In this section, Matthew explains how he used Krotos to create the motorcycle sound effects for The Unreal Ride at this year’s NAB Show.
So how did you discover Krotos Initially?
I came across Krotos years ago when I was looking for sound design plugins that weren’t a typical recreation of analogue hardware – just a new idea for sound design – and it would consistently come up that people were using Krotos.
At the time Krotos was a tiny team of 2-4 people who were involved in the whole operation, so that seemed really cool and it really drew me in.
I loved the idea of being able to sync the sound of anything, and that was where Reformer Pro came into it. People tend to use it for Foley, but I use it to add texture to all kinds of things and it was so quick to use.
How did you find using Igniter for the motorcycle sound effects?
Igniter has so much depth for layering tonal synth stuff and granular sounds. Plus the one-shot system when you can go through one direction and it hits. But if you go in the opposite direction, it doesn’t – that is a brilliant feature.
What I like the most though is that all of those controls can be assigned to the ‘Revs’ macro, which can control everything. So the sound blooms in such a refined way that just isn’t possible even if you had a team of people with each one holding a knob.
This tool is the kind that I wish I could have developed myself, so I was glad that someone else had the time and energy to do it. It has such a great design architecture.
That’s so cool to hear!
Before I knew about Igniter, I had this project where I had to sound design a shot of various cars driving at the camera, each with a different engine and rev sound.
Finding so many cars in a library 10-12 years ago was impossible – there just weren’t enough recordings to have the exact year and model of cars – but Igniter didn’t exist yet! So to use Igniter for this project was a huge time and energy saver from the workaround I did for that project.
Can you tell us about the motorcycle sound effects you designed for the ride?
Sure! So there was one preset that I think was 65% of the way to what I had in mind. It had both a sci-fi dystopian quality and an organic quality. There was this moment in the sound where it felt like a gear didn’t get exactly in the right spot. It was as if the motorcycle was at one point in fully working condition and this beautiful thing, but now it had been torn apart by Pirates that have used it, so that’s emotionally why I got tied to it.
Fun fact, It was originally a car preset! So I had to make it work a bit better to use it for motorcycle sound effects. I used the Harley Davidson exhaust and mixed it with the engine of the Aston Martin, which was a totally different frequency spectrum from the Harley sound. So that was definitely a big part of the sound design.
I added a synth layer to the low register which increased in pitch with the revs of the engine, and I tweaked the response curve too then attached the rev macro to a Novation Control Excel Fader. And that was what I was running in the test.
For the playback of the simulation, we used the automation of the test, so anytime the bike would go through a certain part of the experience, the sound would follow in an automatic sense. So that’s how the patch works. It was a lot of fun!
It’s interesting, and it uses many forms of technology. Was it an exciting thing to be a part of?
It was! For the 2.0 version, we want a throttle system that can send some control messages to Ableton that then I can use for the revs. So eventually there will be a macro that the user can have where not only is it giving the sound design and the speed of the sound design some sort of reference to actual physical happenings that are also happening in the visuals and the lights and things. This version was the proof of concept that we can build on.
Have you used other Krotos software in your work?
Absolutely, right now I’m very heavily into Reformer Pro again. For the Unreal Ride, there was a voice cue to direct the person to portray certain emotions, look at the camera, Dodge etc. We used Resemble AI, which is an AI voice, but ironically it didn’t sound robotic enough, so Reformer Pro was great for adding more texture and character through electronic sounds, sparks etc. When it comes to my sound designs, Reformer Pro is always going to be used in some fashion.
With Weaponiser, I’m doing a feature right now with long surreal scenes of a character walking back and forth throughout the house, and each area has a different sonic character.
I’m controlling all of the Foley myself because hiring someone else to do that is out of the realm of budget. Weaponiser is perfect because I can add MIDI markers on every key moment, but then I can just replace the sound with a million other sound choices later on.
Most of my projects aren’t weapon-based, so at first, when Weaponiser was introduced to me, I didn’t think I’d have much use for it – but as I started to understand a bit more, I could tell it was more of a powerful sampler than a tool just for weapons!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us about your incredible work!
My pleasure, it’s been fun!
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