SD Challenge 01 Winners

For anyone late to the party, the first HISSandaROAR SD Challenge required creating sound for a short video – two shots of waves – with the restriction that the only source material allowed was a small selection of provided noise samples. Here is a short burst from each of the provided sound files:

I will be the first to admit that this HISSandaROAR SD Challenge was difficult. Even for a seasoned sound effects editor or sound designer this challenge would have required some clever work to achieve a great result.

To appreciate what was involved, I also thought it only fair if I did my own challenge – you can read about it & hear it here

After listening to all 76 entries, I narrowed it down to these 25 that I like the best, so each of these 25 people will receive a free copy of our new sound library: SD030 NOISE SOURCE Library

Congratulations to Nicolas Titeux, Harel Tsemah, Olga Bulygo, Matthew Simonson, Nicolas Roulis, Baptiste Quemener, Adam Primack, John Grzinich, Ben Kersten, Ben Swarbrick, Julius Kukla, Stuart Ankers, Alex Gregson, Nicolas Maurin, Julienne Guffain, Ali Tocher, Richard Shapiro, Nick Petoyan, Gerard Gual, Sam Rogers, Nils Vogel-Bartling, Kosma Kelm, Dave Pearce, Jeffrey Mengyan, Vincent Fliniaux. Check out their work below…

Interested in entering our next SD Challenge? Join the mail list here

Nicolas Titeuxvideo
Location: France, south
Main Tools: Protools, little EQs and of course faders
Time involved: 1 hour
Comments: “I found that each provided sound had a specific tone. I just EQed some a little to make them more contrasted. Them I tried to imagine what the shots sound would like in real life. I used some sounds for the background, some for the close waves and some for the distant ones. The rest of the work was to give life to those continuous sounds with my faders, for example first bring some low end when the wave is distant, then make it come closer with some mid-range sounds and add high-frequency details when the wave passes close.”

Harel Tsemahvideo
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Main Tools: For this type of projects I’m using mainly Fabfilter Plugins: EQ, Compressor & Limiter. For the moving parts I was using volume automations and saturators. The work process was a great time to experiment and test my skills with using only these noises.
Time involved: I’ve spent approximately 2 hours creating this piece
Comments: “My global thinking during the work process was how to make it sound natural and realistic but also keep in mind that i’m using analog/digital noises and find the right balance between those two worlds.”

Olga Bulygovideo
Location: Vilnius / Lithuania
Main Tools: EQ, Altiverb, iZotope Ozone
Time involved: around 2-3 hours
Comments: “I tried to use all the sounds available in the library, so I uploaded them all to the project, then made a stereo layer to combine the two shots (and black areas), then spent some time playing with sync and pan of the waves (which were pretty complex in the second shot).”

Matthew Simonsonvideo
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Main Tools: Ableton Live, NI Transient Master, Strymon Big Sky and Timeline
Time involved: Roughly 3-4 hours
Comments: “I focused mainly on the directionality of the waves and only ended up using two of the noise samples for the waves.  The noise samples that had some tone in them were sculpted into synth-like sounds.  That part was the most fun.”

Nicolas Roulisvideo
Location: France
Main Tools: My main plug was only an eq for low pass and high pass
I have no secret: layering, good ears and reflection (and comp and reverb to consolidate all of this)
Time involved: I Spent 2 hours on it

Baptiste Quemenervideo
Location: France
Links: a game that I made for the last ludum dare: here
Main Tools: ProTools, basic channel strip, Wwave TrueVerb, and guitar amp
Time involved: 6 hours
Comments: “I always like the idea to create or imitate sound from scratch by giving the impression or the illusion of a natural phenomenon. This is what i tried with your video. The first part is more an impression of a wave. I used my amp guitar to reamp white noise and then basically having the convoluted results of a spring reverb and resonant filter of whawha pedal. giving this really tonal wave passing by. The second part is more an imitation process to create the illusion by going into details and recreate everything we can expect of a wave crashing on a rock (depth of field, impact, droplets of water…) but without the “real” sound. for the film leader well basically it is always fun to create strange sounds.”

Adam Primackvideo
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Main Tools: I used lot of EQ and Reverb, but the shining star is an unreleased software that I was recently given called Transformizer.
Time involved: five or six hours cumulatively
Comments: “Transformizer reads behavioral characteristics – pitch, amplitude, and formant – of one sound and can apply those readings to a different sound. Following the amplitude and formant of a wave (or seagull!) recording in real time was a sneaky and successful trick.”

John Grzinichvideo
Location: Estonia
Main Tools: Adobe Audition. Pretty much used FFT filters for the wave noise, some EQ and a bit of delay. I exported the audio master then compressed for youtube in Adobe Premiere.
Time involved: 2.5 hours
Comments: “I took this challenge to brief myself on using Adobe Audition and it was perfect for that. Also, I actually have used pink noise files for the basis of some electronic music projects, but never sound design, so I liked the idea of this challenge. Thanks for offering this and I look forward to working with your library.”

Ben Kerstenvideo
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Main Tools: Pro Tools. Main plugins used – SoundToys suite (a LOT of filter freak), Sonnox EQ, Dynamics and Reverb, Native Instruments Kontakt 5. I also used Audacity so I could ‘paul stretch’ a few things
Time involved: Roughly 5 Hours
Comments: “I mostly approached this like a film, but I did cut some corners regarding organization and general conventions as I knew no one else would be opening my session. First thing I did was to simply get some sounds on the timeline with a rough balance of how I wanted the two scenes to play against each other and then tweak it from there. I approached the sound design as a somewhat abstract piece. I was more concerned with getting an emotion across as opposed to making it sound ‘realistic’.”

Ben Swarbrickvideo
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Main Tools: Both Laura and myself run Pro Tools on the Mac platform, and I believe we both used mainly the standard Digi plugins for this project (the delays may have been from a WAVES bundle)
Time involved: 5 hours. My assistant (Laura Titchner) did two hours of sound design, I did two hours of sound design, and I spent an hour sewing it all together and mixing it.
Comments: “I really enjoyed the challenge and hope you do this again..”

Julius Kuklavideo
Location: United States
Main Tools: I really only used D-Verb and the basic Pro Tools 7-band EQ for this project. I also did a bit of time/pitch shifting with the standard Pro Tools Time Shift plug-in.
Time involved: I spent around 5 hours on this project.
Comments: “I have finally decided, because of this project, that I enjoy pink noise the most, with red noise being a close second.”

Stuart Ankersvideo
Location: England
Main Tools: Audacity (Paulstretch / sliding time/scale/pitch shift) Pro Tools 11 (Varispeed elastic audio) Pitch shift + layering
Time involved: 3-4 hours
Comments: “I wanted to approach the sound design in a musical sense rather than the straight forward replication of the waves – I wanted to see how this would fit with the visuals.”

Alex Gregsonvideo
Location: Manchester, England
Main Tools: I kept it simple, using mainly stock plugins from Pro Tools, but also use Waves Soundshifter, NI Molekular, NI Skanner XT
Time involved: 4 Hours
Comments: “I originally completed just the diegetic sounds for the shots, but then decided to push it further with abstract drones and techno music made from the given sound library.”

Nicolas Maurinvideo
Location: Paris, France
Main Tools: Pro Tools with Fab Filter Pro Q2 (lot of automation EQ), Saturation, LoAir, FilterFreak, Reverb & Delay (mostly Altiverb and Valhalla ones)
Time involved: around 6 hours I guess on multiple days when I had time
Comments: “I started by designing around fifteen sounds by filtering the imposed sounds in a whole chain of reverbs, delays and random plugins. I tried to create a maximum of sound to cover low frequencies to fit the bottom and more high noises for designing wind, foam,…., trying to have a maximum of texture. Then it was essentially editing, particularly with the clip gain of Pro Tools, and automation EQ/Filters and volume.”

Julienne Guffainvideo
Location: NYC, USA
Main Tools: I used mostly Sound Toys, GRM Tools, DMG EQs, + a lot of LoAir
Time involved: According to my session file backups I had the project open for a total of about 8hrs over the course of several days. I would try some things and walk away, come back, revise, etc!
Comments: “I found the connection between white noise and water an obvious pairing, so I felt challenged to go beyond that concept.  Creating movement and carving space with multiple white noises was also a good challenge!”

Ali Tochervideo
Location: NZ (living in UK)
Main Tools: DAW: Reaper, Plugs: Clip 1 was with Zynaptic Morph / birds were with Adobe Audition pitch bender, Clip 2 was granular synthesis with The Mangle by Sound Guru
Time involved: 3-4 hours
Comments: “I felt like being a native coastline dweller was a considerable advantage here! Straight away I knew which tools I would use for each section, so I was able to get right to work. The first shot suited Morph because I was able to use the X/Y controller to bring the main wave across the screen effectively. The second clip needed the ability to dynamically raise and lower the impact, intensity and general level of chaos, so The Mangle was an obvious choice for this for me. The birds were inspired by my Brighton soundscape, seagulls are omnipresent here. I had many recordings of them so I analysed the spectrogram of one of my recordings and then carved this out of the tonal sample provided.”

Richard Shapirovideo
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Links: IMDB
Main Tools: 95% Wave Warper by Sound Morph. I used S-Layer by Twisted Tools for the countdown leader and the jingle at the end.
Time involved: 3 hours

Nick Petoyanvideo
Location: Los Angeles California, USA
Links: IMDB vimeo portfolio
Main Tools: EQ 7 Band, Pitch Shift II
Time involved: Six Hours
Comments: “Interesting how your mind can be convinced that what it’s hearing is, in fact, something else. Great learning experience.”

Gerard Gualvideo
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Links: recent music work doco1 doco2 doco3 doco4
Main Tools: Steinberg Nuendo 7
Time involved: It took me an hour to do all the work, the editing and mix
Comments: “I really enjoy doing this edition with the sounds it gave us. A challenge :)”

Sam Rogersvideo
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Links: IMDB
Main Tools: Pro Tools 12 HD. Stock standard PT plugs – EQ III, Pitch II, Sci-Fi and Vari-Fi.
Time involved: All up, a good day or so mucking about with it.. I’ll say 10 hours at a guess
Comments: (Man, I wish producers would give us 10 hrs per minute)

Nils Vogel-Bartlingvideo
Location: Berlin, Germany
Main Tools: DAW: Pro Tools 11 HD, Fabfilter Pro Q 2, Spanner, Phoenix Reverb, for the wind I used GRM Tools Doppler and Zynaptiq Adaptiverb
Time involved: 6-8 hours editing/processing/trying

Kosma Kelmvideo
Location: Poland
Links: kelmsound linkedin
Main Tools: Because I work in Reaper, I used mostly Cockos’ internal plugins, from which EQ did most of the job. I utilized few instances of Softube Saturation Knob and JS Exciter enhancer as well, to get richer high end in several samples
Time involved: The challenge took me one 4 hour session to establish the core and couple of short evening sessions to test different approaches/ideas and do the mixing
Comments: “To give the sounds more natural feeling and achieve interesting, evolving textures, I used loads of automated pitch shifting and EQing, along with volume/pan envelopes manipulation.”

Dave Pearcevideo
Location: Kent, United Kingdom
Main Tools: Logic Pro X, Logics equaliser, Logics compressor, Logics sampler. (nothing fancy, simplicity is the way forward for me)
Time involved: An evening
Comments: “I really enjoyed do the sound for the film, it reminded me that sound can be used to enhance visuals and drastically support the viewers immersiveness. I wish there were more sound design competitions out there, it’s a great way to connect sound designers and appreciate how different people approach it, something that is perhaps lost due to the reclusive nature of the work of sound designers.”

Jeffrey Mengyanvideo
Location: Ann Arbor Michigan, USA
Main Tools: Reaper, Kontakt 5 (Seagulls), Very light EQ and lots of automation for everything else.  That’s about it.
Time involved: 2-3 hours total spread out over a few days
Comments: “The first shot felt unusually still and somewhat lifeless yet still pleasant.  The second felt like the rock supposed to represent something not-so-friendly with it’s extra dark center frame domination, slight tilt of the horizon, and lighting direction.  While going for a pleasant beach sound, it seemed fitting to have some kind of rise at the end to better reflect the sinister look that I felt it represented.”

Vincent Fliniauxvideo
Location: Montreal (Canada)
Main Tools: Reaper mainly Fabfilter, Pro Q-2 also Valhalla Ubermod, Valhalla Shimmer & Eventide Blackhole
Time involved: Around 3 hours
Comments: “I first start by generate a lot of variations of noises processed with different bandpass filters and then apply an FX chain made of a lot of moving diffused delays + reverb. Everything else is only about selecting the good processed sound, editing, panning and mixing. I learn a lot doing the work.”

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