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The Sound Collectors Club – February’s Theme: Wind

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 | 1 comment

The theme for february’s collect at The Sound Collectors Club has been announced: Wind!

The result of the vote for the ‘Night and Day’ theme was a three way tie, so I’ve decided to give all three contributors the chance to choose a theme over the coming months.

First up is Dan Gallard of Sonik Boom Sound in Australia who has chosen ‘Wind’ to be February’s theme:

“My theme would be wind through different items be it trees, windows, doors etc. There have been a few times recently when I wish I had more wind to choose from.”

I don’t want to take over Dan’s idea (and feel free to comment to the contrary if this isn’t your wish, Dan) but one thing that I think would be good to try and focus on for this theme is capturing ‘atmospheric’ wind tracks (interior or exterior) and maybe trying to avoid anything that’s too similar to white noise. Obviously wind can convey all kinds of moods and emotions – everything from eerie whistles to relaxing breezes – and tracks like these can be priceless when it comes to needing to create interesting ambiances for films. Clearly, this is a tricky one as we will be at the mercy of Mother Nature but let’s see what we can all get together over the next few weeks.

Just a couple of ‘updates’ to mention regarding the club this month:

1. This month, I was going to completely close the door on any entries which don’t have a vocal ident but, considering the difficulty of the theme, I will be a little bit flexible for one more month. However, vocal idents are still preferred if possible. Otherwise, as usual, your recordings must contain some form of imperfection (mic bumps, shash, etc.) to prove that they are not taken from some FX library CD. Once again, please don’t take offence if your perfectly manicured contribution is not accepted; I’m just trying to cover my arse.

2. Lastly, due to a very low vote this past month, I think I’m going to put less emphasis on voting and winners. Essentially, I don’t think all that stuff really matters – I presume everyone’s main interest is simply the collecting. Therefore, once the ‘Night and Day’ winners have chosen their themes, I’ll just choose themes myself unless there happens to be a strong vote one month for some reason or if a theme gets a lot of requests in the poll widget in the sidebar of the club homepage.

More information at The Sound Collectors Club

Tips on Audio Creation for iPhone

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 | 0 comments

More cool tips on working with audio development for the iPhone, this time from Nathan Madsen at iDevGames.

Introduction

Because creating audio content specially for the iPhone isn’t too drastically different than creating audio for any other game, this article is a relatively brief collection of tips about how to best adjust audio for the iPhone.

Where’s the bass?!

The iPhone has one external speaker at the bottom end of the device, and a headphone jack at the top left location. The speaker is very small but has decent quality, however you will get very little low end bass from the speaker. The headphones will give you a much better stereo mix. As long as you are aware that your audio can be heard in either of these ways, and plan for it, you can create audio that sounds appropriate and solid in both situations.

File size and type

File types are important on the iPhone, especially MP3s. The iPhone cannot stream multiple MP3 files at once. The most common way to approach the sounds in a game is to have music be a streaming MP3 file (at stereo 128k if the file size is small enough, mono if it needs to be smaller) and use WAV or CAF for the one hit SFX (Sound Effects). SFX are usually down sampled to 22k but that can depend on the game’s graphics and other processing needs. The more simple the game, the more CPU power you have to work with audio and vice versa. When contracting out for a game, always ask the client what the maximum file size is for the streaming music. One of my clients required about 1.5 MB which is equivalent to about a minute and a half or so of music. Another client wanted two and a half minutes of streaming music, so it can vary from project to project.

If possible, attempt to make alternative versions of the same song, and give them to the client. It can be as simple as muting several of the tracks, changing the instrumentation, or performing a different solo. For a client that is open to a larger audio footprint this can really help keep the music within a certain size (per each individual file) but give more variety and make the music less repetitive.

Continue reading…

Via The Sonic Spread

Soundminer HD Available Now

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 | 0 comments

Soundminer HD is now available on the Soundminer Store at $199 (Windows or Mac). There’s also an “Universal HD” versión ($299) that allows you to run your license in both operating systems. You can also buy the HD version and update to the Universal HD version for $100 whenever you want.

Main Features

  • Includes our advanced super fast robust V4 Search engine with support for boolean operators as well as alternative search options.
  • Imports and reads – V4 metadata, id3 metadata, V3 metadata and Broadcast Wave BEXT data.
  • Large  multi-channel waveform overview with ability to resize.
  • New LaunchPad™ – 3D graphical search interface. Another Soundminer first!
  • Mark files as you audition and return them with one key!
  • Simple to use new GUI and Toolbar with everything only one touch away.
  • Detail Info pane with Live Link Searching and Artwork support.
  • Direct live search in Metadata pane
  • 2 x Database that can be optimized for Music and Sound Effects.
  • Import v4 databases
  • Import iTunes library and playlists.
  • Live Filter Searching – instantly refine your results without entering a single keyword!
  • Play History – Keeps track of everything you audition.
  • Includes the V4 BACK and LOCK features.
  • New Intelligent Lyric Search feature.
  • Support for different Sound Output Devices
  • ‘Library’ weighting.  Your favourites come up first!
  • Intelligent Drag and drop a file from the interface to any application that supports it – ie.  Pro Tools, Nuendo, Final Cut, Reaper, Digital Performer, Sony Vegas, Sound Forge, Abelton Live, etc.
  • High Quality conversion engine for single transfers.  Transfer directory can be specified, with conversions in both 16 bit or 24 bit up to 48khz included.

Soundminer HD

Inside the Waves Sound Design Suite [Pt 1] – Frequency and Dynamics Control

Posted by on Feb 2, 2011 | 4 comments

Welcome to the first of a series of posts dedicated to explore the whole Sound Design Suite of Waves. Apart of my own review, I’ll also include anecdotes, opinions, tips and tricks from professional sound designers that use these plugins everyday.

Today I’m going to talk about several tools designed for dynamics and frequency control, including the following:

  • L1, L2, L3 and L3-LL
  • C4
  • H-Comp
  • Linear Phase Multiband and Linear Phase EQ
  • Q10

I know there are other special tools included in the suite that also work with dynamics and frequency processing, such as the Renaissance plugins, V-Series, and tools like Trans-X and DeEsser. Those will be discussed in future articles.

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The Recordist Releases “Ultimate Wood” SFX Library, Q&A Included

Posted by on Feb 2, 2011 | 0 comments

The Recordist has released another of his great “Ultimate” collections. We’ve seen ice, rocks, splashes, snow, mud and more. Now the turn is for Wood!

Presenting the Ultimate Wood Sound Effects Library. This massive collection of 500 wood based sound effects recorded at 24-Bit 96kHz includes: gigantic trees falling, tree bark cracks, sheets of plywood ripped apart, heavy beams dropped, logs rolling down hills, wood panel cracks and tiny branch snaps just to name a few.

This library was started in the summer of 2007 and involved recording all kinds of wood. The sessions were many and exhausting. I ventured out into the forest and recorded all sorts of wood stumps, trees, branches and twigs. Wood was rolled, cracked, snapped, dropped, thrown, dragged and hit for a wide selection of natural forest sound elements.

Other sounds include: the walls of a house being ripped apart and hit with a crowbar, A cargo box moved and shaken and a bookcase stressed and warped.

I also recorded all kinds of lumber and large cut logs in my backyard foley pit. Multiple microphones were used on many occasions to capture the dynamic quality of the wood source and they are included as separate stereo files. Mix and process these wood sounds to your hearts content. Never before has a collection of wood sound effects been available like this. Enjoy! -Frank

Ultimate Wood SFX Library – $50 | 920.5MB | 500 files | 24-Bit 96kHz | Metadata ready

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February’s Featured Sound Designer: Peter Albrechtsen

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 | 0 comments

This year is going fast, huh? After the great visit of Tim Walston, let’s go with another film sound special! It’s a pleasure for me to announce the visit of Peter Albrechtsen for the month of February. Peter is a true master of sound, with an incredible vision and talent. This is going to be fantastic.

Bio

Peter Albrechtsen has been a professional sound designer, sound re-recording mixer and an all around sound effects nerd for 10 years now.

If you’ve seen The Kingdom by Lars von Trier, that was actually the hospital where Peter was born 34 years ago – no wonder he later got a taste for horror films. The first love, though, was music: Coming from a home filled to the brim with records and tape recordings, it was very natural for Peter to play music and he’s been trained in classical piano and also played in several bands both as a drummer, bass player and vocalist. When one of his bands recorded an album in the early 1990’s Peter got an instant fascination for the tricks of the sound studio and when attending the European Film College in 1995/96 he started doing sound for movies, which was one of the other major interests of his youth.

Peter attended The Danish Film School from 1997 to 2001 and has since then worked on about 70 productions in both Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the US. He has worked as both production sound mixer, sound effects editor, supervising sound editor, sound designer, sound re-recording mixer and music supervisor (ooh, all these titles) and his cv includes both feature films, documentaries, short films and a couple of tv shows. Last year Peter became part of a new studio facility, tonemasters.dk, together with five colleagues but he still works freelance on different projects both back home in Copenhagen and around the world.

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New Sound Design Competition from Waves Audio and Designing Sound

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 | 30 comments

I’m excited to announce a new sound design competition, developed in collaboration between Waves Audio and Designing Sound, with a Sound Design Suite Native (or a different Waves bundle or upgrade of equivalent value) as the prize for the winner.

General Information

  1. Download the competition package that includes a clip from Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed™ (courtesy of Electronic Arts) and sound effects (courtesy of The Hollywood Edge).
  2. Using those sounds, and the plugins in the Waves Sound Design Suite (a demo of it), design the sound for the clip. You may also use your DAW’s native processing tools but you’re not allowed to record or manipulate other sounds or use third party plugins. You can only use your DAW and the sound effects included in the competition package, and there should not be any other plugin that is not included in the Waves Sound Design Suite.
  3. Then upload the video to the specified address and tell how you used Waves plugins to design the sounds of the clip

Detailed Rules and Instructions

Deadline and Judges

The Waves Sound Design Competition will run from February 1st until February 28th 2011, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

The judges will be four sound design masters:

  • Scott Martin Gershin (Star Trek, Hellboy 2, Chronicles of Riddick, American Beauty).
  • Charles Deenen (Need for Speed, Fast & Furious 1 and 2).
  • David Farmer (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, The Incredible Hulk, The Arrival).
  • Tom Ozanich (Kill Bill: Vol. 2, The Incredible Hulk, Speed Racer, 2 Fast 2 Furious).

Learn How to Use the Suite

During all this month I’ll be publishing several articles about the use of Waves plugins on sound design. I’ll give you my personal opinion about each plugin included in the suite and I’ll also include all kind of exclusive anecdotes, opinions, tips and tricks from professional sound designers. You can find all those links grouped here.

The plugins included in the Sound Design Suite are tools used everyday by many professionals in the sound industry, so I think sharing opinions and tricks about those plugins will be useful for many of you. Also, that will give lots of ideas to the participants of the competition.

Good luck and enjoy!

Important Links: Competition Rules and Information | Special Page at Designing Sound

“Secrets for Great Film Sound” Webinar Report #2 – Production

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 | 1 comment

[During this month, I'll be doing weekly reports about “Secret for Great Film Sound“, a new webinar series hosted by David Sonnenschein and Ric Viers.]

Last week’s webinar was fantastic. This time, Ric and David talked a lot about production stage. Ric is an expert on recording no matter if it’s in the field, in the studio or on location. He explained a lot of interesting things about microphones, gear, techniques for recording great production sound, sound effects recording, etc and also talked about lots of challenges and problems he has solved in the past. The true voice of the experience!

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Tim Walston Special: Reader Questions

Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 | 0 comments

Here are the answers to the questions you made to Tim Walston during january. And stay tuned because there’s one more article coming from Tim about his work on Star Trek.

Designing Sound Reader: Hey Tim. Thanks for the inspiring articles! I can see you often work as editor and designer, but I’m curious about how much mixer are you? Do you think is important for an editor to learn how to mix?

Tim Walston: Please read Tim Prebble’s article on this subject – it’s brilliantly written. That said, I usually “half-mix” my own material into predubbed sub groups for delivery to the stage. This way my sounds are presented the way I intended, but with enough separation for the mixer to have control on the stage. I don’t dip for music necessarily because I rarely have the final music. My goal is to preserve my intentions and reduce the track count for the mixer – be it by bouncing down my material into multichannel mixes or delivering a session with “virtual predubs” (many tracks of units funneling into busses). I’ve been called upon to mix assembled sequences for presentation purposes, but I would not call myself a mixer.

I absolutely DO, however, think that sound designers should learn as much as they can ABOUT mixing. If you understand how the mixer does his/her work, then you can better prepare your material for the stage, and spend your time as efficiently as possible.

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Tim Walston Special: Let’s JET: Sound Design for “Stealth” (2005) and “Astro Boy” (2009)

Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 | 2 comments

[Written by Tim Walston for Designing Sound]

Disclaimer: I am writing these articles as an independent sound designer. Any views or opinions expressed here are simply my own, and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any company, corporate entity or anyone else. Any images or sounds presented are subject to copyright by their respective owners, and are presented for educational purposes only. Any information given is correct to the best of my knowledge. No artificial color added. Refrigerate after opening.

I love the sound of jets. They are one of the few things that sound as great in real life as they do in films! (Good ol’ single engine prop planes are also a favorite of mine). Real vehicles at high speed create fantastic air distortion sounds that can’t be beat.

“Stealth” was directed by Rob Cohen. My main challenge was the signature sound of the near-future technology of the three superjets’ propulsion systems. In the film, they were powered by “pulse detonation engines”. The UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) was even more advanced, with “twin hybrid scramjet turbos”, and artificial intelligence and computational sounds.

Some internet searches on pulse jets showed me that the technology is real, though used more often in rocket type applications like the V-1 buzz bomb in WWII. I even found video of a guy in New Zealand who had built small ones in his garage for a go-cart. (That was 2004, I just checked online today and there are a lot more amateur pulse jet videos now!)

The real things are powerful and loud, but they oscillate so rapidly that they buzz like a huge “pfffffbltt”. I first tried the literal approach, condensing large machine gun and minigun sounds to approach the right speed. The results were too even sounding and lifeless. Real things are more complex and variable. I eventually created several usable combinations featuring a few layered pitches of an overdriven feedback sound I had made years before. Some very light flanging added even more movement. Once I had my “steadies”, I used doppler plug-ins to create maneuvers and pass bys.

These sounds established the unique signature sound of the aircraft, but they weren’t enough on their own. I processed nearly every jet recording I had access to with a combination of eq and modulation to artificially add the “pulse” sensation to real jet sounds. I used Waves Mondo Mod and/or the GRM Doppler plug-in to create the pulsing effect. Carefully shaped automation of both the speed and depth of the pulses kept it from sounding too static. The results worked well, and I applied the same techniques to explosion and thunder sweeteners as well.

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