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Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 | 7 comments

Room Tone = Emotional Tone: The Importance of Hearing Ambience

noun /ˈambēəns/
ambiances, plural; ambiences, plural

  1. The character and atmosphere of a place

                    – the relaxed ambience of the cocktail lounge is popular with guests

  1. 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!)

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Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 | 8 comments

Ariel Gross Guest Post: ‘I Feel Like a Fraud and So Can You!’

This is a guest article written by Ariel Gross, Audio Director of game development studio Volition Inc, which produces such PC and console  titles as the Saint’s Row and Red Faction series. You can view Ariel’s introduction post here.

I Feel Like a Fraud and So Can You!

Every now and then I feel like a fraud. Every now and then I feel like I’m merely masquerading as a professional. Every now then I feel a little bit terrified, and then I see the look in your eyes. Wait, wait. Sorry. That last one was from a Bonnie Tyler song. But here’s the thing. The more I open up about this feeling to others, the more I realize that lots of other people feel this way, and it can be really comforting to know that we’re not alone. And actually, it might just be okay that we feel like frauds. Good, even!

How is it “okay” to be a fraud?

Well, hold your horses there, header. I never said that I am a fraud. I said that I feel like a fraud, and there’s a big difference. I’ve never claimed credit for something that I didn’t actually do. That would make me an actual fraud. If I have done that, it would have been unintentionally, and I would be mortified to find out. I would shout from the tallest mountain that there was an error.

It’s more like a sense of disbelief that I occasionally accomplish things that are actual things. To be clear, actual things are what I’ve always endeavored to do, and I believe that anyone that sets out to do actual things will likely become more capable of doing an actual thing. And that is just fine… for other people.

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Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 | 2 comments

School of Video Game Audio Now Open

The first online school for learning how to create professional audio for video games has just announced that it is accepting applications for its first course from July to August 2012.

The application deadline of Friday June 29, 2012 is rapidly approaching and is limited to ten students, so make sure to have a look at the details on their application page at:
The Course:
- Learn how to make a professional demo reel in Audiokinetic’s Wwise and become more employable in the industry
- Work at your own pace through the course material with assistance from the instructor, Leonard J. Paul
- Course consists of videos, reading assignments, mini-projects and short tests that can be done at your own pace
- Suited for anyone with a strong audio background wishing to expand their knowledge and skills in the game audio industry
- 8 weeks of instructional materials at 10+ hours per week for $225 CAD which includes the $25 application fee
- No additional costs to purchase required books or other materials
- One top project from each class will chosen to receive 50% off the cost of the course and will be featured on the site
“It’s the first really solid and accessible game audio learning solution to be available worldwide, which will help any and everyone who wish to express themselves through this discipline.” – Francisco, student involved in the beta of the course

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Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 | 3 comments

Joining Team Audio

Volition Sound Designer Ariel Gross has posted a blog on AltDevBlogADay on the process of getting hired for a game audio position.

The blog contains some fascinating insights on the hiring agents perspective , and is a valuable read for those trying to break into the industry, check out the except below;

We kept a central person to review all incoming applicants. That would be me. I’d scrap a bunch of incoming applicants because I could tell by reading the cover letter and resume that a person did not have the stuff. I will talk more about that later. If someone piqued my interest, I would pass their cover letter, resume, and demo materials along to the rest of the audio team. I’d get feedback and then decide if we wanted to proceed with the candidate to the next step.

The next step would be some kind of test. Previously, we had sent out a written test that had a bunch of questions on it. Stuff like, what do you consider to be the three most important areas of sounds in an open world game? What do you think would be difficult about working on audio in an open world game? And if you had to design a beam weapon, how would you put it together both creatively and technically? And a bunch of other riddles and puzzles and noodle-ticklers that usually had no specific correct answer but plenty of potential incorrect or awkward answers.

Read the full post over on

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Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 | 3 comments

Hart FX Releases New Alligator Library

Hart FX has released Hart a Gator, a new library of alligator sound effects, cut from 10 hours of material recorded at 192kHz.

Alligators are quiet, stealthy creatures that roam the swamps and marshes of Florida like big, scaly, green ninjas. You see one silently skimming along, then all of a sudden it disappears! They hardly make any sound either – except for this one time of year… mating season.

During mating season, gators all of a sudden decide to emerge from their quiet ninja state and let the world know how much of a sexy beast they are – or at least they try to let the female gators know about it.

A gator bellow is when a gator fills it’s lungs with air, then lifts it’s tail and head up into the air, and then forces the air out in a way that causes the entire gator to vibrate violently. This creates this really awesome little dancing of water off the gator’s back, and creates a crazy growl that can be quite frightening. It definitely gave me a new respect for these oversized lizards…

This was not an easy library to record! The gator bellowing is infrequent, and it is often difficult to get close enough to get a clean recording. To add to that – if you approach too quickly and startle the gator, he will stop bellowing.

Hart a Gator is available for download at $95. More info: HartFX

Below is a q&a with Colin Hart, who shares some details about the process behind the library.

Can you tell us about the process of conceiving and planning this library?

I don’t really remember how the original idea came up (it was over a year ago…) but somehow we got the idea that it would be awesome to go out and record gator sounds. There is a gator “park” nearby where I live called “Gatorland”. They have upwards of 2000 gators and crocs there – I figured it would be a good place to start. So I called them up and got in touch with a guy that ended up touring us around to get gator sounds. The first time we went was in June – we were able to get some cool hisses and jaw snaps, which are territorial and warning sounds. Our contact told us that if we wanted some great sounds, it would be best to come back during mating season, when the gators bellow (as a mating call).

So come this year, around March, I called up Gatorland again and asked to come back in for a day of recording. I had no idea what to expect, so I just brought a bunch of gear and planned to stay a few hours. What I was able to get that day absolutely amazed me – these sounds were incredible! I had to get more. I was at the park for about 3 or 4 hours that day and only ended up with about 5 or 6 usable sounds, so I scheduled time to come back. I ended up going down there about 7 or 8 times total to get the sounds that I needed to build this library.

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