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Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 | 1 comment

The Story in Surround – Game narrative and sound

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I recently came across the Frictional Games blog and have spent the last few weeks trawling through it’s archive. It provides a wealth of informaiton on game design, and in particular discussions on the point of game narrative. One particular post, 4 Layers, a narrative design approach, written by Thomas Grip, Frictional’s creative director, raised the concept of the mental model, and the impact this can have, not only on game design, but also on a players experience of a game.

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 | 3 comments

LA Underground – An Interview with Charles Maynes

LA-1-940I recently had a chance to sit down with sound designer and sound FX recordist Charles Maynes and chat about his new “LA Underground” sound library, available from Rabbit Ears Audio. Inspired by the gritty and seedy Los Angeles shown in countless films, “LA Underground” is a 10 GB collection of ambiences from all over the city, from the industrial centers near the LA River to the heart of Downtown.

Designing Sound: How did this library come about?

Charles Maynes: I had been talking to Zach Seivers and Justin Davey over at Snap Sound, who I had met through Dave Yewdall. Basically, a conversation I had with them last summer was kind of the seed for the conversation I eventually had with Michael [Raphael]. They had been hired to do a film in New York, and they were going to go out on location and record a bunch of stuff in the city and at the practical locations, and they were like, “Hey, this is a really big projects for us, so we’re going to actually invest in some Schoeps mics and stuff.” They were debating whether to go M/S or X/Y.

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Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 | 3 comments

(Mis)adventures in Cat Recording

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Stella demonstrates how cat recording NEVER happens.

About three years ago, on a whim, I adopted a 6 month old kitten. I had dealt with cats before at friends’ and family’s houses, but had never owned one, and Luna (short for “Lunatic”) was full of surprises. After her initial “moving in” period, in which she hid under the bed for nearly a week, I discovered that Luna was an exceedingly outspoken individual that needed to make sure everyone knew that she was here and ready to conquer the world (or at least the apartment):

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Posted by on Feb 10, 2014 | 7 comments

Capturing Personality in Animal Recordings

There’s something I’ve noticed about recording animals over the years. Even if the animal is being cooperative, it can be damned difficult to really catch an individual’s personality. If the animal is trained, that’s wonderful. You may be able to get a variety of sounds out of them with the handler’s help…BUT…vocalizations recorded from trained animals can often sound rote. They seem to get into the mentality of reacting to commands. You may get lucky and get some more interesting sounds between the performed ones, but take a step back and think about how situations affect YOUR behavior. Do you act differently when your boss is around? Your parents? Your significant other? Your best friend? When you’re by yourself? Your situation tends to define which sides of your personality come out.

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