sound designer tips Asbjoern Andersen


Getting started as a sound designer can be daunting – and that’s something sound designer Philip Moroz wants to help make easier.

Philip Moroz is a recent graduate, co-founder of ‘noisecreations’ – and he’s just written a book called ‘To Become A Sound Designer’ highlighting the essential lessons he’s learned as a sound designer, important career choices to make in sound + tips and advice on how to advance your sound skills.

Here are five of his useful tips for upcoming sound designers, from the new book:

 

1) MOTIVATION – DEADLINES

Setting yourself deadlines is a great way to keep motivated. When deciding on a deadline try setting the date slightly earlier than you think it is possible to achieve the project in. That way you are regularly pushing yourself. Being a little ambitious can’t hurt but be judicious with the deadline; try not to set your deadline so early that you sacrifice quality. Doing this could easily diminish enthusiasm and reduce your motivation. After all, having a catalogue of quality work will be more eye-catching for employers than how fast you can slam those deliverables on their desk.

Quality work will always take time, but improving your skills will help you work faster over time as you will get more and more familiar with your technique. For every career there are the initial steps that one has to experience. Whilst learning to become a sound designer it can often uncover a wide range of hurdles including where to begin, motivation, developing a unique style, using the equipment you have at the time and so on.
 

2) USING WHAT YOU’VE GOT – IMAGINATION

It is doubtlessly enjoyable to spend time sometimes thinking about the equipment that you could have right now that would make your life easier but don’t let it stop you from using what you have currently. My very first equipment duo, the Zoom H4n and RODE NTG-2, had lasted me well and I still use them when the occasion arises in which their abilities best suit the sound I am trying to record at the time.

A NTG-2 makeshift contact microphone

Given that these pieces of equipment are on the lower end of the quality and price scales when compared with the more expensive equipment out there, it is the ideal opportunity to push their original purpose over the edge; safely of course.

For example, a few times in the past I have wrapped up my NTG-2 in cling film and covered the tip of the mic in blu-tack as a makeshift contact mic. It worked surprisingly well for recording a slinky when put into contact with the opposite to where I tapped the slinky with a screwdriver.

I would have second thoughts using a more expensive microphone such as a Sennheiser MKH-60 for the same application if I had no contact mics around. That’s the advantage of cheap kit.
 

3) BEING VERSATILE – BE MORE

This has been one of my highest priorities for developing my craft. Being able to provide services other than just a ‘sound designer’, you will be much more valuable to a future work colleague or employer. This doesn’t mean transforming into a ‘jack of all trades’ selling counterfeit audio and pirated DVDs out the back of a van; the quality of your work must by no means deteriorate. Expand your knowledge in areas such as performing foley, camera operation and the international standards for mixing for film, television and games. You don’t have to become an expert in these fields because, as you know with sound design, it takes a long time to perfect your craft but a little knowledge goes a long way when working amongst future work colleagues.
 

Bonus reads: 3 more guides to check out for aspiring sound designers:

In addition to checking out Philip Moroz’ new book, I’d also recommend you take a look at these 3 great reads here on A Sound Effect:

How to Set (and Get) the Right Price for Your Audio Work by Kate Finan
Charles Maynes’ 10 Inspiring Notions For Great Sound Design by (you guessed it!) Charles Maynes
Game Audio: 4 Golden Rules For Technical Sound Design by Damian Kastbauer

– Asbjoern

 

4) CLIP GAIN AUTOMATION (TECHNIQUE 5 OF 20 FROM THE BOOK)

Without clip gain automation

With clip gain automation

Always search for new and exciting ways to improve the technical quality and usability of your sound effects. For example, what if the sound you are recording has a large inherent dynamic range, such as a typewriter?

In this case the audio clip could need preparing a little further before reducing the dynamic range if required using saturators/limiters for example. Try reducing the dynamic range of the significant sections of the sound by automating the clip gain. A visual representation is shown below.

This method to prepare the audio clip ensures the preservation of the natural characteristics of the sound whilst defining the nuances that would otherwise be lost in the depths of the noise floor. In a mix, the ‘noise floor’ could consist of the aggregated sections of the soundtrack such as ambience and music. This also relieves some of the pressure off of the saturators/limiters down the line.

Be judicious when automating the clip gain – you don’t want to display the inherent noise from the microphone or recorder. Every sound is different but give it a try and see if it works for you.
 


Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • 6 men were recorded to create this unique sound library. With various breath emotion, speed, and intensity.

    Great malleable source material, recorded from up-close in 192KHz with high-end microphone in an acoustically controlled space.

    52 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591739999
    Add to cart
  • Inside an airplane cockpit, we captured control manipulation sounds (knobs, levers, switch…), alarms, and ambiences.

    Recorded from a 737 cabin, with the help of a certified pilot. Get maneuver sounds with original and ‘cleaned’ version (from background noise); but also ‘loopeable’ ambiences. See file list.

    47 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591739999
    Add to cart
  • CLICKS, SWIPES, SCROLLS, NOTIFICATIONS, APPROVALS, DENIALS, WARNINGS, MESSAGES, PICK-UP ITEMS, COINS, TRINKETS, and OBJECT SOUNDS are all in this concise set of 300 interface sound files! Each and every CHIME, DING, PLUCK, POP, TUNE, HIT, ALARM, BLEEP, ZAP, SPLASH, THUMP, WHOOSH, ALERT and much much more has been carefully constructed with a distinct feel using GLASS, WOOD, and ELECTRICITY themed sounds, covering all shapes, sizes and paces you’ll ever need for specific elemental UI sounds!

    PERFECT FOR:

    • Video Games
    • Slot Games
    • Film / Animation
    • Ads / Trailers
    • YouTube Videos
    • Live Events
    • Sound Design

    …and all other audio-visual productions

    ADDITIONAL FEATURES:

    • Easy to use, drag and drop ready
    • AAA mixing and mastering
    • High Definition, Standard Quality WAV and High Quality MP3 formats
    • Meticulously labelled and easily searchable files, including keywords/tags
    • FREE Updates to higher versions, FOREVER!
    Add to cart
  • Environments Under Construction Play Track 60 sounds included, 78 mins total $45 $30

    This library include a wide range of construction site sounds. Here are collected the general ambiences of the construction site, machines and instruments. There are also separate tools, such as a jackhammer, drill, screwdriver, etc.

    All sounds were recorded at various sites in Kiev, Ukraine. Some sounds contain the voices of workers, but their speech is not intelligible, and individual words cannot be identified.

    Recording was made both inside and outside the sites. Some sounds were recorded from different perspectives, which will help you choose a more suitable sound for your scene.

    All files are meta-tagged, that describe everything in more detail. This collection can also be used as a construction kit to create the general atmosphere of a construction site.

    33 %
    OFF
    Ends 1592431199
    Add to cart
  • We have created a small library to help with the ongoing need for safety videos during this strange time in our lives. From hand sanitizer’s to spray bottles, we have compiled a library to cover all forms of day to day sanitizing.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591394399
    Add to cart


Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

5) WAYS TO GET WORK – WHEN YOU CAN’T BE ARSED

There have been times where I have been asked to provide production audio for a short film, sometimes being a two to three day shoot and a fair distance from where I live. Before I head off to the shoot I sometimes feel like I’d much rather stay at home and relax, which essentially comes down to laziness and nerves. Often the shoots/projects you most often put off are the ones that you learn most from. Perhaps you will find your next work colleague. Push through. It’ll be worth it.
Similarly, if there are scenarios in which you don’t feel you have what it takes to provide a service, dispel those thoughts right away because if you don’t have a crack at it then you’ll never know. In the worst possible outcome where the whole project collapses around you like a food tent at the end of Ramadan, you’ll always gain valuable experience of where it went wrong and how to confront it next time.

 

Please share this:


 

A big thanks to Philip Moroz for sharing his insights and experiences. Find out more about his new handbook, ‘To Become A Sound Designer’ here.

What advice do you have for upcoming sound designers and sound editors? Please share your tips and insights in the comments below:


 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
 
 
  • Game Audio Packs Gamemaster Pro Sound Collection Play Track 8076 sounds included, 189 mins total $49

    Pro Sound Collection is the highest quality and most affordable sound library you will find. The ultimate collection of 8076 ready to use sound effects!!!

    This is the perfect collection of sounds for all types of sound designers, game developers and video editors who need a large range of high quality sound effects ready to use. Designed specifically for games, film and other media by award winning sound designers.

    What’s included? EVERY sound Gamemaster Audio ever made! ALL our other other sound libraries (plus other sounds) have been packed into in this amazing sound collection.

    Pro Sound Collection Includes:
    Fun Animal Voices $25
    Explosion Sound Pack $10
    Footstep and Foley Sounds $10
    Fun Casual Sounds $15
    Fun Character Voices $10
    Gun Sound Pack $19
    Guns, Bullets and Explosions $35
    Human Vocalizations $25
    Magic and Spell Sounds $25
    Punch and Combat Sounds $29
    Retro 8 Bit Sounds $15
    Sci-Fi Sounds and Sci-Fi Weapons $25
    Silenced Gun Sounds $25
    Troll Monster Vocalizations $10

    Total value $278!!!

    Sound Categories:

    • Alarms • Ambience • Animals • Beeps • Bullets • Buttons • Cartoon • Cinematic • Collectibles • Comedy • Doors • Electricity • Explosions • Fire • Foley • Footsteps • Guns • Hums • Items • Levers • Magic • Misc. • Nature • Powerups • Punches • Retro/8Bit • Sci-Fi • Snow / Ice • Switches • User Interface • Voice • Water • Weapons • Whooshes + MANY MORE!

    Add to cart
  • Water & Oceans Tropical Oceans Play Track 44+ sounds included, 218 mins total $50 $37.50

    in stereo, binaural, ambisonics (incl. 5.1 surround )

    11.88 GB of original sounds, 26.55 GB with the encoded ambisonic files in 5.1 and stereo included

    • rough & authentic recordings in remote locations
    • 99.9% free of any human-made noise
    • immersive & suitable for VR productions and mobile applications
    • real binaural and ambisonics recordings
    • clean edited, but not designed
    • including long takes >20 minutes with a lot of sounds for further editing and looping
    • with beach atmospheres, pure waves, and tropical wildlife
    • incl. seamless loops
    • metadata added
    • incl.. 5.1 surround & stereo versions of the ambisonics B-Format AmbiX files for instant use
    • captured during three recording expeditions over the past five years in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia
    • Microphones: 2xDPA 4060, Sennheiser Ambeo, H2a-XLR hydrophones

     

    25 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135200
    Add to cart
  • Genres Vintage Anime SFX Play Track 350+ sounds included $69

    The Vintage Anime Sound Effects Library brings all of the excitement of your favorite Japanese animated series to your fingertips. Inspired by classic cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s, these recognizable and versatile sounds will instantly enhance any FX collection. Vintage synths were used to create the auras, beams, mecha blasters, atmospheres, magic spells, guns, sonic blasts and explosives that makeup this pack of over 350+ custom 24bit/96khz .WAV files. Perfect for film, video games, podcasts and any project that could benefit from a power up!

    Both designed sounds and source recordings:
    • Classic anime sfx from the 80’s and 90’s

    • Auras, mecha, beams, blasters, spells, explosives and more! 350+ sounds!

    • Tons of source material for experimentation

    • Expert crafted metadata

    • Vintage Anime PDF

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • 6 men were recorded to create this unique sound library. With various breath emotion, speed, and intensity.

    Great malleable source material, recorded from up-close in 192KHz with high-end microphone in an acoustically controlled space.

    52 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591739999
  • Inside an airplane cockpit, we captured control manipulation sounds (knobs, levers, switch…), alarms, and ambiences.

    Recorded from a 737 cabin, with the help of a certified pilot. Get maneuver sounds with original and ‘cleaned’ version (from background noise); but also ‘loopeable’ ambiences. See file list.

    47 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591739999
  • CLICKS, SWIPES, SCROLLS, NOTIFICATIONS, APPROVALS, DENIALS, WARNINGS, MESSAGES, PICK-UP ITEMS, COINS, TRINKETS, and OBJECT SOUNDS are all in this concise set of 300 interface sound files! Each and every CHIME, DING, PLUCK, POP, TUNE, HIT, ALARM, BLEEP, ZAP, SPLASH, THUMP, WHOOSH, ALERT and much much more has been carefully constructed with a distinct feel using GLASS, WOOD, and ELECTRICITY themed sounds, covering all shapes, sizes and paces you’ll ever need for specific elemental UI sounds!

    PERFECT FOR:

    • Video Games
    • Slot Games
    • Film / Animation
    • Ads / Trailers
    • YouTube Videos
    • Live Events
    • Sound Design

    …and all other audio-visual productions

    ADDITIONAL FEATURES:

    • Easy to use, drag and drop ready
    • AAA mixing and mastering
    • High Definition, Standard Quality WAV and High Quality MP3 formats
    • Meticulously labelled and easily searchable files, including keywords/tags
    • FREE Updates to higher versions, FOREVER!
  • Environments Under Construction Play Track 60 sounds included, 78 mins total $45 $30

    This library include a wide range of construction site sounds. Here are collected the general ambiences of the construction site, machines and instruments. There are also separate tools, such as a jackhammer, drill, screwdriver, etc.

    All sounds were recorded at various sites in Kiev, Ukraine. Some sounds contain the voices of workers, but their speech is not intelligible, and individual words cannot be identified.

    Recording was made both inside and outside the sites. Some sounds were recorded from different perspectives, which will help you choose a more suitable sound for your scene.

    All files are meta-tagged, that describe everything in more detail. This collection can also be used as a construction kit to create the general atmosphere of a construction site.

    33 %
    OFF
    Ends 1592431199
  • We have created a small library to help with the ongoing need for safety videos during this strange time in our lives. From hand sanitizer’s to spray bottles, we have compiled a library to cover all forms of day to day sanitizing.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591394399
 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER:
 
The A Sound Effect newsletter gets you a wealth of exclusive stories and insights
+ free sounds with every issue:
 
Subscribe here for free SFX with every issue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.