Media Molecule’s Head of Audio, Kenny Young, gives us an insight into bringing the papercraft world of Tearaway to life with sound.
Tearaway is an adventure game exclusive to the Sony PlayStation Vita handheld system. The player is tasked with guiding their little paper messenger buddy on a mission to deliver the message that is trapped inside their envelope head by escaping the paper world and reaching the player out in the real world. 4th wall-breaking madness ensues.
Here’s a trailer to help get your head around that!
I was fortunate enough to be involved with Tearaway from its beginnings as a small team of six people working on its prototype some three years ago. This is the holy grail for interactive audio designers, analogous perhaps to having input on a film’s script albeit with regards to the experience-led rather than narrative-led games that Media Molecule makes. I knew the process would be somewhat different to how I had worked previously, but I didn’t really appreciate quite how challenging it would be…
Photo from Vancouver Film School flickr stream. Used under Creative Commons license.
Guest Contribution by Charles Maynes
With all the talk of what “is” or perhaps “isn’t” Sound Design, I think that largely we forget to recognize that ALL of the sound that is in a film, Television program, or interactive experience is “Sound Design”. Often times, we quickly forget the contributions of our dialog, and especially our music department in the way those sound groups fit into our end result. To claim a “reason” for that is somewhat self-evident- mainly that humans are a verbal creature in the manner of communication, and if we see a person moving their mouth, we usually have a need to hear some sort of communication come from it- even if its a baby crying, or an exhausted person panting after their exertions. Those sounds connect us to the story that the director and picture editor have laid before us (as well as the script writer). And it is a device to attach us to their narrative. Sound effects, of course have a similar sort of necessity as to making action we see onscreen be believable- whether it is someone walking across a space to giant robots destroying entire cities, we usually have an expectation to hear something that attaches a sort of aural reality to the depicted event.
Sometimes selling the story isn’t about how cool that weapon sounds, how intimidating the monster vocal is, or how eerie the wind feels. Sometimes, the sounds that are needed most are those tiny little touches we take for granted. Getting just the right footfall, the rattle of keys as they’re shoved into a pocket, or the gentle rustle of fabric that comes with the turn of a head. This month we pay homage to foley, because without it everything else we do feels just a little empty.
This is a website run by the community, for the community…and your voice is always welcome. If you’d like to contribute to this month’s topic, share an “off topic” idea, or are interested in contributing to next month’s topic (dialog)…then contact shaun (at) designing sound [dot] org.
Guest Contribution by: Michael Theiler
The creation of sound is a very specific area of production requiring unique skills that can take time to learn through practise. Some people like myself take part in University courses to help get the skills and knowledge required to perform to the exacting standards required of the industry. I have a Masters Degree in Sound Design. I learnt many important skills and work practices and industry requirements doing that Masters, and it stood me in good stead entering the industry. But this industry is constantly evolving and there are many methods and techniques to achieve results on the varied productions in which we are involved. Finding ways to further yourself and your skills becomes very important.
Last year I attended a workshop presented by Stephan Schütze of Sound Librarian on sound effects recording, It was enlightening to witness how much knowledge and experience can be shared in just one day if an experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic communicator takes you through their world. I am fairly experienced when it comes to recording sound effects, as it is a passion of mine, but I still learnt a number of things that had not occurred to me previously, many of which I went on to implement in my work. So this year, when I found out Sound Librarian was planning to do it again, I immediately signed up to lend a hand.
Guest Contribution by Pierce O’Toole
Writer/Director Pierce O’Toole shares his thoughts on music and sound design, and how they play into his creative process.
As a writer and director, my biggest concern on any project is the story. Every project has a story that you are trying to tell. When I approach sound, the lens I view it through – or the speaker I hear it through, I guess – is one of story. While this is true of every element of the filmmaking process, sound is unlike any of the others because it’s the only element that follows me through the entire process.
When I begin writing, music is very important. At first, it’s just something atmospheric or energetic, like The Album Leaf or Daft Punk. As I get further along in the writing process, I get a better sense of the story and the tone. At this point, the music has to match. If it doesn’t, it can make it harder to write. I build playlists that I listen to on repeat. I’ve had several roommates that hate me for this, especially when the playlist is less than ten songs. I don’t ever tire of the music, no matter how many times I listen to it, because that music helps put me in the world of the story. I’m not listening to the music; I’m absorbing it.