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Feedback for my Demo?


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#1 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:27 PM

Just looking for a little feedback on my sound design demo - good or bad.  Seriously, if you think it's rubbish, say so; I'm here to learnsmile.png   Mainly, I'm asking if it's worthy of sending to potential employers, and where it could improve.

 

I didn't use anything from SFX libraries other than a few drum samples, and the Wilhelm scream, so everything else was recorded, or synthesized by me.  The quality may have suffered for this, but I really wanted to show initiative with that fact.  I even recorded my budgie...

 

 

Thanks!

 

 


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


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#2 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 05:06 AM

A few things I noticed:

 

  • The sounds by themselves didn't seem completely incorporated into the scene/game. This might be because of reverb or panning I'm not completely sure...
  • The bats/birds didn't sound too realistic for the images (I'm guessing this was your budgie)

 

Other than that I thought it was a good attempt :)



#3 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:04 PM

I think I know what you mean, particularly if you mean the dialogue.  I'll keep that in mindsmile.png   I'm planning on trying for an actual game project for my next demo (should I make one).  Thanks!


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#4 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:49 AM

Hey, 

 

Thanks for sharing this! I had a few thoughts: 

 

  • If you're not a VO guy, then don't do your own VO in a sound design demo. smile.png It reads a bit harsh, and I don't mean it that way. The current VO is taking me out of your demo instead of immersing me in it. 
  • Don't use highly recognizable sounds, like the Wilhelm scream at :46. I feel it cheapens the overall demo and don't use it twice in the same demo video. 
  • Your gun sounds, and many of your other sounds, lack weight. I should feel like I'm firing a really powerful weapon. Now it's true that Bioshock Infinite takes place in the 1920's and the official gun sounds have a more antique feel. That's appropriate but when I'm playing the game it still gives a sense of power.
  • Spend some time doing A/B comparisons between FPS and your demo. See where you're hitting the mark and where you're missing it. 
  • Be careful about your mix between the music elements and the sound design. There are points where the mix gets really muddy and unclear. A potential employer or client wants to see (and hear!) that you can create a good mix with a complex, active game like an FPS. 
  • Edit: Consider only offering a music or a sound design only demo reel. Most times folks are going to want to hire you for one or the other, especially with larger clients. It's rare to land a position where you'll be doing both. It's possible but more rare. To be honest... the music feels more like an after thought so I question the wisdom at putting it in a demo. You want to only put in your best stuff in a demo. 

Hope that helps!

 

Nate


Edited by nsmadsen, 16 April 2013 - 07:52 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#5 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:13 PM

Well received!  I really should have spent more time on it.  It's for a college project due soon, so I do have a deadline.  Once I have free time over the summer, I plan on re-working it, or starting a new project.  I have some follow up questions, if you don't mind answering?

 

The gun sound was weak, because I physically didn't know how to create a gun sound without using other peoples samples.  Would you recommend using free samples over less quality, but original work?  Which way is the best way to get noticed and get the interview?

 

A similar dilemma is that I felt by including composition designed specifically for the visuals in the demo, I was showcasing a wider skill set that would benefit me.  Is it really more likely to hurt my chances including it?

 

Lastly, is there any way to design a Wwise demo, that showcases your abilities using that software, without licensing Wwise?  Something that really annoyed me was how inaccurate my parameter automation (for panning, volume, and LPF) was in the demo.  I'd prefer to demonstrate work with interactive sound with omni-directional attenuation, and although I could learn UDK to an advanced level instead of Wwise, most job advert pluses will look for experience with the latter.


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#6 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:56 PM

Well received!  I really should have spent more time on it.  It's for a college project due soon, so I do have a deadline.  Once I have free time over the summer, I plan on re-working it, or starting a new project.  I have some follow up questions, if you don't mind answering?

 

Absolutely, no problem at all!

 

The gun sound was weak, because I physically didn't know how to create a gun sound without using other peoples samples.  Would you recommend using free samples over less quality, but original work?  

 

Whatever sounds the best is key, really. Even using library sounds which then you edit and tweak to fit within your own demo is alright. The only time saying "100% of the audio was recorded and produced by me" really pays off is when it sounds incredible. If it sounds lackluster or doesn't fit the end goal of your demo, it's more a detraction than a benefit. 

 

Which way is the best way to get noticed and get the interview?

 

Make it sound amazing. Whatever steps, tools and resources you use to get to that point are sort of irrelevant. It's akin to the "which DAW is the best?!" debates you see online. In the end, it doesn't really matter. Only the audio does. If you can make amazing audio using a student version of a DAW with open source, free plugins - great! The content of your demo matters most.  

 

A similar dilemma is that I felt by including composition designed specifically for the visuals in the demo, I was showcasing a wider skill set that would benefit me.  Is it really more likely to hurt my chances including it?

 

Your thinking is right! And it would apply here if the music really shone and stood on it's own. But it felt, again trying to be constructive and yet honest with you, fairly generic. To my ears, once I heard the music for a few seconds it was easy to tune it out. Easy to forget it. I like your idea of showing a wider skill set, now make the content show off your chops and talent! smile.png

 

A good rule of thumb: does this content make my demo stand out? Does it rank high up among what the pros and established folks you respect and admire are doing? If not, it's time to keep on woodshedding and polishing your craft. (Pro tip: you actually never stop woodshedding and polishing your craft!! You just keep trying to improve and learn more!)

 

Lastly, is there any way to design a Wwise demo, that showcases your abilities using that software, without licensing Wwise?  Something that really annoyed me was how inaccurate my parameter automation (for panning, volume, and LPF) was in the demo.  I'd prefer to demonstrate work with interactive sound with omni-directional attenuation, and although I could learn UDK to an advanced level instead of Wwise, most job advert pluses will look for experience with the latter.

 

It's tricky to discuss legality online, especially in a forum. Sure, you could rip all of the audio out and replace with your open in a mod or something similar. It's up to each individual property and their terms of use and also how you present it that can either make it "okay" or potentially lead to trouble. Some people say having any kind of copyrighted material on your demo reel is a risky, bad move but tons of folks do it. I'm not a lawyer so my best advice would to be seek out some professional advice if you want to go the route of using something you haven't licensed in your demo. That or really find an avenue where the company (IP owners) have made it official that they don't care about mods and are not going to come after you. 
 

Best of luck! 


Edited by nsmadsen, 16 April 2013 - 03:58 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#7 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

Thanks for your time!  I would like to add that the music was indeed generic, however, it took three hours from the first note being composed to being a fully produced track, and was my first orchestral piece of music I'd ever made.  My composition background is mainly technical/progressive metal and dubstep.  I know it won't score me any points with anyone else, but I was fairly proud of that achievement :P  This does beg one more question (sorry!):

 

Which genres are the most important to demonstrate composition and production skills, when it comes to seeking in-house sound design roles?  I've chosen to steer clear of marketing myself as a composer, however, I would've wrote much more complex music if I thought it would help.

 

Thanks again!


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#8 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:37 PM

Thanks for your time!  I would like to add that the music was indeed generic, however, it took three hours from the first note being composed to being a fully produced track, and was my first orchestral piece of music I'd ever made.  My composition background is mainly technical/progressive metal and dubstep.  I know it won't score me any points with anyone else, but I was fairly proud of that achievement tongue.png

 

For your first orchestral piece to compose, you did a good job! It was just too repetitive in my opinion. (And to stress, this is just my opinion so take what I say with a grain of salt.) The more you compose in a new style, the easier it becomes and the faster you get. 

 

This does beg one more question (sorry!):

 

Which genres are the most important to demonstrate composition and production skills, when it comes to seeking in-house sound design roles?  

 

 

Hmmm, well I think there's a disconnect. If you're looking for sound design roles then the audio director, manager or HR person will be looking at your sound design. The fact you can write music might come up later and be a benefit but they'll mostly be focused on what they're hiring for: a sound designer. Now if you're looking for an in-house position where you'll be doing both music and sound design then that makes more sense. 

 

There's no magical bullet or set genres that will get you work. It really depends on the client's needs at that moment. For example, if someone only writes orchestral music, then a futuristic, racing game which wants techno/metal fusion may not be interested. Also be careful thinking more complex means better music. By simply throwing in some variety, progression and development, the music you created would have had much more impact! 

 

I've chosen to steer clear of marketing myself as a composer, however, I would've wrote much more complex music if I thought it would help.

 

Thanks again!

 

Here's my advice: find several styles, genres which you are talented in and really enjoy creating. Focus on those styles and get your chops as good as you can. Fine tune your craft to where it sounds great! Then market yourself as that kind of composer. Worry less about which styles "get" jobs because in reality it's more quality that gets job. There are so many projects out there, each wanting something unique. I don't claim to be a hip hop or metal composer. I can fake it, to a degree but it's not my forte. But jazz, orchestral and quirky is right up my alley. 


Edited by nsmadsen, 17 April 2013 - 12:39 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#9 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:20 PM

Now if you're looking for an in-house position where you'll be doing both music and sound design then that makes more sense. 

 

I'm not all that fussed about whether it's music or sound, actually.  I'm passionate enough about both to be very happy designing either for a living.  Some things that are quite specific to my dreams are that the position be in-house, and I'd really like to be able to use Wwise.  It's strange really.  I don't know if you'll have known anyone to go through a similar transition, but all that used to matter to me was writing technical melodic metal music, with the intention of playing it live, with a band.  This was, of course, before reality kicked in, and I needed to think about a  more stable/less high risk career path.  Naturally, I should have wanted to become a composer, be it for TV, games, films etc, but I've found myself far more drawn to game audio, in spite of the fact it meant that I had so much more to learn, that I previously had no interest in.  Even now, there are some areas of sound design/audio production that I find really boring, but when I think of the big picture, I will have it no other way!

 

Also be careful thinking more complex means better music.

 

Poor wording, on my part!  I'm carefultongue.png The music in my demo was designed so that it wouldn't catch anyone's attention, but rather just fill the void of all things you'd expect to hear in a piece of gameplay footage.  I'll try for a better balance between un-noticed and boring next time!

 

Fine tune your craft to where it sounds great! Then market yourself as that kind of composer.

 

 I feel I would have been perfect for games composition 20 years ago.  My specialist genres (the music that pours out of me most naturally) would've best suited the old Sonic The Hedgehog series. I just don't see much demand for it that sort of up beat, melodic style, these days. If I market myself as a composer, I may not appear to be of much use to game developers.  At least, that is my concern.  

 

Thanks again for answering my questions!  I came across a website with a top ten tips section, I believe was written by you.  It was helpful too, so you've been great!  How do you even find the time?


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com





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