Sound Design Process – Experimentation and Methods

It should be maybe my first post, but here it goes and, as all the others, it will be subject to upgrade once in a while. Here, I post links for the full interviews and quote the most related topic for quick access.

I am always looking forward for new creative ways to approach a work, so feel free to share yours if you have some interesting ideas too.

The first is an interview with Craig Berkey, by Peter Albrechtsen:

DS: How much experimentation is present in your sound design process?

CB: The more I do this work, the more I try to move away from known concepts. A simple example would be when I bring a sound onto the Pro Tools timeline I tend to drag and drop it somewhere near where I think I might want it and play it as opposed to the exact spot one would expect. It may be completely wrong in that position, but once in a while something magical happens that sparks an unexpected idea and result. Another idea would be to take several random sounds and place them on adjacent tracks and play them all together and see what happens. The key is to be open to new ways of working at all times so that I don’t get stuck into one specific approach but rather keep my mind open to experimentation.

Read the full interview here:


Interview with Sound Designer Oriol Tarragó, by Iker Gil

IG: What is your method when facing a new movie?

OT: Basically, the first thing I do is read the script and understand dramatically the movie. I try to understand the main idea of the movie, I try to define the main emotion we are trying to communicate. It is like a synopsis but purely on the emotional field. After that, I establish a breakdown of all the sounds described explicitly in the script, such as a car, a bell tower, specific music… things that are explicitly written. At the same time, I make a list of all locations and spaces of the movie and at what time of the day the action happens. A scene might be Interior-Night-Hospital, Exterior-School. For example, in The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona, 2007), most of the action was Interior or Exterior-Orphanage except for the scene at the beach and in the town. That way, before starting the movie, I know which spaces and sound atmospheres I need to create. All the action happened in the same location, but throughout a period of a year, so it was important to show the temporal evolution in the space. Once the movie is already edited or is being edited, I review parts of the movie without sound in order to see what the images evoke and how I react to them. And not only the synchronised ones, but also sounds that could appear and that the images do not reflect, or deficiencies that I find in the images and that sound could improve.


Insightful interview with Miguel Isaza, by Zdravko Djordjevic at The Audio Spotlight.

         ZD: What is your usual process for creating audio content for                different media?

MI: I just try to contemplate the main ideas, to talk with persons involved in the project and to have it present in the mind, hoping to catch emotional directions, narrative/conceptual aspects or just abstract interpretations. I could start by putting something on paper, collecting objects, taking pictures, searching for symbols, gathering field recordings or just listening. It’s always different, trying things, investigating, but in the actual audio creation I try to be spontaneous. I like being a server of listening instead of an owner of it, so I don’t usually work with a fixed objective necessarily, but just an impulse.


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