When starting out as a freelance sound designer, you often have to work on a budget. Many effects are usually compromised; a large one being foley. Not everyone has access to a foley stage or has the budget to rent one out and hire a walker. A good alternative to filling in the footsteps of foley is to do it digitally. The most well-known plug-in that is used in digital foley is Kontact, a sampler from Native Instruments. Although the plug-in is great in its own rights, it has a hefty price tag for new sound designers. With inspiration from my colleagues, I searched for an affordable sampler that can also be used for digital foley and came across one that is often overlooked: Structure Free.
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I worked on a project recently that had a giant wooden monster transformation. Here's how I designed it!
As described in a blog post a few weeks ago, our amazing Supervising Sound Editor and Co-owner Kate Finan has recently welcomed a beautiful new baby into the world! While she is enjoying her much-deserved time off, I have the privilege of filling in for her, and while I do sound work almost every day, I’ve gained a new perspective and appreciation for the sound process along the way. From editing sound effects and foley to overseeing the entire post-production sound process, here are some useful takeaways and tips from my time as a Lead Sound Editor.
Jeff wrote a blog post about designing retro game audio using BFXR a while back, and since then I’ve frequently used that tool when I need to create interesting and nostalgic 8-bit game audio. Recently, however, I heard about an alternative tool called ChipTone, so I decided to check it to expand my toolbox a little.
Earlier this week we orchestrated a mini monster-fest, recording an insane amount of monster vocalizations for a new series. We recorded almost everyone in the office performing a variety of sounds , giving direction as to the type of creature each person would be voicing and instructions on the types of sounds we needed. Not only was this a total blast, but it reminded me how powerful our own voices are as a tool for sound design. As a result, these are my top tips for creating and designing great monster vocal material!
An essential tool for editorial and sound design, in my opinion, is a graphic pitch and time shifting plugin. Waves SoundShifter Graphic audio suite plugin allows you to load the waveform of a clip you have selected and simultaneously manipulate pitch and time in whatever way you so choose by placing points along the linear graph. This can be very useful for a multitude of applications. I personally tend to use it most to accelerate and decelerate vehicle steadies, easily create variation in sounds that will be repeated without them sounding so repetitive, create movement and fluctuation, or even get wild sometimes and make something more abstract.
Though I am fiercely passionate about all things animation audio (I wouldn’t be interning at Boom Box if I wasn’t), I share that zeal with another area of professional sound: Game Audio. On March 17th I boarded a Megabus and traveled up to San Francisco to attend the The Game Developers Conference, one of the the largest professional game industry events in the world. All aspects of the industry come to exhibit, network, and learn; from AAA to indie to student, all walks of life with varying experience and disciplines attend. In this talk I want to shine a light specifically on the tight-knit Game Audio community and a few of the many events that occurred.
Here a few ways in which the Game Audio community came together during GDC to educate and celebrate its communities.
In past blog posts we’ve discussed tips to effectively capture sound effects, methods for recording water and even how to create iPhone recordings on the fly. Today I wanted to offer some quick tips related to recording planning and recording effectively in the field. These habits can help elevate your recordings to the next level, creatively and organizationally.
Timeflux is a specialized sound design synthesizer that runs standalone. The program focuses on stretching, morphing and processing spectral effects for sound design. Similar to most specialized software, you really have to play and experiment with it to really understand to program; TimeFlux is no different. To better understand this program, I asked my colleagues for the favorite hard sound effect and see what I could create.
The Galactic Assistant is a standalone specialized synth that can be used to create high tech interface sounds and / or musical samples and accents.
Few things can positively impact a sound editors workflow like effective and thorough sound effects metadata. Having good metadata in your library will lessen the time needed to find the sounds you are looking for and speed up the process of finding new favorites in a packed library. If you are selling your sound effects, having rock-solid metadata is essential to creating a marketable product.
In this Inside Sound Design I wanted to use our interns to explore an early part of the sound editing process: Field Recording. It’s always a blast to capture sounds in the wild, and we try to do so at every opportunity. I sent Ian Howard out with instructions to research and capture two unique and interesting ambiences.