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.
Viewing entries in
Focus on the Creative
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.
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.
The shocking conclusion of our 2 part vocal sound design challenge is here! In Part 1 we asked several BBP editors to perform a non-english vocalization, and tell us about the imagined creature that created it. For this post, we asked a few other BBP editors to process, twist and have fun with one of the clips in order to enhance the original vision. Not surprisingly, they favored the clips with a lot of low-end information, and especially enjoyed pitch-related processing. Check out the before and afters, plus each editors methods below!
When we hit the studio or the field to record sound effects, we want to leave with the best material possible. Not only do we want recordings that enhance our current project, we want additional material that we can use to build our libraries. We want to optimize our time to create the best possible ratio of useable recordings to useless takes. We want to take our material back into the studio, throw it into the DAW, hit play and say “Wow! That whoopee cushion sounds incredible!”
This month we're kicking off a two part Boom Box collaborative blog post challenge! I've tasked our editors with creating a unique non-human/non-english voice from their own mouth that is evocative and has potential for sound design. Next month I will assign each editor someone else's voice, which they will twist and tweak to help achieve the original intent, using whatever tools they choose.
Ableton Live is a DAW that has been blowing up the music production scene in recent years. With its powerful ‘in-the-box’ effects processors, built-in Sampler instruments, and MIDI data parameters galore, Live has been the go to workstation for pioneering beat makers and EDM artists around the world. So why can’t us Post-Sound peeps have a little fun too? Using Live’s built-in Drum Rack and Simpler instruments, I’ll share with you a simple technique to build a Game of Thrones type battle scene ambience.
To kick off a new class of interns (and score some cool new sound elements for our library), I asked Boom Box Post intern James Singleton to create a selection of lightsaber/laser sword sound effects. The original Star Wars trilogy is chalk full of classic sound effects that continue to inspire our field today, and recreating old favorites is a great way to flex sound design muscles and explore unconventional techniques. I requested James work primarily from recordings and sounds created specifically for this project, and take inspiration from Ben Burtt's original methods. To wrap up the project I asked him to tell me a little about his process for creating the final sound effects.
When the team from Nickelodeon's Albert walked through our doors, they presented us with a great sound design challenge - bring a rich world of talking, walking plants to life with sound. Nickelodeon’s first original animated TV movie tells the story of a tiny fir tree named Albert and his plant friends overcoming all kinds of obstacles (like a Christmas hating cactus) as they journey to the big city. The rich animation of these plants - bouncing around in their pots, foliage and needles flying, trunks bending - is extremely detailed and impressive. Now it was our job to provide the proper sonic support. With the use of digital foley, we had just the tool for the job.
Here at Boom Box Post, we are lucky enough to work on an exceptionally large variety of animated shows. Each show has it’s own unique style and sound; some of our shows are more on the toony side, while others are incredibly realistic. Because of this, a large number of our shows take place in real places. In one of our newest shows, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, the characters take an adventure to a new place or city in almost every episode, which is what inspired me to write this blog post. Whether it is traveling to a new city in each episode in Mickey and the Roadster Racers, The Lion Guard in the African Savannah, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in New York City, we often have the challenge of making a specific, genuine place sound accurate.
To celebrate Halloween in gruesome style we came up with a unique challenge for our editors: Death by Sound Effect! To kick off the creativity, we asked the team to come up with bone-chilling, funny bone-tickling and gut-wrenching ways to die, and threw all of their ideas into a hat. Each participating editor was randomly assigned a form of savage expiration, and encouraged to be creative in their approach to a sound effect representative of that event.
The great thing about recording and designing sound effects is that source material is near infinite. Fortunately and unfortunately, having such an incredible variety of sound sources makes each new recording session a technical and creative challenge, requiring forethought and experience. One of the decisions we must make is the format in which we will capture the sound; mono, stereo, quad-surround, 5.1 surround and ambisonic are all valid options depending on the source at hand. Sound effects are most commonly captured in mono or stereo, and today we will compare several common stereo microphone techniques for field recording.