Sound Design that sells

Last saturday I went to watch the new Star Trek movie, which I enjoyed much. A great reboot for the series!

But what was the most amazing thing about that night was Transformers 2 trailer. I remember how I praised sound design of the first Transformers movie but this trailer blew my mind! Most of the sounds I heard were truly unique, amazing sounds that I left me wondering how they were made. I’m definetly gonna see the movie just to hear the sounds.

In most of the movie trailers and even movies that I’ve seen, there’s sounds that I spot taken directly from a certain sound fx libraries without even a single change – this have always bothered me. Is it because of the limitations of the budget or the lazyness / lack of skill of the sound designer? For me, audio design is also an art form, and when I spot ‘important’ sound assets from a sample CD, it really doesn’t feel good. OK, I know most of you will never notice any of these but still…

By important sound asset I mean a sound that is one of the key elements of the movie or a game – a sound that should be unique. One example of this can be heard in a TV-serie “Heroes” – you know when Hiro is twiching his face and going time travel? Yeah, there is a sample taken directly from a sample CD called “Sound Designers Toolkit”. Meh! That’s one of the most used special sound fx in the series!

So, speaking of Transformers and audio, seems like there can be sound design that sells. I’ve always believed that only music can do that. The trick is the usual – make something unique sound design that nobody else have made. Doesn’t sound easy, doesn’t it?

2 Responses to “Sound Design that sells”

  1. Tony

    I came to the same conclusion after seeing the first installment of the new Transformers movies. Although I was quite disappointed with the movie as a whole, I remember being deeply touched by some of the robot and effect sounds. I realize that nothing can really replace the original transformation sound as the best thing ever in TF universe (along Unicron, hail Orson W), but many of the new sounds came close.

    I’m glad you blogged about this, because I had actually forgotten about it with TF2 coming out soon. Once again, my expectations aren’t all that high in terms of the movie, but I’m expecting amazing things from CGI and sound.

    The original Movie had a really corny theme song (thx 80’s rock in movie themes!). I can’t even remember what the theme sounded like in this new TF movie. That’s quite sad, because especially Season 3 theme from the original (American) animated series is one of my all time favorites:

    Season 3:
    Season 2:

  2. Thomas

    I just stumbled upon your works through a trailer/demo for the video game, Trine. Great work on what I have heard so far. Aside from that though, I completely agree with you on the canned sounds. For you see, I am a sound design student, working on several student films and animations. It really does break my heart when people just think that pulling a sound from a library is the best route. Yes, it can be cheap and quick, but where is the art in that? Isn’t that just factory work? Granted, there is a time and a place for it.
    You used an example from Heroes. It’s sad that they didn’t bother designing anything for such a key sound in the show. I’m interested in hearing your review of the second Transformers movie. I have yet to see it myself.


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