• "Sound Magician" is a video series I produced for surround sound company DTS, Inc. On each episode I explored some sound design techniques and tools that I developed, contextualized as a story or setting. 
     
    Below you can see each video and read more information about the miking/processing techniques and the tools I used. Enjoy!
     
     

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    1
    "ALIEN ACTIVITY"
  • Imagine a large spaceship hovering over the city, suddenly a menacing signal resonates in the air, announcing the beginning of the invasion.
     
  • This is how I created the basic tone you hear when the piece starts, by bowing a rubber band with a double bass bow. The tension of the rubber band determined the pitch. Then, I processed the sound with customized reverbs to make it sound larger.
     
  • A clear shot of an actual alien abduction! The truth about aliens is finally unveiled ;  )
     
     
     
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    2
    "DEEP OCEANS"
  • Imagine being immersed in the ocean, surrounded by whales singing to each other.

     
  • Here I was recording the sources to create the water sound. I used two Røde NT5 and a hydrophone.
    I processed the sound with EQs and resonators to create the impression of a larger mass of water and to create a suspended mood.

     
  • A huge thanks goes to Luca Severi and GIanfilippo de Rossi for the fantastic camera and lighting work throughout the whole series!
     
     
     
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    3
    "FUNNY CALL"
  • This one is a little funny :  )
    If toys could call each other on the phone, what would they say to each other?

    For the musical background I used a musical box with writable paper strips, notes can be punched in and melody/harmonies can be created. Altought this video is pretty basic, the challenge was the capture those tiny sounds/noise in high fidelity.
     
     
     
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    4
    "DA VINCI MACHINE"
  • For this video I got inspired by looking at the flying machines that Leonardo Da Vinci designed.
    I assembled a number of objects to simulate a large flying device in motion; the mechanism of a autopiano, a wooden tripod, a wind wand for the propeller sound and finally a flag to create the motion of the wings.
     
     
     
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    5
    "WILD CREATURES"
  • Imagine being in the forest, some monkeys up in the trees observing what's going on.
    Suddendly they hear a noise and start to get nervous, they signal to each other the presence of a larger animal, and finally a beast jumps out of the bushes to attack!

    The idea here was to create a series of animal noises without actually using any pre-recorded animal noise.
    Instead, I used a tree played with a double bass bow and some potato chips for the steps.

    If you have watched some of my previous works like "Music from a Tree", "Music from Nature" and
    "Duet for Leaves and Turntable" you know I have a big passion for creating music and sounds with trees.
     
  • Here you can see the miking technique for recording the bowed sounds from the tree. 
    I also have a microphone placed about 4 feet away. I like to record this way so that I can have multiple perspectives available.
     
     
     
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    6
    "SOLAR STORM"
  • Imagine a solar storm hitting our planet, all electronic devices will be affected and power down making crazy sounds...well, at least that's what happens when you see this kind of scene in a movie!

    For this project I used guitar and bass pickups to record electric noises and tones produced by circuits.
     
    DISCLAIMER: Unless you have solid experience and are fully aware of the risks, DO NOT tamper with powered electronic circuits, you might get electrocuted and/or damage your devices and electric system.
     
  • Here's a detail of the bass pickup over the circuit board.
     
  • Both pickups recording the tones and noises of a VHS recorder.
     
     
     
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    7
    "4x400"
     
     
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    7
    "SOLAR STORM"
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    7
    "SOLAR STORM"
  • This one is an experiment in controlled randomness. I wanted to hear what happens when a lot of bouncing balls are unloaded over 4 vertical pianos. That was the random part. The controlled part was when I took all the recordings and aligned them in a more organized way.
     
     
     
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    8
    "HUMMINGBIRD"
  • This one is probably my favorite because of it's simplicity.
    Make sure you watch the video BEFORE reading the description below the following picture ;  )
     
  • This is how the tool I used to create the basic tone of the hummingbird. It's a milk frother with 4 strips of duct tape attached to it. The speed of the rotation and the tension of the rubberband determined the pitch of the "humming". Then, I processed the sound to emulate the sense of distance, doppler effect, frequency spectrum changes and dampening. To add realism I added ambience sound, but as you can notice in the video, I'm bringing it down when I show the tool, to expose the "hummingbird" sound and make the trick more obvious.
     
     
     
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    9
    "HUGE COFFEE"
  • This is an extra video that I created while I was producing this series.
     
    Usually I make myself a regular coffee in the morning…but not this time ; )
    The idea was to capture the noises of coffee in high definition and bigger in size, but then, the sound of the sugar packet reminded me of a shaker so I got inspired to make the whole experience more rhythmic and somehow musical.
     
  • For those of you into technical details, this is the gear I used to record.
    API 512c preamps, 550b EQs, 527 Compressors, and Apogee Ensemble as the converter.
    Microphones: Røde NT5, NT2-A, plus some custom built ones I made myself.
     
  • © 2013 Diego Stocco and DTS, Inc. - All Rights Reserved