You recently worked on the HBO ‘House of Dragons’ app, what were the main considerations when crafting the sound design?
James Utting: It’s a more methodical way of designing sound where you must think further than just the curation but also how audio will be triggered in the app, especially with procedurally generated animation. For example, the duration of a roar or a dragon breathing fire is undetermined and to make this sound authentic we split the sound design into three distinct segments, all triggered at specific points during the animation’s start, middle and end. It was interesting to dissect and reassemble the sound in this manner to ensure the user hears exactly what we want them to hear.
Harry Boyce: To offer an exciting and non-repetitive sonic experience the intention from the start was to have the audio as adaptable as possible, and therefore no dragon will sound the same as another. Once created, each sound was split into its constituent elements and systems were built to randomise these clips with variable pitch and volume. This offered variety whilst keeping the amount of audio assets under control, a vital factor in the optimisation of mobile-based apps.
How did you and The Mill team work together?
Mike Hill: With the new addition of Audio Developers at Factory we have increased our scope to clients to not only create highly immersive sound design, but to integrate this audio into real-time environments to ensure true authenticity in the final mix. DracARys gave us a perfect opportunity to show off this new skillset and collaborate like we’ve never done before with long standing partners, The Mill. Working closely with their creative directors, producers, artists and developers, our team seamlessly integrated into their production workflow and pretty much became an in-house audio extension for them on this project. We believed this was imperative to fully reap the rewards of having two prestigious creative companies teaming up like this, and it truly maximised the end user experience.
What were the most enjoyable aspects of working on this project?
James Utting: I’m sure most designers would agree that being able to create dragon sounds from the ground up is a dream project. With such an extensive archive of existing material to reference, it was awesome to have the chance to put my stamp on the world of creature sound design.
Min Yu: The collaborative nature of this project meant there was constant communication between the Mill and Factory. It was thoroughly rewarding to see how the companies worked together to overcome obstacles and problem solve – the end result is one we can all be extremely proud of.
What are you listening to currently?
Harry Boyce: I seem to have Wolf Alice on repeat at the moment. I’ve always been a fan but since seeing their set Glastonbury (on TV sadly) I’ve had them on my headphones constantly. Podcast-wise I’m currently listening to ‘Sound + Image Lab’ by Dolby, which is very geeky but also very interesting. They speak to various practitioners from films, TV, games and songs about how they’re using developing image and audio technologies in their latest projects.
Min Yu: Currently I’m listening to a lot of electronic music, the album ‘promises’ by Floating Points is one of my favourite albums of all time. Also, a lot of OSTs from films such as scores for ‘Arrival’ and ‘Chernobyl’, I find their use of blending and balancing sound design and music scoring very inspiring.