Dynamics processing is valuable for many kinds of audio work. Compressors, Limiters and Transient Shapers have become so ubiquitous that you would struggle to find a piece of recorded music, film or television show where one of these tools was not used. These processes have applications for the sound editor as well, allowing you to control dynamics in your own recorded sound effects or beef up a key element in a build for a big moment. In this basic overview, I’m going to talk about a specific plug-in for the three types of processing mentioned above, but the principles discussed here can apply to any manufacturer’s software, or even hardware tools.
Viewing entries in
Lunch & Learns
What is Soundly? Soundly is a freemium audio library management software that lets you organize, tag, and audition your sound effect and add them into your projects in a concise and incredibly simple way. For this blogpost I decided to put myself in the shoes of someone just starting off in the sound editor world. When you’re just starting off in the industry your budget is going to be your biggest limiter. You don’t have the freedom to drop a ton of money on multiple professional grade libraries and a reliable audio library management software to get started on your work. Sometimes the free option is really the only option. This is where Soundly comes in.
Izotope audio repair plugins are helpful tools for many applications to clean up your audio. From dialogue editing to cleaning up live recordings, there is bound to be an Izotope plugin for what you need. For this demonstration, we will go into a bit of detail specifically in the Izotope RX Connect application which is included in the RX Standard and Advanced bundles.
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.
I worked on a project recently that had a giant wooden monster transformation. Here's how I designed it!
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.
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.
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.
Here at Boom Box Post we have an extensive intern curriculum where our interns have to complete several different projects as part of their program. The projects include everything from sound editing basics, to pre-dubbing and from-scratch design work. In the project I teach, we come across many real-world sound editing scenarios, including a small clip in slow motion. Slo-Mo is a storytelling tool that sound editors come across quite often, and it is where I get the most questions regarding, “How do I cut this?”
Because slow motion is more conceptual than it is technical, there is no right way to approach it. However, there are some basics that you are going to want to cover, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to illustrate various sound concepts while editing scenes in slow motion. Every scene and scenario has it’s own set of challenges, but these tips are a great place to start.
As Jeff mentioned in his blog post Top Ten Secret Pro Tools Shortcuts, learning Pro Tools shortcuts is a must for new sound editors if they want to be able to compete in our industry. Similarly, knowing the shortcuts to navigate through your OS quickly and efficiently is also really important. This is especially helpful to new editors trying to land their first sound job, as most of us come in at an assistant level, where a big part of the job is organizing files and multi-tasking among several projects. Learning basic navigational and organizational functions is a simple way to speed up your workflow and impress potential employers and clients.