This summer, Kate and I had an opportunity to travel to the UK to visit some animation studios in Dublin and give an industry talk in London. While in Ireland, we took traveled across the country and came back with some really great recordings. We’d like to share these with you as well as the video of our talk with the Association of Motion Picture Sound (AMPS). We hope you our very first Boom Box Post travelog!
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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.
Some things never stop being funny, no matter how much time has passed. This is also true for sound effects. Some classic sound effects and jokes we use have been around for more than half a century! Kate gave an excellent run down of animation sound's origin in her THE HISTORY OF ANIMATION SOUND post, and many sounds devised by Carl Stalling, Treg Brown and Jimmy MacDonald(and the derivatives of their sounds) are still being used by sound editors today! This week, I asked a few of our editors to tell me about their favorite cartoon sound effects.
The Boom Box Post crew returned to San Diego this year for Comic-Con 2017!
Here at Boom Box Post we do a lot of wild sound effects recording. In the last year we’ve recorded props as varied as children’s ball pits, seed pods from trees, laser swords, metal impacts, metal screeches with dry ice, christmas lights, human and non-human screams, zombie moans, body drags, two different Ford Mustangs and of course: farts. We’ve used a wide variety of different equipment to accomplish these recording goals. For our most recent vehicle recording(blog post coming soon) we rented a few additional microphones and took advantage of the new gear to set up a brief microphone shootout. The microphones we compared were the Sennheiser MKH 8050, a compact super-cardiod condenser, the Sennheiser MKH 8060, a short shotgun based on the same capsule as the 8050 and the Neumann KMR 82i, a highly directional short shotgun. All three are popular choices for sound effects and film production recording. We wanted to test the timbre and character of each microphone as well as how they interacted with the acoustics in our edit bays. To test the mics we recorded a variety of sample material similar to the type of recordings we make.
At Boom Box Post, we specialize in sound for animation. Although sonic sensibilities are moving toward a more realistic take, we still do a fair amount of work that harkens back to the classic cartoon sonic styles of shows like Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes. Frequently, this style is one of the most difficult skills to teach new editors. It requires a good working knowledge of keywords to search in the library--since almost all cartoon sound effects are named with onomatopoeic names rather than real words like “boing”, “bork”, and “bewip”--an impeccable sense of timing, and a slight taste for the absurd.
I used to think that you were either funny or not. Either you inherently understood how to cut a sonic joke, or you just couldn’t do it. Period. But, recently, I began deconstructing my own process of sonic joke-telling, and teaching my formula to a few of our editors. I was absolutely floored by the results. It turns out, you can learn to be funny! It’s just a matter of understanding how to properly construct a joke.
We were so excited to give a talk at this year's Creative Talent Network Animation Expo in Burbank. The talk started with a brief history of sound for animation (a lot of which you can find expertly boiled down here) followed by an overview of the post sound process from beginning to end. We finished up with some video demos of the different layers of sound in our work as well as some of the fun instruments and props we have recorded over the years.
We hoped the panel would prove interesting to content creators looking for information on how to approach the sound process for their own work. To our pleasant surprise (this was our first time doing this after all) the turnout was incredible! The room was filled to capacity and we were bombarded with fantastic questions from a very energetic crowd.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s, recording equipment was extremely large and heavy, rendering it impossible to take outside of the studio. Unable to record sound effects in the real world, the studios were forced to invent new approaches to creating sound for their animated content. Thus, two different approaches to sound effects were quickly developed.
Jeff and I recently had the pleasure of working on a fantastic animated project that featured an incredibly vibrant city park filled with pets. There were dogs, horses, cats, sheep--you name it. When Jeff met with the creator, she expressed that she loved the idea of having human vocalizations covering the main pets on screen. Jeff and I completely agreed since it really spoke to the hand-made, warm, and contemporary feeling of the animation.
In fact, we loved the idea so much that we decided to create our own custom sound effects for all of the animals using just our own voices and a microphone. Thus began what I now like to think of as The Day Our Neighbors Realized We Were Completely Crazy.