Jump to content

Great video on sound design at NY Times!

Jay Rose

Recommended Posts

NYT goes to Skywalker Sound and explores what a sound designer does... a brilliant explanation for civilians.






Plenty of screen time for full talking head quotes - not just soundbites - by Randy Thom and Steve Boeddeker. Nicely edited, with decent b-roll over the cuts.


A couple of nice dissolves between production sound and full mix... without someone needlessly telling us "this is before and after".


Even a pan across a couple of Nagras, for sentimental value.


But none of the cliches:


NO shots of cartoon voice actors with mortises of their animated characters!

NO shots of walking foley (or scraping metal for sword fights, etc)!

NO shots of a gigantic console in a darkened rerecording stage, just because it's sexy!

Yeah, those are all important... but everybody's already seen them in every "making of" docy.



Worth watching and spreading around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

JD, consider that most of the people viewing that video think "soundtrack" means the music, and that everything else happened on the set.


They had only a limited amount of screen time, so had to limit it to one message: soundtracks are designed and created in post, by people who specialize in this kind of perception.  (e.g., those of us on this board.)


I strongly suspect there's at least one major area Randy would have liked to include if it were possible. (I didn't ask him whether they were in the interview and cut by the producer, or if he limited himself to make it easier for them to edit.) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course I'd like an in depth hour and a half film about the subject



http://www.dplay.com/aes/filmsound.html      TRT is 106 minutes, but it's in two halves and further broken into chapters.



More about technical issues than creative ones, and aimed at SMPTE / AES members rather than film sound people, 

and of course just one guy's opinions...


…and nowhere near the Randy Thom level...


but there's a cartoon at the end!




From the summary:


The voices in movies usually sound pretty good. So good that, to people who understand audio, they seem impossible.


* How does Hollywood record actors so cleanly, with everything else

going on and no visible microphones?

* Why don’t background noise and room acoustics interfere?

* Most scenes are shot in multiple takes, with a single camera

that’s moved to various positions: How can the voices and backgrounds stay

so consistent, start to finish and shot to shot, even through scenes that

took hours to set up and shoot?


Surprisingly, the answer usually isn’t ADR or “looping”

(recording the actors’ voices separately in a studio). ADR is sometimes

necessary or tolerated, but it’s frowned upon by film sound professionals

and most actors. Mainstream films use a very high percentage of actual

production audio, recorded in tiny pieces through multiple shots.

Technology doesn’t come to the rescue either. Other than a few adaptations

for field use or speed, the equipment and software used in film sound is

very similar to that found in a music studio.

Directional microphones have their own problems, and the very directional

ones don’t sound natural. Noise reduction software that can actually isolate

human speech is still a dream.


The real trick? Carefully specialized technique, a workflow that’s based on

decades of sound filmmaking and being constantly tweaked…

and a little smoke-and-mirrors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...