As sound editors, speaking about sound design with clients requires a kind of foreign language. I often find myself making silly noises in an effort to either interpret what a client is looking for or to pitch an idea of my own. There’s a shorthand however, that both editor and filmmaker are aware of. An entire language has been laid out for us in the incredible work of sound designers past. I’m talking about films that are ‘in the canon’ for having memorable sound design moments.
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We have sound editors coming in to test for us on a regular basis. The single most common difference between an editor who has worked largely alone versus one that has worked within a sound team is the lack of knowledge when it comes to the basics. There are three concepts I consider essential that I ask edit testers about right off the bat: Perspective Cutting, Stair Stepping, Color Coding. I can learn a lot about their familiarity with these concepts based on their response. Even a slight hesitance to answer is a dead giveaway; you’ve only worked alone and without much direction.
All great editors start out as good editors. The hope is that you evolve as time passes, into an exceptional talent. I have seen it time and again here at Boom Box, often in very short order. An editor with lots of skill and professionalism decides to push for more. These great editors form our core team; the kind of editors you want to keep around. So what’s the secret? Well I’m happy to tell you that going from good sound editor to great sound editor is not that complicated.
Earlier this year, the team from The Loud House approached us with a brand new short designed as a 360° video for YouTube. Never having worked in this format, I did some searching and was surprised at how little information had been published on sound for spatialized video. After working it out for myself, I thought I’d share the details with our readers as a jumping off point should a project like this come across your desk.
You may recall that I’ve written about creating signature sounds in the past. So, why write another post on the same topic? First of all, creating signature sounds is a skill that is absolutely essential to to setting yourself up as a high-quality professional sound designer. Second, that post covered a practical approach to designing signature sounds such as working on one sound at a time and designing in context. Here, I’d like to walk you through my actual creative process on a particular project.
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.
Here at Boom Box Post, we strive to design and create things that are unique. In this month’s Inside Sound Design, we talk with sound editor Tess Fournier about some cool creative vocal design she has been working on.
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!
Plugin Alliance recently approached me to ask if I would like to try out one of Krotos’s newest plugins, the Reformer Pro. As a big fan of Dehumanizer by Krotos, which we previously blogged about using to create alien vocals, I quickly agreed.
Not able to wait until I had time to install the plugin and really dive in, I took a few minutes between clients at work and checked out the Krotos website to see what Reformer had to offer. What I found was this description:
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.
This is not the sexiest blog post you will read this month. In fact, it’s probably the least sexy topic we’ll write about all year here at Boom Box Post. That said, it’s such an important one for anyone considering themselves a professional sound editor. A cluttered file structure is the equivalent of a messy home. Sure you can make do sorting through a mess, finding what you need after some intense searching. but why put yourself through it? Go to the container store, buy a pack of labels and some bins and get your stuff off the floor (I’m still on the messy house metaphor). So with that in mind, let me be your personal Peter Walsh (he is a professional organizer - I had to google it) as I help you to get your digital life in order.
We open on wide shot of a forest. A river runs in the distance. Not far from the river, emerging from the trees is a bloodied man in a torn business suit, limping and desperate for water. Cut to an over the shoulder shot of him staring at the river. Cut again and the camera is right on the water as he leans in for a drink. The focus (for our purposes) isn’t the man or his torn and blood soaked suit (I just added that for some flair). From a sound editorial standpoint, the complicated element here is the river. It’s far off in the distance, now it’s close to us, now it’s full frame in an extreme close up. As a viewer, the camera is our proxy here. Wherever the camera sits, so do we. And so, as the perspective of the camera changes so does our perception.