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Hey guys,

So I've been working on this sound replacement exercise for practice, would it be too much trouble to ask for some feedback/constructive criticism?

Would be much appreciated!

Video is here: http://vimeo.com/35278747

Thanks in advance, Joe

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@ Joe you're on SSD as well! popping up everywhere! –  Jinksi Jan 18 '12 at 23:11
    
@Jinksi always trying to find the best places to learn and there are some incredibley talented people contributing to this community :) –  Joe Thomas Cavers Jan 19 '12 at 9:55
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Flip sake, they'll let any ol' person on here! ;) –  ianjpalmer Jan 19 '12 at 12:22
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2 Answers

Overall, very nice attempt and there's some good subtleties in there like the gear movement and guns handling.

I'd love to hear tastier backgrounds upfront. It felt one-dimensional to me - nice choices of elements, but it felt somewhat flat. Mabye some different insects layered and some leaf rustle wind for the forest, and for the meadow some gently fluttering winds to counterpoint the longer, deeper gentle breeze modulations.

Additionally, some impacts could be bigger in my opinion, such as when he hits the tree. I was waiting to hear a deep thud/bodyfall against the trunk, along with some gear mvt and nice thick dry bone crack - hard and heavy impact Something to give it some mid and high-frequency meat. The sound of it wasn't quite hitting me in the chest. And the fighting felt sort of thin, or maybe it was because there was a lack of high-frequency content, so everything felt dampened and distant rather than up front in-your-face.

Overall though nice choices in laser sounds (sounded a BIT canned, but it worked for me), beep choices, and design elements. Again, the gun and armor mvts were fantastic and tasty. The vocal bits were well-selected too, didn't feel forced.

My global thought for an improvement, or learning, point would to consider the dynamics of sonic density and frequency separation/balance, and how those can be advantageously used additively or subtractively - there's a very musical quality to these kinds of sequences in this regard that make them exciting, engaging, and interesting. Walter Murch's "Clear Density, Dense Clarity" is a good read on this subject too.

Nice job!

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Extremely Professional advice as always! –  Utopia Jan 19 '12 at 5:57
    
Brilliant advice, thank you so much. –  Joe Thomas Cavers Jan 19 '12 at 9:53
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Here's my humble notes from my opinion. Take it with a grain of Tatooine salt.

Foley is missing slightly for the guy's armor @ :07 after the cocks his weapon.

I'd preempt the flybys a bit sooner with a far-off rumble first and then the fly by when it happens on screen. I would go so far as to automate a low-pass from low to high to create this effect.

A little bird is heard after 3 huge spaceships buzzed a forest. I don't think the little birdy would have the guts to chirp for at least 30 seconds.

Verify sync of the lady who lands with a jetpack and walks with the rest of the marching. Would like to hear more low-end of the march and her jetpack.

The stormtroopers have too much of a jingly sound rather than an "I have bad-ass white plastic armor on" sound. The gun cock sounded too much like a modern 9 millimeter to my ear (apologies if this is incorrect). I like the beep of the switch he hits in his hand. The gun holster had too much cloth in it. I'd put more of a plastic slide or something - even though he might have a cloth holster, the camera doesn't show it and I think it might be a little confusing as a timbre added in when all that's seen is cool white armor.

I'd like to hear more of the walking droid @ 46 seconds

On the battle sequence, some really good stuff in there. However, the way it was mixed and flushed out made me think I was listening to just a footstep and hard FX stem. I believe there can be more and more detail to put into the track. In the mixing, I noticed that a few things that my instinct would turn up and have in your face were lacking while background noises were above them, specifically the light sabers being twirled right in front of the camera. This could be a good chance to really make them punchy and preempt hits and further developments of the foley/explosions. A great explanation of this is from Ratatoullie (can't spell it) if you watch the Soundworks Collection special on it, Randy Thom talks about not having walls of sound in these types of scenes but having very specific things the camera has focused on come up and doing it very quickly, one right after the other, so the audience subliminally feels they've heard a bunch of things all at once when really you just made them listen to specific things one right after the other (i.e. you don't need to mix a battle scene by turning up all the sound effects to full volume to make the audience feel like they're in the middle of a battle.)

Another note about the mix leading up to the battle. The forest foley doesn't have forest reverb on it. If you put a couple twig snaps where people step, or other transient sounds that seem appropriate to you, put a forest / grove slap-back echo on it. The effects all seemed pretty dry and "adrish" to my ears. A lot of times, even adding just a few specific effects with forest reverb can create that 3 dimensional space and environment convincing as to what we are seeing on screen.

The 1:20 fade to silence I think could be played more and all other sounds faded out. It takes judgment though - maybe you tried that and it just sounded lame. Hard to tell without trying it.

Good job - when will we see more?

  • Ryan
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Great observations. Now that you mention it, that's exactly what I was hearing but couldn't put the words to it like you did ;) It sounded like I was listening to the FX Stem. –  Stavrosound Jan 19 '12 at 6:35
    
Excellent advice, thank you! I'm going to wait until I've collected a bit more feedback, then go back and iterate based on what I've heard, hopefully within the next few weeks, but things are getting busier at work. Thanks again! –  Joe Thomas Cavers Jan 19 '12 at 9:54
    
@Stavro Thanks! You gave better advice imho @Joe You're very welcome. Keep going! –  Utopia Jan 20 '12 at 2:17
    
I'm working through this stuff now and noticing the impact these changes are having on the overall piece. It's tremendously satisfying to be learning these things and seeing how they change the overall piece. Thanks again guys :) –  Joe Thomas Cavers Jan 22 '12 at 12:33
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