A Level

  One of the "rooms" in my Wwise Implementation Demo.

One of the "rooms" in my Wwise Implementation Demo.

For the past few months I've been working on my own "level" within Unity, with the intention of gaining a more in-depth knowledge of audio implementation within Wwise, and also game development in general. It's allowed me to learn more about other aspects of game design such as 3D modeling, environment design, lighting, and especially programming (in C#). I've since gotten most of the mechanics down, and now it's time to finally spruce up the whole thing with some sound! I'm excited to hopefully release this soon within the next month or so, and will definitely write a whole blog series about it.

Recording Fireworks

Recording the single firework all the way at the end of the horizon! (just kidding, they were much closer)

Every year on July 4th, some illegal fireworks go off right outside my building, and this year, I remembered to be prepared.

I managed to set up my microphones (Sennheiser MKH 30/40 in a M/S pair) right outside on my balcony, not really knowing if the placement would be ideal enough - but once the party got started, I quickly realized that I missed a very important setting: THE -10dB PAD (thank you Sound Devices limiters!).

After resetting my levels and turning on the pad switch, I let the recorder roll for a good hour. I'm super happy with the results, and I could see these recordings being used as the transient within an explosion, or possibly pitched down for designing a gunshot. Check out a snippet of the recordings below!



Singed Dirt playable via itch.io!

I'm happy to announce that another fine game made by the folks over at the Gamkedo Club is now available to play via itch.io! Singed Dirt, a 3D adaptation of Scorched Earth, contains destructible terrain, LAN/online play, and even an amazing wreck it all Mushboom.

On this project, I was happy to help out on a variety of sounds, from the UI, tank aim/turning, projectile explosions, implementation, and the final Mushboom explosion.

Credit to project lead Jeremy Kenyon and the rest of the team!

Drift Bravely now available on Gamkedo Club!

I recently had the opportunity to join the Gamkedo Club, which is an awesome collective group of game developers around the world, coming together to practice making games! Drift Bravely, an asteroids like game with procedural glitch effects, is now playable at the Gamkedo Github here, or through the Gamkedo website. I'm happy that I was able to contribute to the team as a sound designer and javascript implementation. Also credit to the amazing project lead, Ashleigh Morris, and the rest of the great team!

Spatial Audio Tests & The Reaper Switch

Ok so post GDC 2017 - plenty of things to talk about, but for me one of the main standouts was finally discovering VR/AR audio and it's capabilities. A big factor in this was at the Ossic X event on Tuesday, in which I had a demo exploring the capabilities of their 3D audio headphones. These headphones do a boatload of smart things that I definitely can't explain in detail too well, like head tracking and accounting for the human anatomy, but the takeway was that VR/AR audio is here to stay, and the tech is damn good (and increasingly getting better). Very cool stuff.

Like most people, I came home after GDC with a huge spark of creativity, and being inspired by the immersive demo at the Ossic X event, I figured I'd start diving into the world of spatial audio through linear 360 video.

Coming from a post-production background, Pro Tools has basically been the go to DAW of choice. I'm very comfortable with it, and I still consider it to be my main DAW. But when it came to using the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation to place my sounds within a 3D space, I realized that I needed to do the HD upgrade for the 8 channel ambisonic format. Since I would be doing most of this work on my own free time at home (where I only own a "vanilla" version), that meant I would either have to shell out $999 for a 1-year rental of Pro Tools HD, or find another alternative.

In comes Reaper (aptly with the slogan "Audio Production without Limits"). I knew of Reaper very well from my time spent within the game audio community, but never had a reason to actually try it out. Since Reaper has all of its features under one hood, (including the 8 channel mixing needed for Spatial Workstation), it became a no brainer. Soon enough, within a couple of hours of watching Reaper Mania and The Reaper Blog videos, some nice workflow enhancements from Adam T Croft (The Instant Take Suite, which gives audiosuite like functionality, and the PT Keymap, which maps many PT shortcuts to Reaper), and the awesome people on the Reaper professionals slack channel, I was well on my way.

Using the Spatial Workstation plugin, I felt right at home designing and mixing sounds using my traditional post-production techniques. And with the latest 2.0.0 beta, Facebook introduced the ability to overlay video within their Spatializer plugin (similiar to Audioease's 360pan and 360monitor suite), so that made placing sounds on objects within the video a much easier process. I did find that I had trouble placing objects at a higher elevation - portraying this sense through sound took some experimenting and I'm not sure I've completely figured it out yet, but as a first attempt I think that it was all around a great learning experience.

Thus, here is my first sound design attempt to using spatial audio within a 360 video (I took the video from Youtube, original can be found here). Sound design wise, I know that it could use more work - my creature sounds within my library aren't the greatest, and it took a lot of manipulation with combinations of other animals (dogs, pigs, big cats, etc.) to create most of these sounds. Some of the animations in the video are also a bit sterile, but hey it's a demo! Feedback is always appreciated. And I shouldn't have to say this, but use headphones!

Note: The spatial audio will be decoded to stereo if you're using Safari or the Youtube app on iOS. See this support document for more details.

2 Films to Sundance 2017!

2 films that I had the pleasure of working on, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, and This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this week!

  This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

For both films, I edited production and dialogue, which is always a challenge. Sound is often the last thing being thought about on these docs (for This Is Everything, that meant lots of GoPro footage), and what you have left usually involves a whole lot of clean up (so plenty of iZotope RX-ing!).

Both films should also be making their broadcast debut, with Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman on Discovery, and This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous on Youtube Red.

A Sound Effect Mattia Cellotto Sound Design Contest

I heard about this contest via twitter back in the end of October, and immediately I thought, why not! I've always been a fan of Mattia's field recordings, so why not try my hand at a chance to obtain some great sounds.

My entry into the Mattia Cellotto A Sound Effect Volcano sound design challenge recently won in the "Over the Top" category.

For this contest, the challenge was to design sounds using only the human voice, so naturally I started by putting up a microphone and hitting record. After watching the video a few times, I knew I would need a buildup, explosion, and aftermath elements. I also wanted the recordings to sound (tonality wise) like I had a really bad stomach ache, and I knew that I wanted to put in a few samples of silence before the explosion. After a few layering passes, a beatboxing intro, and some help from good ol' pitch shift, decapitator (for more destruction like qualities), and reverb, I came up with the results above. Enjoy!




Video Game Sound Design Reel

This is my video game sound design reel, made from a compilation of video game clips that I either worked on as a linear sound re-design, or as an implementation demo, in which I took a completed game and implemented my own sounds. Below is my breakdown of my creative process:

Doom 3 Sound Re-design

Doom 3, in my opinion, is one of the best sounding games this 2016, and I knew that in order to pay the respect to the original sound designers, I had to create amazing weapon sounds. Going with a layered approach of SFX recordings from boutique SFX libraries such as The Recordist, I made sure to design each weapon so that each felt powerful, intricate, and fun to shoot.

Zombie and/or monster vocalizations are always a fun sound to re-create, and for all the creatures, I used my own voice with a combination of various delays, reverbs, and pitch shifting plug-ins. (I also used my own voice in a sound design contest here!)

Foley elements included the initial fall (leather jackets combined with heavy boot footsteps), and various hand elements (the grabbing of the zombie at the end).

Roguelike FMOD/Unity Implementation

Roguelike is a 2D survival game based within the Unity game engine. For this project I recorded foley outside on a dirt pit, and later processed the audio using pitch shifting and bit crushing plug-ins. I then implemented the footsteps using FMOD Studio.

Sun Temple FMOD/Unreal Implementation

Sun Temple is a 3D Level based within the Unreal 4 game engine. Here I used a combination of foley (footsteps on tile) and SFX from various libraries to create a convincing 3D soundscape. Implementation via FMOD Studio included triggering footsteps on animations, and object based 3D attenuation (lava pit, torches, and ambience outside).

Watch Dogs 2 Trailer Sound Re-design

A beginning hacking sequence starts off this trailer, where I used a combination of field recordings of various buttons, switches, and start up sounds, layered in with SFX library material. When mixing this piece, I had to be most aware of panning the motorcycle correctly, and choosing which sounds to play up within the mix.

The Northwest Soundscapes Project

The Northwest Soundscapes Project

I'll admit. I'm a sucker for new sound effects. It's like back when I was a teenager, and I always wanted to get the full albums of a new artist I found. Even though I usually only enjoyed a few songs, having the full album felt more complete. And now when it comes to sound effects, I don't just go for singles. I go for the boutique, well packaged, packed with metadata, high-quality sample rate and bit depth, multi-channel effects.

So when I see a kickstarter for a fellow sound designer working on capturing the ambiences of the Northwest the right way, I'm all in! Link is above, I hope you'll contribute as well.

My field-recording kit

Sennhesier MKH 30/MKH40

Back in January of 2015 I made a blog post about my "2014 In Review". Included in that post, I said that one of my goals for the next year was to build a field-recording kit that I would be proud of, and finally call my own. Well the great news is that this goal has been completed! So, here is my full field-recording kit, modeled after the multiple people who have given me their input via forums, podcasts, and first-hand experience.

The Recorder - Sound Devices 702T

The Microphones - Sennhesier MKH 30/MKH40

The Wind Protection - Rycote Stereo Windshield Kit AE

The Bag - Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack (Large)

The Stand - Manfrotto 5001B Nano Light Stand

More pictures to come, above is a quick one of the M/S setup out of their protective rycote :)

And some recordings posted below:

Bescherming: A Story of Sisterhood and Survival

Indiegogo: Bescherming: A Story of Sisterhood and Survival

Bescherming: A Story of Sisterhood and Survival, is the story of a Jewish girl in WWII Holland and the Christian family who risked their lives to protect her. I recently helped work on the trailer above, and they are currently seeking funds via Indiegogo to make the full documentary film. Share, donate, and help support!

2014 In Review

It's been awhile since I've last posted, and this is a pretty late "in review/end of year" post. But here it is anyway.

The end of last year arrived and came by quickly, and with it came a whole slew of new projects. Near the end of 2014, I started a new job as an assistant at an audio post-production facility. Finally at the position that I've worked for since college, I've learned a crazy amount in just the few months that I've been here. I also dialogue edited my first feature, worked on some great animation projects (one of which is doing very successful on the festival circuit), and completed my first 5.1 mix.  I saved up a whole lot of cash, and just recently bought a new computer that blows my old MBP out of the water.

With the new year I hope to continue learning and obsessing over sound, recording, editing, sound design, and mixing. A few goals on my mind so far:

  • Save up and buy a professional, high quality, field recording kit. This includes a Sound Devices 7-series recorder, a pair of M/S microphones (Sennheiser MKH series), and possibly a shotgun mic.
  • Continue doing all film work in a 5.1 format. Stereo only for smaller projects.
  • Save up and buy the few plug-ins I actually use and need.
  • Network, network, network.
  • Start gaining the trust to run the smaller sessions at work.
  • Do something sound related out of the field of post-production audio. Maybe music, maybe game audio?
  • Lastly, continue to appreciate the value of friends, family, and loved ones. I know this sounds cliche, but seriously, it's very true.

To 2015, let's hope it's a good one!


The Medieval Weapons Sound Effects Library Kickstarter

I just backed up a sweet Kickstarter that's been making a buzz on the audio blogs lately - The Medieval Weapons Sound Effects Library. Back for more from the makers of The Firearms Sound Library, you can make any donation as small as $1 to receive the full sound library, which is basically a no-brainer deal. These will definitely come in handy on my next project, which is a period piece set to take place during the Irish War of Independence.  Check out the video above for more info, and pledge a few dollars to their cause!