Doom (First level Trailer)
For my first jingle, i chose to reproduce content from the trailer of a classic video game, Doom. I was already quite familiar with the theme song so I decided to do a simple recreation of the track. I used a sample library to reproduce the guitar part, and then processed it with an amp simulation plugin to mimic the distorted tone. This was the best option regarding the technical difficulty of the parts. There were two guitar parts that I had to sequence together, and I decided to double-track both by copying the parts and slightly altering the tone, then panning the two tracks. Since I did this to both guitars, there were some phasing issues, I attempted to fix this by inverting the phase on one guitar in either channel, but it presented even more problems. In the end i manually delayed two of the parts (by dragging them) to roughly align the phase. The bass guitar also consisted of sequenced samples, as well as the drums. Both of these were relatively simple as they only served to accompany the guitar and weren’t a major part of the arrangement. The mixing process was fairly simple also, I used some EQ to ensure the guitar stands out and is clear in the mix, and to strip down the bass guitar so it didn’t interfere. The sound effects were all sourced from freesound.org, and I was satisfied with how most of them sounded. The first gunshot sound has a little too much natural reverb, but I was unable to find a more suitable sound. I was fairly satisfied with this jingle as a whole, although the instrumental was rushed to a degree, and as a result is a little basic. I’ll have to find some top-notch metal guitarists next time.
Gameboy Advance Commercial
For this jingle I wrote an original jazz piece, although closely analogous to the original soundtrack. After improvising around the piano part for an hour or so and feeling I had adequately emulated the lightheartedness of the original, I wrote a simple drum track and Upright bass part, again with sampled sounds and threw a roomy reverb over the whole session to solidify the jazz feel. After deciding it needed a melody to match the original track, I added horn parts and a vibraphone to accompany. These completed the arrangement, and were also sampled instruments. I used bus compression on the horns to tie them together, and EQ to reduce the piano’s dominance a little, the same for the upright bass. All the sound effects were again sourced from freesound.org, it was a little more difficult this time trying to capture the ambience of the scene, especially seeing as the sound in the original was quite vague. It was particularly difficult to find appropriate sounds for the train, I ended up blending them quite heavily into the music using volume automation to hide some small issues. A small sound effect near the end, the man breathing as he notices the crowd of people, was also difficult to find so I recorded it myself. I thought this jingle turned out quite well, the music was pleasant and fitting and the sound effects covered the action effectively.
For Honor – World Premiere Trailer
This jingle was a real challenge, for this one I decided to do the sound effects first, just to make sure that I could actually pull it off, before writing the music. Many of the sound effects came from sites such as freesound.org, some I recorded myself and the few voice parts were done by a friend of mine upon request. All the grunting and yelling was hard to fill in but with a little re-pitching and re-use I managed to cover everything. I applied a general reverb to most of the sound effects and this helped them gel together, I also used EQ to remove the high end from a later section to give the illusion of an intense scene of tunnel-vision from one character’s perspective, in accordance with the original. One of the most difficult parts was the volley of arrows around halfway through the video, I used a single swooshing sample which I recorded myself, and duplicated it around 40 times, then moved each instance to a random position, slightly varying the volume. The music for this piece consisted some very dominant tribal percussion made from multiple layered samples complemented by short ambient sections and straight rhythms from various other instruments. To suit the style of the trailer I sourced some medieval-sounding instrument samples such as an early harpsichord and a lute. I used EQ to remove a lot of resonant low-end from the percussion and other instruments, I also used a few different reverbs to create a heavy atmosphere to fit the dramatic nature of the trailer. This jingle ended up being quite a bit more polished than I expected, I was pleasantly surprised about the effectiveness of many of the sound effects and the music. I think I managed to convey the heavily dramatised action quite well.
I had done very little work with sound effects before this trimester so naturally I learned a lot, how important fine-tuned timing can be, how multiple sounds combined can effectively sound like something else, and most importantly that if you use music effectively alongside sound effects you can get away with having much less detail in each. I didn’t learn a whole lot about electronic music, but the sound-a-like project was a great exercise in team-building and critical listening. I feel as if my critical listening skills have greatly improved this trimester.
Incursion is an animated short film set within the video-game Minecraft which was conceived by an old friend of mine well over two years ago, but ended up being dragged out over a long period of time. He asked me to create the soundtrack early this year, and the majority of work was done on it this trimester. It consists primarily of dark ambiences and slow strings to suit the atmosphere of horror and suspense. This was a really interesting thing to work on because most of the composing I did was strictly directed by my friend, the producer and director. Having a relatively small amount of creative freedom caused me to work very differently than I would usually. Some aspects of the music suffered, but I was always able to see the benefit of following his vision of what the music should be, as it always turned out enhancing the scenes it was used in. I learnt a decent amount about soundscaping during this project, especially layering ambient sounds and controlling resonances, I also learned a lot about string arrangements and how to create ‘Hollywood’ style string parts.