The Sound Of Science

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Here we talk about our sound design techniques used for particle physics. 

Recording sand
Swirling motion in sand.

Lets get to the nitty gritty. Particle physics and particle trails have fast become an everyday feature in many of our projects. We tackle the sound design in three simple steps. Appropriate audio source material is recorded. We create bespoke software instruments to play the audio. We manipulate the instruments in real time to match the organic flow of the animation.

Some examples of source material we've recorded for this kind of project are small children's toys with regular mechanical sounds, static noise from a TV, a hanging mobile made of shells, polystyrene balls, vinyl crackle from an old record and even experimental vocalisations made by yours truly. These are then edited and imported into various sampler packages such as Kontakt 5, Alchemy and Izotope Iris. Each has its own strengths in terms of sound manipulation allowing control over parameters like LFOs, filter and pitch.

Recording shell windchime
Delicate sounds from a windchime.

The final stage to this process involves sequencing and playing the instruments. Assigning filter cutoff or pitch to a control unit allows for real time performance. This enables us to duck and weave, spiral and sweep, fully matching the complex and natural movements of the particle trails. This part also happens to be a lot of fun! 

 

The Results

Listen to some examples of Echoic experiments.