Below are the answers to all the questions that readers made to our fantastic May’s guest Jim Stout.
Designing Sound Reader: Hey Jim, Just wanted to send a note about how much I’ve enjoyed the interviews and topics presented the last few weeks. Great material and information for a budding sound effects editor. Thanks dude,
Jim Stout: Thanks, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a lot of fun to do.
DSR: Hey Jim, thanks for the videos on explainging how to create atmosphere and organic sounds. I’m amazed by the openlabs neko ex5! It’s awesome and it’s a tool that you can tell it makes your life easier. How easy is to learn to use it? You also mention that you’ll put Kyma into neko. That would create the total sound design tool. When do you think that’ll happen?
JS: The EX 5 is really easy to learn, mainly because of the OpenLabs program that comes on the EX 5 called RIFF. It allows you to layer, stack and configure VST effects in any way you want- and then you can just play them. You can play it on the keys or, if one of the plug-ins or VST instruments has its own clock-based modulation, you can use RIFF to synchronize all of it.
And, I’m going to put a Kyma Pacarana on my Neko ASAP.
DSR: Hi Jim. I was wondering about how are the caustic treatment you have on your studio… could you share a picture of that? Also… what would you recommend me for basic acoustic treatment? (mostly for sound effects designing).
JS: I’m actually in the midst of rearranging my studio (I like to keep things changing), so I don’t really have a pic at present. But, if you’ve got the time, just build your own out of some 4”X2” s, some heavy fabric, and polyester batting. If you search the internet you’ll find a lot of really good articles on how to build these.
DSR: Hey Jim, thanks for sharing all this amazing tutors. Just want to know how much field recording do you do? Also, how do you get hired by sound effects companies such as hollywood edge? How could I get a work making sound effects for them?
JS: I do field recording whenever possible. There’s never a time when I don’t have some sort of recorder on me.
I started doing stuff with Hollywood Edge after they contacted me about something I sent them. If you’re looking to get some work, the best advice I could give is just take a chance and shop what you’ve got around. You never know when you’ll get a call back.
DSR: Jim. I’m curious to know more about your field recording process. What kind of micas do you use? What specific use do yo give to each of those mics?
JS: My “go-to” mic’s are all Rode. I feel like for the price, they’re hard to beat.
I don’t really go into a field recording situation with specific uses for the mics in mind. I kind of just play it by ear. When I’m out in the field things can change very quickly, I have to be able to go with the flow. Sometimes the very sounds I’m trying to focus on end up taking a back seat to something surprising and new.
DSR: Hi. I read on the Jim’s interview that he will be launching his own sfx label. When will it be released? Could we get more info about that?
JS: Yes, a download service is in the works. It will debut on this site in June. Stay tuned for more information.
DSR: I imagine living in Austin you end up collaborating a lot via “virtual” meetings. Can you discuss the tools you use in order to work with people located outside of your local area?
JS: It really depends on who and what I’m dealing with. Like with Josh Kay and Richard Devine it’s mostly iChat and ftp file transfers, Hollywood Edge is all digidelivery for deliverables and email. Other than that it’s just skype, and conference calls the rest of the time. :-)
DSR: Where are the greatest future opportunities in the field of sound design? What advice would you give to someone who wants to develop their sound design skills to a professional level? Thanks!
JS: I would have to say the gaming industry or sounds for the mobile device industry (things like applications for iPhones, iPads, Droids, etc.). And, just keep on doing what you’re doing- research, don’t be afraid to experiment and take chances, and learn from anyone you can. Find a work flow or process that works for you and develop that.
DSR: Are you concerned about the idea that working in sound design solely depends on a human sense, namely sense of hearing, which is in constant decay and modification? do you think the fact that your sensitivity to certain frequencies becomes lower as you age could significantly affect your performance as a sound designer? (considering also growing hearing loss due to natural factors as well as the intensive exposure to sound which is sometimes involved in the daily routine of a musician/composer/sounddesigner).
JS: No, I can’t say that I’m all that concerned. I mean, I don’t have much choice- like you say, hearing is in constant decay- so I try not to abuse my ears monitoring too loudly or anything like that. And, you can always use an RTA to check frequency levels.
DSR: Jim, Could you suggest a decent entry level mic for sound design/field recordings? If not a specific mic then could you tell me what I should look for in a good mic?
JS: The Rode NT4 stereo mic is good. But, I’d also recommend getting a good portable recorder that has decent built in mics, like the Zoom H4n or the Sony PCM-D50. If you can, listen to some of them. If you like the way it sounds, try it. The most expensive is not always the best.
DSR: Hey Jim. I am currently doing a Masters Degree in Sonic Arts. I love Sound Design and have recently created the audio for two clips from “Layer Cake”, and “Pixars Lifted”. These clips had good visual material to work with but I was wondering if you could recommend any clips that would be good to work on for a portfolio? I always find good clips but find that they often have a lot of vocal sound in them and I prefer not to work with clips of that nature as my overdubs look rather bad. Can you recommend any good films, short films, or clips that might allow me to gain the attention of potential employers? Ideally I would love some film makers to post their film with the dialogue audio that I could sync rather than having to remove speech entirely – but that’s never going to happen :(
JS: The first thing that comes to mind are some scenes from Aliens (1986). There are some great selections that are just built on the intensity of the moment, free of dialogue.
DSR: What`s your favourite Vst Fx Plugins for Sounddesign ?
JS: It depends on what I’m going to do, but my favorites are Alchemy, Reaktor, Kontakt; for FX, anything by Universal Audio.
DSR: Hi Jim! im from Colombia, and let me tell you that it’s an incredible oportunity for me to learn daily so many things just by looking at your videos or reading your articles. I just love sound Design, but it has been a difficult experience to find information (i mean good info) about the subject. Currently im studing in Argentina, a carrer called Audiovision based on the book Michel Chion wrote, and im really exited with what i have learned til now. My question for you is:
Can you recommend any book or DVD or any source of information related with Sound Design, specially about the post-production technical process? because i really had read a lot about the importance of a good sound design in relation to the “message” you want to communicate, but not about the “how”. Currently im using Logic Pro 9, is it a good DAW to work with SDesign? Thnks a lot, i really appreciate your anwer!
JS: Unfortunately, I can’t think of any book or DVD about the post-production process. Truly, some of the best sources for info are going to be blogs, like on this site and other sound design dedicated websites. Erik Aadahl’s feature a couple months ago gave some good insight into the post-production workflow.
Yes, Logic Pro 9 is a great program. But, ultimately most big projects will reside in ProTools.