Sound Design #1 - Ambient Vocal Soundscapes | David Miller | Skillshare

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Sound Design #1 - Ambient Vocal Soundscapes

teacher avatar David Miller, Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to Soundscapes


    • 2.

      Sound Stretching


    • 3.

      Further Options For Transformation


    • 4.

      Rendering + Wrap Up


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About This Class

Welcome to the first of my series on Sound Design! We will focus on music, ambient textures, and sound effects used in filmmaking.  In Part 1, we cover how to create ambient soundscapes from human voices. These soundscapes are great for use in film, as prominently featured in the 2012 Dredd during slow motion sequences, or as stand-alone music pieces.  

The program we are utilizing is called Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch and you can download the program here.

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud allows for use of a ... See full profile

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1. Intro to Soundscapes: Hey there, I'm David Miller, a Phoenix, Arizona, multimedia artist. A lot of my tutorials are based around photography and filmmaking. I wanted to talk about audio this time and specifically a trick. I used to soundtrack a lot of my own films and that is creating unearthly ambient vocals. I use a program called Paul Stretch. It's a slightly obscure program. First came onto my radar after I watched a movie called Dread, featuring the comic character Judge Dredd came out 2012. Part of the story of that film involves a drug called slo mo. When people are using this drug, there is a very strange sound behind them. And with a little research, I discovered that the gentleman behind the English reporters head used a program to stretch out a Justin Bieber song 800 times, and it is a magical sound. So I dug deep into this, learn how to do it myself here to share it with you guys. Your product for this class is to take a vocal sample. It could be recorded on any medium so you can record it on your phone and send it to your computer and use this Paul Stretch program. You're going to stretch the vocal sample out until you get a result you like. And then you're going to post a link to the Skills Project page. You can host your sound file on YouTube, Dropbox, Soundcloud, etcetera. All of these have free options and then share the link to the sketcher. Let's begin. 2. Sound Stretching: So I'm going to show you a few the basic controls of Paul Stretch. We're gonna open it up and it's kind of an old school looking program. And, uh, there aren't that many controls, so it's pretty simple to figure out. File open. Dig around where you have your stuff. In my case users. David Miller one Dropbox Sound Effects and I have a file called Paul Stretch Test off Medical order. There we go. Open it. This is the stretching parameters, so it's only 16 seconds of original audio. This is a chorus from the movies. Utopia. The song is Shakira's Try everything, Double it. Oh, Theo. Now what's unique about this versus doing some stretching in Adobe Audition or other programs is this actually holds the sound together. If you stretched out the same audio but tried to keep the pitch the way it is, it would sound very broken and crackly. Also, this stretches out, um, really high amount. This is 10,000 times. I could make this 16 seconds of audio go to I'm sorry. 20 hours, 26 minutes and 40 seconds, which is a probably too long for me. Let's see what it sounds like when it stretched 28 times, so this would be seven minutes long in its entirety. 16 seconds of audio stretched 28 times. Way, Way. So that's pretty amazing stuff there that is a totally unrecognizable from its source material. And by the way, I'm not advocating that you go around and steal our Capellas off the Internet and called out your own work. However, it's good practice to have something that sort of thicken layered like this just to give you an impression on what you can do when you're testing out the program. Now there's three methods of stretching. One is the average one that's working on sort of regular percentage is up to 10,000 hyper stretch. We could literally stretch this 16 seconds of music till to be 507 years and 130 days long . I don't want to do that. I probably don't want to work in hyper stretch it all because for this to be a useful process, people have to pay attention. You have to have an audience for it, and I can't really think of an audience for pieces of music or background ambient noise that last longer than anyone can actually live. The last option shortened actually compresses your tune significantly. And I think I can't think of a big use for that either. 3. Further Options For Transformation: we have a few other parameters we can mess with in process harmonics. Pate, shift octave mixer and filter with compression also spread, which is one of my favorites, because I personally like my ambient music to have a lot of variety between the speakers and feel really wide and airy. And this is how you do it. So we're gonna play around with a few these really quickly harmonics. Turn on. Instead of having this'll spread sound. It basically picks one frequency and sticks to it probably would split your head open. If you listen to that too much pit shift, we're going to turn up. Let's turn it up 106 without pit shift frequency shift. Let's make a 200 Hertz frequency shift so it's actually sucking out some of the frequencies . Well, just doing mild frequency shift minus six thing active mix. So let's take this up to 1.5 octaves are the same notes just higher or lower versions of them filter. You can take out certain band wits the way the D A. Jeff it's gonna be a lot softer, damp, the high frequency, and I feel like a little dampening on the high frequency is necessary because otherwise it sounds kind of hissy. Ah, do a spread turn off the radio and the course volume compression, uh, turn them all on. You can really go to town with this stuff. Pit shift, frequency shift. Not going to turn on harmonics because it'll smash it all into one singular, annoying sound. And I'm going to take the stretching down to instead of a seven minute track. Let's just have a three minute track. Give it a shot. See what it sounds like with all of these variables plugged in at the same time. In your beginning parameters, there's a couple different ways you can do your Reese ambling, so I'm gonna turn off these processes real quick so I can show you that off off off us. 4. Rendering + Wrap Up: when you're ready to write to file when you're happy with your parameters and every a little extra process you've done to it. Here, you get right to file. Gonna pick 32 bit wave just cause I like to render at the highest resolution possible. Render selection Pick where you want it to go. I want to throw things on the desktop just for convenience sake and you have to name it. So we're going called Stretch Sample Brender. So that was our class on creating Ambien vocal soundscapes. I hope that you found this class informative as well as a tool that you might use in your own filmmaking or music. I know since I've been making ambient vocal soundscapes, it has really shaped the type of footage I shoot the type of stories I write, the type of stories I want to tell the visuals I used and how they edit my films. Don't forget to post your own soundscape to the skill share product page. And thanks for watching