"Sound Magician" is a video series I produced for surround sound company DTS, Inc. On each episode I explored different sound design techniques and tools that I created, contextualized as a sonic story.
Imagine a large spaceship hovering over the city, suddenly a menacing signal resonates in the air, announcing the beginning of the invasion.
This is how I created the basic tone you hear when the piece starts, by bowing a rubber band with a double bass bow. The tension of the rubber band determined the pitch. Then, I processed the sound with customized reverb to make it sound larger.
A clear shot of an actual alien abduction! The truth about aliens is finally unveiled! 😂
Imagine being immersed in the ocean, surrounded by whales singing to each other.
Here I was recording the sources to create the water sound. I used two Røde NT5 and a hydrophone. I processed the sound with EQs and resonators to create the impression of a larger mass of water and a suspenseful mood.
A huge thanks goes to Luca Severi and Gianfilippo de Rossi for the fantastic camera work!
If toys could call each other on the phone, what would they say to each other?

For the musical background I used a musical box with writable paper strips, notes can be punched in and melody/harmonies can be created. Although this video is pretty basic, the challenge was the capture those tiny sounds/noise in high fidelity.
For this video I got inspired by looking at the flying machines that Leonardo Da Vinci designed.
I assembled a number of objects to simulate a large flying device in motion; the mechanism of a autopiano, a wooden tripod, a wind wand for the propeller sound and finally a flag to create the motion of the wings.
Imagine being in the forest, some monkeys up in the trees observing what's going on.
Suddenly they hear a noise and start to get nervous, they signal to each other the presence of a larger animal, and finally a beast jumps out of the bushes to attack!

The idea here was to create a series of animal noises without actually using actual animal noises.
Instead, I used a tree played with a double bass bow and some potato chips for the steps.

If you have watched some of my previous works like "Music from a Tree", "Music from Nature" and "Duet for Leaves and Turntable" you know I have a big passion for creating music and sounds with trees.
Here you can see the miking technique for recording the bowed sounds from the tree. 
I also have a microphone placed about 4 feet away. I like to record this way so that I can have multiple perspectives available.
Imagine a solar storm hitting our planet, all electronic devices will be affected and power down making crazy sounds...well, at least that's what happens when you see this kind of scene in a movie!
For this project I used guitar and bass pickups to record electric noises and tones produced by circuits.
DISCLAIMER: Unless you have solid experience and are fully aware of the risks, DO NOT tamper with powered electronic circuits, you might get electrocuted and/or damage your devices and electric system.
Here's a detail of the bass pickup over the circuit board.
This one is an experiment in controlled randomness. I wanted to hear what happens when a lot of bouncing balls are unloaded over 4 vertical pianos. That was the random part. The controlled part was when I took all the recordings and aligned them in a more organized way.
This one is probably my favorite because of it's simplicity.
Make sure you watch the video BEFORE reading the description below the following picture.
This is how the tool I used to create the basic tone of the hummingbird. It's a milk frothier with 4 strips of duct tape attached to it. The speed of the rotation and the tension of the rubber band determined the pitch of the "humming". Then, I processed the sound to emulate the sense of distance, Doppler effect, frequency spectrum changes and dampening. To add realism I added ambience sound, but as you can notice in the video, I'm bringing it down when I show the tool, to expose the "hummingbird" sound and make the trick more obvious.
This is an extra video that I created while I was producing this series.
Usually I make myself a regular coffee in the morning…but not this time.
The idea was to capture the noises of coffee in high definition and bigger in size, but then, the sound of the sugar packet reminded me of a shaker so I got inspired to make the whole experience more rhythmic and somehow musical.
For those of you into technical details, this is the gear I used to record.
API 512c preamps, 550b EQs, 527 Compressors, and Apogee Ensemble as the converter.
Microphones: Røde NT5, NT2-A, plus some custom built ones I made myself.
Back to Top