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Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 | 0 comments

Designing Sound Discussion Group – Scouts Honor

Image hot-linked from the Scout’s Honor website. Click the image to visit it.

UPDATE: We’re going to have to reschedule the talk due to some last minute scheduling conflicts. Date still to be determined, but we’ll keep you posted.

We had originally intended to schedule this talk back in November; during our focus on documentaries. Circumstances conspired against us, but a good idea is a good idea. So I’m happy to get this on our schedule this now. This coming Sunday (Feb 22nd), at 4PM U.S. Eastern time (1PM Pacific)Sometime soon, we’ll be hosting our next Designing Sound Discussion Group to talk about Scouts Honor: Inside a Marching Brotherhood. We’ll be speaking with one of the film’s directors, Mac Smith, and one of its co-producers, John “JT” Torrijos. Scouts Honor is a unique documentary in a couple of ways. First off, it’s follows the Madison Scouts, a drum and bugle corps out of Madison, Wisconsin, on their 2012 tour. The other thing that makes it unique is that this is the first film for both Smith and Torrijos in these roles…who both have day jobs at Skywalker Sound. We’ll be talking with Smith and Torrijos about the film, their experiences taking on a different role in film-making, and the methods used to sonically capture some spectacular recordings of live performances. [ed. I've heard them...in theater...and they are IMPRESSIVE!]

As usual, this will be hosted via Google Hangouts and will have time for Q&A at the end of the discussion. Come here this Sunday to watch the live-stream and to find the direct link to the Google Hangout so you can join the conversation. See you all on Sunday!

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 | 0 comments

In Conversation – Interview with Coll Anderson

Andy Wooding has a new interview with one of our former Featured Sound Designers, Coll Anderson, up over on FilmDoctor.co.uk.

I don’t know if there’s a difference. They both involve a certain level of verisimilitude and so you can’t really say there’s a difference. People will say ‘documentaries are real and fictitious films are about telling stories’ but documentaries are really about telling stories and fictional films often want to feel super real. So there’s a huge cross over between them. When you insert a camera into a situation, that situation is no longer real. It changes. It changes the dynamic. There’s a square box capturing it. We go to great lengths to show ‘oh the truth of the square box’ but it’s not true.

Head here to read the full interview.

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Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 | 15 comments

How About a Sound Ideaboard/Storyboard?

Storyboard

Photo by flickr user James Whatley. Used under Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Guest Contribution by Randy Thom

During pre-production on a film it’s common practice to gather lots and lots of still photographic images, and video as well, that might relate to the story. The stills are often displayed on walls for everyone preparing the film to see and talk about. It’s basically an “idea board.” The purpose of gathering these images is to stimulate thinking about the way the film should look, or about some other element of the story taking shape. Shots of potential locations for shooting, or locations evocative of those in the story, images of objects and props, shots of people similar to those in the story, animals, food, vehicles, landscapes, structures, etc. are compiled as concrete starting points of reference for constructing the look of the movie. Eventually a storyboard artist will draw images representing almost every shot in the film. It’s a way to help the filmmakers pre-visualize how each shot will be designed.

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Posted by on Oct 9, 2013 | 20 comments

Recording FX In 5, 6, 8, Or More Channels?

Guest Contriubtion by Randy Thom

BTA_Randy_Thom

Acoustic Authenticity Versus Entertainment Value

When designing a set for a film, the art director tries to use what is good about the real world place where the scene will be shot, but also tries to avoid being straight jacketed by what is there. The cinematographer usually has a similar approach in deciding what to shoot and how to shoot it. The director may want to put some local people in a scene, but they probably won’t be leading characters.

Sound design should be the same, I think. With the proliferation of multi-channel microphones in recent years, some with “5.1” channels and more, the promise of being able to capture and reproduce the aural sensation of being in a real place with three dimensional acoustics is definitely closer to being real…but is it desirable? I’d say the answer is usually “no.”

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 | 1 comment

Interview with Raymond Usher

Guest Contribution by Neil Cullen

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Raymond Usher started work in the games industry in 1992 as a sound designer at DMA Design, working on a number of titles, most notably the original Grand Theft Auto games. He became the company’s senior audio programmer and through the release of GTA III, was part of the metamorphosis into Rockstar North. Raymond stayed at Rockstar until the end of development on GTA: Vice City before moving to the newly formed Realtime Worlds to act as Audio Director for the title Crackdown. After that company’s collapse, Raymond founded Euphonious, an independent audio production company providing direction, sound design, audio programming and music licensing services for developers. Double BAFTA award winner for Vice City and Crackdown, Raymond has been at the forefront of game audio for over 20 years.

Neil Cullen: Your company Euphonious handles audio outsourcing for the games industry, could you describe your services and how they fit into the development cycle?

Raymond Usher: Euphonious has been going about 2 and a half years officially, after Realtime Worlds collapsed, there was a lot of small studios doing small mobile and Facebook games and we sort of started doing sound for them as a favour. It made me think we can make a go of this, so 2 and a half years later I’ve lost count of the number of projects we’ve done. We tend to do about 20 or 30 a year, ranging from mobile stuff right through to AAA titles such as the Lego Games developed by Travellers Tales who we did a lot of the cut-scene work for. In general a lot of the work comes from people that I know, but a lot of it is also recommendations, going out and meeting people at various events. It can vary from project to project, some of them we come on the project quite early while on others the project’s almost complete. It’s really a case of playing the builds, getting a list of requirements together and going off and getting that done, working with video captures, and just keeping in touch with the companies. A lot of the folk I work with are quite local while others are not so we Skype. 

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