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Interview – Greg Hill at Track Time Audio

Posted by on May 23, 2011 | 1 comment

Realtime vehicle audio simulation is one of the trickiest implementation challenges and definitely has the most moving parts. While most agree on the complexity and necessity for special handling when it comes to vehicle sound, the approaches can vary widely. From recording techniques to tools and implementation, Track Time Audio has been providing a resource for enthusiasts interested in the sound of fast cars and has been exposing some of the tricks behind making them sound good in realtime.

The current interview with Greg Hill from Soundwave Concepts includes some great insights into the process and passion involved with taking sound from the track and getting them in the game.

Track Time Audio Interview: Greg Hill


MPR Top Score – “an in-depth listen to video game music and talks with the people who make it”

Posted by on May 23, 2011 | 0 comments

The line between music and sound can sometimes be incredibly thin, and so I think it is worth noting the recently launched Minnesota Public Radio series of interviews with video game music composers that exposes some of the process and insight behind the scenes presented in tersely edited podcast format. The series provides some great background on game music in general as well as, in the case of the Jason Graves (DeadSpace 2) Interview, the implementation side of thing:

“What makes the music so great in any game, is the implementation….and having it be as interactive as possible. Especially with horror it’s really important that you have the music come in, start and stop, make you jump, make it suspenseful and on the edge of your seat. The timing has to be just right.”

Other additions to the series include the folks from Double Fine talking about the classically leaning Stacking, and Inon Zur and Dragon Age 2.

Minneapolis Public Radio: Top Score with Emily Reese


New Sound Lab Releases Chorus Echo 501 and Pacific Ocean Libraries

Posted by on May 23, 2011 | 0 comments

New Sound Lab has released two new sfx packages:

Chorus Echo 501 ($25)

The classic 1980’s era Roland Chorus Echo RE 501 captured in 24bit 192khz HD format.

This library features 217 sounds processed by a mint condition Chorus Echo RE-501, including metal impacts, church bells, chainsaws, voices, and water. In addition, self-oscillation sounds from the RE-501 are included. All of these sounds can be used in a wide variety of ways and work well for both sound design and music production. The combination of the 192khz high resolution sample rate and the tape saturation/warmth from the Chorus Echo make these samples sound great when pitch shifted and/or time stretched, even at extreme settings.

From a Pro Tools session, the original sounds were routed into the XLR input of the Chorus Echo where processing occurred. The Chorus Echo output was recorded DI into a Neve 1073 preamp, and an Empirical Labs Distressor with “Dist2″ setting added a little extra 2nd harmonic distortion to the signal. Subsequently, the signal was sent into a Apogee Rosetta 800 A/D converter and back into Pro Tools HD.

And Pacific Ocean ($25)

This library features recordings of the Pacific Ocean at various locations along the beach within Refugio State Park. The incoming waves collide with large rock formations, creating great wave impacts and rushing water through small channels and hollow rocks. A variety of mic placements at various distances from the ocean were used, from directly over the water to larger distances, recording ambience behind massive rock walls and inside natural beach caves. In addition, a hydrophone captured underwater currents from waves splashing into small tide pools on the rocks.

Sounds were recorded with a Sanken CSS-5 Stereo Shotgun microphone in 120 degree stereo mode and an Aquarian Audio H2A-XLR Hydrophone. The shotgun microphone was mounted in a full Rycote windshield kit and connected to a Sound Devices 702 recording at 24bit 192khz.

All sounds in this release are in mono & stereo 24bit 96khz Broadcast Wave format. Files are in a zip file, which includes a PDF with detailed metadata. Upon purchase, you will receive an email with a link to instantly download the library.

Interview with Ralph van Dijk – Radio Director

Posted by on May 23, 2011 | 1 comment

Despite being huge sound design fans, when we listen to any narrative soundtrack, our attention is naturally focused on the voice. “Dialogue is King” – plays a particularly key role when listening to radio, where you don’t have the benefit of pictures to tell the story.

I spoke to Ralph van Dijk, who is an award winning, radio commercial’s writer and director, to find out more about the techniques and considerations that go into getting that great voice performance. You can listen to his work here

Designing Sound: First of all, what got you interested in making radio commercials?

Ralph van Dijk: I reckon it was because it combined a few of the things I really enjoyed at the time when I was deciding what to do. I love music, I love writing and I like acting. I was doing all of those things to varying degrees – of awfulness. Advertising itself was interesting because it was a combination of all those things. Plus comedy. I’ve always enjoyed comedy. Radio was like a very condensed version of all those things. I could experiment with all those different areas in a very short space of time.

That’s the other great thing I love about radio, is that you can conceive and execute the idea in a matter of days. Whereas with television, back when I worked in an advertising agency, it was just so frustrating to have an idea, then to have to wait for months whilst it went through research and client changes, before you could even go anywhere near actually making it. And when you have a very short attention span, that’s not a good thing.

I guess it was also very satisfying creatively because writing radio is quite liberating. You can do whatever you want. And I felt I could do it well.


Interview with Mick Gordon

Posted by on May 21, 2011 | 1 comment

Game Career Guide has published a very inspiring and fun interview with award winning composer, sound designer and audio director Mick Gordon.

Without a doubt, one of the finest examples of uncorked enthusiasm (and unbelievable humility) is my audiophile hombre Mick Gordon who I met and worked with earlier this year on a cool game project.

He has been an audio director in the games industry for over half a decade and successfully runs his own award winning studio, Game Audio Australia, servicing most of the big boys, from EA, Sony Entertainment, THQ, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Ubisoft and continues to work at a fervent pace to add to this already impressive client list.

His resume reads like a treasure trove of delights, he sports a luscious mane of hair along with ass kicking tattoos and is regularly invited to speak at large game conferences such as the GDC in San Francisco earlier this year because of his unique combination of accomplishments and electric personality.

Recent commercial work on Need For Speed: Shift and the historical museum exhibition A Day in Pompeii have netted him a slew of nominations and awards. Rather deservingly I might add!

Mick’s continued enthusiasm for what he does so well, his positive demeanor, genuine character, his business sense and work horse ethic all continue to inspire me.

So how have you been mate? How is life and humidity over in Brissy treating you?

Mick Gordon: Argh! Life’s been a complete whirlwind of sound, deadlines, ones & zeros, fast cars, superheroes, demons, elemental powers, monsters and machine guns!

Sounds like you have been busy as heck since we last caught up.

MG: It has been crazy busy man, but incredibly fun nonetheless!

You know what it’s like — we tend to lock ourselves in our studios for days on end without sunlight or human contact and we start to go a little crazy!

So whenever I get the chance, I try to get out and get involved with any events that my schedule permits.

I was recently on a design portfolio panel at QUT where members of the audience showcased their game design ideas and we got to see some incredibly creative bright sparks that are going to do wonders for the future of the game industry!

Read the full interview here.

TONSTURM Releases The Whoosh

Posted by on May 17, 2011 | 2 comments

TONSTURM has released The Whoosh, a new sfx library loaded wih 160 whoosh/pass by recordings, containing 1030 different sounds.

For The Whoosh we did quiet some research. Again we wanted to come up with fresh and unique sound effects so we tested all kinds of things and build our own custom made whoosh devices.

We build a wooden bullroarer with three thick rubber bands which is emitting very cool deep and droning sounds. We also took big plastic pipes which we prepared in a special way so that we got these nice howling pass by sound effects.

Furthermore we recorded the sounds of arrows passing by and curly steel shreds fired by a slingshot. These arrows were prepared with different kinds of whistles, fluttering magnetic tape and burning cloth. We also build a big fireball with which we performed huge fire whoosh effects.

Again we recorded the sounds at different locations and some devices were recorded in the field and in this very nice sounding wooden orchestra hall. Certain devices like our custom bullroarer had a really thick pleasing sound when recorded in this orchestra hall. Something that you can not reproduce with a plugin hall!

The Whoosh is available now at 49€ for the 96kHz/24-Bit version and 59€ for the 192kHz/24-Bit version. More at TONSTURM.

Here’s a Q&A I had with Tilman and Emil, who talk about this new release.

Designing Sound: What inspired you guys to do this library?

TONSTURM: There were a lot of sources that inspired us for The Whoosh. First of all the film projects each of us have worked on so far. We were never really happy with the source material we had when it came to designing whoosh effects. But through all these independent libraries it gets better and better! Also we think natural recorded Doppler shifts are the best! So we only had to think about the coolest devices to record some thrilling pass by sound effects. I once used the sound of a bull roarer in one of my projects. I was fascinated by this instrument. So we googled and youtubed everything about bullroarers. For the other props Designing Sound TV was also a big inspiration! So we collected all these ideas and started to experiment quiet some time ago.



Posted by on May 17, 2011 | 3 comments

“There’s no excuse for having a mental or creative block in sound. You can just go out and collect things in the real world – they make the sound, not you. It’s very restricting to always use a library for sound effects. It’s much more interesting and freeing to go out and record new sounds because you never know what you’re going to get.”

Gary Rydstrom

David Sonnenschein Special: Sound Spheres Pt. 2

Posted by on May 14, 2011 | 2 comments

Following up on David’s previous post, the excerpt from his Sound Sphere article, he and I had a conversation over the phone to go into a little more detail. Here’s the full transcript.

David Sonnenschein: So, I know you read the excerpt that was posted for Designing Sound, but have you read the whole article as well? [ed. full article appears in “The New Soundtrack” volume 1, issue 1]

Designing Sound: Yes, I read the whole thing, but it’s been a few days and the two are kind of merging in my mind. If I remember correctly there were a few more examples…

David: Basically, yeah. It has more examples, and it also has a section of applying this model more specifically to film sound. So it was bit more detailed, and there was some exploration of where it could go…some possibilities of expanding it into other arenas. The earlier section was also relating it to previously established models. It just kind of expounds a bit more in an academic way on the whole issue. So, we can just talk about some of those things in general, or specifically if you want to. Or there are other questions you’ve mentioned that are really pertinent. And people can read more in the article itself. It’s available some place else. So I like this idea of talking about it in ways that are a little bit new.


The Recordist Releases Snowballs HD Ultra and Free Bear Trap Libraries

Posted by on May 13, 2011 | 2 comments

Frank Bry has released two new libraries on The Recordist. The first one is Snowballs HD Ultra, a package loaded with 298 snowball sound effects. The second one is a free library with great metal sounds recorded from a bear trap,

Presenting Snowballs HD Ultra Sound Effects Library. My first 24-Bit 192kHz sound effects library release. Recorded over the 2010-2011 winter season here in beautiful North Idaho. This collection contains 69 multi-take wave files totaling 298 individual snowball sounds. These snowball sound effects were captured in many types of snow conditions. Wet, dry, normal cold and extremely frigid snowballs were dropped, hit, kicked, rolled, slid, rubbed, scraped and crushed along with very big chunks of snow dropped from my trusty JD tractor.

Highlights include: Large heavy snowball impacts, movements on very dry cold snow pack and falling down snowbanks. Some of the intense tension rubs and squeaks make for perfect avalanche and snow glaciers breaking apart.

Medium and small snowballs are also included and round out this diverse collection of snowball effects. Recorded with a Sanken CSS-5 and a Sennheiser MKH-416 in stereo and mono, both 192K and 96K versions are included.

So, in appreciation and thanks to all who have followed my crazy recording experiences and have purchased my work, I give to you: “The Danger Bear Trap Sound Effects Collection”. 15 multi-take sound files recorded and mastered at 24-Bit 96K. I have included full Metadata and have provided three versions of what I recorded that short day, The composite mix, The MKH-416 (mono) and the CSS-5 (stereo).

If you want to know more about the bear tramp recordings, visting the original blog post is highly recommended. Snowballs HD Ultra is available at $50. If you want to know more about the process behind, let’s read what Frank said to us:

Recording and Mastering Snowballs HD Ultra

First, a little background and set up on how I made the giant snowballs used in this sound effects library.

North Idaho gets quite a bit of snow in general. Some years more than others and this last year was one for the record books. I had a sense at the beginning that lots of snow was going to fall so I prepared massive snowbanks in my yard with my JD tractor. I piled it up high. One of the things I did not plan on was the six long weeks of bitter cold that started in mid December of 2010. This worked to my advantage though as I was able to carve out massive chunks of snow from these snowbanks I had built with the tractor. Once on the snow cover ground I could have my way with them. These snowballs were so frozen and light they could be picked up with one hand and thrown all over the yard. So, that’s what I did for six weeks in brutally cold sub-zero temperatures.