The winning video
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?
I am a music composer and sound designer from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. I work for the Strategic Music company, where I create music and sound effects for video games and various media projects. In my free time, I work on my own music and record everything interesting with a Zoom H4n portable recorder.
Congratulations on winning the BOOM Library user interface sound design contest. Can you tell us about your process of creating the sounds for the video and what was your initial idea for the sound design?
Thank you. The idea of the contest was very tempting – everybody had to create a full sound design for a video using just a white noise file. It reminded me of demoscene music contests, where all participants received a random text file, and they had to create wonderful music practically out of garbage.
When I watched the video the first time, I noted that for the most part it shows close-ups of the elements of the interface, and you get the full picture only in the end. So, I decided that I want to concentrate on those elements and create a palette of small and precise sounds to blend in a nice mix later. I find sound design very similar to music: to be pleasing, the sounds should be used in the right way and should not interfere with each other, so you could enjoy every detail you can hear.
The first thing I did was to create a list of the sounds I would need: beeps, microscopic movements, clicks, energy-like drones, low end drones, static noise etc. I wanted to create at least 3-4 sounds for each category. For a start, I processed the white noise with bandpass filter at various frequencies, then I took several microscopic snippets of the file and looped them – this provided me with basic material to play with. Then, various plugins went into the work. I tried various effects chains for 2 days until I got what I needed, and in the end the total sound library for the video comprised 83 files. After that, I could start applying them to the video and working on the whole mix.
When I finished the first version, I wasn’t very happy with what I did: sounds were too simple and flat. On the next day, I reworked them: layered some specific sounds with the others to make them more appealing, and added a slight background low rumble to create an illusion of a machinery room. This helped to solve the problem.
How many takes did it take for you to end up with the winning sound design?
I remember that I spent about 10 hours creating the sounds for the video, and the actual work took another 3 to 4 hours.
Did you find the challenge difficult?
Quite the opposite. I took part in it not because of the prize – I loved the idea of the contest. Even if I didn’t win, I still would have gotten a new experience and new sounds for my personal sound library.
What equipment have you used in order to process the sound?
I work in Steinberg Cubase, so I used mostly its standard plugins: Chopper, Cloner, Ring Modulator, Metalizer, ModMachine. Also, there are some great freebies which helped me to achieve the sound I wanted:
– TAL Filter 2 (host synced filter module);
– DFX Skidder (a very customizable gate);
– Jeremy Evers’ Atlantis (I used it to process the audio, it features LOTS of effects and a wonderful “random” button);
– Darrel Tam’s DtBlkFx (FFT spectral processing module).
How will you be using the Boom library libraries in the future?
Given their quality, they will help me to create great sound effects for everyone who needs them. :)
Have you already picked the your winning prize and if so, which did you choose if its not a secret?
I decided to get the “Magic”, “Medieval Weapons” and “Cinematic Trailers” construction kits. They have lots of great recordings and effects that could be used almost everywhere, from video games to my personal music works.
Any tips and tricks for the fellow sound designers?
I don’t have any formal education in the sound design field, so every trick I know came out of my experience or my curiosity. Try everything, read articles about your craft, always keep your ears open and your portable recorder working. Love what you do, and it will definitely pay off.