A while ago we did a blog post about favorite audio tools our Boom Box editors enjoy and are using lately. New plug-ins, techniques and libraries are coming about all the time so I thought I'd check in with some of them now to see if there are any new tools they could share with us.
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I've been a fan of Native Instruments plugins for years. For sound design and music, I find their software hard to beat. In particular, I was a huge fan of KORE, their "sound machine" that had the a very useful FX processing mode, allowing the user to run any source sound through it's many amazing effects chains. Some of these chains, sold in bundles of 'effects packs' were extremely powerful and very intricately constructed. Many posts on my old Sounds Like Jeff blog refer to my use of KORE for original sound design. So naturally I was bummed when NI discontinued the product, I suspect to make way for MASCHINE, it's flagship product for the future.
Dialogue is king. To perfectly record dialogue, especially for film, has been the common goal amongst dialogue recordists and recording engineers since the birth of audio recording in the early 1900s. In working as a dialogue editor, it is a constant journey to adapt to the ever-changing market of audio recording gear. When considering building your own voice-over chain, there are many available options. Here, I’ve narrowed it down to just a few.
I've been proselytizing about the wonders of working with an iPad in my sound design career for years. More than just an excuse to get a new Apple product every few years (which admittedly it is), my creativite output and productivity have increased 10 fold with this device. As a tool in the studio, an iPad isn't necessarily cheap, but thes apps all clock in under $30. Compared to stand alone soft synths and plugins, all of these are a steal. Here are my favorite apps and some ways I like to utilize them.
Last week, I was tasked with designing the sound of a new character for a show. She is a fast-moving wild cat, and the spotting session called for her to sound incredibly speedy, but also fairly natural. She needed to be able to race past the other characters with astonishing velocity, leaving them in a trail of her dust.
My inspiration: jet bys! I wanted to create something from scratch that had the same effect of super speed as a jet by but was made from different sonic elements. I played around with different ideas of what sound her quickly cycling legs would make as they rushed past, thinking that focusing on this aspect would give an added level of interest to the sound. I considered using multi-swishes, speeding up her footfalls, etc. But, in the end, I settled on using a helicopter blade wop to express this idea. It had the perfect amount of high-frequency overtones to really cut through a mix, and also had the repetitive whooshing nature that I was looking for.
Yesterday I came across a sound design challenge I've faced a handful of times. I needed electrical crackling/humming sounds (think Tesla coil). The sequence required both a steady sound as well as some fast whooshing of these sounds by the camera. I have needed these sounds enough times that I decided it was time to try and create them from scratch instead of using some old standbys.
To start, I needed a really great warm humming sound. My first thought was to get up and see what kind of sounds my light bulbs were making. Trying to find this in my lamps proved fruitless because as it turns out, we have gone through a handful of lightbulbs (requiring a number of trips to Home Depot by our Boom Box Post interns) to avoid just such a noise in our editorial rooms. As I headed to our storage room to try and dig up some of the noisier light bulbs we had rejected, I heard a loud noise coming from the kitchen. As luck would have it the compressor for our water cooler was freaking out and making quite a racket. I grabbed my Sony PCM-M10 portable recorder and ran to the kitchen.