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Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 | 0 comments

Designing Sound Discussion Group – Scouts Honor

Image hot-linked from the Scout’s Honor website. Click the image to visit it.

UPDATE: We’re going to have to reschedule the talk due to some last minute scheduling conflicts. Date still to be determined, but we’ll keep you posted.

We had originally intended to schedule this talk back in November; during our focus on documentaries. Circumstances conspired against us, but a good idea is a good idea. So I’m happy to get this on our schedule this now. This coming Sunday (Feb 22nd), at 4PM U.S. Eastern time (1PM Pacific)Sometime soon, we’ll be hosting our next Designing Sound Discussion Group to talk about Scouts Honor: Inside a Marching Brotherhood. We’ll be speaking with one of the film’s directors, Mac Smith, and one of its co-producers, John “JT” Torrijos. Scouts Honor is a unique documentary in a couple of ways. First off, it’s follows the Madison Scouts, a drum and bugle corps out of Madison, Wisconsin, on their 2012 tour. The other thing that makes it unique is that this is the first film for both Smith and Torrijos in these roles…who both have day jobs at Skywalker Sound. We’ll be talking with Smith and Torrijos about the film, their experiences taking on a different role in film-making, and the methods used to sonically capture some spectacular recordings of live performances. [ed. I've heard them...in theater...and they are IMPRESSIVE!]

As usual, this will be hosted via Google Hangouts and will have time for Q&A at the end of the discussion. Come here this Sunday to watch the live-stream and to find the direct link to the Google Hangout so you can join the conversation. See you all on Sunday!

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Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 | 1 comment

The Japan Sound Effects Collection Interview

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.58.30 PM

At the time of writing, recent graduate and field recordist Chris Trevino has a Kickstarter campaign called “The Japan Sound Effect Collection” which he plans to be a collection of ambiences, train passes, and walla. Chris was kind enough to answer a few questions about his current campaign.

Designing Sound: Tell us a little bit about your own background in sound and field recording.

Chris Trevino: I was enraptured at a young age by the games that were coming out of Japan in the 90s. The music of Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy Series) and Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger/Cross) gave me both the game and Japan bugs. These games inspired me to take up the tenor saxophone and then later choir when I was younger and made me want to be a game composer.

I first started my undergraduate as an anthropology major, because of my love of cultures, but quickly discovered that I loved the ideas but was not passionate about the work.  At the end of my first year, still dreaming of game music, I took summer music composition classes and my first sound design class. Needless to say, I got hooked.

Since then, I’ve sound designed a handful of theater productions and have done a lot of field recording on my own. In the summers of 2012/13, I trained with Ric Viers at The Detroit Chop Shop.  While there, I helped record and edit four commercial sound effects libraries for BlastwaveFX. I started the Japan collection in Fall of 2013 while I was studying Japanese at a language center in Japan.

 

DS: What made you choose Japan as a subject for field recording?

CT: Choosing Japan as a subject for field recording was a natural choice given how much Japanese games influenced me when I was younger. When I was accepted into the language center in Japan, I knew that I needed to do as much recordings there as I could.

 

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Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 | 2 comments

The Field Recordist

A short film about a lifetime of field recording from Lawrence Barker.

Best heard with headphones to appreciate the full stereo field.

This film is a personal reflection of my own passion for audio field recording over the past 45 years.

“Audio field recordings act as a powerful trigger, transporting me back to the original place they were captured………they are more powerful than any image captured on camera and even surpass those caught on video – they are quite magical!”

Lawrence Barker.

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Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 | 1 comment

Sound for the Documentary “Out of Nothing”

Nosferatu

photo courtesy of Chad DeRosa Photography

Guest Contribution by James Bretz

The documentary Out of Nothing is my first feature, and the first feature for our entire P-51 Pictures team. It’s more than just a story about motorcycles. It’s a human story. It follows four men who follow their passions and dreams, and it tells one of many stories that are a part of a larger community of individuals and teams involved in motorcycle land speed racing.

When looking over the footage that Director Chad DeRosa had shot over the course of two years, one word came to mind. Scope. It was Chad’s and Producer Andrew Lahmann’s goal that the film should look and feel large. We wanted Out of Nothing to be experienced as more of an action/drama narrative than an informative style of documentary

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Posted by on Nov 13, 2014 | 3 comments

Constructing Reality for Nonfiction Film

Western_FinalMix

Photo courtesy of Seth Emmons

Guest Contribution by Lawrence Everson

The relationship that documentary cinema has with truth, realism and subjectivity has long been a lively debate. Likely since its origins as a medium (do a quick Google search about Nanook of the North‘s impact and also its staged shots, for example). Documentary sound design is an often overlooked aspect of the craft that inhabits a particularly interesting and sometimes invisible corner of the debate. In narrative films, sound design largely fabricates fictional environments, but in documentary cinema we as sound editors, designers, and mixers are often tasked with designing a reality for, well, reality, as it were. But whose reality? And what even IS documentary reality in the end? Where is that line drawn between immersive world-building that makes a film come alive, versus blatant misdirection and manipulation of the audience? Is it possible that the realities we build can ultimately be more real than the reality of the moment a scene was shot? (And is recording documentary sound on a commonly mono shotgun mic plus lav even a particularly accurate way of capturing reality?) Is the emotion of a scene more true than the literal fact of a scene?

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