitoring too loud:

Continue reading and listening here.

BOOM Library Releases Cinematic Trailers, Plus Tutorials, Special Offers

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 | 0 comments

BOOM Library has released Cinematic Trailers, a huge package with over 2000 sound effects, including all kind of whooshes, impacts, rises, stingers, and more. As usual, BOOM offers two different packs:

Construction kit:

This huge 2 DVD collection contains unique recordings of all sorts movement, impact and rising sounds. We recorded a live orchestra for rises, had a big taiko drum band for ear-busting percussions and then smashed, collided, destroyed and set fire to all kinds of great sounding things.

All of the recordings are delivered in 96 kHz, 24-bit, giving you the best quality for heavy editing, pitching, and fx processing while keeping a top notch level of clarity and precision. To provide you with the fastest and easiest workflow possible all files contain extensive metadata. Use this library as a stand-alone or combine it with the first cinematic release “CINEMATIC METAL” to have even more flexibility.


West Texas Gun Recording

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 | 0 comments

René Coronado has recently published a fantastic three-part article on gun recording, including details on pre-production, reports of the sessions, how was the editing/tagging process and more.

So a little while back I packed up the mics and headed out west to record some gunfire with my friends. Not because I had a project that required it or anything, but just because they have lots of guns and I have lots of mics. Also, weapon recording is one of those techniques that requires experience and iteration, so any opportunity to do this type of recording is to be seized upon.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Pre-Production for an Audio Team

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 | 0 comments

Matt Piersall from Gl33k Game Audio churns some creative butter and comes up with a host of hot tips for kickstarting your pre-production on the way to ramping up your production cycle. From sonic concepting to audio slaying, there are some great idea’s in there to help begin the process of building the palette for your next project.

The following items are things that I have found useful for the concepting phase of audio development.  Many of you have most likely already discovered or do similar things in some way, shape, or form (especially in house folks. A lot of this effort is to help audio drive the design of the game and be considered as a more effective feedback tool than many designers inherently consider it.

Read on for more keen insights: Pre-Production for an Audio Team

Also be sure to check out Matt in Audio Implementation Greats #10: Made for the Metronome