Hi Bryan, what’s your overall approach to trailer sound?
My approach is really from several angles at once:
First I realize that it is my job to make the film makers happy and to make a trailer that is exciting or captivating for the audience. You only have a short time to tell your story and draw them in so the vision needs to be clear. You can’t leave it up to the mixer to figure out, you have to lay it out so that it sings on its own.
That said I take the music and the story into very strong consideration. I try hard to compliment the music and express the sonic story as much as possible. Working with music is an art in itself that involves both pitch and rhythm but telling the story within that context can be very tricky… especially if you want it to be exciting. Clarity is key.
What makes for a great trailer soundscape?
Soundscapes can tell sorts and reveal concepts that music can’t because it is based on sounds that are grounded in life, unlike music. Music is great at expressing feeling and emotion on a subject level. but sound design is rooted in life experience. The sound of a train of in the distance, a jet fighter ripping by or even ring of a gunshot.
We all can relate to those ideas because we all have been collecting those sonic images our whole lives… through life, through cinema and in our dreams.
A great soundscape is one that pushes what is familiar into a new experience
I think what makes a great soundscape is one that pushes what is familiar into a new experience. One that makes you collect all of the sonic images that bring to life all the images.
What are your favorite tools for trailer sound creation?
Having great sound source is key and knowing what will and what will not work is very important. I am all about processing chains.
I have saved templates that specific processing chains I like to use for certain things, I have racks that I have saved in Soundminer and lately I have been doing a lot of that same thing with Patchwork. That is a great plug-in that allows you to stack processes from top to bottom and left to right with an overall dry/wet control. I use Waves TransX quite a lot.
I like the GRM stuff, Soundtoys, Melda and a host off odd ball processors. I am always looking out for different processes and tools for shaping sound. Lately I have been having lots of fun with Reaktor. The Twisted Tools stuff is great and Meltedsounds Whoosh is endless fun.
Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:
Huge Holiday Sound Effects Sale +
Get 300 free sound effects & access to 10.000+ premium SFX here
The past few years have seen a lot of sound designers creating their own libraries and releasing them independently of any publishers. What does this mean for sound designers such as yourself?
I am a big fan of Independent sound libraries because they make it easy to expand your possibilities at what is usually a very reasonable cost. Most of the independent libraries are recorded at a high quality and you know when go for something that for example Frank Bry has recorded that it is going to have all of the character you need it to. But there are a lot of great independent library makers out there and they deserve a lot of credit for making our lives a lot easier.
Have you considered making your own indie trailer SFX library?
Here is one I get asked quite a lot. The short answer is no. As I work on a trailer I am essentially coming up with a whole pallet of sounds that fit the style of the whole trailer campaign, from the first teaser until the featurettes. Some trailers campaigns have 15 different trailers to them and for each one there has to be a consistent style to them that makes a connection with the feature film. The reason why I have not considered an indie trailer sound library is because those sounds really belong to the life of the trailer.
Right now I am focused on making the best tracks I can.
What are the three most important things to get right when doing sound for trailers?
First you better get the music ironed out correctly. It amazes me sometimes how poorly the music editorial can be on some trailers. Second is the Dialogue.
Clean, understandable dialogue seems like a given but it is one of the hardest challenges in trailer audio.
Having clear, clean, understandable dialogue seems like a given but it is one of the hardest challenges in trailer audio.
Last is the sound design and sound effects editorial and how it relates to the music and dialogue. I think it is obvious but worth mentioning is that having a skilled mixer to make the trailer come together is vital. Their choices on what to play and not play ultimately shape the product into what it will be. My goal is to give them as little to think about as possible.
How has sound for trailers evolved during the time you’ve worked with it, and what trends do you see in trailer sound – and trailers in general?
Trailer sound has changed in dramatic ways. Trailers are now big business with composers, vendors, producers, editors and studio creatives all having a deep interest in how the get made. Trailers are all over the internet with websites dedicated to trailer content, websites dedicated to trailer news and trailer music companies being listened to like pop music on the radio.
I think if you went back 15 years or so you would find a very different trailer world. The industry has evolved but so have trailers. The visuals have gotten better, the audio and the audience for them has grown. I like artistically stylized trailers, what I don’t care for are commercials that are trailerized. I understand there is a market out there for that it is just not what I am personally in to.
So yeah I have been a part of it for a long time and I have seen a lot of changes. I hope that the industry continues to change for the better.
Please share this:
from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement
- a few highlights:
License agreement for users of Sound Examples downloaded through A SOUND EFFECT (www.asoundeffect.com) (as “Distributor”).
This end user license agreement (the “Agreement”) is entered into between you, a single user natural person (the “Licensee”), who has downloaded one or more Sound Examples through the Distributor, and the creator or creators of these Sound Examples (the “Licensor”). For multi-user licenses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Agreement covers one or more Sound Examples downloaded by the Licensee via the Distributor.
The Licensor is the creator or creators of the Sound Examples, stated as such in the downloaded file(s) (“File”) the Licensee receives after registering with a valid email address and name.
By downloading, the Licensee accepts this EULA and agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions set out in this EULA and the EULA’s with similar terms for each Licensor in the File. Any files or material included in the File not specifically mentioned in each Licensor’s EULA is covered by the terms below. By downloading the Sound Examples, you'll also receive the A Sound Effect newsletter from time to time. You can unsubscribe from this anytime.
1. Grant of License
In consideration for the download of the Sound Examples via the Distributor, the Licensor grants the Licensee a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty free license to use the Sound Examples (“Sounds”) on the terms and conditions set out in this Agreement.
2. Rights Granted
The license granted in this agreement allows the Licensee to:
a. install and use the Sound Examples on one workstation at a time, although the Licensee is permitted to make and keep backup copies of the Sound Examples on other storage devices, and
b. distribute and publicly perform reproductions of the Sounds, where these are incorporated in and synchronized with other media productions, which shall mean products that contains at least one additional media element to the Sounds (music, voice, image, etc.), including but not limited to radio and television broadcasts, film, music compositions, web sites, podcasts, mobile apps, advertising, multi-media presentations, video games and similar.
The Licensee is not permitted to distribute or perform reproductions of the Sounds where these are not incorporated in and synchronized with other media productions, including but not limited to in toys, product design, greeting cards, ringtones, applications such as soundboards, hardware devices, media authoring tools etc.
To the furthest extension permitted by law, the Licensee is prohibited from adapting, modifying or repackaging any Sounds, except as permitted in Clause 2.
4. Intellectual property rights
All rights to the Sound Examples are owned by the Licensor and other than the license rights granted in this Agreement all rights in the Sounds and Sound Effect Libraries remain the property of the Licensor. The Licensee must not claim ownership or authorship of the Sounds or the Sound Examples.
The Licensee’s right to use the Sound Examples will automatically terminate in the event of any breach by the Licensee of the terms of this Agreement. In the event of termination, the Licensee shall delete or destroy all copies of the Sound Examples which the Licensee has produced.
The Licensee shall indemnify Licensor and Distributor from, and against any and all claims, demands, suits, awards, damages, suits, injuries, liabilities and all reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees incurred by the Licensor and the Distributor with respect to any matter that arises as a result of the Licensee’s breach of this Agreement.
Licensor and/or Distributor shall not be liable for any damages or for any loss of business or business profits, business interruption, or any other direct or indirect loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of any of Licensor’s Sounds.
To the furthest extension permitted by law, the Licensee must not assign, license, sublicense, sell or otherwise assign the Sounds to any third party, except as set out in Clause 2.B.
9. Applicable Law
This Agreement is governed by the law of Denmark without giving effect to the Uniform Law on the International Sale of Goods and the Uniform Law on the Formation of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.