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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Learn About Sound
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.
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.
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.
Go behind the scenes of the Mutant Apocalypse arc of Nickelodeon’s CG Animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series with this story of how Boom Box Post created the sound of the post apocalyptic Shellraiser vehicle by custom recording Executive Producer Ciro Nieli’s vintage Mustang.
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.
When Plugin Alliance asked me to try out Unfiltered Audio's newest plugin, SpecOps, before it was released to the public, I was excited. I love having the opportunity to try out new sound design tools and maybe even give valuable feedback to the maker pre-release.
So, I began, as I always do, by reading the manual. You may prefer to watch a YouTube user video, or read a blog post (hopefully, like this one!), but I’ve always been a manual gal. I love to know every last detail about how to use a new piece of software before I try it out.
Well, this manual’s first sentence is “SpecOps is the ultimate spectral processor.”
Bold statement, right? I was a bit skeptical. I like my manuals to be fact-based, and this seemed like a pretty hyped up opinion. But, after digging into it, I can honestly say that it stands up to the hype. It is the ultimate!
In this month's interview post we chat with Mak Kellerman, one of our talented sound effects editors here at Boom Box Post. Mak has worked with Boom Box Post on Future-Worm, Pickle and Peanut, Penn-Zero: Part Time Hero and many other exciting animated shows. Mak is expert at creating interesting sci-fi builds and today he was working on creating the sound of an evil haunted portal!
Granular synthesis is one of the most versatile tools available to sound designers and an absolute favorite of mine. I love using simple sounds like whooshes or taking a steady sound like an electricity buzz and creating something completely new. From eerie drones to big sci-fi whooshes, granular synthesis can help you accomplish it all. For this demonstration I used the Soundmorph Dust plugin. We’re going to have a look at the plug-in's user interface and explore some of the methods I used to achieve some fun sounds. First let's take a look at what Granular Synthesis is.
Although the term “sound design” has been around for nearly four decades--and the practice has been pursued for much longer--its use has only recently become nearly ubiquitous. A day cannot go by that I do not see #sounddesign appended onto the end of a multitude of tweets from around the world. We now have the invaluable website DesigningSound.org which distributes information about our community’s adventures, musings, and technical inquiries. And our own Boom Box Post blog often touts titles such as Creature Speech Sound Design Challenge or Smoke and Mirrors: Unexpected Sound Design Sources.
Why this sudden renaissance of the term “sound design”? This week, I decided to take a closer look at the history of the term, the differences in how it is used across the film and television, interactive and immersive media, and theater industries, and its use and abuse.
This week we’re kicking off a brand new series of monthly blog posts called Focus on the Creative. These posts will be formatted like a short and casual interview focusing on the topic of creativity and design in our daily work. To kick off the series I sat down with award winning sound effects editor Jessey Drake to talk about her design for a gigantic other-worldly laser weapon.
One of the pillars of our creative learning environment here at Boom Box Post is our internship program. During the program our interns shadow editors, record foley props and participate in a series of lessons encompassing the different sound services Boom Box provides, such as dialogue editing, sound effects editing and mixing. For more information on our internship program click here. We collect applications year round and would love to hear from you.
As our current class of interns nears the end of their time here at Boom Box, we wanted to showcase their unique personalities and backgrounds. We hope you enjoy this brief look into our program and our fantastic interns: Madeline Kushner and James Singleton.