• Charles Breach

Term 1 - Week 2 - Sound Design

We played around with adding sound to footage this session. First being introduced to Adobe Audition, a digital audio workstation, and a relatively simple program to use, and I was quickly acquainted with the work flow it presented. We played around with different methods of altering the audio, such as adding reverb, changing pitch, reversing the audio, and so on. We then practised these things by removing the sound track from a clip of The Iron Giant, and creating our own using sounds from the university's audio library, which are free for us to use in any way we like in other projects. The clip entailed the Iron Giant's rampage after having his new state of mind clouded by his original programming and purpose, incited by the US army blindly attacking him. The audio library doesn't present the WIDEST range of clips, so we had to get quite creative with altering what we had to sound like those that would come from a giant robot, which in some cases I found fairly tough. The library includes some pretty decent electrical, motor, and servo noises, which when pitched down I found worked fairly well for creating the sound of movement in the Iron Giant, although I think they can easily become overpowering and slightly obnoxious sounds, not befitting of something as awesome as the Iron Giant. These sounds are fairly prevalent in the early stages of my clip, where I was still exploring the sounds the library had, and how I could utilise them. There are some fairly complex movements in this clip, such as the initial manifestation of the Iron Giants right arm cannon, where it must unfold from his forearm. I went through a couple iterations of this section of sound, and it was easy to over complicate it, adding many dominant sounds at once, however the best outcome I found consisted of a fewer sounds, in quick succession, rather than overlapping (although I don't deny that overlapping sounds is definitely useful in some cases, simply in this case it didn't seem right). I used a pitched down car door opening for the initial movement backwards of his hands, which created a satisfying click, and the other sounds are pitched down servos and motors. The actual powering up of the canon does overlap the other sounds, and builds up from nothing until it overpowers the other sounds and fires. This sound was a pitched down 'electrical noise', with a long fade in, and a quick fade out.

I found it hard using the resources we had to create a believable canon explosion. I tried a couple things like pitching it down, and giving it some reverb to make it sound like it was coming from a big alien robot, but it doesn't quite hit the mark. I also found it difficult creating the explosion once the canon hit, for which I simply used the same sound again but pitched slightly differently, although I think perhaps the initial canon shot should end more suddenly, and the explosion upon hit, extended, like the initial shot is contained, and the explosion of course omni-directional.

Now that I look at it, I think the sound from the second canon powering up should be switched with that of the first, as the first one seems more projectile based, and the second one visual buzzes with energy, where the sound I placed for the second canon sounds more analogue, like a turbine (probably because I used the jet engine powering up sound from the library). I was quite pleased with the sounds I added for the second canon's electrical orb projectile. I used a record scratch to create the creeping sound as it flies towards and encompasses the tank, and a jet flying past as it dissipates. I think I definitely nailed the sound of the orb dissipating. It could use perhaps some more low end, as the sounds presently are in the higher end, and low frequency sounds would create something more ominous in the orb.

I worked a little bit on his transformation into a truly menacing giant robot, as short as this section was before I stopped working on it, I think the sounds worked fairly well for the may moving parts. These again were sounds like a car door opening/closing, or a camera shutter, or a servo, all pitched down.

I found this video of Foley Artists who create sound for Warner Bros. Studio. The process is relatively simple, that the Foley Artists create sound to fit what is happening on screen, and this doesn't necessarily entail using the same paraphernalia that is on screen. Like is displayed in the video, a glove with paperclips taped to the finger tips can be used to imitate a dogs paw step, and this concept has no end, all it takes is learning what the real thing sounds like, then experimenting with whatever you can find to try and recreate this sound. The minimum requirement for this kind of work is owning a microphone (and the software and other technology this entails), and two items that can impact each other, the limit from there is beyond the sky. This could very easily be carried out by anyone, a phone for instance would have the microphone necessary, should you have the money to own a phone or anything else that could constitute a microphone. Then again, it would certainly help to own a huge studio full of props, with industry standard technology, and a budget provided by Warner Bros. Studio, but out of the many industry level things you could get into, it seems playing with Foley would be perhaps one of the cheaper and easier ones to have as a hobby, that is my theory at least.

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