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Rasmus Jürs
Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 14, 2012 at 12:47:22 pm

Is there a place like Lynda.com or maby a dvd series that covers sound effects mixing.

All i have found so far are how to do it tecnically (which buttons to push and so on). But im more interrested in the creative side of it.

I prefere video training to books and written tutorials.


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Klim Levene
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 14, 2012 at 7:22:56 pm

I've got a similar problem. I want to get more in depth into sound design but can't find any training for it online, also preferably in video form.
All I can find it song mastering/production... not what I want. I want focused and in-depth training of sound design for commercials/film.


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Ty Ford
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:35:49 pm

Hi Folks,

Sound design is the opposite of plug and play. There are no rules. That makes it difficult to write or speak about.

I try to think about it as a cross between photographic and music composition. In photography, composition is about foreground, midground and background, what's in the frame and where. What's in focus and what's out of focus.

In music composition, it's about the arrangement of instruments, their individual parts, how they combine and layer. In music production, the addition of reverb and echo can smear and stretch the sound.

So begin thinking about the space in stereo or in surround - this is your two or three dimensional canvas. Also begin thinking about the frequencies of sounds - these are your paints.

And, to a certain extent, you're right; you can't get much while reading about it. It's sort of like glass blowing. You also can't get very far watching someone else do it. You have to play with it.

Think outside the box; taking a sample of sound and slow it down or speed it up until it sounds like something else. Learn to think about what a sound will sound like when sped up or slowed down so you can do it in your head as you compose.

The thought process is this. Does this need sound design? What do I want it to make the viewer feel? e.g. happy, sad, terror, sympathy, you name it. Will a simple, single sound do it? Do I need sounds, music or both?

Layering can be complex, requiring attention to the background, midground and foreground, or just one or two of these.

Placement from left to right also requires attention, depending on on what else is going on with dialog.

How's that?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader.


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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rosh kadri
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 5:49:27 am

What TY said, who was one of the first to provide me with tips and i ended up doing all the sound editing and surrounding mastering myself for the big screen.....right at home.

Additional tips can be found at the filmsound.org, read (roughly) the basics first, for instance what sounds are compromised of and it's essential to learn tips on pitch, frequency, dynamics etc.

Then dig in and experiment away, try blending sounds, reversing, pitch shifting, be creative and inventive and over time you will develop a certain style, there are some rules regarding levels and meters but most if it is pure creativity.


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Peter Groom
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 12:07:15 pm

HI, Ill add

There are 3 aspects to this.
1) The equipment and technology. As someone who is mixing a programme/film/track, its to be expected that you have a complete understanding of the technology in front of you. That is taken for granted. Its 1 of the things that qualifies you to sit in the chair rather than your grandad.

2) The technical delivery spec. This will differ widely across different places you will need to deliver to so it is your responsibility to find out and deliver to that correct spec.

3) The hardest one. Turn on your ears. You cant expect to make a soundtrack if your ears arent fully turned on. They need to hear the world and be able to hear all the components that go into a mix. Thats not to say your ears are any better than the next man, Theyre not, they will hear the same but listen differently. Only by cultivating an attention to detail beyond sensible will you be able to fully hear your mixes, and then time, experience etc will tell you waht is good and bad. When it is perfect, and when it can be bettered. And an understanding of programme styles, listening environments, audience types will help you blend all the items in 3 to make a good mixer.

When your out, dont go to the shops, listen to the atmos, to the music from the shop doorway and how it changes, to its eq, to voices close and at a distance, cars, how tvs sound in the room and out of ite etc etc. By listening to everything closely you build up good repeatable pictures in your mind that will help you when mixing in the studio.
Dont listen to music. Listen to the eq on the echo of the snare!
The width of the keys and where they are in the mix, and how that blends with the others sharing the same space.

I go to the cinems and miss completely crucial lines of plot and dialogue that mean the whole film makes no sense. Why? Because i was listening to the rear surround effects and what was in them and how they moved and the eq and the the the.......
Film over. What a waste of £15.

Enjoy the field.Its a rich playground.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 1:32:01 pm

Thanks for the nod, Rosh,

I was once asked to do an audio production that paralleled Jackson Pollack, the painter known for throwing and splattering paint on his canvasses. I needed the splat sound. I didn't have paint and didn't think that would work anyway. In thinking about something I could heave at a thin board that would resonate and give me a good splat, I chose yogurt. Pudding would probably have worked.

I wrote a story for Millmeter Magazine a number of years ago about a Foley artist. Sadly, I can't remember his name and he's moved on. He was doing cop shows, Xena and other prominent shows and movies. I went to his garage studio. He had rings of shelves around the walls on which were the weirdest collection of household objects. His favorite at the time was a baby carriage he lifted from someone's trash heap. When twisted it created a symphony of squeaks that he used for everything from ambulance stretchers and gurneys to who knows what.

Here's a piece I wrote for Millimeter about Charles Deenen's work:

Audio Outside the Box: Breaking the Rules to Get Bigger Sound

Ty Ford

Sep 1, 1999 12:00 PM

Given Charles Deenen's field recording gear-HHB PDR1000 DAT, Apogee AD1000 mic pre-amp and A/D converter, Neumann RSM 191 stereo shotgun, KMR 81i, and Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic-you would probably expect to see his credits on documentaries and on feature film sound design projects. Although that may happen soon, his gig for the last 16 years has been recording, editing, and producing audio for computer games. For almost the last decade he has been at Los Angeles-based Interplay Entertainment, discovering how certain types of audio grunge make things sound bigger on pint-sized speakers. Deenen says these discoveries have not gone unnoticed. EFX Systems used a similar approach to create big sounds for the Mortal Combat II and Blade films.

Working within limitations unheard of by most film and video sound people, Deenen started by getting the most out of early consumer systems like the Commodore 64, with only 8K or 16K of memory for sounds. "Back then, to play a note, you'd type in a value, length, and turn byte by hand. These days playback systems are usually 16-bit with a lot more memory. Interplay now produces sounds on a full 5.1 studio using a Euphonix CS2000 console and a staff of 10 people."

Working in a minimalist environment forced Deenen to come up with unorthodox ways to make sounds bigger. "If your ear hears a really loud sound it starts to distort in a specific way, which tells the brain it's loud. If you use a good limiter, the sound won't change, but the perception is that there is loudness. Add a specific type of distortion to this, and your ear believes it's a loud sound. Finding that distortion took us a really long time."

The search led Deenen to uncommon ways of using the processing gear, including the use of compressors and limiters in parallel side-chains instead of in a series. "We layer those processed sounds with the unprocessed sound. We use an Aphex Studio Dominator II in parallel and a Sony F7. There's an algorithm in the Sony that does a particular kind of soft clipping that helps us get our sound. The Apogee AD1000 A/D converter has an analog soft clipper that, when overloaded tremendously, gives sounds a certain distortion quality. TASCAM DA-88s, when overloaded, give a certain distortion to a sound. The Lexicon PCM80 effects box can also be used to distort in a useful way."

EQ is also crucial to the mix. Deenen says until recently he made his team monitor on the cheapest Radio Shack speakers available because they reproduced nothing under 200Hz. "That keeps you from relying on low end to make an effect sound big. We use a GML 8200 high-end mastering equalizer. Cheaper equalizers just turn sound to mud."

Some of Deenen's other tricks include putting Barcus Berry contact mics (used for micing acoustic guitars) on train rails while recording approaching trains and using his Sony TCD-D 1000 portable DAT machine with Sonic Studios' miniature, head-worn, stereo condenser mics to get surreptitious ambiences at public places. He has also strapped the rig on "Chili" his chihuaha/mini-pincher to record some of its stranger sounds for future projects.

Reach Ty Ford at http://www.tyford.com


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Ty Ford
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 1:40:40 pm

Here's another story from my Millimeter Magazine archive;

Lobster Foley
Ty Ford
Oct 1, 1999 12:00 PM

The thing about three-foot-long lobsters crawling around on the bottom of the ocean off the coast of New England is they don't really make much noise. That's what the three-man team from Producer's Video in Baltimore found after listening to the location sound tracks for the one-hour Discovery documentary tentatively titled Realm of the Lobster, directed by Clarita Berger for Nick Caloyianis Productions. "We thought some of the actual sound of the boats on the surface would be useable, but the outboard motor covered the sound of everything else," explains senior audio engineer Bob Bragg. "We also realized that we needed to create sound for every minute of the show." For second engineer Rob Johnson, a certified diver, that meant donning a wetsuit, jumping into the water, and dodging 30-mile-an-hour winds blowing at Loch Raven Reservoir and the Gunpowder River to record more water sounds.

The two found that the standard tool for underwater recording-the hydrophone-lacked character and high-end frequency response. That meant using studio mics under water, where they're not meant to be. After a 15-minute conversation about condoms with a pharmacist in Baltimore, Bragg was rea dy to buy. "Due to the size of the microphones, we ended up going with Trojan Magnums and regulars, unlubricated, of course. We thought about the larger female condoms, but they're all lubricated, so we couldn't use them."

Next Bragg discovered that high-end condenser mics weren't the best choice under the sea. "This was an adventure in discovery for us," he admits. "In the open water, there was so much low end that we couldn't use the condenser mics. We ended up using an old dynamic EV mic that was once used for announcements at Navy Football games at the U.S. Naval Academy. It's so old that the model number markings have worn off. That and an EV RE50 worked the best."

Composer and sound designer Ned Boyle, the third man on the team, heard more in the sounds than Bragg and Johnson. "At first the sounds were not very impressive," Boyle says. "With a Kurzweil 2500SX sampling keyboard, I created a lot of different loops, all of which had different lengths. Then I EQ'd and filtered them. There's a lot to consider. You have to deal with depth of water, how fast it's moving, and how fast what's in it is moving. For the water mix, I panned five different looped layers across the stereo spectrum to get the right complexity of sound. Suddenly you felt as though you were underwater."

With the water sounds in place, the team turned to the individual fish and lobster Foley. "We Foleyed every step of every lobster. We spread peanut shells, sea shells, and sand on a sheet of Sonex, creating a mini Foley pit," says Bragg. "Ned's fingers played the part of the lobster steps, walking across the bottom. On those we used a Sennheiser MKH 60 and a Lexicon PCM 80 bandpass program to contour the sound for EQ. We used a Sennheiser MKH 40 above water to capture some of the fish motion sounds. We even had a sound for the way the fins of the tuna breaks the surface of the water as they chase the herring. We found drawing a chopstick through the water in the tank gave us some of the sounds we needed." Sushi anyone? Reach Ty Ford at http://www.tyford.com


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 1:45:47 pm

+1 to what the others have written.

However, looking up at my bookshelf I'd just like to mention Sound Effects: Radio, TV and Film by Robert L Mott (Focal Press 1990). Possibly a bit dated (particularly in technical aspects) today, but I found it really interesting when I was starting out and I got a few helpful ideas from it.


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Ty Ford
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:05:34 pm

FOUND IT!

Ossama Khuluki was the Foley artist. Great guy.

The article was Millimeter, August, 1998.

Check this out.





Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Ty Ford
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:23:06 pm

And, even though I think this publisher is violating my copyright by publishing my story from 1998 in Millimeter under another imprint and without permission or payment, here is that story.

Foley Freedom: Long-distance Foley Telecommuting- No Traffic Jams, No Problems
As you drive through the quiet, impatiens-planted residential neighborhoodof Vienna, Virginia (on the southwest rim of the Washington D.C. beltway),you would never imagine what occurs behind the walls. It is here, insideOssama Khuluki's facility, that the mighty boots of Xena and Herculesregularly stomp around on his custom-built Foley stage. Khuluki is, ineffect, "Digital Sound & Picture East" doing all the Foley for bothprograms, television, and feature films.

Syrian-born Khuluki originally wanted to find a better environment than LosAngeles in which to raise his family. After scouting Vancouver, Miami, andOrlando for postproduction facilities in need of Foley work and findingnone, Khuluki came to the D.C. area on the suggestion of a friend.

"I visited for 15 days. They had better schools. Disney was trying to opena theme park near the Manassas battlefields. The community rejected Disney,and I thought, 'That's the kind of place I want to be.' I packed, sent myfamily, and started looking in magazines for information about the moviesand postproduction facilities in this area."Calls to facilities in the Baltimore/Washington area were uneventful. "Westarted with the postproduction facilities to see if we could rent a roomor an existing stage. The closest match was Rodel in downtown Washington.It's a beautiful place, but we couldn't figure out how to make their spacework for us."

Khuluki had been working with John and Nancy Ross at DS & P in Los Angeles."John said he would supply the equipment if I would build the stage. I'dbeen struggling with this for four years. We had been renting in the D.C.area. I told my wife, 'We have to go back to L.A.' My wife and son wentback for 23 days. The streets and schools were still bad. Even beforeopening the moving boxes, I decided to come back to Virginia again. I said,'John, how about if I buy property and build a stage?' He said, 'Noproblem.' We moved again in November of last year, and I began work here inMarch."

Khuluki points to the Fairfax County Home Occupation License on his wall."I'm licensed to work here. This is DS & P East. It's very quiet. Mybusiness creates no local traffic except for Carl Moller and C.W. Jones,the recorders and mixers. Here, I can be flexible with their schedules. Idon't have problems with deadlines. I work day and night if I have to. Thatway, when the phone rings, I'm ready."

Traditionally, Foley artists work as a team, but Khuluki worked solo forthe first five years of his career-as he does now. "Having one person callthe shots is better. And the digital technology allows one person to do thewhole thing making layers when necessary."

Khuluki's stage consists of a 16x10x78-foot control room and a 20x16x9-footFoley stage suspended and isolated from the main structure. The recordingrig is a Neumann U 87, Sennheiser 416 (with a Neumann KMR 82 in the comingnear future), ART two-channel tube mic preamp, AD-500 Apogee A/D converter,a Peavey PC 1600X MIDI Command Station Mixer, Pro Tools running on a9500/132 Power Mac, and Alesis Monitor 2 monitors. "We get audio andpicture on a CD and a hard disk. We feed it to the computer, do the job.Then we burn a CD and Fed Ex it back. We also always have a backup in casethe CD is lost. I used to wait for the tape machines. With the computers,for the first time in 17 years, the machines are faster than I am. Now itwaits for me."

The stage walls are lined with shelves that hold the collection of everydaydevices Khuluki uses to bring the finished audio tracks to life. "I knowthe sounds my pieces make. I can hear the individual parts of a completedeffect before I start; a key ring here, a leather coat, something else overthere. I use my audio memory to choose from my collection."

One does not just take a drive down to the local Foley hardware store fornoisemakers. Collecting the right sound-making devices is a very personalprocess. A Champion Way-To-Go II baby stroller sagging from age and missingone front wheel is the queen of Khuluki's collection.

"She is in every show I've done, that lady. She can be so many things: agurney, a bed, a stroller, a wagon. We were driving in my new Volvo. I sawher in the trash. I stopped, backed the car up, put my jacket and tie on,and got out of the car. My wife said, 'What's wrong? Don't, you'llembarrass me.' I said, 'No that's my living there.'" With some gentleprodding, the stroller performed and became part of Khuluki's orchestra.

Telecommuting works well for Khuluki. Going from working four double shiftsa week (8am to midnight) and commuting an hour and a half each way toworking at home and being within earshot of his wife and son is a no-brainer.


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Bob Kessler
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 16, 2012 at 3:43:12 pm

There are lots of books out there to get you pointed in the right direction. Here's a few of my favorites:

Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound - David Yewdall

Sound Design - David Sonnenschein

The Sound Effects Bible - Ric Viers

The Foley Grail - Vanessa Ament

Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures - John Purcell

There are also lots of good videos on YouTube and elsewhere; Ric Viers has quite a few.

Spend some time on FilmSound.org; LOTS of great stuff, especially the interviews and the history.


Once you've gone through these and other books, listened to dozens of films and watched as many videos as you can find, you start working on no-budget projects for free. This gets you started on doing the actual work. The light bulb "a ha!" moment comes when you get to sit next to an experienced professional for a few days.

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Rasmus Jürs
Re: Getting into sound mixing
on Jul 16, 2012 at 6:02:33 pm

Thank you very much, all of you. This has been very helpful.

I thought about taking a movie where the sound design realy comes through. (im thinking Inception and Alien off the top of my head). Also maby studying animation where you know that nothing was "in camera" like the pixar movies.

Btw http://filmsound.org/ looks to be a real gem.


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