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Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 | 1 comment

Sylvain Lasseur Interview

Symbolic Sound has published on their blog called “the eight nerve”, an interview with sound designer Sylvain Lasseur talking about his use of Kyma system and several aspects about his work.

Sound designer Sylvain Lasseur is not just bi-coastal; he’s bi-contintental, working part time in Paris and part time in Los Angeles!  We recently had a chance to ask him a few questions about how he uses Kyma for 5.1 sound design and to explore some of the differences between post production work in Paris and Los Angeles.  By the end of the interview, the discussion turns to food, wine, and the Marx Brothers.  Read on!

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Posted by on Nov 22, 2011 | 3 comments

Harry Cohen Special: Sound Design Moments Re-visited

[Written by Harry Cohen]

I wanted to write a different kind of article, one that indulges my more geeky-tech side. While the main source for material remains great recordings, there are lots of times when we find solutions to problems in processing; these days that mainly means plug-ins, but that was not always so.

Sometimes, looking back, I see creative sound design moments as being more like a place you might visit, as opposed to a method you might use over and over. Time has shown me that the tools will constantly change around me. My main editing platform has changed three times during the course of my career. And so, some great tools become obsolete or unavailable. For this reason, I always encourage designers, when they find their way to an interesting combination of source/processing, to keep going and record lots of material; the next occasion you may want to repeat the process might not be so easy to get back to !  Some examples from my past follow:

The Ionizer

This was a great, if somewhat hard to master, plug-in. It did lots of stuff, eq-wise. One of its tricks was to be able to analyze the frequency profile of one sound, and then to impose it on another. I used it in the film “Wanted” to make some design-ey glass breaks in the convenience store scene by imposing the frequency spectrum of glass windchimes on some explosions:

The Ionizer was so widely cracked that its makers decided not to carry it forward to OS-X; so it has become inconvenient to use, to say the least.

Vokator

While the NI vocoder Vokator still works, I notice that NI no longer sells or supports it, so it is only a matter of time before it too, becomes unavailable. I have had great luck in using it for creatures. In short, I like to put a series of animal sounds on a software sampler, under different keys, put some under midi fader or foot pedal controller, feed that into Vokator as the carrier, with a mic as the modulator. Set up so you are listening on headphones to your output only, and using lots of gestural control on the faders and pitch wheel, while making ridiculous sounds and screaming into the mic, start to work your way towards interesting sounds. Record your output so that you only have to get it right once, for any given moment ! Record lots of stuff, go through it and pick out the good bits, then edit it together as you would for any creature.

Synclavier

Ah, the synclav. While I have so much to say about how the interface on this wonderful machine shaped the outlook of so many sound designers, for now I will mention only one detail. There was a button combination that would allow you to use the big wheel control to change the octave ratio of the keyboard tuning. This meant that on each side of a breakpoint, as you turned the dial, the sound would pitch up to the right of the breakpoint, and pitch down to the left, by as much as hundreds of semi-tones. It was useful for making some sci-fi type turbine sounds; like this Minbari engine made for the tv series Babylon-Five.

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Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 | 1 comment

Soundminer Pro v4.3 Available, Lion Compatible

Soundminer Pro v4.3 has been released, including new features and fixes.

Main New features

  • OS X 10.7 Lion Support
  • Brand new Rewire engine which thus far has proven to be more reliable, faster and less CPU intensive. This is part of ongoing developments for our next pro version.
  • Auto-Detect Pro Tools session – Soundminer will check when moving between the two applications to see if the current session has changed and alert you as well as import the new session parameters. A configuration file can turn this on or off.
  • Improved Foreign character support – umlauts, accents and other ‘non-English’ characters are parsed without issue in the boolean search area.
  • Improvements on speed – we’ve begun to roll in some of the ‘new code’ that will see huge improvements upon speed in both searching nd conversion over time.
  • VST RACK now with 16 slots for sound design! And we’ve added a new XML configuratin file for better SAVE/RECALL of presets.
  • Improved iTunes import – v4/v4pro now pre-reads any iTunes library file and parses any and all playlists.
  • AAC scanning of metadata.- added to this version is improved metadata embedding and reading for AAC files.

Soundminer

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2011 | 5 comments

Using Logic for Post-Production Sound

[Article by Ian Palmer]

Dreambase is the result of Alex and Mark’s (two ex-Dolby employees) desire to setup their own post-production sound facility and work in the more creative side of the film industry. Dreambase is located in the former GWR radio studios with two edit rooms and a VO Booth/ Foley Room between the two rooms.

I visited there last year simply to say hello and was surprised to learn that they were editing and mixing feature films using Logic. Inspired by the recent Mix article I thought I would write this article to find out why they are using the DAW instead of the industry standard Pro Tools.

Ian Palmer: You’re a relatively new studio. What made you choose the Apple/Logic platform?

Alex Hudd: Initially it was for cost reasons. I had used Pro Tools since 2000 for music recording but as a Mac user was aware of what Logic was capable of, and the extensive tools it possessed out of the box. The software is so intuitive and the audio library browser is well integrated with the package that track-lays for sound design and composition are very quick to rough out and start working on. Of course Logic’s strength is the ability to compose and this had also been very useful in some projects that I have composed music for. The recording take management in Logic is excellent for ADR sessions as it’s very easy to find the best lines from multiple takes, compare them and bounce out to a composite.

IP: What have been the advantages of such a decision?

AH: We saved money on the initial start-up costs which for a studio can be quite considerable, especially as we had overheads like rent to pay each month.

IP: Have there been any drawbacks?

AH: Lack of compatibility with studios running Pro Tools exclusively is a drawback but the projects we have worked on have been mostly ‘in-house’. At the end of the day we can bounce out any number of stems to take to another studio and import into their own systems but not being able to pass over automation or plug-ins is a disadvantage time- wise.

Editing is not as quick as with Pro Tools as Logic doesn’t posses the equivalent of a ‘Smart Tool’. Also the I/O setup is pretty basic so complex bus routing is not as easy as it is in Pro Tools. We use both Logic 9 and Pro Tools 9 at the studios depending on the project we are working on. And with OMF/AAF interchange it’s easy to exchange files between the two systems.

IP: What hardware are you using?

AH: We use an RME Fireface 800 as the main I/O which is used with Logic and Pro Tools, plus a Rosendahl Synchroniser. We use the Euphonix Artist Series as hardware controller with has excellent integration with both Logic and Pro Tools.

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