Sound Stories: Sounds of Norway
Today we sit down and chat with Robin from Sounds of Norway on his processes and techniques he uses to create his libraries, his favourite gear & books, as well as what he believes the future holds for the audio industry.
Do you work on audio post-production projects and can you tell us a bit about some of your work?
Producing sound effect libraries with "Sounds of Norway" is kind of my second job and during the day I am a sound designer with Verdens Sterkeste Mann, an audio production house in Oslo focused on innovative audio, sound design and storytelling in commercials, radio, podcasts, games and apps. I have worked on many interesting projects, but some of the most interesting projects for me have been especially stop motion and animated projects with the possibilities those genres give regarding creating the audio universe from the ground up, creative use of surround sound formats outside of cinema and a geo location storytelling app we did a couple years ago that lets you listen to a geo location specific story from the second world war resistance fighters through your headphones. With rich sound design you are taken around a small area of Oslo, following real life events in 1940's wartime. The fact that you have to be there, and change location to follow the story, enriches the sound design - like being teleported back in time with sound.
What’s an audio plugin you couldn’t live without?
It's kind of a cliche in the audio post world, but ever since I bought Izotope RX about 6 years ago, it has been a lifesaver and companion. It can save you out of problems no other tool can, as well as being super handy when making sound libraries. Batch processing, editing out a bird or something like that from an otherwise perfect take. Yea, I love it.
One other I like to mention is Avid (used to be Digidesign) Recti-Fi. I rediscovered it a couple years ago and I quite often find myself using it to create something otherworldly or slightly lo-fi, or to make some sound stick out in the mix. It transforms some sounds to become slightly more magic. It also reacts to different sounds in very different ways, so it is always fun to drop stuff on a track with Recti-Fi to see what happens.
I also must mention Soundly, which is amazing when working with sound design. It is a sound library organizer and online sound effects library app, where you can access thousands of sounds from wherever you're working from. Always being updated also. You can even have your own personal collection in the cloud and access it from wherever.
What’s your favourite book on sound?
I'm not such a book person, I must admit that. But I did read this eBook called "Earth is a solar powered jukebox" by Gordon Hempton. It is a really comprehensive guide to field recording and sound design with lots of tips and ideas around the subject. It's a good read and handy to keep around for inspiration when going out to record.
What’s your favourite sound / ambience you’ve recorded?
I immediately thought of one of the tracks on my second release, called "Winds of Dovrefjell". I was up on this mountain-area called Dovrefjell, around 1200 meters over sea level. At one point I was passing a small powerline that just cuts through the barren landscape. I'm passing under it and I notice this deep tone. It was at first surreal, but then I found the sound was coming from the powerlines. I set up my microphones behind a stone to protect from wind and pointing directly up towards the wires above. Then I just sat there with my headphones and listened as the wind played this awesome resonating concert with the power lines. It lasted forever and I included about 10 mins of audio from that recording on that release. At the end of the recording the wind dials down and all you can hear is the wires resonating. I like to think about the fact that that sound is playing up there almost all the time, and nobody hears it.
Do you have a prediction for the future of sound?
I can't wait for dynamic virtual audio to become better when it comes to orientation, depth and detail in sound. I want to put a headset on and precisely hear where sounds are coming from, especially telling the difference between in front and behind or above and below, at the same time as being able to rotate freely within that space. You know how consoles and computers have dedicated insane graphics processors today...maybe we will see a new era of powerful dedicated audio processing units to calculate and simulate the real world sonically.
Thanks so much for the time today Robin to chat with us and give us an insight into you as a sound designer.