Follow sound designer Sam Esparza of Big U Music and field mixer Alex Quitugua as they discuss their unique approaches to sound.
Film produced by Erin Patrick O’Connor
“The Last Punk Standing” is an ongoing series spotlighting punk rock in the Phoenix Valley. The first instillation profiles corner stone figures within the Phoenix Punk scene, the Glass Heroes. The Glass Heroes have been in the valley for over 20 years and have defined themselves with an unforgettable classic, street punk sound. They are currently working on their new album “Liars, Cheats and Thieves.” This is the first segment of a two part series following the band. Enjoy!
“For You” new track off the Glass Heroes forthcoming album “Liars, Cheats and Thieves”
If you are a band wanting to participate in this project, please send me an e-mail:
Learning all of the tips and tricks of music production and sound design is one thing, but knowing how to market yourself and make money is a completely different beast. David Campose shares his thoughts on how to market yourself in his clip “fake it until you make it.” Sage advice.
For more tutorials, visit Computer Recording Software.
Regardless of what system you are using, reverse reverb is a useful mixing technique that can produce an element you can use when breaking down a scene. Composer David Campos breaks down how to construct a reverse reverb effect.
For those of you who are interested in music production, I recommend that you check out David Campos’ blog Computer recording Software.
The third step to sound designing a film is creating the edit. Up to this point, you have met with the director and established the theme, collected your sound effects and are now ready to make some sonic magic. Here are three things to consider while editing:
1. Sound Basics
Before you begin editing it helps to have a general idea of what “sound” is:
These are important concepts to grasp as many of your editing plug-ins, like equalization and pitch shift, function off of the manipulation of these elements.
For the underground sound designer you can get by with using any non-linear editing system (Avid, Final Cut Pro 7 or Adobe Premiere) to create your mix.
If you want to get serious, I recommend upgrading to a sound-editing program like Pro Tools or Logic Studio. This will streamline your workflow and give you more room to edit, not to mention a vast array of audio plug-ins. Rounik Sethi compares Avid Pro Tools 9 (which has since upgraded to v.10) to Sony Logic Studio 9.
Invest in a good set of speakers. I find it best to mix on external speakers as opposed to using headphones. Headphones can enhance subtle details in your mix that may be lost in a larger environment (like a movie theatre).
3. The Edit
The edit is where all of your hard work and planning pays off. Working with a sound-editing program is very similar to the workflow of a standard video editing system. Keith Freund’s reviews the basics to setting up a Pro Tools session in perpetration for recording a voice over.
As you begin the edit process, start off by evaluating the production sound elements from the original edit. If you are working with an editor, have them provide their project as an open media framework file or .omf file. This enables you to manipulate all of the original audio tracks on your edit timeline.
In addition, make sure you are provided with all of the production audio from the set. You can use elements from alternate takes to cover up mistakes on the edit track. Mistakes to look for are background noise, audio clips and mic bumps. Listen for anything that distracts from the action on-screen.
In most cases, the production audio will only serve as a foundation for the mix. You will need to flesh-out the timeline with your recorded sound effects. As you import your sound effects think again about breaking down the sound. Your overall goal is to create a sound space; an interactive environment that carries the audience’s attention.
Below is a clip from Dead Man’s Hand where I had to replace all of the production audio with recreated effects. The advantage with using your own sounds is that you have complete control over their dynamics, but they require more modification to fit the scene.
Take into consideration which sounds you want to layer. This will produce a more believable, dramatic element and is a common practice when mixing. Mark Lampert discusses layering effects based on their frequencies in his edit for the video game The Elder Skrolls V.
For followup commentary on approaching your edit, take a look at these sites:
Don’t forget to check back here for more tips on how to keep your sound design affordable.
This man needs no introduction. Ben Burtt on creating the light saber for Star Wars.