This week, a beta trial for the new upcoming Star Wars game, Star Wars Battlefront, was released. Since I am a huge fan of the series, I simply had to check it out! The first thing I noticed was that the game looks and sounds beautiful. I was stunned by how the sound designers at EA DICE were able to capture what the movie's sounded like but in a much larger scale. Some sound were obviously taken from the movies and iterated on. On the other hand, some sounds had to be created from scratch and my favorite by far was the thermal imploder. This is a special "grenade" that can be obtained and it really does sound like it is imploding and sucking out all other sounds from the game. There is also a noticeable amount of side-chaining taking place when the implosions occur in order to emphasize the blasts.
This Monday I had the opportunity to record some gun foley at Ortiz Custom Guns. Thanks to the help of the shop's attentive staff I was able to record handling and mechanical sounds for 8 different weapons ranging from handguns to sniper rifles. For the recordings I used a Schoeps CMIT-5U and my Fostex FR-2 recorder.
I just finished editing the recordings and I was able to retrieve 164 individual sound effects. I am extremely happy with how they turned out and I wanted to share some of my favorites!
While going on a location scout last weekend at a warehouse on Louisville Road I came across an old toolbox. As any good sound designer would, the first thing I did was run over to it, open it up, and begin playing around with the different tools inside to see if anything made any cool sounds. I was baffled when I heard a screwdriver hit a hole saw... it sounded exactly like an elevator bell! Of course I took out all the different hole saws from the toolbox, whipped out my Zoom recorder and proceeded to record several screwdriver impacts on hole saws of various sizes. Once I was done I threw everything back in the toolbox and closed it only to noticed that the closing latch made an awesome mechanical sound. I had to grab some of those as well! Unfortunately I got so caught up in the moment that I forgot to photograph what I was recording.
This week a good friend of mine and fellow sound designer tuned me into a musician by the name of Jonathan Dagan and I've been absolutely captivated by his approach to music and recording. This year, Jonathan who is better known as j.viewz began an incentive called "The DNA Project" in which he documents the making of his next album step by step. Over time, The DNA Project has become a platform in which he collaborates with his listeners, posts videos and audio samples of his progress, and even shares samples from recordings he has done on the field.
Here are some links to some of my favorites but feel free to explore the website to its entirety! Hope you enjoy it!
The DNA Project Homepage
Here is a video detailing the collection of ice samples. When people complain about the quality of recordings you can get on a ZOOM recorder I want to show them this video. Sure it isn't exceptional but sometimes its all you have and you can get really creative with it! I loved how he used the recorder as a contact mic by placing it directly on top of the surface of the ice. The sounds he was able to record are extremely textural!
Jonathan then went ahead and created a beat using the ice samples he collected from the previous week. He also provided a download link for the samples he collected under the Creative Commons license.
I cannot stop thinking about Gone Girl. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t read the book, but I think that only added to the experience. The movie is brilliant, David Fincher has once again proved himself an exceptional director, the acting is truthful and subtle, and the cinematography is absolutely beautiful. I could go on and on about Affleck’s intriguing performance, Ren Klyce's exceptional sound design, or the pacing, which kept me glued to the screen, but I’m not going to do that. I just really need to put my thoughts down on paper. This movie made me feel emotionally exhausted. That is a good thing. I like being challenged. I don’t like art for arts sake. I like art that makes you think and in my books, Gone Girl is a true work of art.
Gone Girl is the story of Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy, who live in a mundane town in Missouri. On their fifth wedding anniversary Nick comes home to find that Amy has disappeared. An investigation into Amy’s disappearance is conducted and Nick, her husband, is seen in the eye of the public as the prime suspect. There is no evidence to suggest that Nick guilty, except for the fact that he acts unsympathetically and indifferently after Amy’s disappearance, leading news reporters to go as far as calling him a psychopath. That’s as far as I will go plot-wise, but I will say that the screenplay for Gone Girl was also written by the book's author, Gillian Flynn, which lends itself to a brilliantly written thriller that will keep you captivated throughout the film.
Things aren’t what they seem in Gone Girl, and the same can be said for the world we live in. David Fincher’s movies often serve as a satire of modern life and ideas but Gone Girl touches on themes that are so universal that its hard to leave the theater without looking inwards at our lives and realizing that things really aren’t what they seem. We like to believe that we know the truth. We like to believe that we know the people whom we are close to. We like to believe that we know our own identity. The reality is, what we’d like to believe isn’t always true. The media skews the truth, people skew the truth, and we skew the truth. We present and package ourselves to the world in a manner in which we don’t remain true to ourselves. Society has taught us that when we are true to ourselves we are judged therefore skewing the truth and putting forth a more “presentable” version of ourselves is often much easier and bearable. The plot of Gone Girl isn’t driven by truth but by the perception of truth. David Fincher’s presentation of the story is unbiased and the audience is allowed to derive their own meaning, their version of the truth, from what is presented to them. What is deeply haunting is that we do this everyday. Everyday, each and everyone of us creates our own version of the truth. What is truth when everyone creates their own? In Gone Girl truth is meaningless. Truth is nothing but a concept that only exists in an ideal world; a world in which we unfortunately do not live in either.
Of course I couldn’t talk about Gone Girl and overlook the fact that the score was written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Although I was already a fan of Trent and Atticus’ work long before the release of Gone Girl I knew this time around would be different. Unfortunately I did not watch either The Social Network or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at the theater so this was the first time for me that I was able to hear one of their scores come alive on the big screen. I believe that the score itself is a work of art. The instrumentation will sound familiar at times to fans of their music but the soundtrack is a step in a new direction for Trent and Atticus. The rhythmical nature of The Way He Looks at Me is captivating and complements the action masterfully, the ambient tracks like Appearances calms and soothes, while the fragile melodies of songs like Technically, Missing are a perfect portrayal of the chilling nature of the film. I applaud Reznor and Ross for once again creating a soundtrack that not only perfectly complements the movie, but that can also stand on its own merit as a beautiful collection of expertly composed tracks. This might not seem like a big deal to you guys, but in my opinion Gone Girl’s soundtrack is far superior to Reznor and Ross’ work The Social Network, which up until yesterday night was my favorite soundtrack of all time.
Gone Girl is a haunting and chilling movie that will likely cause you to rethink the role that truth plays in modern society and in your personal life. If you have read the book, I’m sure you’ll love the movie, but if you haven’t, you’re in for an experience! Gone Girl is one of the best movies I have ever watched and David Fincher has justified his title of Leo’s favorite director once again.