I’ve spoken with them about indie sound effects and the making of their new release:
Hi Fred and Cedric, please introduce yourselves
Fred Devanlay: I’m a sound designer and the CEO of Big Wheels Studio, based in Paris.
I’ve been working in game sound design (SplinterCell, FarCry 2, Ghost Recon) for more than 18 years, but I occasionally work with sound for feature film too. This was where I met Cedric and I took the occasion to propose him to mix our skills to do libraries together.
I’ve made several collections for Zero-G, like CyberStorm, Deep Impact and Perception Cinemascapes – but this is my first indie SFX release with Cedric.
Cedric Denooz: I’ve been working as a sound editor and sound designer for movies since 2001. But I started out as a production sound mixer in 1992, so I’ve been recording and collecting my own sound effects for many years.
I’m really passionate about sound creation, and I’ve experimented for years with mixing new technologies (convolution, morphing with Kyma, or granulation) and traditional field sound recordings.
When I met Fred, we were working on a Mexican movie called “Days of Grace”, and I came to realize how skilled he was in sound effect creation, like car chase scenes, gun sound design, etc. So after collaborating on yet another movie, we made the decision to work together to create our own collections.
What made you get involved with indie SFX creation?
It brings a personal freedom to the way we can design sound libraries.
It allows us to tailor specific acoustic creations for sound editors, just the way we want them to be, and how we would use them in work-scenarios ourselves.
We’ve been thinking a lot about what our colleagues need, and have looked to keep a manageable size and price for the library.
Could you share some details on your new library?
The library is called Wood Impacts, and features more than 1600 sounds.
With this release, we wanted to focus on fibrous wooden textures and cracks, recorded closely – and sometimes mixed with fleshy impacts. Essentially, sounds that would work in movies like medieval knight wars, horror, or action movies.
We were looking for the sound experience we found in movies like Lord of the Rings – with live, crunchy impacts based on real recordings, and with very little processing.
What was your recording setup?
We decided to setup a mono and stereo recording around the impacts of soaked logs.
The mono was managed by a hyper cardio Rode NTG3 microphone for precise details. Its low-end response was impressive, and much better than a Sennheiser M416.
We hesitated between Neumann Km184 and Rode NT55 for the stereophonic image, and finally went with the Rode, which was deeper and worked better along with the NTG3.
The wooden logs were perfect for what we were intending to do, because each impact was soft and rich with fibers in the release. This gave these low and precise impact sounds we never have a chance to get with regular wood.
How did your actual recording sessions go?
There was this huge woodpile in Fred’s garden which had been sitting there for years and was getting really decayed. So we made some tests – and decided to decimate the whole thing!
At the end of the day, it looked like a war scene.. it was a big mess.
It was also a really hot day, and manipulating those kinds of heavy wood logs was very tough. But we had a really good time making it, and there were lots of laughs!
We worked all day and till late in the night. And after having successfully paused recording every time a train or airplane went by, our neighbor unhelpfully went into action.. by watching a Batman movie with lots of big noisy action scenes – and with the window open, of course! We managed to yell so much at him that he finally closed the window.
What are you currently working on – and what’s next for your indie SFX project?
We’re finishing some sounds for a collection, but we cannot talk about it unfortunately (NDA signed!).
Cedric has done recordings for a movie called “De toutes nos forces”, where he had to manage a big group of athletic swimmers and runners to recreate the sound of an Ironman sporting event. It was a mix of different recording techniques, including ambient hydrophones – and hopefully we can work out a deal to create a sound library from it.
We have done some really nice big car recordings, but we’re preparing a project which we think will be much more useful to sound editors than just a car sound collection. It’s going to be some months before it’s out and it’s a LOT of work – but we have a really good feeling about this upcoming release!
A big thanks to Fred and Cedric for taking the time for this interview. Check out the previews from the library below, and grab the full release for $75 ex vat here.