I was having a conversation about this with a friend of mine earlier today. Would you rather design creature sounds for:

a) Optimus Prime, or b) Tinkerbell

I think it's a much tougher choice than it seems on its face.

Which would you choose and why?


I have been the sound editor on an animated series about fairies as well as a series involving giant robots so I have a history with both these options. The giant robots are much more engrossing and involve lots of elements while the fairies are all about soft sounds so you don't use as many layers but the ones you do use have to be bang on perfect, because there is no where to hide a sound that is not quite right. So They are both difficult and engrossing in their own ways. Over the long haul the fairies started driving me crazy though. Due to their small stature the sounds end up mostly residing in the higher end of the sound spectrum and fairy voices are annoying as hell (at least on this series). The robots become very fatiguing on the ears after weeks of the metal clangs and hits, so I guess they both have their downsides as well.

One interesting side observation. With the fairies each fairy had to have its own full library of sounds. Each fairy had a completely different sound design for their wings flapping, no sound was used for multiple characters. While the robots had many signature sound elements per character, but there were also many sounds that were involved in almost all the robots, ie metal rings, crushes, and hits. Now this has as much to do with the character design on these two shows but I think illustrates that the fairies were all about the details and the robots were all about conveying their hugeness with big loud sounds.

I played with robot toys growing up but never had any fairies kicking around, so in the end I guess I would lean towards the robots because they are more towards my natural interests.

  • 1
    can you link any youtube video AzimuthAudio? got me pretty interested! – Nikos Chatzigeorgiadis Jul 21 '11 at 21:59
  • Both were animated series. One was called Pearlie, based on a book series that is apparently very popular in Australia(?). It was the fairy series. The Robots I cut are from a series called Bakugan, The giant robots really come into play in season 4. Don't have any youtube clips handy though. I don't have the copyright clearance to post anything up myself. – AzimuthAudio Jul 22 '11 at 21:49

Optimus prime

It is more a size thing, as there are so many potential moving parts that could all make different noises.


I think both.

My opinion here that the main value it is to find “that very sound”.

I've recently watched Sam Mendes's “Road to Perdition” and if somebody remembers there was the simple sound effect in the beginning and in the final scene. It was the slightly modified sound of the sea wave, nothing particularly in terms of sound editing I think. But for me it was one of the most impressive and the greatest sound moments that I've ever heard.

Sorry my language.

  • Spoiler alert... – Steve Urban Jul 21 '11 at 13:43

I would greatly enjoy both but might enjoy the detailed softness of the fairies more. Perhaps because I have done a lot of heavy mechanical type sounds for the Science Channel recently. Variety is the spice of life.


Does anyone else read threads like this to their wives? Or is it just me? :)) (we're pretty much a robots vs fairies household)


Robots for sure!! After going to see the latest Transformers film I remember thinking "holly crap, how do I get a job in Hollywood!? I want to work on the next Transformers, those sounds were amazing! @AzimuthAudio good to hear from someone who has done both though and I can image that fairy voices would get annoying!ha. funny

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