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Tutorial: Create Your Own ORTF Field Microphone Protractor

Here’s how to create your own custom ORTF field protractor that contains both 110 degrees and 17cm.

1. Download the docx file.

9. Rec.

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Poll: Field Recorder Shootout

My good friend Michel Marchant, sound design guru,  has built a fantastic portable recording rig. This allows him to simultaneously record with up to four devices. He sent me files about a week ago and asked that I identify my favorite one. He allowed me to share them and see what the community thinks!

After listening to the audio files below, select your top recording in the poll. After voting click here to look behind the curtain.





How It Is Sometimes

Stacked sounds,
. organized chaos,
. . assembled emotion,
. . . controlled space,
. . . . cued subtleties,
. . . . . tone generated,
. . . . . . caffeinated creation,
. . . . . . . amplified illusion,
scripted salutation,
. planned panned,
. . earned reward,
. . . emulated simulation,
. . . . auditory arrow,
. . . . . troubleshooted reward,
. . . . . . stumbling possibility,
. . . . . . . subconscious strike,
making believe.

Ambience (/ˈambēəns/) Transition Test

Ambience is the blurring of designed emotion and reality, evoked through your subconscious.

The ability to create a parallel reality without questioning the origin or intention is a unique opportunity. As sound designers, we’re sonic architects with the ability to shape whatever emotion we chose. For game audio it is no longer a technical limitation, but a creative leap.

An ambience transition test… the concept is capturing a location without context. In post, conduct the emotion through processed elements and slowly introduce the locations actual sound. The equivalent to fading from black & white to color.

Specs:
Stereo 24bit / 96KHz
Fostex FR2
Rode NT4

Recorded in Lachine (Google Maps)

The Awkward Shootout: XY vs MS

At Funcom we have access to a few microphones that cover our general recording needs. I’m putting some of them to the test to see what options and combinations can be used in the field. I chose two locations that have distinct tones to try and capture the microphones characteristics. Why awkward? Well it’s not the usually suspects when it comes to shootouts specifically MS. Let’s have a listen!


Location 1 – Recorded off of Ste-Catherine street west, between Bishop and Mackay Street. (Google Maps)
0:00 XY – RØDE NT4
1:02 MS  – RØDE NTG3 (mid) AKG 414 (side)


Location 2 – Recorded in the Funcom office at 1440 Ste-Catherine street west (Google Maps)
0:00 XY – RØDE NT4
1:02 MS  – RØDE NTG3 (mid) AKG 414 (side)

Conclusion: One of the reasons people use MS recording technique is because of the wide stereo image. These examples also show how narrow the NT4 is, small compromise for a portable stereo solution. I also really like the frequency response of the MS kit, nice full and round. Let me know if you put together an uncommon MS kit would love to hear it!

24 Hour Day Cycles

FieldThe concept of recording and using proper day periods within a video game world has always attracted me. By proper I mean capturing a locations actual 24 hour cycle, as opposed to recreating typical soundscapes in post. It’s a concept that’s not always feasible because a) the time required to record and b) library material not always containing same locations at different times of day.

Roomtone is roomtone no matter what time. You may choose to add occluded traffic if in a city apartment, but generally you can build it in post-production. When it comes to forests, jungles, cities, mountains, etc the time of day influences the tone and believability. Mostly through wild life, insects, wind intensity and distant sounds.

This past weekend I decided to test out this concept. I grabbed some gear and hiked outside a small village near Quebec city called St-Antoine-De-Tilly (about 2h30 drive from Montreal). I recorded in four different locations at four different times of day: 5AM, 11AM, 5PM, 11PM. This allowed to build a small library of forest sounds throughout a 24h cycle. An interesting analogy is the way my voice timber changed throughout the day while slating location and time… similar to the way the environment did!

Now that I have my sounds recorded and edited let’s see how we can put these sounds to use in some game audio! Excerpts below.

Specs:
Stereo 24bit / 96KHz
Fostex FR2
Rode NT4

Creating a Creature: 3 Samples… 2 Tricks… 1 Warcry!

Creating A CreatureWhile editing the 9th floor drones recording, I realized they had a distinct  tonal element… nearly a vocal-like below and I wanted to use the sound as inspiration to quickly create a creature warcry.

Ingredients:
– 1x Human vocal
– 1x Horse whine from The Recordists soundcloud Crazy Horse sample (thanks for hooking it up!)
– 1x Mechanical drone (stereo)

[Special note] Melodyne was used to pitch match the three elements. A trick I discovered that works well to help mesh multiple vocal sounds together. And a snapshot using iZotopes x-noise was taken from the vocal tracks and applied against the drone as a type of inverse equalization. Here are the samples from raw to final mix:

Unedited Samples

Edited Samples

Pitch Shifted Samples

Full Mix

Do you have any tricks for creature vocal? Feel free to share in the comments!