In the run-up to this month’s reverb theme, former contributor Damian Kastbauer suggested we re-run this article he put together discussing the game Crackdown for XBOX. The article may be two years old, but the content remains undeniably relevant. Never one to ignore good suggestions, here we are…
One area that has been gaining ground since the early days of EAX on the PC platform, and more recently it’s omnipresence in audio middleware toolsets, is Reverb. With the ability to enhance the sounds playing back in the game with reverberant information from the surrounding space, you can effectively communicate to the player a truer approximation of “being there” and help to further immerse them in the game world. While we often take Reverb for granted in our everyday life as something that helps us position ourselves in a space (the cavernous echo of an airport, the openness of a forest), it is something that is continually giving us feedback on our surroundings, and thus a critical part of the way we experience the world.
Join Diego as he shares with you how soundtracks can be generated by playing unlikely sources. Whether it’s amplifying a tree or wringing harmonious noise from a trash can, this auditory-focused workshop will have you searching for soundwaves in new places.
For quite a few years, sound design for trailers has become increasingly creative and interesting. For blockbusters in Hollywood, an imaginative trailer campaign seems to be more and more important and sound is quite often utilized in inspired and inspiring ways.
One of the top sound designers of Hollywood trailers is Bryan Jerden who has worked on prominent movie trailers such as Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Harry Potter, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Inception, among many others. Bryan has also done a large amount of game trailers including titles like Hitman, Syndicate and Dragons Dogma. In this interview, he talks about his background, creative methods, the interplay between music and sound and why silence is such an important tool for sound designers.
Designing Sound: How did you get involved in doing sound design for trailers?
Bryan Jerden: My work in the trailer world came as result from working for Tim Gedemer who is now the owner of Source Sound Inc. A little more than 10 years ago I started working with Tim as a sound editor and studio technician. It was a great match for me because I had spent almost 10 years prior to that as a sound engineer and music mixer recording rock bands. Tim is an accomplished guitar player as well as a real music guy so we hit it off in a way I could not have done with someone who was purely a post sound personality.
Right away I was attracted to trailers because I saw it as a mixed skill set. I liked the fact that it involved working directly with music. I loved that it had opportunities for designing sound, that it involved skillful sound editing, working with feature film tracks, dialogue and other disciplines all in the same package.
Sound design became a passion for me, something I just loved to do. When I could I would listen to other sound designers tracks always trying to figure out the different processes. When I was on editing jobs I would always sneak in my own designs just to see if they would stick. If I didn’t have enough time to do my editing job and try sound design, Tim would let me come in and try stuff out on my own and if he like it he would keep it.
In the last several years creating sound design and cutting sound effects for trailers and even video game cinematics have become my life, but with that there is always the inevitable music editorial and dialogue work.
After several fantastic effects, sequencers and sound manglers, the crazy minds at Twisted Tools have released a new sampler called S-Layer.
It’s basically a sampler for Reaktor focused on the interaction and control between sound layers, allowing you to rapidly create all kinds of sonic combinations. S-Layer allows to add up to eight layers of sound and manipulate the way they get combined and modulated using different processes. Each layer has its own controls and options, including envelope functions, effects and modulation.
Personally, I was thrilled with the idea. It’s pretty crazy no matter if you’re trying to get something specific with it or you’re just randomly playing with the stuff. I contributed with some sounds and snapshots, so I’ve been working with the instruments since early stages. Below I’ll share some of my opinions about it, plus sharing experiments and comments from sound designers who work on the instruments, including Richard Devine and Jean-Edouard Miclot.
I’m not going to explain you the instrument in detail, but give you some ideas and opinions. If you need a short description, I’d say this is a dream tool for any sound designer who wants to be surprised by controlled “accidents”. S-Layer is an infinite box of happy accidents. It’s an instrument any sound designer will enjoy, since allows not only to create intended sound effects and sequences, but also random and suppressive results. It’s amazing the amount of usable material you can obtain with this thing.