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Topic: everything about sound designers

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  1. #1

    everything about sound designers

    Well, I\'m very curious... what\'s the role of a sound designer in a game? So every sound is concerned, exept the music. Here are a couple of questions I am asking myself and hopefully some of you experienced audio guys can help me out:
    - Are composers for games most of the time sound designers as well?
    - What tools do sound designers use - libraries of sounds, self created electronic sounds, recorded sounds in a studio or outdoors?
    - Are the sounds manipulated afterwards (slowered down, filtered etc)?
    - Does the sound designer also create all voices?
    - Are they recorded in his studio?
    - Do the sound designer hire himself actors for the job?
    It would be great to hear some info,
    Markus.

  2. #2

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Hello Markus,
    Hope I can help out with some answers to your questions. I can relate my experience as a sound designer/composer, however, results may vary.
    1. In my case, yes. I was originally hired as a composer, but was asked to do sound design as well. I did it gladly, and enjoy that aspect just as much as composing.
    2. All of the above. I have a remote recording setup, a small booth for VO, instruments etc, and a ton of libraries and samplers. They all come in very handy.
    3. Absolutely. I use pitch shifting for sound design more than any other single plugin. Processing is extremely usefull and part of an important component if you plan on keeping your sounds original.
    4. I don\'t do voices very often, although I know that there are many that do.
    5. I do record VO work in my studio as well as others. Sometimes it\'s done via a phone patch from a remote location if it\'s not worth the trip across country for the talent.
    6. I often line up the actors, do the auditions and casting, though on some jobs I have nothing to do with VO at all.
    Hope that helps.
    Tim

  3. #3

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Yes, it happened also to me when i had the job to do music for a game and they asked me if i could do sound effects and other ambience stuff.

    of course i said yes because i had some experience and practicing before. usually it\'s really funny because for some or many noises, there is no sample at hand, so you have to record it manually.

    so it apprears that you use sample cds but most time you record stuff on your own. my setup is not really big, i just have a sony ecm 717 stereomic and a sony minidisc player, with some editing etc you get really good results...

    sometimes you can do kinda like foley fx, you setup a mic and just do what the character in the cutscene does.

    i also think on huge and very big project you need two guys, a composer and a sfx guy, but its always pretty good and helpful to do both and get experience in both categories, because:

    1. you learn and know how to take care about sfx when you do music and the other way round

    2. you get more money [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Hi Tim,
    nice to meet you! Great job the soundtrack of URU (just downloaded it from your web site). And thank you, exactly the kind of reply I was looking for!

    Hi Alex,
    thank\'s for replying. It\'s interesting what you are saying, if I get you right, you mostly go outside and \"catch\" noises you are looking for in the real world? Isn\'t it a problem to \"isolate\" a noise for a game? Aren\'t there too many \"parasit\" noises?

  5. #5

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Isn\'t it a problem to \"isolate\" a noise for a game? Aren\'t there too many \"parasit\" noises?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">You\'d be surprised what a little mixing and leveling can do. You should try to be as careful as possible when recording outdoors, but generally after you\'ve edited the sound to fit the animation or your intended use, mixed it and placed it in the game, the noise is inaudible. Try to keep your source files as clean as you can however, as sometimes if you start layering sounds, noise can build up as well. I\'ve had pretty good luck with all the sfx I record. I have a DAP-1 and a LunaTek mic pre to keep it as clean as I can.

  6. #6

    Re: everything about sound designers

    right, i think tim already mentioned all you have to take care of.

    sometimes i go outside to record some specific stuff. so for one game i had to record a horse-wagon/cattle with canvas which is drivin over a stone and then goes on. so you wont definitely find a sample which is like this situation, so i went outside into the garage and recorded our cupboard which is filled with all these little things you have in a garage cuboard (little boxes, cans, tools etc.)
    so you get the sound of the rumbling of the wagon when it hits the stone by pulling or pushing against the cuboard.
    then i took an old wagon wheel we had in our garden. so i took it and drove around with it, over stones and on the street etc. after that i did some background recordings like shaking a canvas to get the noise of wind on the wagons canvas. then i mixed everything together and edited it to the cutscene and the result was really amazing, you layer so many noises and you get the exact noise what a horse wagon does when it humbles or drives over a stone [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    you always have to cut down a situation to details and small noises, because every ongoing noise or \"acoustic\" situations has its contents.

    so imagine a mineworker: he is breaking stones, digging for ore or gold or whatever. so the noise you hear are several small situations like moving feet, stones falling down and the pick hits the stone wall or rocks or whatever. if you record every noise on its own and later you mix it together, put some reverb on it and you get a cool result of a mineworker in a goldmine etc [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    hope this helped...

  7. #7

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Hi Tim and Alex,
    thanks for the great instructions, it certaily helps a lot! (hehe, alex, cool story with the wheel). I think it\'s passionating to create such sound enviroments but also very time consuming. Shouldn\'t it be a profession for itself? Is it really rare somebody \"only\" composes the music of a game and somebody else only the sounds?

  8. #8

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Great discussion guys!

    Markus....if you want lots of info on this kind of stuff, I totally recommend \'The Complete Guide to Game Audio\' by Aaron Marks. It covers all this kind of thing, and a whole lot more.

    You can get it at Amazon, and it\'s a hugely informative and lively read.

    Steve

  9. #9

    Re: everything about sound designers

    I\'m really enjoying this disscussion!

    Thanks Steve Rees for the recommendation on the book. I just did quick goggle search and read a few reviews on the book. And I\'m definitely going to be buying it! It seems like the perfect book for me.

    Originally I wanted to do both music composition and sound effects for games. However over the last year music composition has truely taken me! But now with this discussion I\'m really thinking I should do both. I have no problem with recording and editing sounds. But it must be hard to create realistic sounds that fit well enough into a game... I guess I should give it a go!

  10. #10

    Re: everything about sound designers

    Originally posted by TLarkin:
    I have a DAP-1 and a LunaTek mic pre to keep it as clean as I can.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">It\'s an interesting time for field recording equipment. Solid state recorders are really just starting to come through, and become cost effective and practical.

    I\'ve been on the verge of getting a DA-P1 for a while, but here\'s something that\'s been holding me back..........

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--MARPMD670

    It\'s the old \'do you stick with tried and tested technology or dive into the new technology\' connundrum.

    I\'m hoping in the next few months some alternatives to the Marantz come out for comparison. Weird thing about the Marantz is I\'ve seen quite a few positive reviews by individuals, but none of the big pro audio magazines have reviewed it yet (it\'s been out at least 6 months ish).

    I\'d be very interested in hearing from anyone who\'s tried this new technology out for themselves.

    Steve

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