Friday, 20 March 2009

Clover Round Up. - My Role, My Gear

As you know, for the past couple of months I've been slaving away on the sound track for Binary Tweed's Xbox Community Live Game Clover.  So with the release of the game approaching quickly I think its only fair for me to write a series of short blogs about my role in the creation the game, the obsticles that I came up against and most of all what I have learnt from the project.

The blog will be written in 4 parts and (hopefully)  be published in full over the next few weeks.  The 4 parts will be as follow's: 

1) My Role, My Gear.    This will outline what I was asked to do, and what I ended up doing, and will give a brief over view on what I had to work with.

2) Creating the Sounds.   This will discuss the actual recording process and talk about some of the sound sources that I used.  (Expect sound samples here :D)

3) Mixing the Sounds.   This will discuss how I used the power of digital editing software to mix the sounds to create new sounds.  (Expect more Samples)

4)  The Conclusion.  This will round up what I've done, and discuss what I have learnt.  I will also
 try and answer any of the questions that I have been asked upto this point, and I do encourage you to ask questions :)

As with all of my blogs, I don't intend to go into too much depth about how things were done.  I like to keep things easy reading for those who know nothing about the subject, and I don't really want to bore the professionals with things that they already know.  Now thats over with, on with the first part.

Part 1: My Role, My Gear

Okay, lets start at the very beginning.  Last year I whilst working at a Studio in London I had to opportunity to hook up with an old school buddy called Deej (Daniel Jones).  Having not properly seen each other for years we had discussed what we had been upto and what we were looking to do in the future.  Deej had brought up the subject of Microsoft XNA Games Studio, which was something I had read about in the past, but wasn't 'geeky' enough to start coding out a fun game.  A few months later, I gave Deej a call to see if he was planning on attending Reading Festival and mentioned that he now had a bit more freetime and planned to start work on straight away on a game.  Being the salesman I am straight away jumped in and said "Well if you need any sound effects, you know where to come".  A few months down the line, once the game was starting to get somewhere, Deej knew exactly where to come. 

I was asked to provide spot and ambience sound effects.  The music for the game was to be created by another old school friend of ours (and former band mate) Chris Chillingworth.  I think the guys had the right idea from the start with the music, however I certainly contributed my opinion where I saw fit and the end result I think it turned out to be really good.  Deej and Mr Chilli were also down to provide the vocal effects for character jumps and talking etc.  These vocals were then sent to me to try and clean them up and mix them so that they fell behind the music.

So anyway, Deej e-mailed me a list of sounds that he thought would fit into the game with a short description of what they may be used for with in the game.  I should note now, that in the past I have had an image, an animation or a video clip to work with when creating soundtracks. This is the first time I have had to use my imagination 100% as to the image that I working with. 

On such a small budget project, I was unfortunately struck down with only having access to my bedroom studio to work in.  Luckily, a good friend of mine Danny Jefferies allowed me to borrow his laptop for a couple outside recording sessions, such as the Sea Shore Waves (see previous blog).  Other than that I had to work with what I could either make myself or use online libraries.  The free libraries where possible, but there was a few cases where I had to splash out and pay for some effects (this reminds me,  Deej you still owe my £20 for these).  Most of these effects were not too much of an issue, but in the case of Tropical Birds there was no way I would be able to record in my bedroom, and Deej was quite unwilling to cough up the dough so I could go to the Caribbean to record my own.

Just for the record, my home studio is made up of an Digi-Design MBox 2, running Pro-Tools 7 on a battered up noisy old PC.  Im using a Rode NT2-A Microphone, certainly not the best mic for the job but I think its done quite well considering.

This I believe brings the first blog in this series to an end.  Next I'll be moving on to some of the recording sessions, and discuss what I used as sound sources.  This should be a fun one.  Please feel free to comment and ask questions along the way.

1 comment:

Audious said...

Don't forget to join the Binary Tweed - Clover Facebook Group at: