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Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 | 2 comments

“The emotional, physical and aesthetic value of a sound is linked not only to the causal explanation we attribute to it but also to its own qualities of timbre and texture, to its own personal vibration. So just as directors and cinematographers (even those who will never make abstract films) have everything to gain by refining their knowledge of visual materials and textures, we can similarly benefit from disciplined attention to the inherent qualities of sounds.”

Michel Chion

Ann Kroeber Special: BBC Interview

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 | 0 comments

The following is a transcription of an interview Ann participated in for the BBC. It is transcribed here for your convenience. However, if you would like to listen to the interview, then I encourage you to visit Ann’s site. The interview can be found on her “Credits + Talks” page under the “Radio Interviews” heading. Don’t forget to sign up for the live chat with Ann, taking place this Saturday.

BBC: “Eraserhead” may have quickly become a cult movie, but the cult was awfully small. That would change when the faithful were joined by an unlikely convert. It was as if Cecil B. Demille had taken holy orders, when the comedian Mel Brooks hired David Lynch to direct “Elephant Man.”

[soundclip from “The Elephant Man”]: Life…is full of surprises.

BBC: Once again, Alan Splet and Ann Kroeber created the sound.

Designing Sound for the BMW Tunnel Experience

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 | 0 comments

Andrew Spitz has published a great post on his blog talking about the sound he designed and programmed for the BMW Tunnel Experience.

A few months back, with Mann Made Media, I had the privilege to work on a great project for BMW. BMW was announcing their sponsorship of the South African rugby team – the Springboks. Our brief was to simulate the feeling a rugby player would experience as they walk onto a packed stadium. It was well received and we were finalists at the Loerie Awards 2011.

The goal was to quickly and effectively give participants a feeling of excitement and pride. I was going for an army-like collective – a stadium is the perfect venue for this. There’s nothing quite like the unison of a packed stadium cheering and singing an anthem to unify a country. Fortunately the Soccer World Cup happened recently, so I had lots of material. Also, for a commercial I had gotten a small crowd of 20 to sing the anthem and also had them stomp their feet together, which is the sound stomping you here in the first two mixes below (with lots of processing). All and all, each loop is made up of a gazillion layers!

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Pro Tools 10 at AES – Part 2

Posted by on Oct 22, 2011 | 6 comments

This is a follow up post to Jamie’s article from last night. I spent some time at the Avid booth today to get answers to questions I developed after catching up on the press release data; and to also address some of the points that Jamie brought up in his article.

Let’s start out with this fancy new multiple file formats in the session. It’s quite happy looking at nearly anything you can throw at it. This includes the RF64 wave files that Jamie mentioned in his post. Pro Tools will handle these types of files natively, without any issues. So, yes, multi-channel audio files over 4GB in size are now supported. It’s important to note, however, that bit and [was incorrect on this…multiple bit rates within one session is supported] sample rate conversions will still need to take place on import. The sessions will not support files of multiple rates, only multiple formats (aiff, wave, etc.) (more…)

Pro Tools 10 at AES

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 | 6 comments

I watched the Avid at AES 2011 streaming press conference so you don’t have to.

The AES presentation took a few minutes at the beginning to give an overview of where Avid and Pro Tools are today, in particular going over the products that Avid released in 2010, in particular:

  • The new M-Boxes,
  • The HD Native hardware and interfaces,
  • And the opening-up of Pro Tools to 3rd-party audio interfaces.

So given this context, the big news is the announcement of Pro Tools 10, with “over 50 new features.”  Several were demoe’d and I’ll try to characterize them as best I can.  There are two tiers of software, regular and HD, and there are new, next generation DSP cards.  At times they were a bit fast and loose about what software/hardware configuration gave you which features, but there is now a feature grid at Avid that you can check out yourself.

New features below the fold…

(Edit: I’ve gotten ahold of the new manual and will update some of the questions I had with answers.)


Congratulations to Judge Rice!

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 | 0 comments

Congratulations to Judge Rice, the winner of Sound Design Challenge #12: Lifeless Howl. It was a fantastic challenge, with so many excellent entries that I quickly lost count. His win was well earned, and it nets him a free copy of the Creatures sound effects library from Boom Library.

A big thanks to Boom Library for sponsoring this Challenge. The next will start on Thursday, November 17th, at 5PM U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Ben Burtt’s Sound Lab for “Forbidden Planet”: Artifacts from the Krell

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 1 comment

Ben Burtt explains how the electronic score of “Forbidden Planet” was created. The video is at the right side of this page.

Prior to the screening, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt investigated some of the secrets behind the making of the film. Barron examined the film’s breakthrough effects sequences that used miniatures and matte paintings, as well as explored how Joshua Meador created his animated “id monster” effect and combined it with live-action photography. Burtt explained how the electronic score was created, using newly discovered source tapes from the film’s composers, Louis and Bebe Barron (no relation to Craig).

via @vfxblog / @usoproject

The Sound of Fear – BBC Radio 4

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 3 comments

Fantastic broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on the sound of fear.

A door creaks, footsteps echo, someone’s breathing – and we are terrified. But why? Sean Street investigates the psychology of fear, so potently sensitive to sound.

He hears from musician and writer David Toop and film-maker Chu-Li Shrewring how sounds trigger fear and the way this inspires them. The neuro-scientist Sophie Scott explains how our brains process terror.

Context is important: anomalous noises, disembodied voices and sounds whose origins are mysterious – all these frighten us. David Hendy reveals that, in its early day, radio itself was alarming. Louis Niebur, author of a book on the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, reveals how in the 1950s, the advent of electronic sounds allowed programme-makers to use sounds that frightened people because they didn’t know what made the noises. Sound researcher Marcus Leadley explains how this triggers a state called schizophonia.


via @soundesignblog

Interview with David Stone

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 | 0 comments

Great interview at Woody’s Sound Advice with supervising sound editor David Stone.

If you’ve seen any 70′s era Hanna Barbera cartoons or any major motion pictures over the last several decades you’ve heard the craftsmanship of David Stone.  He has worked with some of the most creative and unique directors and producers in Hollywood and picked up an Academy Award along the way for his stunning work with Tom McCarthy on Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.  Now a full time educator at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), he is currently serving as Chair of Sound Design.  Working along with other stellar professionals such as Peter Damski, those students are getting their money’s worth in Georgia.

Along with his sound career David was also the editor of the Movie Sound Newsletter.  It was a chronicle of audio for film from the trenches of Hollywood.  The Newsletter is long since out of print but David is bringing it back to life on the web.  You can find online versions of the original Newsletter here.  There were numerous notable contributors to the Newsletter including David’s brother, Richard Stone, a composer and multiple Emmy award winner who, among many other projects, composed the scores for Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.

An accomplished visual artist as well as a consummate audio professional, David is truly a man of many gifts.  Probably most key of all is his curiosity, sense of humor and temperament.  David hosted me for a weekend series of workshops at SCAD in the Spring of 2011 and I found him to be an extremely personable, approachable and popular guy.  In an industry filled with nervous and insecure individuals, David is a shining light.  He kindly found time between classes to chat with me about his past, present and future plans.

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