Just a quick update that I’ve been working on some of the cinematic audio for Kinect Star Wars. This will be released on 04/03/2012, I’ll post some examples of my work once it’s out. It was a real treat to be working with some of the most iconic and powerful sounds ever created, and helping to contribute with my own designs!
Here is a cutscene work print with a full sound design and mix treatment. This is a stereo fold down of a 5.0 mix. When the players enter this clearing they are supposed to feel like they have reached an oasis amidst the gloom and terror of Mirkwood. Starting off with an open and airy forest ambience helped serve to contrast against the cold, dark background that accompanies Saenathra’s POV. The creature sounds are once again a mix of processed vocalization from me and some animal library source material.
This is one of only two cutscenes from ED:R that is a remake of scenes from the original Evil Dead II movie. Since I’m a big fan of the movies, I really wanted to do this scene justice. I tried to ride the edge of campy and creepy, much as Raimi and Campbell did. Each of the possessed items had their own voice (acted by me and others in the studio) that joined in the chorus of laughter/madness. I used plastic bottle crunches and packing tape screeches to re-create the oddly harsh ratcheting sound of the deer head’s movement. The ending boom was from a series of percussive recordings I made at Fort Wordon, a retired military gun emplacement on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The music was an edit of some sections from an orchestral library, since at this point we didn’t have room in the budget or schedule for a real musical treatment.
Sound Design, character acting, composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII.
Here’s another cutscene work print with a full sound design and mix treatment. There is a magical “temporal” explosion happening in the background while the foreground is primarily dialog and a few SFX. 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII. The vocal treatment for the possessed Yanus was a variation of the pre-verb technique; reversing the content, running the reversed content through some reverb and recording it, reverse the reverb print and playing it back in sync with the original content. This gives a great ‘ethereal’ quality to voices. But I wanted to convey more of a possession or occupied-by-evil sound so I didn’t reverse the original content when I recorded the reverb. The result is that there’s still that reversed reverb sound but also a speaking-in-tongues feel to it.
Sound Design, Foley, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is my mix of the Midway logo movie. I was asked to create an alternate ending for the HD version of the logo. While I was doing that, I was so annoyed by the over-used distorted swooshes that seem to be used for every game publisher logo I decided to remix the whole thing. I wanted to use a wider frequency range so as the logo flies in there’s a low filter sweep bass element and the movement of the individual graphic elements are highlighted by processed knife shwings and whooshes. The ‘Midway’ shake of the logo has some elements in it that allude to some of their more popular titles, but it’s so short it’s hard to pick them out. Regardless, it has an interesting detail that I like.
Sound Design, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is a more subtle mix and sound design example. The graveyard night ambiance is a composite of some field recordings that I did in Eastern Washington. One of the layers is significantly pitched down and the frogs take on a nightmare cow kinda feel. The music is typical of my eerie mood compositions, with the obligatory church bell to connote ‘graveyard’.
Sound design, composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is one of the cutscenes I did for Crystal Dynamics on contract. I did all of these scenes using Sony Vegas so I could transfer them back to the developer and they could render out the scenes for each localized language by replacing the dialog track. This also allowed me to work to rough renders while animators could continue to make tweaks to the scenes and the developers could make any timing adjustments in-house. There were a number of visual FX elements that were not able to be rendered for these work prints so I had to be a bit more imaginative in designing my sounds. This turned out to be rather inspirational for the FX artists and they were creating the visuals to my sounds instead of the other way around.
They provided the raw dialog plus any assets that needed to be the same as the in-game sounds (Spirit Forge background, core Reaver elements). Note the classic ‘pre-verb’ treatment I used on Ariel’s voice to create an ethereal but comforting feel.
Sound design, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is the Evil Dead themed logo movie I did for Cranky Pants Games. I wanted to reinforce the slapstick nature of the scene so I ‘Mickey Moused’ the music to act as the main sound design element. Classic piano scale run up to the impact, and then a vari-pitched synthetic gong patch to mimic the dizzy hand crawling into the hole. Imagine me with paper-clips taped to my fingers to Foley the hand’s movements. The dangling ‘y’ was another collaborative riff that happened between me and the animator. It is always refreshing when I can contribute not only accompaniment but actually help shape the overall creative direction.
Sound design, Foley, composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is an excerpt from an original composition that I did for a gameplay mode where the player posses a midget Deadite. Go figure. I was given “Stand Together ” by the Beastie Boys as inspiration (or rip-off). The original song has a comedic sax loop that sounds more like a clucking chicken, but then it gets more funky and rockin’. I kept the goofy feel but used some funky industrial loops and added a bit of reversed voices and sfx to keep it in the supernatural comedy vibe.
Composition, sound design, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is some typical creepy texture undertone composition that I did for Evil Dead: Regeneration. I wrote about ten pieces for various levels, all very moody and dark. Classic horror movie instrumentation: tremolo strings, ominous kettle drum, flanged background texture, and a little bowed glass patch instead of the traditional waterphone.
Composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII