So, this is the end of the Erik Aadahl Special. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Here are the answers to all the questions made by the readers on comments, email, twitter, etc. Thanks for participating!
Designing Sound Reader: Hi Erik, I see you’re using the 191 for most of your SFX gathering. Do you ever record in other stereo formats like XY or ORTF?
Erik Aadahl: Some people find the 191 Matrix box cumbersome, but unfortunately it’s needed to power the mic no matter if you shoot XY or MS because of its funky pin arrangement.
I never use the 191 in XY mode. I like the flexibility of shooting MS when I’m editing, to dial in a stereo spread that I like. When I record, I set my Sound Devices 722 to monitor MS-decoded over the headphones.
But if I want to smash up a mic I’ll use a more bulletproof XY mic like the AT825. For atmospheres, spaced pairs can give a nice wide image too. I haven’t shot ORTF (microphones angled 110 degrees, 17 cm apart) since film school but I do like the effect of it. 99% of the time I shoot MS.
DSR: Hello Erik. I just finished to read your interview. Thanks for all the questions, terrific stuff! I read you studied in the university and got lots of learning there. I’m curious about the status of a self-studied person (like me) in the film sound industry. Did you know someone who learned sound design by himself? I really worry about it and would be great to hear your opinions about this kind of education.
EA: Yes I went to film school, but I have to say that most of what I learned was on-the-job. There’s no match for learning from a mentor and just going through the experience. A lot of what I know is from endless hours experimenting and working. The best education was starting in television, where I had to crank out an hour’s worth of editing every 5 days, switching from sci-fi to period dramas to animation from week to week. I learned more practical knowledge that way than in film school. But I still have tons to learn. The learning should never stop.
DSR: What was the special trick with the rack of plugins controlled by a Theremin Erik Aadahl discovered when he was working on Transformers – Revenge of the fallen.
EA: I’ve been getting that question a lot. The most important thing I want to convey in all these sound design dialogues is this: it’s about the process, not necessarily the end goal. For me, the art of sound is not about reproducing the work you like, but experimenting, improvising, making a challenge for oneself and finding your own voice. That’s the fun of it!
I like to be open about how I make sounds, but the modified theremin is one of the few things that I’d like to keep secret. With it, we made signature sounds for Transformers ROTF that I’d like to keep exclusive to that universe. We’ll be evolving the technique even more in Transformers 3.Read More