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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?

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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

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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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Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 | 2 comments

“The quieter it is, the more you hear!” – Chuck Michael on the sound for Stoker

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Sound designer for Stoker (2013), Chuck Michael

Sound is the most invisible part of the film. That’s probably why it’s quite rare for the sound of a movie to be mentioned in the press. But it happens, fortunately, and the film Stoker is a great example – this latest work by acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-wook premiered at this year’s Sundance, and since then the prolific and powerful sound design has been getting a lot of attention.

In the world’s leading movie magazine, Empire, the recent Blu-ray and dvd release received these accolades: “Park’s approach to sound design is unique, used not as a bed of noise but as an extension of character.” Chan-wook always had a keen interest in sound – check out both his breakthrough film Oldboy (2003) and the amazing thriller, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), in which the main character is deaf-mute.

Stoker is Chan-wook’s first US production – it’s actually a US-British-co-production – and we got hold of the LA-based sound designer, supervising sound editor and sound re-recording mixer, Chuck Michael, to talk about the extraordinary soundtrack. Below, he discusses the creative process behind the work and also touches upon this month’s Designing Sound subject, Noise.

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