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Questionnaire

I would greatly appreciate it if you could take some time to fill in this short questionnaire. I am collecting data for primary research to be used within a project at university. Please give as much or as little information as you wish.

I promise not to publish or otherwise release any information given without prior consent from yourself.

Name/company?

What is involved within your role as sound designer?

How did you get into the industry?

Briefly what equipment do you use, both hardware and software?

Do you find most of your work is freelance or do you have long term employment?

When designing sound effects for film, what is the most difficult part of the process.

Where do you see the future of theatrical and home theatre audio going, and how do you think this will effect the way you work?

Do you find yourself using music instruments as effects? ( an example of this would be in the Tom and Jerry cartoons)

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Name/company? H. Contant / New School University Radio

What is involved within your role as sound designer? Everything. Really, everything.

How did you get into the industry? I started by making radio

Briefly what equipment do you use, both hardware and software? Hardware--Sony PCM-M10, Tascam HD-P2, HHB Portadisc, Sony Mini disc, Sennheiser HD 555 headphones, Sennheiser ME66, Sennheiser E945, AKG 414, Rode Classic, Shure something... Software--Protools, Soundtrack Pro, Logic, Max-MSP

Do you find most of your work is freelance or do you have long term employment? I'm in grad school. It's a beautiful grey area. But the school pays me to do audio restoration

When designing sound effects for film, what is the most difficult part of the process? (1) Not getting carried away. I always have lots of ideas, but I have to remember that i'm probably not getting paid enough for this. (2) Making people understand the concept and importance of room tone

Where do you see the future of theatrical and home theatre audio going, and how do you think this will effect the way you work? I think it will get bigger and smaller at the same time. the theater speakers will get bigger, more advanced, better. The home audio speakers will get dinkier and dinkier. This just means I have to master for both things... or I could just make two mixes. One for good speakers and one for tiny speakers.

Do you find yourself using music instruments as effects? ( an example of this would be in the Tom and Jerry cartoons) yes, but only instruments very odd instruments. I just got this cool three bamboo-zled slide whistle in the mail, and there's a pigeon coo-er on the way. I like using non-traditional instruments because I don't feel guilty for not knowing how to play them.

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Name/company?

Rene Coronado/Dallas Audio Post Group

What is involved within your role as sound designer?

maintaining sfx library, custom recording in the field, spotting projects with director, sound design, sfx spotting, mixing, billing, deliverables, qc, sometimes site visitis for installation pieces.

How did you get into the industry?

Graduated from South Plains College in 1999 with AAS in Sound Technology, moved to Dallas and started at Dallas Audio Post Group in 2000 as an audio engineer. Specialty in sound design developed over the next few years.

Briefly what equipment do you use, both hardware and software?

location recording rig - sound devices 744t, 788t for big projects, Sony PCM D50 and Tascam DR100 for off the cuff recordings. Various mics including AT 4050, Schoeps CMC6, Senn MKH60 and 70, etc. I also have a set of cold gold contact mics and a self built electrostatic pickup made from a cheap ebaye'd guitar pickup wired to an xlr. I use my iphone tons as well.

In the studio its basically a good recording space, the 4050 or schoeps into a John Hardy M1 then straight into protools. Plugs include the waves bundle, the AIR stuff that comes with protools, speakerphone, dverb, revibe, xnoise and izotope RX, etc. Soundminer for sfx databasing, automator gets used a lot.

Do you find most of your work is freelance or do you have long term employment?

December 1st will complete my 11th year at DAPG.

When designing sound effects for film, what is the most difficult part of the process.

The biggest hurdles tend to be language, schedule and budget. If people communicate well, and have the right amount of time and money then projects go very well. The degree to which those things are compromised is the degree to which the projects become difficult to do well.

Where do you see the future of theatrical and home theatre audio going, and how do you think this will effect the way you work?

Home theater is likely to get much more interactive, which complicates mixes because you're less sure about what's going to play in what order and over what things. Theatrical is likely to stay static for a while, though more films are coming out in 7.1

Do you find yourself using music instruments as effects? ( an example of this would be in the Tom and Jerry cartoons)

yep. lots of recorded instruments, synths, tonal sources, etc.

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Name/company?

Colin Hunter - Freelance Sound Designer / Recordist

What is involved within your role as sound designer?

I mostly work for media production agencies who develop corporate films/adverts for their clients.

How did you get into the industry?

Started as a DJ, then got into producing, then decided to study something related to music but with the options of changing my path a bit. So I chose a degree in Music Technology & Multimedia at London Met University. During the course I discovered sound design and chose to focus on this. It soon became an obsession! When I graduated I worked on some short films and theatre productions (sometimes for free) before starting to pickup agency work.

Briefly what equipment do you use, both hardware and software?

Studio: iMac running Nuendo, Logic, Bias Peak, iZotope RX. Mackie HR824 monitors. Korg Z1 keyboard.

Recording: Sound Devices 702t, Sennheiser MKH416, Rode NT1-A, Rode NT4, Contact mic, Rycote WS Kit 4, Sennheiser HD25 phones, Lightwave A5 boom pole, Quik-lok tripods. I often hire other kit if needed.

Do you find most of your work is freelance or do you have long term employment?

Freelance

When designing sound effects for film, what is the most difficult part of the process?

Pleasing a difficult client. It can be frustrating when you have to work with a client who thinks they know a lot about sound, yet actually knows very little. Diplomacy is a very important asset to have!

Where do you see the future of theatrical and home theatre audio going, and how do you think this will effect the way you work?

The physical/technical aspect of cinema sound will continue to evolve but I feel that the biggest evolution is in people's awareness of the importance of film sound. Historically film sound has been somewhat neglected but we will see this part of film production growing further in the future. Sound editorial teams are being considered more in terms of production and, more importantly, the general public are being exposed to some fantastic examples of film sound. I think this will continue.

For the home theatre, I think we will see a convergence of technologies, with TV, computer, DVD/Blu-ray/future alternative and video games consoles all being controlled from one device. As a result, I see audio playing a much more important role with most systems being equipped with surround capabilities. I think the future possibilities of Internet sound will be highly influential in the development of home sound systems.

Do you find yourself using music instruments as effects? ( an example of this would be in the Tom and Jerry cartoons)

Yes, I have a small collection of instruments and often try to use them in my projects, though they rarely end up sounding like the raw recordings as I usually heavily process them.

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Name/Company

Shaun Farley/Teleproductions International

Role as a Sound Designer

I'm not exclusively a sound designer. I work for an independent production company, and am responsible for all aspects of the audio program for our pieces excluding music. As such, I'm involved in everything from the location production through post. That gives me a good understanding of what we're going to need in terms of sounds very early on, and also gives me the opportunity to collect unique sounds early on in the schedule. This doesn't mean I don't go out and record more items as needed (if there's time), or that I don't use library effects. We work mostly on documentary and non-fictional programming. I'm always amused at how much sound design goes into programming that is supposed to be based on some sort of reality.

How did you get into the industry

I started out doing live sound reinforcement, then went to grad school to learn the recording side of the audio industry. I was more drawn to film and media integration than the music recording industry, so I just followed that path. Started out as an audio PA for a public radio station in Boston and doing freelance work on the side. Eventually got a staff gig doing dialogue for a web-based training company (kept doing the freelance thing). Then got a staff gig where I am currently.

Hardware/Software

I use Pro Tools exclusively. I've worked with some other software in the past, but I prefer Tools. I don't necessarily consider it superior to programs like Nuendo, it's just a personal preference; though I would like the opportunity to use a Fairlight system again (those are very nice). I gravatate towards Sennheiser and Schoeps Mics for production audio, and use a lot of Neumann's in studio. For field recorders, Sound Devices or Zaxcom equipment are my preferences.

Freelance/Long Term

I have a staff gig, but still like to do freelance work now and then. In my job, I work with the same editors and producers all the time. Freelance on top of that is nice, because I get into something that's a little less routine and more interesting. I've been kind of slacking in that department lately, but am getting some new outside work lined up at the moment.

Most difficult part of designing effects

Time. Most of our stuff is for television, and there's only so much that can be done in the allotted time by one person. Eventually, you have to prioritize, and it turns into a system of attrition. What do you just not have time to do. I know this is not exclusive to television. Many people I know in the film industry have the same issues on nearly all but some of the largest budget pictures.

Future developments and impact on work

There's a huge convergence push going on right now, and a wide range of standards to deal with (if a particular medium even has a standard). We're only going to see it grow too. Dealing with mixes for multiple playback mediums is going to become even more complex, and I'm really hoping to see better cross-standardization between them. Any piece of media is now played back on everything from a theatre to someone's phone. We're going to see new encoding algorithms that deal with this to some degree, because it will be cheaper than paying for 15 different mixes (yes, I know that's an exaggeration...but you get the point). That's going to require more technical knowledge from professionals in terms of predicting a mix's behavior in various decoding situations. Essentially, this means we're going to have more mental data to process when making decisions at the mix stage.

Use of instruments

What's going to give me the sound I want? That's what drives my decisions. One time, I pulled everyone from the office into the studio to do a loop group with kazoos. ;)

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