December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas from Soundscapes


For your Christmas Card this year, Soundscapes has done what it does best—produce a great Theater of the Mind piece around the classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

We have also made a generous donation to Food for the Poor, in thanksgiving for the work you bring us.

Thank you. And in whatever way you choose to offer gratitude to your Maker, may your holiday be a happy one!



"'Twas the Night Before Christmas" narrated by Bob Hulsey

Right-click or Control-click here to download "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to take home & play for the kids.

July 16, 2010

Whoosh is NOT Sound Design!

Somebody out there must be selling discount CDs of whooshes, bleeps, swishes and clicks, because that’s about all you hear these days in (what passes for) sound design in video. I refer to these spots as “Whooshfests”. It’s epidemic. It’s noisy. It’s NOT sound design.

But what’s wrong with layering dozens of whooshes under motion graphics? To answer that question, we have to explore what sound design is all about.

It’s about supporting the message… about helping tell the story. Good sound design for video undergirds the emotional subtext of a spot.

Well thought-out sound design blends into the message and supports it. It utilizes a designed set of sounds that correspond emotionally to the message. It doesn’t call attention to itself.  

Have you shot a spot that’s comedic? Then the sounds can be larger than life. They can be caricatures of the sound they’re actually representing. A lawnmower (for example) can run rough and backfire to punctuate certain points in the message. However, that same lawnmower in a dramatic spot should be light, background, smooth and natural.  

Motion graphics with lots of movement? The sound depends on the client and the message. Most often, motion graphic spots are best edited against a rhythmic click track, possibly designed with a certain chord progression provided pre-edit from the sound house.

Then, once the video is finished, that click track and progression can be more closely tailored to the graphics and the message. It can be turned into musical elements that reinforce the emotion you’re trying to get across.  

There are entire books on this subject, but suffice it to say that we’re drowning in a sea of whooshes now. Easy? Sure it is. But is it Sound design? Absolutely not.

If the sound speaks louder than the message, you’ve hired the wrong sound designer. If it sounds like a promo on ESPN, you’ve hired the wrong sound designer.  

If your sound design studio wanted to see the storyboard and asked about your target audience and your client’s desired outcome before you started the video edit, then you’ve hired the right people.

Whoosh, click, CRASH, boom-swish. I’m outta here. I have to track down this little bastard who’s selling discount whooshes. He’s ruining your spots.

--Brent Walker

April 01, 2010

It's April, and You're No Fool —Bonus Puzzle 4

OK...try this one:

My uncle's 70th birthday was last week. I got to meet up with some of my relatives when we gathered to celebrate. I saw my brother Bert, my sister-in-law Lena and auntie Tina as well as my half-cousin Flo. At the end of the evening, we toasted my uncle. What is his name?

Without mirrors, smoke, wires or any other tricks (we think), Kelli Marks has figured out that my uncle's name is LEN. How? Each person's name is contained in their title. (thus the name Daryl for the god of April Fool's Day.) Congratulations Kelli, and happy April to all!

It's April, and You're No Fool —Puzzle 3

As they say at the airport...this is your last and final puzzle.

Here it is:

A man wanted to encrypt his password but he needed to do it in a way that he could remember. His password is 7 characters long. The password consists of letters and numbers only (no symbols like ! or <). In order to remember it he wrote down "You force heaven to be empty." What is his password?

LENA DIBBLE of Salt Lake City...come on down!!!  Lena nailed it with the password U472BMT.

We may have to put up one more puzzle...

Check back at 3 central.

It's April, and You're No Fool—Puzzle 2

By changing the second letter of each word below, you can make another valid word. Can you change each word such that the second letters will reveal an eleven letter word when read downwards? (Therefore, what now reads AWPYRNUCEPA will be a real word.



We have a winner for this one—Brent Pelloquin picks up $20 in iTunes for the answer: INVESTIGATE. The words now read:


Another puzzle...your last chance at glory...appears here at 1pm central. Good luck!

It's April, and You're No Fool—Puzzle 1

This paragraph is unusual. How quickly can you find out what's so unusual about it? It looks so plain you would think nothing's wrong with it. In fact, nothing IS wrong with it! It is unusual, though. Study it, think about it, and you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching.

OK...this one went fast. Mark Schulte nabbed the prize on this one, although Derek Wacaster and Brent Pelloquin saw the fact that the most commonly used letter in the English language, E, does not appear anywhere in this paragraph.

Congrats to Mark for being speedy as well as right, and another puzzle goes up at 11:00 central time.

February 18, 2010

General Clark Graces Soundscapes

Wesley-clark The Soundscapes Staff stood at perfect attention recently as Retired General Wesley Clark took command of two different studios. General Clark was recording radio and long-form audio for Growth Energy, an Ethanol support company which recently named him as Co-Chairman.

When the General was finished with audio in Studio D, he immediately marched into Studio B where a film crew from Jones Film & Video was set up to do the on-camera portion of the event. 

Ever the disciplined soldier, General Clark barely even touched his fruit plate.

February 11, 2010

Equipment...and How It Works

Snowed in...rummaging around the storeroom, we ran across some old equipment.

You'll notice that the controls are slightly different.

January 20, 2010

Morgan Freeman has a Sense of Humor!

...not like that comes as a surprise. Enjoy this bit from the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Freeman performs "outtakes" from his new gig as CBS announcer.

(ps--if you're feeling a tad puritanical this might not be for you.)

December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Soundscapes has created an audio Christmas Card just for you!

If you don't have the time to listen, know that we have donated to Potluck Food Rescue in thanksgiving for the work you send our way.

Have a great holiday season!

November 12, 2009

Talent Lounge

Warm, deep voices usually mean one thing: Announce. It's rare to find deep, resonant voices that have a lot of interesting character built-in.

That's who we have for you today in the Talent Lounge. Click below to listen to Bruce Fraley and Sharon Kemp.

October 27, 2009

Talent Lounge

This week in the talent lounge, two warm, smooth voices who also do some great characters.

Take a listen to Vianna Lyn and John Lee

Next week, two more voices from the Talent Lounge.

Radio at its Best!

RadiolabIf you're a real fan of radio—the transference of concepts and new ideas through nothing but sound—you'll love this program. Perhaps you've heard bits and pieces on All Things Considered, but RadioLab is a fabulous show to listen to in full.

Click here to go to WNYC's site...the link will take you directly to RadioLab. I'm betting you'll bookmark it!

October 20, 2009

Talent Lounge

This week, two people who sound young, but not too young...voices that are sexy without being sexual.

Listen to Alice Burrows and Paul Manutes!

Next week, two more great voices from the Soundscapes Talent Lounge.

October 19, 2009

How Sound Changes Your World


Did you know that if you're working in a noisy environment, your productivity can decrease by 66%?

Here's a tremendous piece from about sound and how the ambient sound around you causes deep changes in how you respond to the world.

Of course, we've been saying this for years, but it sounds so much better in a British accent.

October 07, 2009

Talent Lounge

This week in the Talent Lounge, two people with comedy built into their voices.

Here are Glen Gilbert and Sharon Douglas.

Next week, more great voice talent in the Talent Lounge.


Here's a really fun spot that was a great collaboration with our friends at Porcaro Communications. Soundscapes' John Crowley provided the sfx sweetening, with voicework by Michael Penn and Jen Sweeny.

Enjoy Rocketman--

October 02, 2009

Ray's in Da House

One of our favorite actors was in David Greaves' studio recently for an ADR session. Ray McKinnon had a few lines to overdub for the movie, The Blind Side, which opens November 20.

Ray's films include Apollo 13, Randy & The Mob, That Evening Sun and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in which his character Vernon T. Waldrip, a wonderfully funny, supercilious fellow, gets to duke it out with George Clooney's Everett. ("He's bona fide.")

Two of his finest works, which he wrote and directed, are Chrystal and The Accountant. He also produced the films, along with his wife Lisa Blount and longtime friend Walton Goggins. The Accountant took home several film festival awards and an Oscar for Best Short Film, Live Action in 2001.

You can see the trailer for his latest work at

IMG_2950  IMG_2951

September 30, 2009

Talent Lounge

This week, meet a woman who grew up on the stage, and brings all that talent to her voice work. Also, a guy whose voice is one most guys would love to have.

Meet Abby Kerby and Dave Shropshire:

Next week, more great voice talent in the Talent Lounge.

September 23, 2009

Soundscapes Talent Lounge

This week's Talent Lounge features the young and the young-at-heart. You get to guess who's who.

Listen to Zach Patrick and Margaret Lowry.

Next week, more great talent from the Soundscapes Talent Lounge.