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Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 | 2 comments

Real Spaces

Image by Stewart Butterfield. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click picture to view source.

Image by Stewart Butterfield, used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

When we say “space”, people generally think of two things: outer space, or a bounded area that something fits into. It’s a safe bet that most people in the sound community immediately think of the latter. So often we focus on the characteristics of a space…how far a sound carries, reflections and reverberation time, etc. Certainly that helps us define a space, but…for the most part…only on a technical level. What really defines a space, is what occupies it. There’s no denying that production designers and location scouts in film, or level designers and artists in games, have a strong role in creating a space, but we in the sonic branch of our respective mediums have the unique ability to refine…or even redefine…those spaces they create. Sometimes, we’re even given the opportunity to create spaces where they cannot. What I want us to consider in light of that, is how we approach the creation of that space.

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Posted by on May 30, 2013 | 4 comments

The Sound of Looper – Interview with Jeremy Peirson

looper-poster-2I contacted Jeremy Peirson, the sound designer for Looper (2012), to talk about his role in the best received time travel movie in a very long time. What follows is a transcription of our phone conversation. Enjoy!

DS: For our theme on the site this month we’re talking about “time,” and I though it would be interesting to talk about Looper (2012) as a time travel movie and your work on that.

JP: Yeah!

DS: When did you get involved in Looper? Were you asked early on, or was it just in post…?

JP: No. It was just in post, and it turns out that it was a lot later…I guess they had finished shooting about a year before I got started. Just because it was a low budget indie, and they were doing a lot of cutting. It turns out that it was a lot later than I expected.

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Posted by on Jan 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Design’s Future Potential Engaging Audio

Michael Theiler has posted a new article on Gamasutra in response to Rob Bridgett’s “After Sound Design

I have been buoyed recently due to some excellent writings by Ariel Gross and Rob Bridgett talking about game development, and also by my own sense of belonging in the world of games. We are at such an exciting and interesting point in history as it relates to games, and there are practices and stylistic methodologies that deserve some discussion.

I mention Rob Bridgett, as he recently published a blog post about the changing role of the sound department in games. He sees sound department’s role as “principle collaborator to not just the overall project, but artistically, technically, socially and politically in the development of company culture”. This statement is one that rings true, particularly now. I think most game devs will recognise this, and game development companies the world over, if they are not already doing it, will soon be recognising the people in audio departments willing to put up their hand to fill these roles.

Continue reading…

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Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 | 0 comments

One Day Workshop at London Film School

The London Film School is offering another one day workshop focusing on the role of sound in story-telling. The workshop will take place on Saturday, November 24th. They’re also offering a 20% discount to Designing Sound readers.

What is it that makes the dream sequences in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, Bergman’s WILD STRAWBERRIES and Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION so disturbing? What makes the ‘trip’ sequences in TRAINSPOTTING and EASY RIDER so real, the flashbacks in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and BLADE RUNNER so palpable, and the levels of time and memory in INCEPTION and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND so distinct and immediately recognisable?

In each case, the answer lies in the sound design.

In this new 1-day workshop, Dr. Gilbert Gabriel focuses on how characters’ subjective thoughts and feelings are signified in their experience of altered states such as those in dreams, intoxication, memory and flashbacks, terror and insanity. The workshop explores how pitch, rhythm, timbre, reverberation and fluctuation of sounds as well as the cultural import of music or song can significantly sway the emotions and audience interpretation of a film scene. It offers both a theoretical and practical way for directors, editors, composers, sound designers and screen designers to understand the relationships between speech, music and sound on film soundtracks.

For more details, and to register, follow this link. Our discount code is: Gilbert20%

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Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 | 4 comments

Ideas in Sound Design: Semiotics and Language – Part 2

Cross-posting from my personal blog.

In my last article, I talked about Semiotics and encouraged sound designers and editors to think of sound for picture as a language; or, at least, as a component of the language used by any given film. I’d rather not rehash the specific elements of Semiotics that were discussed. There are several ideas that I’m going to assume you’ve read and are familiar with as I proceed through this article. If you haven’t read that original article, I suggest you go do so now. The examples I’m about to discuss will have more meaning for you if you do.

I mentioned two possible approaches to applying signification in the development of a “sound language” for a project. The first is to work with existing signification, and the second is to develop your own; however, these do not have to be mutually exclusive. Both can contribute to your particular piece’s dialect. Remember that I am describing language as merely a “code” to convey meaning. So, meaning needs not be limited to ideas or thoughts. As such, let’s take a look at three examples of sonic code work, language, as used in moving picture.

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