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Entries in Sound Design (2)

Tuesday
May312011

My Favourite Credit

Working on Television shows as a sound effects editor is not the best way to get your name up in lights.  I have worked on shows where the SFX Editor credit flies across the screen so fast no one would ever be able to read it, and that is when you are lucky.  I have worked on many shows where my credit does not even make to air, as my role is not considered important enough to use the screen time on.  Thankfully the world now has imdb where you can make sure your credits are listed and correct, or no one would ever be able to tell who did anything on a particular show anymore.

One show I work on is called W-Five (for those outside of Canada, it is a national News magazine show for investigative journalism.  Kind of like Canada's version of 20/20) and it is the only show I have worked on that leaves my credit up long enough that you can actually read it.  Every once in a while I will get a call from someone saying they saw my name on the credit scroll, this gave me some credibility with my future mother-in-law the first time she saw it.

To be honest, I don't really care about getting an on-sceen credit, I don't need the limited recognition it would generate, but recently I got my favourite credit I have ever received.   A bit of background first, my friend Jim Guthrie had been working on a iPad game for a very long time.  He is an amazing musician and talented songwriter, and he was doing the score and sound scape for his first game and we talked about it every time we would see each other, and on a few rare occasions I helped him track down a sound he could not pin down on his own.  I expected nothing for this as it was very little effort on my part, and to be honest I did not think the little game he was working on would make much of a splash.  Not because it looked bad, but simply because there is a lot of competition out there for iPad/iPhone games and it is really hard to machete your way through it all and get noticed.  The game looked and sounded amazing though, and I really hoped it found an audience.  

As the release date for the game approached Jim was being interviewed all over the place and the game was generating some real buzz.  When the game was finally released, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, rocketed straight to 2nd place on the iTunes App Store charts, only being outsold by the industry goliath - Angry Birds.  It got basically unanimous  praise from reviews and has won many awards since its release.  Months later it is still in the top 100 in iTunes.  It is an unqualified massive success.  And I got a single card, full screen credit on it, and a nice one at that.

Not sure I deserved it since I did minimal work to earn it, but I will take it!!

Congrats to Jim Guthrie for hitting it out of the park with his work on the game.  

* * * * * SPOILER ALERT from Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery on Vimeo.

 

If you are unfamiliar with it go and get it now as it is both beautiful to look at and great fun to play.  If you are familiar with the game and like the music you can buy the fantastic soundtrack at bandcamp, along with a bunch of Jim's other great records.

Here is a review of the game at touch arcade 

 

Friday
Apr152011

The Yeti that Inspired the Robot

There are a lot of really great things going on in the sound design community on the web, and one of the coolest things is the "Sound Design Challenge" being put on at the Dynamic Interface site.  Each month a new challenge is put out, with a list of restrictions of what can and can not be done and just one week to complete the challenge.  I have been wanting to take part in one of these for a while but have always been just too busy with current projects to be able to jump head first into the competition.  In January I finally got a chance to make an attempt, the competition was, to come up with a set of vocalizations for a hypothetical "Yeti" and the challenge's imposed restriction was that you could only use your own voice and processing to make a range of emotions for this fictional Yeti.  So the usual tricks of grabbing lion roars or other animal attacks and manipulating them to create a new creature was not allowed. Each entry had to have a vocalization from their Yeti for anger, confusion, curiosity, happiness, breathing and pain. 

Sadly I don't really feel like I put my best foot forward as I was not able to spend much time polishing my entry, so I think it was pretty forgettable to the judges.  The upside though was all the people who entered agreed to make a library out of all the submissions.  So I got a ton of crazy new monster sounds for future projects.  I have even used a few already to make the sounds for a rabid grizzly bear attacking an RV in the middle of the night (Mostly the Yeti submitted by "Farley").

Here is my submission for the Yeti competition, again this is all based on my voice:

Yetti AzimuthAudio by azimuthaudio

 

As a I mentioned I am not overly proud of the outcome for my submission but I did get inspired by the exercise and have used the idea in an animated series I am working on now.   In the series a string of new characters have arrived that are giant robots (see previous post for a quick look at their servos), each robot on the show is partnered with a character already established in the series.  The giant robots kind of act as an extension of this original character, so I wanted there to be an audible connection in the voices of the robots.  So each robots "roar" is based on a yell from the robot's partner that I have used as a base element.  In the clip below, I have lined up an evolution of the one of the roars from the original actors yell through to the final version (and then back again) with a few examples of how it changed as more processing was added to the original.
Over all the original roar has been processed quite a bit, going through the following plugins:
GRM Tools Warp
GuitarRig 3
AIR Phaser
Pitch Shift
MondoMod
AIR Ensemble
Reaktor With Toxonic'c Glitch
(Not in that order)
Basiacally this is the same exercise as the competition but instead of my voice as the base I am using the characters.

 

I was able to do something similar with a different character.

Mech Roar C by azimuthaudio  

This roar ended up having an almost mechanical servo type sound.  Could be a robot vocal or a element of a mechanical arm movement or something along those lines.

Basically I was able to take some techniques I used in the Sound Design Challenge to use in real work but mostly the challenge was able to shake me out of my routine on how I was building Monster/Creature/Robot sounds.  Hopefully I can find the time to enter future competitions through Dynamic Interface because it seems you get more out of it then you think you will.

Get the shirt!