Hello.  This is my blog.  If you’re looking for Impossible Acoustic the business click here.  This blog used to be just about sampling but now I write about sound design and film audio as well.  If you’re interested in sampled instruments and sound effect packs, I have a small online store hidden away behind that ‘Downloads‘ link to the right.

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Electric Toothbrush

electric toothbrush

Sound is vibration right?  So if you can get an object to vibrate it will make a sound right?  I spent some time recently driving my family crazy by seeing what objects around the house I could get to vibrate by holding an electric toothbrush against them.  I made a short song from the results.

 

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Punch Sounds Article

Film Review Out of the Furnace

 

The Wall Street Journal just published an article on the punch sound effects for the movie “out of the furnace” complete with breakdowns of one of the punch sounds and a auditory history of punch sounds in movies.  Pretty cool!  Here’s the link.  Below is a compilation of punch sounds put together by the articles author Don Steinberg.

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Romo

I recently made this sound design and musical accompaniment for the Romo ident.  Auditory logos, like their visual counterparts, are an exercise in simplicity and efficiency. Mediocre ones are quickly forgotten but the good ones take up residence in your brain and make themselves comfortable.

You’ve probably heard many of the sounds in the following video.  Many of them will instantly evoke a feeling of familiarity but can you consciously  recall their origins?

 

 

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Gravity

If you haven’t seen Gravity yet, I highly recommend you go see it right away.  Preferably in 3D and at an Atmos theater.  I’m generally not a fan of 3D.  During the blurry, headache inducing 3D previews before the movie, I was starting to regret my decision to see it in 3D but once the movie started I quickly forgot my concerns.  The 3D combined with the atmos playback made for a nearly virtual reality experience.  The directors use of long cuts and POV shots also played a huge role in the immersive experience and allowed for a lot of creative and unconventional panning.  See my previous post on sound design in single take shots.    Here’s a link to an article that talks more about this as well as more about the score and sound design in general.  Also check out the SoundWorks video embedded in the article.

 

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Recycled Thunder

recycledthunder

The back window to my house opens up right into an alleyway and when my neighbors take their recycling bins out every week, it always reminds me of thunder.  Then we had a thunderstorm and it sounded like the recycling being taken out!  Obviously there’s a connection here that needs to be explored.  The following sound clip features a thunder sound made from recycling bin sounds followed by the original un-altered sound.

 

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Synthesized Electricity

MassivePatch

A key aspect of sound design is performance.  The most common way to do this is through editing.  Much like an animator will create the illusion of a performance through the painstaking process of drawing individual frames, the sound effects editor creates the illusion of performance by editing and manipulating pre-recorded sounds.

Of course, we also have the option of performing and recording sounds live; manipulating and “playing” props live to tape the way a Foley artist does, but for some sounds that’s not a feasible option.  Take the sound of electricity for example.  I don’t want to say it’s impossible to perform this sound live (hmm future project) but suffice to say it’s not convenient.

So if editing together a performance is the second, the performing a sound live with props is the second, then the third option would be synthesis.  With synthesized sounds you have control over every parameter of the sound and those parameters can all be manipulated and performed to create some very dynamic sounds.

Here’s an example of an electricity sound I recently synthesized using NI’s Massive.  It’s actually a pretty simple patch.  It uses just one oscillator but takes advantage of Massive’s filters and modulation oscillator.  By controlling the filter cutoff, the wavetable position and other parameters, I can make the sound dip and bend however I like without any editing of the waveform.

Then, to beef up the sound and add a layer of naturalism, I pulled in some firework explosions and other sounds from my library.

In the following clip you’ll hear just the synthesized sound, then just the library sounds, then both together processed with a flanger and other effects.

 

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Bubbles in a Bowl

Sound of the Week = Bubbles in a Bowl

Here’s a short composition made from the sounds of blowing bubbles into a big glass bowl.  The piece starts with the raw recording and then the rest of the song is made from processed versions of that recording.

The Kontakt instruments I used are available for free on my downloads page.

The final set that we ultimately decided on consisted of my own violin sounds and cartoon ‘ploinks’ from an SFX library, mixed with the sound of rubbing a wet balloon.  A lot of the character’s movement and sloshing around was performed with a water balloon as well.  At one point every footstep and movement the character made had a sound but in the end we found that to be distracting so movement sounds were paired way back for the final video.

 

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Voice options for “The Mighty-T”

MightyTsmall

Finding the right sound often takes a lot of experimentation.  For the voice of the main character in the animation “The Mighty-T”, I went through many iterations before landing on something that fit the character and worked well within the context of the animation as a whole.  Here are some of the options I came up with.

The final set that we ultimately decided on consisted of my own violin sounds and cartoon ‘ploinks’ from an SFX library, mixed with the sound of rubbing a wet balloon.  A lot of the character’s movement and sloshing around was performed with a water balloon as well.  At one point every footstep and movement the character made had a sound but in the end we found that to be distracting so movement sounds were paired way back for the final video.

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Sound of the Week = sun, wind, water and snow

What is the sound of sunshine? This was one of the more conceptually challenging tasks I have been given as a sound designer. At 52 seconds, in the clip below, the sun rises through the trees and the director wanted an accompanying sound. It took a lot of experimenting to create a sound that fit the bill without being too intrusive. I wanted it to be felt more than consciously heard.
All of the audio in this clip was created in post; mostly from my sfx library and field recordings I made on Mt. Rainier. There’s also a bit of marmot Foley and my breath processed to sound like wind sound (around 34 seconds).

 

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Sound of The Week = Light Cover

Foley artist Jamie Hunsdale shot this video of us playing with what we’re pretty sure is a light cover.  Whatever it is, it makes some cool sounds.  At the end of the video, and in the soundcloud link above, I’ve made a short sound design sequence by processing and editing some of the sounds from the video.

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