Text 5 Dec 2 notes My First Credit - Lego The Lord of the Rings


The game is released and I’m very happy with the result considering the time we had. If you get chance to play it look out for the audio in the hub (The open world representation of Middle Earth) as the audio for this was one of my main responsibilities on the project. I did contribute in several other places too though such as the music for IGN’s ‘item of the year’:

Thanks go to Luke Hatton for helping me out with this (that’s his mad geetar skillz you’re hearing!).

Thanks for reading. I’m starting my first ‘blog series’ soon which I’m excited about so expect to hear from me soon.

Text 17 Nov 1 note High Dam - R&R + Sound Recording

Recently my girlfriend and I visited the lake district and found an incredible walk leading up to a place called High Dam (pictured above, taken on a phone and does not do it justice!). After finishing work on my first title Lego LotR, it was just the break I needed. On the small hike up we followed a river which I of course proceeded to record.

The excerpt below includes just under half of the sounds included in the download. I’ve saved my favorite recordings for the download ;) (located at the bottom).

You can hear an excerpt of these recordings here:

The recordings are downloadable from here:


You are free to use these in projects as you please. Do not re-distribute them as sound effects.

Text 23 Oct 1 note Procedural Methods for Audio in Interactive Games

First of all, I’ve been incredi-lame with regards to contributing to the online game audio community recently. I am sorry. This is largely due to me experiencing my first ‘crunch’ … it has melted my brain slightly. Fortunately its re-congealing nicely.

I’ll post more details about the work I’ve been doing shortly, but for now check this out:


It is an extension of an earlier blog post I did and is intended to give sound designers and programmers a good background in the procedural methods that may be available to them. A springboard of sorts. Enjoy!

You can access the earlier post from here: http://goo.gl/8Gqrg
(includes some interesting discussion in the comments section from Lostlab and Nikunj Raghuvanshi, at least I presume it’s him he only signed it ‘Nikunj’)

Text 21 Aug 1 note Interview on Creating Sound

Recently I did an interview with Creating Sound about how education helped me get into games. Check it out here: http://creatingsound.com/2012/08/sonic-backgrounds-stefan-rutherford/ The interview is part of a series which features some other great sound designers so be sure to check those out too! Special thanks to Bryan Ploof for sorting it all out :)

Text 16 Jul Foley Recording - Military Gear…

Okay, so it isn’t a real military uniform but the idea was to make it sound as much like a soldier fully clad with gear. I did this by borrowing a jacket (from my girlfriend) that appeared to be similar material to the cloth that the military use (used google image search as a reference). I then strapped two belts, which had nice clunky buckles, to myself. I attached a couple of leather pouches to the belts and I also wore a backpack loosely packed with some ‘bits and bobs’ inside.

It was recorded in stereo using two shotgun microphones (in an A-B pattern) pointed at my shoulders pointing at me from just above.

In some ways it is a shame I didn’t get a photo of myself so you can see what the recorded gear looked like… However, it is probably a good thing I didn’t, according to my girlfriend I looked like a total twerp, or at least she indicated this was the case by laughing at me from the control booth! Thanks to her for helping me record though :)

Download the files free to us in your projects here:


There are plenty more variations of the sounds than can be heard in the example included in the download.

Text 8 Jul 2 notes Moving Forward - New Job

I’m very pleased to announce that tomorrow I shall be starting at Traveler’s Tales as a Junior Sound Designer!! I cannot wait :D

Text 5 Jul Smashing Some More Stuff Up!

Okay so I’ve been at it again, smashing things up. Last week I was moving out and my flatmate came downstairs and said “This printer/scanner is broken, do you want it” … I already have a printer, I don’t need a scanner and besides I wouldn’t know how to fix it anyway. There was only one thing for it. IT MUST BE DESTROYED.

I also got hold of a big oil container drum thingy from the back of a takeaway. Can you believe that the takeaway owner was going to throw it away!!! Doesn’t he know the sounds that it would be able to make…

Smashed up printer and oil drum

Here is a preview of the sounds:

Download them for free from: stefanrutherford.com/PrinterScannerOilDrum_29062012_StefanRutherford.zip

Use them however you like as long as you don’t sell them as SFX.

Text 11 Jun Recording Nature - Eccup Reservoir

It’s been a while, for this I’m very sorry, but alas I have found time to blog something I’ve been up to recently.

I’ve been editing some of the material from Anton’s Wildeye trip for the game audio podcast and it has made me super excited about wildlife recording again. So, full of inspiration I ventured to Eccup reservoir with my girlfriend for a nice walk and opportunity to record some sound… I forgot the blasted batteries… I wasn’t going to let that deter me so I found a local convenience store and bought 8 AA ‘s. Ready!

I was really happy with what I managed to get and look forward to going back to get more material with some better mic’s. The star’s of the show were a bunch of baby blue tits (I think that is what they are!?) nested in a wall right next to the road. Got in close enough to get good signal to noise ratio without disturbing them.


After going to Eccup I went to a party with some friends. I stumbled in at 4AM and noticed that the dawn chorus had started, Great! got my recorder out and captured it from my window. I really like the reverberant tail of the main birds voice.

All sounds were recorded with a Tascam DR-100 (onboard uni-pair) at 48Khz 24bit.

Here are the results:

Download from here:


Free to use just don’t sell them as SFX.

I’ll certainly be posting more stuff like this it has been great fun!

Text 24 Apr 2 notes Sound Design - Synchronized Events and Characterization


Using the practical examples and referring to literature this post will deconstruct how sound design might be used to characterize a piece of film.

Before discussing how characterization can be used in film it should first be understood why sound can be used to characterize events and actions in film.

When a person sees an action in the world and a sound accompanies the sound both in timing, direction, and distance a person naturally deduces the events to be intrinsically related.

This phenomenon is so strong that it translates to the medium of film. A viewer will simply accept this because sound is not naturally put under as much scrutiny by viewers as the visual aspects of film.

"While all viewers can tell apart the various objects in a picture - an actor, a table the walls of a room, listeners barely ever perceive sound so analytically." [3]

Chion discusses the aforementioned naming it as synchresis:

"The forging of an immediate and necessary relationship between something one sees and something one hears at the same time (from synchronism and synthesis). The psychological phenomenon of synchresis is what makes dubbing and much other postproduction sound mixing possible”[1]

Because this relationship between visual and auditory events can be established in postproduction, sounds differing from the original source can be used to characterize the sounds. The sound can then be used as a tool to communicate information about an event it is connected with. According to the book Aesthetics of Film this can be three different things:

"The sound constituents may, according to the instance, reinforce the image, contradict it, or simply maintain parallel discourse" [2]

Using this knowledge it is possible to consciously inform a viewer of things they would not otherwise have known.

The following two sections will tackle sound for reinforcing events and for contradictory/opposing events. This report will not be studying the parallel discourse as it is not a device used for characterizing specific actions or events on screen at the moment of occurrence.

Reinforcing Events

In order to reinforce the information contained in a moving image the approach is simple, select appropriate sounds that do not interfere with the core meaning of what the visual action is communicating. When undertaking this methodology no extra information should be communicated.

The impact the aforementioned has on characterization is that it serves to simply underpin and/or strengthen the already present character of an on-screen event. In the case of sound driving a narrative event the sound used should only support the intended event as directed by the script or other such pre-confirmed direction. “Dialog and narration tell the story and narrative sound effects can be used in such capacity too, for example to draw the attention of the characters for an off screen event.” [3]

­Contradicting Events

In order for sound to express additional information than is already present in the film the sound must at some level oppose the visual event in some way. This disparity between event and sound should provide the viewer with two sets of information which then connect in a viewers mind creating one complete view.

Video example1. Note as the prisoner in the jail cell (Lord Blackwood) comes up behind the detective (Sherlock) the feeling suddenly turns very tense and threatening. When listening more carefully the sound that accompanies Lord Blackwood’s sudden appearance is a lion’s roar. The sound of a lion roaring calls upon an instinctual reaction of fear in the audience. Walter Murch discusses this idea further:

"The mental effort of fusing image and sound in a film produces a "dimensionality" that the mind projects back onto the image as if it had come from the image in the first place."[1]

In other words the sound of the lion is not seen as a separate event, rather it is perceived all as part of one event in the viewers mind. The  viewers learned characteristics of a lion are then projected onto Lord Blackwood as a result.

Practical Study

To explore the idea of characterization using sound in film further practical examples have been constructed. The knowledge gained in the first half of this report will be applied to the examples thus further delineating what has been learned. Each attempts to manipulate the footage in different ways through the use of synchresis as a tool.

Video Demonstration 1

In the first video demonstration it was decided that the sounds should reinforce the events on screen and provide further emotional context only at key moments in the video. The sounds selected for the first half can be considered emotionally neutral. The punch sounds are weighty but carry no more information than the actions already taking place on screen.

At 0:07 seconds the video slows down as the boxer’s fist travels through the air to land the final blow. Here a subtle use of lion and elephant roars have been used as the fist is travelling through the air. This helps describe the present and impending danger. The sounds are only just recognizable as animal sounds working subliminally on the viewer. At 0:17 seconds when the winning boxer throws his arm in the air in celebration. Another lions roar can be heard here much clearer. This confirms the dominance of the fearsome victor likening him to a lion.

Video Demonstration 2

The second video demonstration took a very different approach. Through the use of synchresis it was decided that the sound should give the viewer completely new information that they would not have known otherwise. The theme ‘fighting robots’ was chosen.

Throughout the scene there is a lot of movements from each character. In order to create a convincing effect the most important action at any given moment was prioritized and suitable sounds were synchronized with the movements on-screen.

Impacts were replaced with ‘metallic clunks’, movements used the sounds of mechanical servos and for the slow motion punch the sounds of jet fighter planes were added. The sounds were pitch and volume automated to match the motions on-screen.


[1] Michel Chion (1976). Audio-Vision Sound on Screen. USA: Columbia University Press. p224.

[2] Jacques Aumont, Alain Bergala, Michel Marie, Marc Vernet (1983). Aesthetics of Film. USA: University of Texas Press. p65.

[3] Tomlinson Holman (1997). Introduction to Sound for Film and TV. USA: Academic Press.

Video 16 Apr

Sound Design - Fight Night Round 3

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. This is mainly because I took some (alot) of time off over Easter. I have also just started to look for a job because funds are low and you know what, I feel super ready for to take on a game audio job now!! Just need to find one…

Anyway, here is a little piece I did a couple of weeks ago!

The sound design was created in about 7 hours (across two mornings). All of the sounds are my own recordings from my library with the exception of the crowd sounds and some lion roars which are layered with some of the vocalizations I recorded on the first morning. I got the crowd/lion roar sounds from freesound.org and soundsnap.com

I’ll have something a little more interesting up in the next couple of weeks (new game audio article?). So stay tuned!

Design crafted by Prashanth Kamalakanthan. Powered by Tumblr.