The last article introduced a new sound design tool: Sound Particles. That post presented a quick look at the new granular spatialization software, as well as a bonus interview with its creator, professor Nuno Fonseca of Portugal.

That scratched the surface of the new sound design tool. Want to know more? You’re in luck. Continue Reading…

Sound Particles Screen Shot 1

Imagine you are sitting in the darkness of a mixing theatre. You’re attending a spotting session for a television series. The current episode features a gun battle. The director stops the playback and shares notes for a World War II flashback-style sequence. He is imagining a sound design tableau of explosions.

As the director explains, it begins to dawn on you what he wants: a dramatic swell of hundreds of explosions that surround the listener in a 5.1 soundscape.

You begin planning the edit in your mind. You’ll need to find and cut each explosion, spread them out on dozens of tracks, then pray there’s enough time in the premix to place them around the soundstage.

You glance at the calendar. You feel your stomach drop. The episode is due in two days. You just won’t have enough time.

Thankfully, there’s software that can solve this problem simply and creatively, in only a few minutes. Today I’ll share details about the software and tips for using it, as well as interview with its creator.

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Steam Train

Imagine you walk into work one day and discover you’ve been assigned to edit a television series based in the 1970s. The picture hasn’t arrived yet, so you spend the morning browsing your sound effect libraries. Will you have the proper police sirens, telephone sounds, or vehicle clips suitable for the period?

I had been thinking about this while watching the second season of Fargo. That’s based in the 1970s as well, and I wondered how the editors dealt with cutting authentic sound for that time. We’ll see an answer to that in the coming weeks. For now, though, the concept came with an interesting coincidence. Last week blog reader Martin wrote to me about British sound recordist Peter Handford.

Handford (1919 – 2007) was a pioneer of film sound, having worked with Sidney Lumet, Alfred Hitchcock, and Sydney Pollack. It was his collaboration with the latter director that earned him both a BAFTA and an Academy Award for his work on Out of Africa.

In addition to his mastery of production sound duties, Handford also dedicated his life to a fascinating mission: a urgent race to record the sound of steam trains before they vanished from British railways.

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Best Posts of 2015

Earlier this year I created a series of “best of” posts. The idea was to wrangle the growing amount of posts here on the blog with a snapshot of articles I thought would be the most useful to others.

I released one of these for each year the blog has been live: 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. That managed to catch up on 230 articles and almost 300,000 (!) words.

After all, even though there’s an archive page and a site map, the WordPress blog structure makes it cumbersome to sift through endless columns of posts. It’s also helpful for me to plan sound effects recording, writing, and exploring creativity for the year ahead.

I plan to continue with this tradition by recapping a selection of posts on the last Wednesday of every year. So, today I’ll share a selection of articles picked from throughout 2015.

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Sound Effects Article Roundup 6 - Hero

It’s been a while since I wrote a sound effects article roundup. Here are some articles about sound fx that I found interesting, and you may, too.

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NASCAR Race

Auto racing sound fx are some of the most difficult clips to capture. Last week’s post shared my experiences capturing field recordings at the Honda Indy and the Canadian Grand Prix.

Are you interested in recording sounds at a sporting event? Wondering how to work in a challenging environment? Want to inject personality into sound subjects you don’t control?

Today’s post shares tips for recording your own motorsports sound fx.

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ferrari-957563_1280

Earlier this year, I discovered an excellent field recording opportunity: the Montréal Grand Prix and the Toronto Honda Indy car races landed on two consecutive weekends.

The Formula 1 Grand Prix is one of the most popular sports in the world. With 450 million global viewers, it ranks closely with American football, basketball, and baseball. F1 fans can cheer for drivers, root for their home nations, or pledge fealty to teams such as Ferrari or McLaren. North America’s Road to Indy is a loose equivalent. It is a ladder of increasingly demanding races, each with its own drivers, teams, and car specs or “formulas.” The locations were just as rich in detail: Toronto’s fast-paced, no-nonsense lifestyle contrasted with Montréal’s easy-going feel. While both weekends hosted the same sport, the two events could not be more different.

My thought in June, 2015: why not visit both the F1 and the Honda Indy to compare the car sounds, races, locations, and the experience of field recording these powerful machines? And behind this plan was an idea: could I capture those differences in sound?

I packed my gear and travelled to Montréal.

What did I find at those races? Today’s post shares my experiences capturing sound effects at both of these events using the stealth field recording style. I’ll also share how I mastered and prepped the sounds in preparation for publishing a new sound library.

So, grab a coffee and get ready for a deep dive into an experience field recording auto racing sound effects. Next week, I’ll share quick tips for recording your own race car sound effects.

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Field Recording Type Comparison Hero 2

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about field recording styles lately. I have been writing a new article about a recent field recording mission. It describes how I captured some tricky sound effects. Due to the nature of the shoot, I was forced to work in the stealth field recording style.

I’ll share more about those sound clips next week. However, while writing that article, I reflected upon on how a more conventional field recording style would have affected the shoot and the sound effects I recorded.

I began to write. It became a bit of a meaty post. So, settle in, and join me in exploring the four styles of field recording sound effects.

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Field recording equipment

So, we’ve completed the “A Month of Field Recordists” series. That explored the gear that 26 sound pros prefer. How can you use this info? What equipment is best for you?

Well, it depends on your budget, the features you want, and the sound quality you prefer. So, it’s hard to give a concrete answer.

However, I’ll share some viable options in today’s post, drawn from the wisdom of many of the sound pro’s choices.

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