In this short video, Composer and Sound Designer Alessandro Mastroianni walks us through his process for designing sound for a futuristic robot scene.

“The workflow with Reformer Pro is really unique, extremely creative and very fast.”

Watch as Alessandro demonstrates how fun and easy it is to manipulate and swap out sounds with ease whilst keeping his workflow smooth and efficient.

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Video Transcript

Hi guys, my name is Alessandro Mastroianni, I’m a composer and sound designer. Welcome to my studio. Today we are going to explore together

Krotos Audio Reformer Pro. Reformer Pro is a really cool and unique sound design instrument that allows you to grab a bunch of pre recorded audio files and perform them in real time through an audio input against the scene that you’re trying to score or design. The workflow with Reformer Pro is really unique, extremely creative and very fast. And today I have a scene here on my system that we’re going to design together, and I’m going to guide you through the entire process, I really hope you’ll enjoy it.

Okay. The very first thing that I want to do with you before we even get into Reformer Pro is to watch the scene. It’s a very short 20 seconds long scene. Let’s have a look.

Okay, you see this really cool scene of this android sort of waking up. I have a couple of marker tracks here in Nuendo, which is the DAW that I’m using today. I really like using a few marker tracks when I’m designing a scene, it kind of give me an idea of the kind of sounds that I’m looking for. Here I started adding an ambience and some glass door sound for the glass door opening.

And then I have this robotic arm movement that enters the body of the android, and then I’m gonna need some sounds for this keyboard. Then we have these computers over here crunching data, and we’re gonna need some sounds for that. I thought here it would be cool to add the sound for this fingerprint of the android and the face lighting up. And then we have these final robotic arm pulling the android, and we’re going to need some movement for the android waking up.

And you’re going to see how cool and fast it is to do with Reformer Pro. The way I did this, is since, let’s open Reformer Pro quickly, here you have it. Reformer Pro works with an audio input, so you’re gonna need to use some sound in that. This can be a production track, which makes designing stuff that has been recorded on set incredibly fast. It can be a live

input like a microphone, which is what I’ve used today, Or it can be really anything, it can be you singing into it or you making weird noises. It’s super fun. So the way I did it is by having fun,

I just use this microphone that I use for my voice over, is not a great mic at all. And I just watched the scene and spotted a few key moments that it would be fun to score with Reformer Pro. Now that you watched a few seconds of me being silly and making weird sounds, let me show you I’ve used them in context. Although sounds are all over here spread across the timeline, and I’ve used those to design those sounds. This first three tracks I’ve used to design the first movements of the robotic arm.

It sounds like that. These are literally all coming from my voice. If I bypass Reformer, this is what you’re left with. Just my voice with reverb. And what Reformer is doing, let’s get into one instance, is getting the audio input and is using it to trigger four categories of sounds. Any layer you have four layers and any layer on any layer, you can add a library that you want here.

I’ve been using a lot of the Robotic Lifeform Two, which is a great Reformer Pro library by SoundMorph. So if we go here, for example, you get a bunch of sounds that have been triggered together by the audio input.

So those are obviously pretty loud, and for each of them, you can mute them. For example, if you find the sound that you don’t like within this pool of samples, you can mute a couple of those you can audition, You can even fine tune the portion of the file that you want that you want to use in their particular context, and you can use this XY pad to morph between those. Another cool thing that you can do with Reformer Pro is that you don’t need to rely on the audio input to perform your sounds.

Let me show what I’ve done over here. If we move to this scene, you have this fingerprint happening over here and the androids head that gets lightened up. This needs to be pretty tightly synced to the scene. And so if you open over here these two tracks, you’ll see a bunch of automation that I drew in, just using Reformer Pro dynamic input. The way the dynamic input works is that you can layer in a few sounds exactly the same way I showed you before, and you can actually perform them from those sliders, and tweak a bunch of parameters.

And so this is exactly what this is doing over here.

You see how it’s automated the amplitude and basically performing those sounds through the automation. So even more flexibility and different ways to design elements. Another thing that I think Reformer is great at, is how fast it can handle revision that you might get from a client. For example, here I was listening to this again, and here the robotic arm, I feel it has some sounds which a bit to electronic, and those come from one of the factory libraries, Electronic Pro, which is really cool, but I’m not sure it works in context.

Think about a traditional post production scenario, you would have a bunch of sounds electronic sounds that you would have to swap that entire palette of sounds for something else. Here, you can just click on here and simply select another library. For example, why don’t we layer in some more stuff from Robotic Lifeform, which I think it sounds really cool. Let’s maybe try the AirTech one.

Let’s see what sounds you have in there. That sounds cool. And so let’s we have this track soloed. And I feel this works better in context. Let’s hear with everything on. Works much better. And you see how fast it is.

Another cool thing that I want to show you is that you don’t need to stick with the factory library or not even with the other commercially available libraries at all. You can import your own files and make them into Reformer Pro libraries through the Analyzer tool. So, for example, I used exactly this to design one of the two doors that I have one sound are pan left and one are pan right. And on the right one, I wanted to change something that came from the left, and it will be cool to layer in some elevator sounds that contain some mechanic for this sound.

So if we open a Reformer Pro, you’ll see that here I have a layer of elevators, which is one of the libraries that appear up here, but it’s not a factory one. And the way important it, you can just click on the analysis tool, and you can either drop a folder here, you can just navigate to it. I have it here on my desktop, elevators. You can open it, and you just need to tell Reformer which sample rate you want to use it at, say, 48 kilohertz. You can even upload a custom thumbnail if you want, create the library name, creates it for you.

Done. And now you basically have it available in the libraries that are up here, pretty cool. And here, if you want to listen to it, you have the doors with layered in sounds. Specifically the sound that are layered in as was this kind of screeching mechanism, on the right channel as we explained. So, you see, I basically pretty much built this entire sequence through Reformer, there are couple of sounds that are just traditional linear sounds, like this keyboard one the keyboard over here, just some typing sounds that this would have been a perfect job for Weaponizer,

but this is a video about Reformer Pro, so we’ll get into that later on. And one thing that I really wanted to add was some sort of room tone. I felt that even after all, my sound design was lacking some environmental sound. And so I took Concept, and I designed ambience using the granular synthesis over here.

I imported a couple of samples, here is the ambience solo track, and did some very low automation. Let’s see the final result.

Okay, that was it, I really hope you had fun. I had loads of fun designing this scene. It was also incredibly fast.

I really hope I managed to show you how fast and creative the workflow with Reformer Pro can be. Really hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much. And I’ll see you next time.