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New Game Audio Challenge Coming

Posted by on Mar 17, 2011 | 2 comments

Shaun Farley, the same who run the monthly sound design challenge on his blog, has announced a new game audio challenge which will be held during April. Here’s what Shaun said:

I’ve been working with Damian Kastbauer and Jeff Seamster to develop a video game oriented challenge that ABSOLUTELY anyone can participate in, regardless of your experience (or lack thereof) in that particular medium. We’ve come up with a good one…at least, we think it is…and it’s going to be next month’s challenge. I’m dishing this information out now, so that you’ve got some time to prepare if you’ve never worked with the tools before.

For April’s challenge, we’re going to be working with Wwise. You can download it for free from Audiokinetic’s site, all you have to do is enter some contact information. The Wwise sample project that you can download from the site is excellent, but might be a little large and overwhelming for what you need to do in order to prepare for this particular challenge.

To simplify things for you a bit, we’ve got a sample template (along with some sound effects) that’s very similar to the template that will go out for next month’s challenge. You can all thank Richie Nieto for the example template. It’s built on a much smaller scale, but still offers a nice glimpse into the workings of audio for games. Please note this template and the sound effects contained within are for educational purposes only, and may not be redistributed in any way. I’ve included a set of instructions on how to get all the components into a Wwise project, as well as some suggestions of topics/techniques to explore for the challenge. The pack will be available from this page until April’s Challenge starts on the 21st.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? More info at Dynamic Interference.

Ric’s Tips and Tricks: Mic Stands [Part 2]

Posted by on Mar 17, 2011 | 0 comments

[Ric Viers has prepared a series of quick videos, where he will be sharing some useful tips and tricks for anyone who records sound effects in the field. All the videos were produced directly from the Detroit Chop Shop and will be published exclusively on Designing Sound TV during this month]

Today, let’s go with the second part of tips for using mic stands.

Watch the video on DSTV

If you want to stay tuned for new videos, just check here.

Walter Murch: “The Perfect Sound Film has Zero Tracks”

Posted by on Mar 16, 2011 | 0 comments

Wise words of Walter Murch:

I think it’s generally misleading  to say, “Well, that sequence had eighty tracks, it must be great.” Ideally, for me, the perfect sound film has zero tracks. You try to get the audience to a point, somehow, where they can imagine the sound. They hear the sound in their minds, and it really isn’t on the track at all. That’s the ideal sound, the one that exists totally in the mind, because it’s the most intimate. It deals with each person’s experience, and it’s obviously of the highest fidelity imaginable, because it’s not being translated through any kind of medium.

So, at a certain point, there were 160 tracks for Apocalypse. That is an awful lot, but on the other hand, if somehow I could have achieved the same effect with no tracks, I would have been more impressed.  Or one track. If there had been one sound that did all of that, so mysteriously, I would be more impressed. but what that means is: thinking very, very deeply, and being very, very lucky in getting exactly the right thing. And if you can do that, then the number of tracks is meaningless. But, generally speaking, it doesn’t happen very often, if ever, to get that one thing. That’s just an abstract ideal that I always strive for.

Continue reading…

Ric’s Tips and Tricks: Mic Stands [Part 1]

Posted by on Mar 15, 2011 | 0 comments

[Ric Viers has prepared a series of quick videos, where he will be sharing some useful tips and tricks for anyone who records sound effects in the field. All the videos were produced directly from the Detroit Chop Shop and will be published exclusively on Designing Sound TV during this month]

Today, He give us several tips on using mic stands.

Watch the video on DSTV

If you want to stay tuned for new videos, just check here.

New Book: The Game Audio Tutorial, A Practical Guide to Sound and Music for Interactive Games

Posted by on Mar 14, 2011 | 4 comments

Richard Stevens and Dave Raybould have finished a new book the will be published by Focal Press. It’s called The Game Audio Tutorial, described as “a practical guide to sound and music for interactive games”. They’ve also launched a website where the readers will be allowed to enjoy some cool stuff, including a unique tutorial game level, twenty 10-minute tutorial videos, a library with hundreds of sound files and all kind of articles and resources. So great, huh?

It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and others at $48,95 and will be available on March 29, 2011. Its price is $48,95.


This practical guide to Game Audio puts the means of production into the hands of Sound Designers, Composers, and Game Designers. If you want to be part of the future of Game Audio you need to learn how to produce Interactive Audio, not just one shot sound effects or music loops. Better use of Audio makes a better Game and it’s your job to make this happen. You can do this by talking, but you can do it better by showing. Get your hands dirty by seeing what you can do, and how far you can go, in a real Games Engine to demonstrate your ideas effectively. Each section of the book links to an area of the accompanying Game Level where you can experience the principles in action before getting stuck in yourself with over fifty practical exercises.


Interview with Axel Rohrbach of BOOM Library

Posted by on Mar 11, 2011 | 0 comments

Sonic Big Bang has published an invointerview with Axel Rohrbach, creative director at BOOM Library. They talked about the goals of the company, previous projects, how was the process on the different releases, etc.

- Ok, then… first could you introduce the Boom team, who does what and how did you get started?

- The Boom Library was founded by Pierre Langer, Tilman Sillescu and me, Axel Rohrbach. Pierre is responsible for all the numbers, accounts, and such as the managing director. Tilman helps out whenever necessary with great experience and feedback. I am the creative director, responsible for the content itself. This implies both, conceptional work as well as doing the recordings, editing, metadata and so forth.

Besides, we got three resident Sound Designers, David Philipp, Michael Schwendler and Sebastian Pohle. Those guys do an awesome job by bringing up ideas and recording / creating top notch sound effects.
We started already some years ago by recording many different things for our daily business. One day we started to create a so called “homegrown” library out of that to have some cool basic sounds. Then we thought it would be cool to start creating whole libraries for internal use only, including new high quality recordings we can work with. Last step was pretty easy: “we got something here, lets share that with other Sound Designers”.

- The “sound effects” libraries are so numerous, what makes the difference between you and your competitors?

- Talking about the major labels, I guess one point is that we did not start to do that because of commercial purposes. Also we do not provide general purpose sound effect libraries but very special collection for only a small field of sound design per library.

What makes us special concerning all libraries is our “Construction Kit” concept. If we work as hired Sound Designers we always hate the over-processed, eq’ed, compressed sounds included in many commercial libraries. That is very handy if the designer has no time and / or budget, but if I really want to “design” something, I need clean and outstanding raw recordings to work with. Because of that, whenever possible, we create a twin collection: one “Designed” library designed exclusively using the sounds of its “Construction Kit” pendant.

Continue reading…

BOOM Library

Ric’s Tips and Tricks: Boom Pole

Posted by on Mar 11, 2011 | 0 comments

Ric Viers has prepared a series of quick videos, where he will be sharing some useful tips and tricks for anyone who records sound effects in the field. All the videos were produced directly from the Detroit Chop Shop and will be published exclusively on Designing Sound TV during this month.

Today, He give us several tips on dealing with boom poles.

Watch the video on DSTV

If you want to stay tuned for new videos, just check here.

“Sound Design for Pros”, New Webinar Series by David Sonnenschein

Posted by on Mar 10, 2011 | 0 comments

If you missed David Sonnenschein’s “Sound Design for Pros” the last year, now you have the opportunity to attend again, since David is announcing new webinar series, starting with two free introduction sessions.

Each of the six webinar sessions has an hour lecture-demo presentation, plus an hour of interactive analysis of participants’ submitted sound design (completed or work-in-progress, max. 5 minutes) and sound editing exercises to help get you out-of-the-box and bump up your professional chops.  For those who submit all assignments, a Certificate of Completion will be awarded.

Topics (by week)

  • THE INTELLIGENT EAR – Listening Modes, Sound Qualities and Bipolarities - By deconstructing the listening experience into discrete elements, the grammar of sound design language gives you access for clear and powerful communication.
  • PLUG-IN POWER – Size, Distance, Speed and Non-Physical Reality - Understanding principles of real world acoustics and palette of subjective auditory experiences offers you enlightened use of digital processing tools.
  • RULES OF the BRAIN ROAD – Psychoacoustic Principles and Applications – When the curtain is lifted on how humans process auditory information, you master the art of sonic illusion (creating and hiding) as essential tools in sound editing.
  • SONIC TIME-SPACE CONTINUUM – Soundscapes and Sound Spheres – Creating an effective cinematic space depends on familiarity with your physical and social environment, and the knowledge of how to psychologically orient yourself through audio.
  • AUDIO BUILDING BLOCKS – Constructing Sound Events and Sound Objects – Mastering techniques of sequencing, layering and mixing will infuse sonic fragments (sound effects, words) with meaningful messages (sound phrases, sentences).
  • PEOPLE, PLOT AND PASSION – Narrative Structure and Sound Mapping - Bottom line, how can sound help tell your story?  By understanding dramatic elements of character and emotion, the map can guide you to creative and impactful decision-making.

Costs and Dates

  • Series Fee: $399 (early bird discount $299 available until Mar. 18, with coupon code sdfp311)
  • Six consecutive weeks (Tues. or Wed.) Mar. 22/23 – April 26/27
  • Session 1:   Tuesdays 9-11am PST.  Sign up here.
  • Session 2:   Wed. 6-8pm PST. Sign up here.
  • Choose only one Session time.

Sound Design for Pros

Exclusive Interview with David Sonnenschein

Ric Viers Special: With The Lights Out, It’s Less Dangerous…

Posted by on Mar 10, 2011 | 4 comments

[Written by Ric Viers for Designing Sound]

Recording sound effects on a stage is much like eating at a fine restaurant. You know the fancy kind with fresh baked bread and a different piece of silverware for each course. Recording sound effects in the field is more like hunting for food with a rock and then eating your kill in the middle of the woods raw with your bare hands. One method is obviously preferred. However, not everyone can afford fine dining.

For Christmas this year, we gave away a free copy of the Sound Effects Bible Hard Drive to the winner of a video contest we held. Michael Chobot’s video “Sound Hunter Promo” perfectly demonstrated what field recording is all about. In the sound effects world, sounds are not handed to you on a silver platter. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty and go primal with your microphone. Let’s discuss some hunting techniques.

Hunters head out into the woods wearing camouflage to blend into their environment and not be seen by their prey. Recording is the opposite. When recording, you want to camouflage the background noise or acoustic environment so that it can not be seen (heard) by your microphone. In my experience, the single biggest challenge in field recording is isolating the sounds.

Here are a few examples and tips to help you bring home the bacon.

Turn the lights off!

Recently we were recording net swishes in a basketball court. The sound itself is fairly quiet, so we needed to make sure that room was quiet. The problem we encountered was the buzzing light ballasts overhead. So, we recorded in the dark – a little tricky when trying to make a basket, but very effective for isolating the sound. It’s a good idea to bring a work light and a flashlight to locations where you anticipate turning off the lights.

Turn everything else off!

Last month, my team and I headed out to “Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum”  to record an insane amount of arcade games, including some rare antiques from the turn of the century. This place was a gold mine! They had ski ball, vending machines, change machines, candy machines, antique bells, phones, even an ATM machine. The problem was there were too many machines making noise all at once. So, we cut the power to the building and worked in the dark. But, we needed to run power to each machine we were recording. To do this, we kept one breaker on and used a hundred foot extension cord to supply power to the machines.

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