I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Monday, June 30


man what a great flick.

It's true what you're hearing - it is a little preachy. But that's ok, because its a flat out masterpiece.

This film is a culmination of the collaboration of the best of the best in the story, animation, and sound design fields. As an audio guy, I think that this has to be the most interesting sounding films I've heard in a long time, and I loved every little sonic nuance about it.

so, I'm going to geek out for a bit now.

First things first, here are some short features with Ben Burtt - who was credited with sound design/character voice design, and the voice of Wall-E - and has been getting a fair amount of traditional media press since the release of the movie.

The La Times

In the end, Burtt used his own heavily tweaked voice for Wall-E's rudimentary speech. "I was experimenting with processing human voice input," he says, "and it was like Dr. Jekyll in his lab: 'Well, there's nobody else around -- I guess I'll drink the potion.'

Info and a cool behind the scenes movie courtesy of FilmSoundDaily

the Ben Burtt interviews on FilmSoundDaily (All kinds of gold in there. Check them out)

a thread on the Gearslutz forum about the film. This is a forum where pro audio guys hang out, and the response is universally positive to the film.

the Kyma, Burtt's most likely weapon of choice when designing the voices in Wall-E. (you can see him working his wacom tablet around on it in one of the filmsounddaily vids)


I think the film is another in a string of superior efforts out of Pixar. The story always comes first, and in this film almost everything except for the story has been stripped away. Wall-E is an emotional flick, but it is one in a very universal and authentic way. With the language mostly stripped away, the robots of the film are essentially very intricate puppets that are masterfully coaxed around a series of spectacularly detailed sets. And they're not just dancing, they're genuinely connecting with their lives, thier work, and each other in a way that the humans in the film are not.

(I'll note that our lack of ability to connect is a very prominent recurring theme in lots of the films I've seen recently - There Will be Blood, Sweeney Todd, Corpse Bride, even back to The Matrix and V for Vendetta. Maybe that speaks more to my taste in film than to the state of filmmaking, but hey whatever.)

The point is that the story is told to a large degree in pantomime, and it's done brilliantly. It so flat out refreshing to not have plot hammered down my neck. The subtlety of all of it - story, imagery, and sounds - survives, and the film is all the better for it.

Go see it. I've run out of words and i have not done it justice.

Monday, June 23

the passing of George Carlin

I really liked George Carlin. He was a personal hero of mine, and I'm greatly saddened by his death.

This man was brilliant mix of fearlessness, intelligence, wit, and personality.

I recently missed an opportunity to see him play a set over in Fort Worth. I'll regret that forever now, since that was really the only opportunity I'll have ever had to watch him in person.

He said in an interview that in another life he'd probably be a teacher. I think he'd make an excellent journalist as well.

The world needs more people like George Carlin, and it will mourn its loss and feel the emptiness he leaves behind for quite some time.

RIP, and we'll miss you.

Thursday, June 19

personal showcase:the airforce technology site

I did the sound design for this website recently, and I'm really pleased with the implementation and the way that it all came together.

The fine folks over at Tribal DDB did the flash implementation, and once the site was pretty much complete they sent it to me. I did a full report of the sounds that I thought it needed, they revised the list and we got to work.

I used a lot of cameras as my source audio for this stuff, running it through dopplers and other sound-bending things, and I'm really happy with the results.

I need some more servo-type machines to record for future stuff, but the library elements that I added as a result of this project have become staples of my arsenal and are just incredibly useful.
Any comments and critiques are welcome!

Saturday, June 7

showcase - some minimalist sound design

I really like what the modern world of animation has done for those of us who make a career as sound designers. Now it's true that a lot of modern animation has become overblown and confused, but those elements of our digital lives just serve as the perfect backdrop against which to lay the minimalist things I'm about to present.

I'll also state that I certainly don't believe that all complex animation sequences are bad artistically speaking (see Transformers and Iron Man), I'm just saying that the truly minimalist stuff forces the sound designer to bring his absolute best game because the audience is guaranteed to have the capacity to perceive every detail.

When complex visual and aural elements are done at the highest level the viewer can watch a sequence repeatedly and see new and cool things each time. When minimalist visual and aural elements are done at the highest level the audience can be focused in enough to catch the nuance of each element on the first or second pass.

Toyota's Yaris spots are an excellent example of this:

There are tons of those on youtube, but the net effect is pretty stark. Lots and lots of whitespace visually, which removes the need for ambient sound in the sound design - leaving room for all of the little reverb tail, and dog-tag jingle details to shine through. It also means that the sound designers have to start with the highest quality recordings for everything not synthesized because of just how naked everything is.

Here's another from dydree Media for Nickelodian. (sorry, couldn't embed that one)

IMO the sound design is just a notch down from the Yaris stuff, but its still a very high level and many of the same minimalist elements and restrictions are in place. No defined environment so therefore no ambient sounds and a very stark soundscape which leaves lots and lots of room for detail.

All of this eventually culminates into an event that I really can't wait to experience. Pixar's Wall-E

Wall E's lead sound designer is the full on modern legend Ben Burtt. You might recognize some of his work:

-The Star Wars franchise where he dreamed up the sounds for (among other things)
---R2 freaking D2
---the lightsaber
---the x-wing
-The Indiana Jones franchise
-The Dark Crystal
-...well, you've got the wiki link there. He's the man.

So here are some of Wall-E's minimalist beginnings:

and here's a pretty straightforward evolution from minimalist to full on film-level complexity.

Based on what I've seen so far, I'm very hopeful that the film will allow all of that room for Burtt's creative genius to come through. Taking on a project of that nature has to be one of the most difficult things a sound designer can hope to get himself into, and I'm just flat out excited to see what Burtt has come up with.

Wednesday, June 4

on anonymity

Since the inception of this blog I've been struggling with a certain catch 22:

On one hand I'd love to express the entirety of my thoughts and to take personal credit for all of the cool things that I may dream up or opine.

On the other, I have a number of personal and professional obligations that restrict my ability to freely express myself in a public and permanently documented forum.

Still struggling with this.