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October 9, 2014 / Randy Coppinger

Game Audio Sound Design and Mix

My notes from Game Audio 3 Sound Design and Mix: Challenges and Solutions – Games, Film, Advertisement at 137th AES Convention 2014, Los Angeles
Presented Oct 9 by a panel of industry veterans: Charles Deenen, John Fasal, Tim Gedemer, Csaba Wagner, and Bryan Watkins.

There were many comparisons in working between game audio and film sound.

The short timelines and high quality standards seem similar for both.

Game audio folks seem less set in their ways, more collaborative with sound professionals, than people who make film trailers. This may be related to the veteran status of film trailer folks (typically 20+ years) to game audio (typically under 20 years of experience). One area of overlap: when people who are good at game trailers expand their career, there is a somewhat natural transition to film trailers.

Game audio source is typically pretty clean: studio recordings, ADR. Film source is typically noisy production audio that may need significant cleanup.

The expected playback system for a game trailer is a desktop or laptop computer, with limited frequency response, especially in the low end. Film trailers enjoy higher fidelity in movie theaters, home theaters. Also, volume measurement standards and best practices for loudness are different for theaters than the internet.

Deenan mentioned a unifying concept for his work in both film and game audio is trying to reduce source elements to cleaner, more fundamental sounds. Layers seem to combine better when they are stripped down, simplified.

Fasal showed a picture where a bike rack was attached to a car as a microphone mounting system. He also said that every car seems to need attention to where mikes are placed to get the best sounds… that there is no “tried and true” recipe. Though recording technology has changed in the last 30 years, the opportunity to listen, choose great sources, and carefully place microphones remains.

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