Hello all,

I'm just mixing the first episode of an animated series. Unlike other shows I've done this one has a very specific location (in this case Vienna). The guys in tracklay gave me perfectly suited atmos tracks of a city.

However, why not use the atmospheres from the actual city? How much of what you do is that authentic?

I ask as I wrote my thesis on Saving Private Ryan when I did my Masters. I asked "how realistic is the sound design in Omaha Beach landing sequence?". I concluded that on the one hand an awful lot of the sounds were 100% authentic (period ammo used in period weapons), some though were not and were present for the emotional content. After all it was not a documentary but a fictional narrative with a very clear point. Give the audience the experience of being in a battle.

How far have you gone in trying to be authentic?


P.S. Does anyone has an atmos recording of Vienna?

2 Answers 2


I'm with you Ryan, if only Vienna was in Italy... :D Check your geography! No offense...

  • LOL. Venice, Vienna, they're both so similar.
    – Utopia
    Commented Jun 21, 2010 at 17:43
  • At least you did waste half an hour today finding Italian murmuring atmos tracks though before you checked where Venice was. I'll be returning my music degree certificate tomorrow.
    – ianjpalmer
    Commented Jun 21, 2010 at 18:53
  • Sorry. How can I make it up to you?
    – Utopia
    Commented Jun 21, 2010 at 23:36
  • You know. I think we should all just stop trying to be authentic as it's clearly more hassle than it's worth even just talking about it ;)
    – ianjpalmer
    Commented Jun 22, 2010 at 8:19

I'd agree that if the character of the city isn't particularly important then I would be wary about investing too much time and money in portraying it's soundscape.  However, I'm intrigued how an animation could be set in such a specific location as Vienna and it not be necessary, at least a few times, to evoke a sense of place.

For Kickass, I needed to provide a New York backdrop but it didn't warrant a recording trip to the States as we knew the director preferred very clean soundtracks rather than lots of busy (or potentially distracting) atmos FX. However, despite this, I still wanted to get some fresh authentic ny sounds for when a sense of place was called upon, however infrequently (I had good sirens and stuff but was relying a little too heavily on cititrax for good street voices / shouts). That's where this amazing online sound community that seems to have flourished over the last few years comes in! Basically, track down someone from that area (agreed, Vienna may be harder than NY but not impossible surely) then either trade fx or pay a relatively small amount (compared to foreign travel, that is) for them to get some sounds in their own backyard! I talked in a bit more detail about this in a post a while back:


However, even if you don't go this far, plain old research on the Internet about the city itself can throw up all kinds of ideas about what the city is really like, eg. What kind of transport? Trams? Is there a subway system? Heavily pedestrianised? Even if the atmos isn't that important I tend to do this as at the very least it gets the creative juices going and at the very most it helps make sure you don't put in an incorrect sound that people WILL notice!

Apologies for the perhaps long-winded answer: In a nutshell, as the world gets smaller, authenticity is more easily achievable than ever before, so why not make it part of your creative journey, even if (as in the example of Saving Private Ryan that you mention) it isn't the exclusive and final destination?

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