Sound Recordist George Vlad is a passionate sound designer and composer based in London, UK. He creates sound worlds for video games and records field recordings as Mindful Audio where he travels all around the world capturing incredible sounds.
We got the chance to interview George about the work he does, including recording sounds for our Weaponiser plugin.
Hey George! How did you start working in sound?
My first contact with was when I started producing electronic music around15 years ago. After discovering Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), I realised I didn’t need a huge studio or expensive mixing board to do what I loved most.
However, I soon noticed that I spent more time working on sound effect chains than actually composing music! so this led me to focus on sound design
I still compose music, but it took a back seat to my work as a sound designer from then on.
What’s your favourite piece of studio equipment?
Although it’s not strictly studio kit, I love my Sennheiser Double Mid-Side rig (an MKH 30 and two MKH 8040s in a Cinela Pianissimo blimp).
It is incredibly versatile and allows me to record both in the studio and in the field. The 3-channel recordings can be decoded to mono, stereo, quad and 5.1. But most importantly, it sounds fantastic, reaching way into the higher frequency range. It also works well in temperature and humidity extremes, which is a huge bonus for my field recordings!
What’s your favourite sound and why?
That’s a difficult one! I love creature calls that are difficult to record.
Last year I was lucky enough to record a Crocodile bellowing on a trip to Senegal, and it’s probably my favourite recording yet. It starts off like a sort of engine and then just unleashes – its beautiful! The environmental reflections convey its sheer size and power:
What would be your dream sound library to record?
I’d like to do ambience libraries of similar niche environments all over the world. For example, Cloud Forests, Deltas, Oases etc. Not too easy to put into practice because of the inherent costs, but I’m slowly getting there!
What led to the creation of Mindful Audio?
About 5 years ago I started to record a lot more audio for my daily work as a sound designer. I amassed a good collection of sounds and started sharing them with fellow sound professionals. This is when it dawned on me that I could package these recordings as libraries and sell them for commercial use.
What projects have you been working on recently?
In terms of game audio, I just finished working on an update for side-scrolling shooter Door Kickers Action Squad, which was a lot of fun because I got to use Weaponiser. I’ve also been working on Wordscapes, a mobile word game that gets more than a million daily players. At Mindful Audio, I’m working on a couple of updates for existing libraries and I have a few new ones in various stages. I also plan to release a series of vlogs about my field recording trips as soon as I get some of the studio work done. They’ll soon be up on my Youtube channel.
You designed some presets for Weaponiser. Can you take us through the process of how you chose, recorded and edited the sounds?
Working on Weaponiser was a lot of fun. It was clear that the realistic firearms category was covered, so I decided to create a few crazy weapons using recordings of hits, impacts, ice, water, fire etc. from my own collection. Since time was short I didn’t get to record as much as I wanted, but my back catalogue saved me as usual!
What do you like most about Krotos Audio software?
I love how innovative it is. It isn’t just another compressor or synth emulation. It takes existing workflows and packages them into neat software that just works. I love how much room for experimentation it allows and how fast I can get the results I want.
How do you see audio technology evolving in the future?
If the current trends are any indication, audio technology is going to move towards software as a service and not as a product anymore. Fast and regular updates will become common, with user feedback being taken much more seriously than before.
What’s the greatest sound design-related tip or piece of advice you’ve ever learned?
The final product is more important than anything else. A wholesome approach to sound design is preferable to a smug attitude towards the other components of a media product.
To put this into practice, I recently started to learn photography, videography and game design. It’s not always relevant to my work, but I feel like it makes me better at my job and it also offers a welcome break from focusing on audio!
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