I put together a short demo reel to submit while I am applying for internships, and was hoping that some of you wonderful folks could possibly give some feedback. I have lots of music recording experience, but am relatively new to sound design, so any advice, related to mixing, sound choice, or even recommendations on other clips to redesign is welcome, and I will be extremely grateful!

Jacob Cook Sound Design Reel

Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • Link doesn't work for me. Did you take it down? – Phil Freihofner Sep 2 '16 at 2:20
  • Link doesn't work on my side aswell. Vimeo listed message is "Sorry, we couldn’t find that page" – Dalv Olan Oct 4 '16 at 13:22

I found the recordings or the way they were combined a bit noisy. Sure things like a ship, a field of clattering insects or whatever, are noisy by nature, but the moving parts, and the gritty edges of the sounds, were being masked by a lot of generic hiss and rumble. The amount of noise and its frequency weighting changed so much between clips that it exposed faults in the EQing of some of those ships I thought. I like the more stylized battle sequence with explosions set on dramatically quiet backdrops. I think those explosions need more dirty bits and stingers, and you need to end with something more dramatic than the machine gun fire which seemed a little drab.

Otherwise the narrative progression of the video seemed well suited to a particular genre - you might have to do different reels in the future to go after different kinds of work but for what it is, it's a good framework, those were all the notes I could come up with.

  • Thank you for that feedback! I like the idea of bringing more contrast using dramatically quiet backdrops. I will experiment with taking away the background sound, and maybe thinning out the density of sound. Thank you so much for your help! – Jacob Cook Mar 15 '15 at 1:29

I think its a good job overall. Everything sounds a little close to me and maybe not enough in the world it inhabits. To add on to what he_ said, it seems like it could focus on specific actions a little bit more. Thats more of a mix issue but I think the noisy comment is a way of saying that the base ambiance maybe isn't moving enough with the specific shots. If you have any real projects that you have done I think some clips of those would be great to put onto your reel. That shows me that your out there working with people and can take the feedback, learning about client relationships and such. I'm not sure your location or what part of the industry that your trying to get into but ProTools and/or Nuendo would be good to learn in addition to Reaper if you don't already know them.

  • Thanks for your tips! Do you have any specific advice on what I could do to help it sound less "close?" Also I have a lot of experience using Pro Tools, especially for music, but I am working on this demo in Reaper simply for cost and availability. Thanks! – Jacob Cook Mar 16 '15 at 7:01
  • listening again I think my close comment is only for the opening scene. I just feel like its missing a little bit of "room" either another room tone to give the size of the building or eq and reverb can always work also. – coaxmw Mar 16 '15 at 14:23

Things I felt were disconnected between audio and visuals or were lacking something:

-I really really wanted to hear some leathery stretching sound during the body armor chest shot.

-Alien swarm sound sounded more like a really abstract horror ambience instead of alien swarm. This kind of worked though, since it gave very uneasy feeling, but for a sfx reel purposes I'd try to overdo this scene and add huge amount of alien footsteps and alien sounds all over the place.

-Cannon 'foot' opening could use more details.

-First cannon shot looks really badass, but sounds almost silenced. Reverb and/or long bass layer could work.

I liked the explosion scenes which didn't have any of the alien movement sound and emphasized the explosions.

  • Thanks for your tips! Do you have any other specific ideas on what I could use for the alien swarm? It was definitely something I struggled to come up with, and I wasn't sure how to simulate such a large crowd. I recently but in some insect wings flapping that I like, and am reworking the mix and cleaning things up, but that shot is still a struggle for me! Thanks for your help! – Jacob Cook Mar 16 '15 at 7:03
  • I'd start by experimenting with different kind of moving sounds. Tapping different materials rapidly with all fingers of your hand could work for insect-type aliens that have more than two legs. Record multiple takes with different materials and pan them across the stereo/surround field. – sauli Mar 16 '15 at 7:12

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