Guest contribution by Douglas Murray
I was inspired to finish this write-up after reading the feature list of the new Zynaptiq UNFILTER plugin. Their web site says:
You can also apply the measured filter response from one recording to another – placing the two in the same acoustic “world”. Or you can create roomtone to fill editing gaps, by applying a measured filter response to noise.
Then I read Shaun Farley’s tweet on the subject and saw that it was quickly followed up by Mike Thornton’s Pro Tools Expert YouTube video: Using Zynaptiq’s UNFILTER Plug-in To Create Room Tone From Pink Noise. I am looking forward to trying UNFILTER for this and its many other promising features. Meanwhile, there is another way to “create room-tone to fill editing gaps” which only requires a convolution reverb plug-in many of us already own.
[The kind folks at Audiofile Engineering have put together a giveaway of apps - including Triumph. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how you can be one of the three lucky people to win!]
OS X has suffered from the lack of a good and dedicated audio editor. There was a lot of hope pegged on the release of Sound Forge Pro Mac, but we all know how that went. There are a few alternatives though – Amadeus Pro ($59.99), TwistedWave ($79.90), Adobe Audition ($349) and Triumph ($79.99).
Triumph, by Audiofile Engineering, is version 2.0 of Wave Editor. While it does retain majority of the functionality from Wave Editor, it has also been rewritten ground up to take full advantage of the latest features in OS X – Auto Save, gestural input and support for retina displays, to name a few.
Before I dig into the details, here are some of the new features:
- AppleScript Support: AppleScript (Apple’s easy to learn scripting language) has been deeply integrated into Triumph. Most of tools, actions and processes are AppleScripts, which makes it easy to create custom templates and automate processes
- Auto Save & Versions: Triumph supports Auto Save and Versions in 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Snow Leopard). I’m not a fan of these new features in OS X and thankfully they can be turned off from the Preference menu in Triumph
- Effects Groups: Probably one of the most useful features – to save a chain of effects as a group
- Effects Automation: Useful for expressive and detailed sound design
- Hardware Output & Channel Mapping: Configurable channel mapping – both at the project and hardware level.
- Redesigned Meters: Don’t we all need gorgeous looking oversampling meters?
- Scrubbing: For intricate editing
- Notification Center (for OS X 10.8 – Mountain Lion): I’m still a Lion user and haven’t been able to experience the new Notification Center. It allows “you to be unobtrusively notified when operations complete”
Installing and registering Triumph was a breeze. The first thing that impressed me was how quickly it opened up – almost instantaneous. On creating a new project I was greeted with a gorgeous and well designed interface. It took a bit of clicking around and reading the user guide (which unfortunately isn’t as extensive as it should be) to get some understanding of what Triumph is capable of. I’ve used Wave Editor only once (about a year ago), so I was quite new to the workflow. If you are a Wave Editor user, you might find it easier to get started right away.
Guest article by Douglas Murray
photo by flickr user Bo47 (Bo Nielsen)
Remember, all rules are meant to be broken! With that principle in mind, let’s scratch the surface of the grammar and possibilities of an aspect of film sound design: backgrounds (also called BGs, atmospheres or ambiences).
Backgrounds offer a powerful opportunity to use sound for maximum impact. Movies essentially need to have background sound at all times. By adding background sounds to a scene we define what the scene is, where we are, and what’s happening around us, even off screen. We can also suggest to the audience how to feel emotionally about a particular scene by giving subtle or direct sonic cues incorporated into the background sounds.
ambiances, plural; ambiences, plural
- The character and atmosphere of a place
– the relaxed ambience of the cocktail lounge is popular with guests
- Background noise added to a musical recording to give the impression that it was recorded live
Wherever you may be reading this article, stop whatever you are doing, and listen to your environment. What do you hear? Tempting as it may be to declare ‘nothing’, the complex cacophony of the world around you is being combined, and fused together in your environment to create the sound of a specific location. The sound of your immediate surroundings is being pulled from all manner of sources such as electrical hums, water pipes, passing traffic, neighbours, the weather and even local wildlife. As indistinct these may be from your perspective, these sounds are still making their way, however faint, into your room, heavily filtered and being reverberated around and off your furnishings to distort them beyond recognition and delivered to your ear as a nondescript, intangible ‘room tone’. Its such a slight sound that many people simply don’t hear it. They hear ‘silence’ (Probably because they haven’t tried to make any recordings there!)
A collection of blog posts, and a special edition of the Game Audio Podcast, have been coordinated by Damian Kastbauer and David Nichols on the dense subject of racing game audio. The remarkably in-depth studies (which feature video examples) rip apart audio techniques for the racing genre, investigating subjects such as tire squeals, surface types, camera perspectives, and of course, the sounds of the engines themselves.
From the Lost Chocolate Blog;
These informal game sound studies aim to expose the technical side of game audio by making an assessment of current generation titles. The assessment is then used as a way to better understand the differences in approach, aesthetics, and progression of techniques across a small sample. By turning the focus onto emerging details that arise during the course of the study we are able to identify area’s of significance and interest that help communicate the current state of the art. These finding are then represented in a content-rich report that includes: videos, article links, and specialized interviews. The goal is to help raise awareness for the technical side of sound design and help in the understanding of what is often not very well represented in current literature.
Check out the study in all it’s glory at the following links:
Vroom Vroom – A Study of Sound in Racing Games ( Introductory article in Game Developer Magazine )
TrackTime Audio blog – Racing Game Sound Study
Lost Chocolate Blog – Racing Game Sound Study
Game Audio Podcast – Racing Game Sound Study (with guests Mike Caviezel, Mike de Belle and Tim Bartlett)