Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sound Advice

"In the same way that painting, or looking at paintings, makes you see the world in a different way, listening to interestingly arranged sounds makes you hear differently." Walter Murch

One of the most overlooked parts of student animated films is the sound track. Animators and student filmmakers are so caught up in producing the visual look of the film, that they often forget that the soundtrack is just as important. The Warner Bros cartoons of the past had soundtracks that were created by musicians and sound editors, making a soundtrack that fit to the picture.

Here's is a recording from the Carl Stalling Project where you can hear Stalling directing his orchestra in a large sound stage on the Warner Bros studio lot. Without the animation,  imagine a large group of musicians playing their parts as fast as they can after the four click beats.

What Carl Stalling was to cartoon music, Treg Brown was the man who came up with all the funny and amazing sound effects for all the Warner Bros. cartoons. Here is a 2 part documentary about Treg Brown which is very educational and fun.

Ben Burtt created the voices and sounds for the lightsabers, aliens and droids of Star Wars: Episode IV, He also gave voices to R2D2, E.T. and Wall-E.

And while Treg Brown was creating crazy sound effects, Jimmy MacDonald worked for Walt Disney beginning his career as a musician and recording music for Disney's early cartoons. Voice acting and sound effects is where he contributed the most and his yodeling can be heard for the dwarfs in "Snow White" and sounds of Dopey hiccuping and sobbing. 

Walt Disney did Mickey's voice, but in 1947, MacDonald was given the job and ended up voicing other Disney animated characters as well. During all this time, he also became the head of Disney's sound effects department. Below, he is demonstrating some of his sound effect creations for a young David Letterman.

Here's a great link to even more amazing inventions and sound effects by Jimmy MacDonald's.

"The Wilhelm Scream" is the most used sound effect in motion picture history, used in more than 359 movies and television episodes. Ben Burtt rediscovered the sound effect and has put it into many of the films he has worked on. Sheb Wooley, created the scream back in 1951 for a scene, where man is eating back an alligator.

Disney has their own version of this scream, from a Goofy cartoon in 1941 called "The Art of Skiing".

Tasos Fratzolas is the owner/CEO of Soundsnap, a professional online sound library, featuring high-quality sound effects and loops from Hollywood sound designers and cutting edge music producers.

Here is a very interesting TEDtalk by Mr. Fratzolas and how to think about sound design. 

And finally, I need more blog posts!

Do me a favor, Do you have a great animation tip you have discovered or a favorite animator you would love to learn more about? Or maybe you have a great post idea, no place to post it? Anything animated works. 

Please send to comments below or email me: 

Thanks, Jimr

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