home instructor courses Examples notes facilities resources

<< back

click! Zachary Fabian from Sound Design: Studio

CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: My goal for the second assignment in sound design is to create an original sound environment by using a few original and a few pre-recorded tracks. The final edit of the soundscape will be between one minute and forty-five seconds and two minutes. In order to achieve this goal I must use a minimum of 8 tracks,

The vision of my sound environment is as follows. It begins with the distinct sound of a person walking outside. A dog will bark as if the person was within a few feet. The dog will fade as he moves away. The same effect will be employed for several different construction sounds. As those fade, the steps will increase to a run. Now, more quickly the sound of a person playing a guitar (as if in a park) comes and goes, The sound of wind gets louder, the steps faster. An animal (most likely birds) passes quickly right in front of the man in a sprint right before he stops. A bus passes deathly close as you fade out to soft panting.

In order to achieve this vision, I plan to record the sound of the steps, the run, the breathing; pretty much everything the person does. For all the other sounds I will use prerecord audio samples from the sound server and the internet. I will layer the multiple tracks to create the scene. For each individual track, the edits will vary, but in general, I will edit the volume and pan to control proximity and direction. I will also use plug ins to create the environment, meaning the sounds will all need to sound outside, rather than as if in a hall.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, and Digital Performer..

click! Brian Holben from Sound Design: Studio

CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: For this project, I intend to create realistic sound environment using external sound effects and edits in Digital Performer. For the sound environment, I am choosing to create a setting where the listener is in the top of a church steeple. I will accomplish this goal by using at least eight tracks of audio and a number of plugins, effects, and edits in Digital performer. I intend to submerse the listener in the environment in a convincing way that transports them to the steeple.

To accomplish this goal, a number of quality sound files are needed. Also, to make the environment more realistic, the sounds must be placed (panned) and spaced out so that the listener is not overwhelmed with too much at once. Having the listener perspective inside of the steeple chamber will be difficult to accomplish, but through careful use of panning and effecting of the sound files, I can create sonic qualities that are convincing. I first intend to work on the main steeple chamber bells, wind, and sky environment. I will then add the sound of the occupied church filtering up into the chamber through adding effected sounds of church service components.

The first goal of this project is to select realistic and high-quality sounds that fit into this environment. For the environment of a church steeple, I hope to find a number of sounds that would emulate sounds filtering up from a church, as well as the sounds of bells ringing in the steeple itself. For the sounds coming up into the steeple chamber, choir, orchestral, and voice-over sound files can provide a convincing environment of a church service happening below. These sounds will be heavily equalized to create the effect of very distant music and voices coming through a floor. Also, reverberation will provide realism as the sounds fill the steeple chamber. Also, a compressor and leveler unit may be helpful to control the final output of the sound files to aid in the “through the floor” effect. For sounds occurring in the actual steeple chamber (the perspective of the listener), sounds of large bells will provide the base of the steeple chamber. Multiple sound files of different bells can be mixed to create a convincing bell sound. Equalization and Reverb will provide effects that can convince the listener that the bells are very close. Also, a wind sound effect and possibly bird sound effects could further enhance the realism of the church steeple being many floors above ground in the sky.

Potential Sound Files- Collection of large bells, Wind, Birds, Choir, Orchestra, Chanting, preaching, singing, voiceovers, Creaking wood sounds to simulate large bells swaying Potential Digital Performer
Effects- Panning, Reverb, Equalization, Leveler/Compressor

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, and Digital Performer..

click! Izzy Sazak from Sound Design: Studio

The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: For my third project I had a lot of difficulty deciding upon a piece of art. I started with wanting to do a piece to Salvador Dali with lots of animals and creatures and ethereal sounds. Then I moved on to a piece by Federico Lorca, which is a sketch of a rose made entirely of words and sentences. I finally decided on a page from Baba Ram Dass’ book Remember Be Here Now. It is a spiral of words, mantras and sentences about life, spirituality, happiness, beauty and the Tao. It is a beautiful book about spirituality with many different sorts of illustrations and word pictures.

I envision it beginning with a high, quivering note; on a flute or a violin I’m not sure; wet and potent. Then a voice rises up, speaking the words on the page. Another voice joins in, and another and another etc; male, female, young, old, rough, sweet. The voices begin to swirl around as if carried by a breeze, and slowly their words become one soft chorus, indistinguishable, with some words falling out to be heard, but otherwise flowing like one river. In the background there is the sound of rough paper unfolding and refolding over and over to create a base rhythm of some kind, to show a more tangible form of forward movement, as well as to represent the origin of this adaptation, a book. It is also one of the metaphors used in the book for life; like is an unfolding process, you just sit back and watch it go. Filling in the spaces are two voices, singing in harmony, no words, just notes and air. This is all very slow; the sounds are swirling around and around, the whole time at a steady but clear pace. The aim is not confusion or disorientation. Once all the sounds have been presented and have interacted with each other, I will reverse all of it, like it’s being sucked back into the void, reversing the direction of the swirling as well. I may also consider playing around with other sounds like wind and rain, but that might end up being too much.

I will be recording at least four voices reading off the page, up to at most 8. I will also be recording the singing, violin, flute and possible guitar playing. I like it all to be very organic, even though we are encouraged to generate these same sounds on other music programs like garage band, I like a more hands on approach though I am not adverse to the idea of using these programs if I must. I will also be recording and/or looking for good sounds of paper being unfolded, turned etc. I will search for wind and rain sounds on the effects server. I am extremely excited for this project and can’t wait to get started. Coming soon...

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Digital Performer, and GarageBand.

click! Nick Leach from Sound Design: Studio

The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: For my third assignment I will be using the picture entitled “Light Graffiti” by Lightmark. The light being emitted from the ground appears to be flowing effortlessly upwards while seeming to be in harmony with the surrounding environment at night. My goal is to create a piece that captures this kind of flowing feeling. I want it to be mysterious yet soothing all at once, as that is the effect that it has on me. I also want to capture the essence of the environment and nightscape quality about it. I will use Digital Performer to create this piece that will last just over a minute ten seconds.

I plan on using long synths and a slow but steady beat that can capture the essence of flowing water. I want the piece to feel relaxing and soothing. I think one way that I can achieve this well is through the use of panning between the left and right headphone channels. Another way could be through the use of gradual volume change. Reverb and delay are two things that I would like to use in my project as well as I feel reverb gives a more natural sound to things while delay tends to let the listener get lost in the mix and fade more easily from note to note.

I also envision assigning specific sounds to objects in the picture as they come off as having a particular quality about them that I feel can be captured through instruments. For instance I am thinking of using something with higher pitch and soft tone like a harp for the stars and something more rigid and tactile like shakers for the brush. I am also considering using some actual nature sounds such as a stream or grass rustling. Much of my source material will come from software instruments and loops along with some possible sound effects that were mentioned earlier. If time permits I may attempt to build my own beat in Ableton Live as well.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Digital Performer, and Logic.

click! Travis Dennis from Sound Design: Studio

The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: My initial reaction to the "Autumn in America" is a soft nostalgia, then vague sadness. The nostalgia stems from the similarities of the valley to that around the town of Cumberland in western Maryland, where my grandparents live, as well as locations nearby. I been there many times since my early childhood, and have travelled all over the area, often times in autumn. The feeling of sadness comes not simply from the fact that those times are largely over, but from the very strong sensation the image gives of encroaching darkness.

My eye focuses first on the bright town and valley on the distance, then moves outward to the darker, yet much more immediate, forest. The progression of the piece should reflect this transition. There is the odd juxtaposition that the things farther away feel brighter and clearer, with more air, while the things that are closer are darker and enveloping. The green grass of the field is losing its green. The leaves on the closest tree are a very warm orange, making the image feel warm; yet, the darkness that is setting, as well as the knowledge that it is autumn, gives the feeling that it is getting colder.

I already have a melody in my head that will involve violin with piano. Acoustic guitar and cello will be used to add accents and motifs that add color and feeling to the piece. These bites could be processed to give a more expansive feel, as well as to be organic, yet less recognizable. The piece will start out suddenly and clearly enough, then become sparser and slightly darker, then end with no melody at all, just atonal effects and ambience. I would like to include an effect that gives the feeling of wind or air without sounding like a realist wind recording.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, and Logic.

click! Zack Ketz from Sound Design: Studio

The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: My goal for the third project is to create a soundtrack for a piece of computer generated concept art of an apocalyptic future; artist unknown. In the piece, a man stands on the rooftop overlooking a destroyed city as Mother Nature tears apart humanity’s claim. I aim to create a soundtrack for this particular piece; somehow reflecting the uncertainty, ruin, and possibly the beauty.

I will begin with a few guitar riffs that I will write and perform; a quiet lead in and heavier and melodic riffs to round out the piece. Then, I will lay down some original synth or piano onto the slow, quiet lead. I will record the guitar parts at home and plan on using the classrooms midi-boards for the synth parts. I do not plan to use any type of sample or field recording for the soundtrack. I will process sounds with pre-installed plug-ins, as well as use volume and panning controls.

For the intro riff, I may use the chorus plug-in for the left channel, but keep the right clean of any plug-ins. I will look into using the EQ and Proverb plug-ins for tracks I will duplicate so I may create a richer recording. I would like to keep the soundtrack simple, meaning that I do not want to create a complicated piece. On the contrary, I want to focus on mood. The instruments I will be using to accomplish this task are a guitar, piano, and possibly strings or a synth.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, and Digital Performer.

<< back

These materials are examples only. They are not for intended for commercial use.

Go to the University of Virginia home page
Last Modified:
November 27, 2012