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Ann Kroeber Special: A Pioneering Sound Woman

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 | 1 comment

Editor’s note: This article is written by Karol Urban, CAS. Designing Sound did little to contribute to this interview beyond bringing two highly skilled women together to talk about working in sound. We thank Karol for bringing her expertise and perspective to this article.

Karol Urban: What do you think it is about you or your life experiences that has driven you to become a sound designer and recordist?

Ann Kroeber: I started off in sound very much by accident. I had a dad who was very strict and Germanic and he wouldn’t even allow me to turn on the stereo. He had very expensive photo equipment and I’d sometimes go out with him when he was shooting with it. For example, I’d point out the way the light was falling on the trees as a bird was flying over and he’d capture it with his fancy camera, but I wasn’t allowed to even come near that gear. That was strictly his domain. It was like a guy thing. So, “Don’t touch it!” I just assumed that that was just a thing that girls didn’t do. (more…)

“SDC012: Lifeless Howl” Now Closed

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 | 3 comments

Just a heads up for everyone that the entry period for Sound Design Challenge #12 is now closed. There are a total of 74 entries vying for the “Creatures” sound effects bundle from Boom Library (it’s worth noting that they’ve just released their “Medieval Weapons” library today). This is the largest pool that any challenge has had yet. The judges and I have our work cut out for us in narrowing down to the five finalists. Keep an eye out for when the public voting opens.

While you’re waiting for that to come around, why not take a little time to check out some of the entries: SDC012 Album on Vimeo

Thanks for the enthusiasm with this challenge.

BOOM Releases Medieval Weapons

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 | 4 comments

BOOM Library has released  a new library called Medieval Weapons.

It’s done. Get ready to unleash an epic battle and blow away your audience. With our “MEDIEVAL WEAPONS” sound effects library, you get a fascinating collection of bone-crushing hammer impacts, deadly sword hits, wall-tearing catapult shots, bows and arrows, armor impacts and much more to design an incomparable medieval soundscape.

Medieval Weapons – Designed (€ 99) – Get 450+ “ready to use” sound effects to unleash an epic medieval battle right out of the box. Pre-designed bone-crushing hammer impacts, deadly sword hits, wall-tearing catapult shots and much more will help you to build an incomparable medieval soundscape – Instantly. Impressive results in no time? The “designed“ collection is your best choice.

Medieval Weapons – Construction Kit (€ 149) – Get ready for more than 4500 sound effects of Hand Weapons, Ranged Weapons, SiegeWeapons, Armor, Whooshes, Blood & Guts, delivered in top notch BOOM quality. Want to design some skull-breaking and orc-smashing epic battles? You need that one special heroic arrow shot? This collection is the right choice and provides the final touch for your medieval scenario.

Medieval Weapons – Bundle (€ 199) – With this collection you won’t take no prisoners! An armory filled with thousands of high quality source recordings to create any kind of medieval weapon sound. On top of that, you get the finest choice of deadly sound effects, pre-designed by our award-winning sound designers. And you save money. The bundle leaves nothing to be desired.

All the sounds are delivered at 96kHz and 24-Bit with Soundminer metadata. More info at BOOM.

A Strange Border – Essay on Music & Sound, by Paul Davies

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 | 4 comments

[Written by Paul Davies]

There is a strange and porous border in film sound and that is the one that exists between music and sound design, it is not a sealed and clearly defined boundary, but an open, shifting and nebulous one, easy to cross over back and forth, sometimes inadvertently and other times boldly and deliberately, by both the composer and the sound designer.

One might ask what is the difference between music and sound design? A flippant answer would be royalties. A better answer would be at times a great deal and at others not much at all. For the most part the roles of music and sound design are clearly defined, music in film continues the role of the “pit” orchestra from the days of silent cinema, commenting, narrating and guiding the audience emotionally through the action.

Sound design mostly exists within the world created on screen, but from time to time it steps out from this perhaps “functional” role and crosses over the borderline into music, and it is this area of overlap and blurring of distinction between the two that I find increasingly interesting. The films of David Lynch and the work of his sound designer Alan Splet are good examples of this ambiguity and were an early inspiration for me, their early film “Eraserhead” in particular.

(more…)

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.