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  • 04/01/19 01:00 AM

    Sound Design with an iPhone SE

    Music and Sound FX

    Sergio Ronchetti


    Last month I gave another public talk at the Unreal London Meetup (link here if you're curious) which gave me the chance to show off how I’ve been using a very simple set up to achieve high-quality results.

    By regressing to a simpler workflow as shown to the right, I can focus on my new ethos of “Resourceful vs. Resources”. An idea that suggests less is more when it comes to buying and using too much equipment. Instead of having 100 different types of expensive tools and being mediocre at all of them, I’d rather have just a handful but be super skilled at using them.

    Using an iPhone means I can whip it out and record on the fly rather than needing to plan ahead because I just HAVE to use my new shotgun microphone. Just a thought! Anyway, below are a couple of examples of this workflow in action and their results (I’m particularly happy with the monster sound in the first video!)

    Below is an example to prove how I practice what I preach. I found a particularly creaky door and had nothing but my iPhone to record with (there are fantastic handheld/portable recording devices but unless you reeeeally need to spend money then you shouldn't!). I did what any self-respecting sound designer should start with and pulled up the lovely AUpitch plugin in Logic Pro X. I've started to realise that 50% of my work has involved pitching normal sounds up or down to create the basis of fantastic new creations. In this case, I pitched the original squeaky door down by about 2 or 3 octaves. I layered the sounds in various ways, reversed some of them, lengthened others and then added a tone of reverb (by bussing out to 3 different reverb sends you can again layer various reverb time lengths to deepen your audio field).

    Below is the result...



    Would you have known that was an iPhone if I hadn't mentioned it? The answer is no (unless you're some sort of audio wizard/witch). I guess the point I'm trying to make is that even cheaper alternatives to expensive microphones and handheld recorders can still yield high-quality results, and worthy of industry standards.

    Following on from that, I recorded a wine glass with my iPhone and created a voice for one of the monsters in Eldest Souls. I can't reveal any animations just yet, but I can say that this guy is particularly *frosty* and I think the resonance of the glass worked wonders with the icy context.

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