I get this question every now and then, and it’s a great question to ask. There are several ways I collect, create, mix, modulate and perform to create the final sound effect or atmosphere for your custom project or sound library that Sinful Audio carries.
It all starts with the method by which I record. At the very foundation of my process, I record at no less than 24bit / 96kHz. This ensures I get the most audio information from a source signal as possible. Think of it as gathering all the information you can on a particular subject and then writing an essay about it. The concept is the same here. With all the information available, it is possible to transform it into something else, paraphrase, lengthen or shorten, etc. while always having a robust and complete source of material to pull from.
Analog and Digital
Another important piece of the equation is whether to record analog to digital or digital to digital. It boils down to recording from a sound source in nature (Analog to Digital) or directly in the studio within my digital audio workstation and outboard gear (Digital to Digital). Depending on the effect or atmosphere, I will use a combination of both. But the quality of 24bit / 96kHz remains the same.
I really enjoy capturing the sound of everything I can in nature and the environment around us. From the sounds of coastal storms and waves crashing against the rocks, to thunder emanating from the Rocky Mountains to the sound of a door squeaking inside an old house. All of these sounds, whether used independently or in combination with others, make up my ever growing library of source material. From there, I have the ability to create new libraries of sound effects or use them in my sound design for your specific project. And the best part of it is, I’m always collecting more and refreshing my library. Indeed, the thunder from the Rocky Mountains sounds different than that of the thunder during a monsoon in Arizona. Next to quality, I feel like variety is just as important in the sound I record and create.
In the studio, I use a combination of virtual instrumentation and effects as well as a variety of Foley techniques to create never heard before sounds. Heck, sometimes combining these two methods ends up giving me a sound I never expected. And that type of discovery is a wonderful thing. It’s about knowing what you want to get for an effect AND stumbling upon something new. Experimentation often leads to some fantastic results.
Music and Sound Effects
As a composer, I always enjoyed writing for different instruments and exploring their tonality, range and depth. A piano and bass player myself, I tend to lean on my background in music theory to create and compose for varied instruments such as violin, cello, flute, oboe, etc. Whenever possible I really enjoy reaching out to performers of these instruments and learning what I can about their technique and their recommendations for better performances, or actually recording their performances whenever possible. In addition, I’ve always been inspired by film composers such as Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) and Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, Inception). Hans Zimmer in particular for his combination of sound effects and music to create interesting performances never heard before. In fact, take a listen to Hans Zimmer describing the process for the creation of The Joker motif when you have a chance.
Voice-Over and Talent
I have been lucky over the years to work with some great vocal talent. So much of my work involves the use of human voices to bring a prop to life, or to set a mood for a particular sound library. And the key is to create with flexibility in mind. Of course we do screams, cries of anguish and the like. But to really dive deep and create something original, you really have to work with people who have the creativity and range to alter their voices and push the limits whenever possible. Shawna and James as well as
two child voice-actors, Liam and Madeline, I work with have an intrinsic, second nature ability to perform and alter their voices as needed. But more so, I encourage them to go off script and do what they feel at the time. And THAT is when the magic truly happens. They are so very talented and we have a lot of fun thinking up new ways to scare the bejeesus out of someone, or to enhance a theme using vocalizations wherever possible.
Ultimately, all of the above (and then some) allows me to create original pieces that fulfill a project need or inspire a new sound library to be added to the Sinful Audio catalog. It really comes down to new, fresh ideas and bringing them together for original, quality audio. That is at the heart of what we do every day. And I think you’ll notice it in every one of our sounds and atmospheres.
That’s our passion, and where the sound comes from.