Krotos is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and creates unique audio software products for AAA game studios, film studios, and top-notch post-production companies worldwide. Their first product, Dehumaniser Pro, was launched November 2013 to rave reviews and since, the company has quickly grown in size whilst releasing numerous exciting products. As the brainchild of sound designer Orfeas Boteas, Krotos is always looking for ways to improve the post-production process while simultaneously making it fun for sound engineers.
Designing sounds for a trailer is a challenging task. The goal is to grab the attention of the viewer so that they cannot wait to see the full release. At the same time, you need to be careful not to fall into various trailer sound cliches and make the trailer fade away into the sea of sameness. Did I also mention that it’s all probably on a very limited time scale? Did it suddenly get hot in here?
Fear not, as this blog post is here to help you on your trailer-making journey (especially if you are just starting out and feel a bit overwhelmed), and – hopefully – alleviate some of the stress and maybe even inspire you to consider some approaches.
Over the course of this post, I’ll be looking at general best practices, ideas and we’ll also take a look at how software and libraries from Krotos can help you get your creative gears going and let you work faster and more efficient, leaving more time for the fun parts of the job. More specifically, I’ll show some workflow capabilities of Weaponiser and focus on content of the Trailers Library.
Note: I have also created some cinematic hits and whooshes for the purpose of this demonstration. You can download the original assets for free and use them for whatever you fancy!Tip 1: Dynamics = Suspense
One of the common pitfalls that sound designers need to watch out for is the ‘louder means better’ design approach. I love a powerful sound just like any other person but I’d like to propose that the power comes from INCREASING the dynamic range of your content, not decreasing it through overcompression. To show this, we’ll take a look at the first scene accompanying our blog post: the server room shutdown.Anticipation Phase
All the machinery in the room gradually shuts down before the red light comes on. I’ll use some content from our User Interface Library to create sounds of the machines and then I’ll pitch it down as the lights go out. I have rendered some instances of the UI Glitched Machine preset in Weaponiser. I have spammed the Fire button and now we have loads of glitchy computer beeps that will serve as the main chunk of our sounds. We will keep this in a relatively soft/medium intensity and fade the volume as the lights gradually go down. This will create space for the blast. It is the big jump in amplitude that will help us sell the change of light. If everything was on a similar level, we just wouldn’t hear that much of a difference.Blast
The lights go down completely and then… BOOM. I wanted to create an association of the red light representing something ominous and therefore created some shrieking synth blasts. I have remixed the preset Cinematic Transition 1 from the Trailers Library by adding the new impacts.
Image 1: Cinematic Transition 1 preset with added content.
Now I have the main component of the hit sound done with one click of the button in Weaponiser. I have also rendered all the other tabs of Weaponiser as separate outputs so that I can still control the mix of the individual pieces.
Image 2: Separate renders of two Weaponiser remixed presets.Aftershock
Right after the initial blast, I lowered the volume significantly, leaving only some ominous drone tones and corrupted UI bleeps. This part is meant to keep us on the edge and sell the idea that something evil has settled in this room.
And just like that, we’re done with the first part! We have created an impactful transition by letting the main sound breathe.
Tip 2: Layering is your best friend
P.s. I’m getting some serious Control vibes from the red light.
Layering is a fantastic way of creating unique sounds, especially if time constraints are not allowing for full fledged design. In this part, we’ll be combining three different presets from the Cinematic Trailers library to create the soundscape of a pirate ship scene.
As the camera pans, we start off close to the first ship, slowly moving away from it and focusing more and more on the second one. I wanted to create a sense of peril and adventure and give some character to both ships to distinguish them. Thus, I have chosen three sounds to represent what I have identified as 3 protagonists of the scene: the first ship, the sea and the second ship.
The first ship introduces the feeling of danger by using the dark horn blast of the Thriller Transition 1 preset, which fits really well with the design of the ship (that’s a lot of skeletons). Next, we’ll use the rattly textures of the Adventure Drone preset to symbolise the sea as the play-field for our dangerous adventure. This part adds to the mystery and suspense of the scene. The second ship represents power as we now see that this is an organised group (or maybe they will fight each other? Who knows!). A string theme taken from the String Stinger 1 preset will help us convey the sense of pirate might. Layered and crossfaded together, they give us a unique sound scene:
Insert some sea ambiences (why yes, by layering!) to ground the listening experience and our second scene is ready!Tip 3: Embrace Silence
Lack of sound can be as gripping as an explosion. Sometimes even more! If you’ve watched it, THAT hyperspace jump from The Last Jedi comes to mind. It is most likely an evolutionary trait that makes us as attentive to the quick snappy sounds (as we needed to watch out from snapping twigs, or something that is snapping the twig, more precisely) as to the sudden lack of sound (something suddenly stopped moving). This has been used in cinema for quite some time, i.e. in the outdoor dinner preparation scene in Once Upon The Time In The West. We’re going to take the rapid planet close-up clip and play around with our listening expectations.Riser/Swell
First, we’re going to saturate our ears with a very rich riser that will follow the planetary approach. This will create a certain expectation for the follow-up sound that we will break (a bit). To create the sound of the swell, I’ve used two instances of the String Swell Short preset from the Cinematic Trailer library, along with some original content. The final riser sounds like this:Cut Impact
Now we’re going to abruptly cut almost all of the sounds used in the swell and leave only a transient of the hit and a low-end drop. This will create a feeling of void which fits perfectly with the space theme of the clip and grabs our attention as we feel the sudden lack of sound.Tip 4: Shape through automation
Parameter automation is essential when dealing with repetitive content and the boxer scene is the perfect example of that. In this scene, we will be creating variation using some handy Weaponiser features and then we will shape our scene through various levels of automation.Asset creation
There’s a lot of punching in this clip and we need to make it varied. Tracklaying would take quite some time so we will use some of the features of Weaponiser to get a wide range of non-repetitive assets by making a fresh preset. I have taken various assets of boxing pad work and added them to separate banks in Weaponiser. Then I have set those banks to randomise so that the plugin does not play them back in the same order. As we have four different banks, five assets each, we now have 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 625 possible asset combinations! To make it even better, we’ll slightly randomise the playback speed of the sample to get pitch variation. I think we are covered for this scene!
Image 3: new padwork patch
Now we need to sync the impacts. To make our life easier, we’ll setup a MIDI item that will send information to the padwork patch we have just created to cue the sound on the timeline, giving us perfect sync and loads of variation.
Image 4: MIDI item triggering Weaponiser playback
Afterwards, I used some designed impacts to make a second pass and various natural and abstract whooshes to make the core sounds of the scene.
P.s. I used the content of our Battle Bundle library for the natural hits and whooshesAsset Automation
Now we will take a look at the micro-level of the automation in this scene. As we used Weaponiser to quickly sync our assets, now we should have time to fine tune the automation of whooshes and hits. I’m changing the pan and volume parameters of the whooshes and I’m setting the punches in the proper locations corresponding to the position on the screen. This gives us a sense of movement and breathes life into the scene.
Image 5: snippet of the automation curves in the sceneShaping the Scene
With individual hits automated, we can now look at the bigger picture. The video speeds up, starting with slow motion and going to normal speed at the end. I have created two sets of assets – abstract hits and natural sounding boxing. Natural does not necessarily mean ‘realistic’; we can hear punches, even though the person is air boxing. The impacts did, however, fit the scene style more and I do feel that the task of a sound designer is to enhance the reality and not represent it (Sarah Connor’s footsteps in Terminator 2, anyone?). We’re using automation to crossfade between the abstract and natural soundscapes, shaping our scenes with volume parameters.Tip 5: Sound Sets Tone
In my opinion, the last clip is a great example of the enormous capabilities of sound for setting the tone. The video itself is quite neutral. If you watch it without any sound, your emotional associations can be quite varied. Therefore, it is up to the sonic layer to determine the emotional impact of this clip.
For the purposes of this blog post, I’ve chosen to focus on the feelings of danger, distance and isolation. Therefore, I used the Horror Transition 3 and 4 presets, combined with a distant Horror Hit 2 (this feels very Alien, doesn’t it?). This is also a great example of the fact that you sometimes do not need many sounds to wrap up a scene. Those three instances do the job really well and the sounds are only 3 clicks away!
To demonstrate how different our perception of the scene can be, compare how the scene would feel like with the soundscape of the pirate ship clip:
For me, the second clip is something much more akin to action/superhero trailer. All thanks to the sound!Conclusion
Throughout this blog, we’ve looked at different ways in which we can bring the trailer to another level through audio and how to work effectively by using various ready-made presets in Weaponiser and by designing our own patches. We have also looked at some general approaches as well. Presented scenes cover a wide range of environments and content genres and therefore we can safely assume that the ideas presented here will be of use regardless of the type of content you are working on.
If you’re interested in trailer sound, I do suggest this great podcast by Twenty Thousand Hertz (warning: you won’t hear the trailers the same ever again):
If you’d like to see for yourself how Weaponiser can speed up your workflow, head to the link below to grab a free demo.
And don’t forget your free sounds!DOWNLOAD SOUNDS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Read More
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All our plugins are ready to go with a free trial. So why not test out vocal processing with Dehumaniser 2, layering your sfx with Weaponiser, real-time Foley with Reformer Pro, vehicle sounds in Igniter, or get patch-making in Concept!
To download a demo, simply add the demo to your order.Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now RELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Read More
Introducing the User Interface Library for Weaponiser – a complete collection of 346 dynamic notification and interaction sounds for apps, games, and devices. This sound library comes loaded with 73 tweakable designed presets and features a full range of versatile sounds for any project!
The UI sound library is specifically designed by the Krotos sound team for use in Weaponiser – the Krotos plugin that lets you build your own dynamic sound design assets with a fast and creative workflow.uSER iNTERFACE lIBRARY Free SFX when you buy Krotos software!
As a special introductory offer*, the User Interface Library comes free when you buy Weaponiser Fully Loaded or one of our Sound Design Bundles for a limited time* – a fantastic opportunity to level-up your next project with $99 worth of library content!To get this offer, simply add your chosen product to your basket, and the library will be included as an add-on at checkout. *This offer ends Friday 20th March 2020 Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
All Krotos software is available for a free 10 day trial. The demo features a selection of library sounds for you to test out.Demo Weaponiser Share this article: RELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
The post Introducing: User Interface Library for Weaponiser appeared first on Krotos.Read More
Dehumaniser 2 is the Sound Design Bundle’s creature and monster vocal processor, already famed for its use in feature films and TV Series like Stranger Things, the Lion King, Avengers, and many more. Watch the next walkthrough to learn how our sound designer handled an off-screen monster by allowing the audio to build all the tension using only Dehumaniser 2.Back to all videos Related Videos
Dehumaniser 2 Overview
Dehumaniser 2 Walkthrough
Using Dehumaniser 2 for Vocal ProductionRELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
The post Sound Design in Under 10 Minutes | Monster vocalisation tutorial appeared first on Krotos.Read More
Weaponiser provides powerful and efficient workflows for weapon sound design and layering. This video walks you through how the individual gunfire was designed, as well as showcasing the depth of Weaponiser’s versatility for creating footsteps.Back to all videos Related Videos
Battle BundleRELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
The post Sound Design in Under 10 Minutes | Gun fire and footsteps tutorial appeared first on Krotos.Read More
Reformer Pro is our specialised Foley designer that lets you perform, automate and perform any sound effects in real-time using a mic or controller. In this walkthrough you’ll learn how the clothing movement and footsteps on the broken glass were designed with just Reformer Pro.Back to all videos Related Videos
Introducing Reformer Pro
Reformer Pro Walkthrough
Sound Design Bundle 2 in Action | SWAT promoRELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
The post Sound Design in Under 10 Minutes | Glass crunch and movement Foley tutorial appeared first on Krotos.Read More
Igniter is our all-in-one solution for vehicle sound design, one of the four flagship plugins that comes with the Sound Design Bundle 2. The beginning of the promo video shows a police van sliding in, skidding wheels, the van abruptly braking to a halt, and finally the back doors opening. How did we go about designing all of this using just Igniter… in under 10 minutes? Watch the video to learn how it was done.Back to all videos Related Videos
Sound Design Bundle 2 in Action | SWAT promoRELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
The post Sound Design in Under 10 Minutes | Vehicle sliding and door Foley tutorial appeared first on Krotos.Read More
The Weaponiser 1.2.0 update to both Weaponiser Basic and Fully Loaded sees a range of new features, new assets, presets, performance improvements and DAW support. Weaponiser is the Krotos plugin that lets you build your own dynamic sound design assets with a fast and creative workflow. Here is what’s new in Weaponiser 1.2.0What’s new in the 1.2.0 Update New Features:
Our sound team have created a range of new sound assets and presets which come available in Weaponiser. Take a look behind the scenes to learn more about our sound team’s process and how we go about creating the new Sci-Fi Acid Gun preset.Read Article New to Weaponiser? Try a free demo!
All Krotos software is available for a free 10 day trial. The demo features 10 new presets from version 1.2.0 for you to test out.Demo Weaponiser Share this article: RELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Read More
The Weaponiser Fully Loaded 1.2.0 update brings a lot to the table in terms of performance and usability but it also comes with 17 new presets and 106 new assets. In this blog post, we are going to dissect some of the new content to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how Krotos’ sound design team works. This will also be a useful case study of how to make a coherent set of audio content.
Specifically, we are going to be talking about the newest addition to our Sci-Fi armory – the Acid Gun.What's new in Weaponiser 1.2.0 High Concept
Designing content for a sound library is always an exercise in balance – you want your sounds to be as broadly useful as possible but you also want them to have style and character. I like to visualise the gun I am creating. No content here yet, but our visualisation is going to influence the final outcome. Here’s what I came up with:
Acid Gun resembles a mix between an assault rifle and a shotgun. The acid projectiles are loaded by means of a canister. The gun has several different fire modes and needs to be charged to perform special attacks. It spews green acid balls that cut through everything in its path.
Note that this is still pretty general and it’s just for my reference so I have a design to lean on. You can have a completely different idea of how the gun looks and that’s perfectly fine!
The main component of the gun is the acid blast, so some fizzy, bubbly sound was needed. I brought a couple of soda cans to the studio with malicious intent. Since we are an Edinburgh-based company, Irn Bru, the liquid essence of Scotland, was used.
P.s. If you’ve never seen this before, try it. You’ll either love it or hate it.
The energy version of the drink has a distinct shape that makes an interesting hollow twang sound if you punch it. We’re going to pierce this can to make the main part of our sound. The explosion of acid has to be forceful and huge to make the listener sure that he’s hearing a powerful weapon. As always, high quality source material is a key to a good design. Here’s how piercing of a can sounds like:
P.S. The soda blast totally did not hit the other sound recordist straight in the face.
P.P.S. Sorry Andrew.
This sounds interesting on its own, but for this gun, we want something a bit more of a Sci-Fi feel. Some flanging, frequency shifting and tremolo will help us with that.
To increase the futuristic feel of the gun, I created some additional plasma and laser shots using sound synthesis. They are all available with the update!
The gun also needs a tail sound. If you fill a container with a fizzy drink and then let a couple of drips hit the liquid surface from a height, you get a very interesting dissolving sound.
Some processing and we have a sound of the acid ball moving away from us.Handling and Foley
There’s much more to a weapon than just firing. There’s a plethora of reloading, handling and general gun Foley sounds that can be created to flesh out our weapon. I tried to get as many sounds from the cans as possible. Tearing them to pieces, squashing them, opening them after various degrees of shaking. This gave me a nice selection of multi-purpose sounds. As they are made with the same source material, they create a feeling of cohesive whole, which we want for a sample pack. Here’s a can opening sound:
If we shrink it by using time-stretch, we can get something that will work really well as a sound of attaching the acid canister to the gun.
Audio processing is going to be very helpful here. We want to convey the feeling of weight and power of the gun. The gun has to feel heavy and that means that low-end enhancement across all assets is going to help us achieve that. Using similar processing also adds to the feeling of uniformity.
Mangling the soda can yielded interesting results. We can convey the feeling of various parts of the gun moving, adding life to it with the mechanical layer. Then we can combine those with some actual gun Foley and synthesised content to create full sounds. If we want to, for example, make a recharge sound, a rising synth and some tremolo will also help us.Summary
Final stage of creating the acid gun presets is going to be adding some actual gunshots. Adding real-world sounds grounds our experience and adds to the suspension of disbelief. As this is a shotgun/rifle hybrid, I used SPAS-12 and AK-47 recordings, available in Weaponiser Fully Loaded. Here’s a short audio scene with the presets in action:
By using interesting source material, original and distinct sounds were designed. They create a cohesive whole and could be used in a game or motion picture. Having general principles for audio processing helps with glueing the different presets together so that when we hear the showcase above, it feels like one gun. Although the weapon has a style, it is generic enough to be flexible. Additionally, as what I am showing is used in Weaponiser, you are not stuck with how I wanted the gun to sound but you can pick and choose whichever elements you want and add them to your designs!
If you have any further questions regarding the design of this weapon, do not hesitate to contact me.
P.s. The main inspiration behind using the soda cans is this fantastic article by Oscar Coen.Demo Weaponiser
Ready to give Weaponiser a try? Download a free 10 demo of the plugin to trial out version 1.2.0. The demo now comes with 10 new additional presets from the Weaponiser update.Demo Weaponiser Share this article: RELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now
The post Behind the Scenes: How to Create Acid Gun Presets in Weaponiser 1.2.0 appeared first on Krotos.Read More
Mercury award-winning music producer Roni Size’s carreer has been about building something new from whatever was around him. From Bristol youthclub parties, through the white heat of rave and the founding moments of jungle and drum’n’bass, to transforming underground electronic music into something that could be played by a live band on the biggest arena and festival stages, he has at each stage created completely afresh.Roni Size Presets in Concept
Roni Size contributed a selection of 16 presets to Concept, which come ready to bend, twist and transformed into something new. Use these patches as your starting point to add intense DnB wobbles, driving jungle basslines and quirky synth sounds to your own track with Concept.
Have a listen through a selection of these patches such as Bass Station, Bake Off Bass, Flying Saucer, or Gated Organ below:How Roni Size uses Concept in the studio
We visited Roni Size in his Bristol studio to find out more about his background, and how he uses Concept in his set-up. Watch the full interview here.“Tweak It is like playing poker”
The Tweak It customisation system in Concept lets you generate endless changes to your patch. Roni Size uses the feature for inspiration and to create new variations of his patches: “you just Tweak it, it’s like playing poker”.Using Audio Input to route through two tracks of drum breaks
Concept allows you to feed multiple audio signals into the plugin, and use these as modulation sources with the Audio Input. Try running two drum tracks through it to create dynamic rhythmical patches!
“The best way I’ve used is by routing it back through a bus, how you’d set up a sidechain. I like putting two tracks of drum breaks through it, and then running it straight back through!”“XY Capture is really cool!”
Concept’s unique XY Capture lets you draw in your modulation movements to let it affect any parameter in the plugin to achieve interesting results. Roni Size uses these for his evolving reverb or to add saturation to his track.Save 30 %   Quick View
Download a free demo of Concept to explore the soft-synth’s intuitive drag & drop modulation and swift patch-building workflow.
The Roni Size presets all come included in the demo and the full version.Demo Concept Share this article: RELATED PRODUCTS Save 30 %   Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Quick View Buy Now Read More