Sound Acquisition

Recording Equipment / Setup

The equipment used in conducting the recording and processing the game sound effects for this CA included:

Hardware:

• Blue Yeti Studio Microphone with pop filter.
• Lenovo Z580 (Laptop - Recording)
• One Plus X (Mobile Phone)
• Custom Pc (Editing)

Software:

• Audacity
• Reaper

I decided to use my Blue Yeti Microphone for recording static sounds such as the gear shifters and brake levers. This was due to the crisp clear sound it produced which was very useful in capturing these sounds which are in and of themselves very quiet. They are almost inaudible when captured as part of a whole bicycle movement however they will be used to create a complete sound effects and should add to the roundedness of the effect as a whole. The microphone has no way to record by itself so I needed to record the sounds onto my laptop using audacity. (Figure 2.0). I do not however have a mic-stand which meant that the setup was very makeshift, using boxes to hold the microphone at the correct angles. The pop filter of the microphone helped me to reduce the windy sound created by the wheel spinning.

When it came to recording active sounds such as the pedalling, braking and crash I decided to use my mobile phone. This was for a number of reasons. Firstly it is a fairly new phone which has a fairly decent microphone and can easily transfer files straight to my computer without the need to carry a laptop around with me like I needed to do with the microphone. (Figure 2.0). The fact that the phone is light meant that I could fit it to the bike using a table holder I had lying around (Figure 2.1).

Zoom Recorders had been made available and would have given a more clear sound effect however I didn’t want to risk damaging one while recording the bike sounds on the move, for this reason it made more sense to use the phone for all of the active and remote sounds that I recorded

Recording Stage 1

The recording of the sounds snippets for the foundation Sound Effects took place in two stages. The first stage involved recording stationary sounds inside a garage using a bicycle and a laptop connected to the blue yeti microphone (Figure 2.0). The sound effects recorded in this fashion were:

• Terrain-Free Pedaling
• Gear Shifter Click
• Gear Cassette Engage
• Brake Lever

These sounds were recorded with the bike turned upside down in a garage. This allowed for the recording of crisp clean sounds, untainted by wind or distortion. The only outside noise was the sound of some birds chirping which would be removed later in Audacity.

Recording Stage 2

The second phase of recording involved active recording on a bicycle. This was done using a mobile phone and a flexible claw arm attached to the bike. This allowed for sounds to be recorded without needing to run after a bicycle or take snippets of a bike passing by. Although this did allow for useful sound capture and extensive recording, it did cause a problem whereby there was a lot of distortion of the sound and wind interference which required extra attention in the processing phase. The sounds recorded using this method were:

• Pedaling on Terrain(Gravel, Concrete, Grass)
• Braking on Terrain(Gravel, Concrete, Grass)
• Bike Crash (Wall, Skid)

Processing - Cleaning

The processing of the sound snippets was done using two different pieces of audio software. Firstly I “cleaned” and refined the audio in Audacity, before layering and rendering out the sound effects in Reaper.
Cleaning involved a three step process. In snippets where the sound was contaminated by bird chirps or other movement, I used Audacity’s noise reduction effect. Isolating a sample of the sound and removing it from the sound file as can be seen in Figure 2.2.

The second step in the process was to perform a High pass filter on the sound effects. His was most effective in removing the majority of the wind distortion that was picked up during the more active recordings. Although it gave some of the recordings a more authentic feel than the recordings in the garage. The higher the speed of the recording the worse the wind got to a stage where the sound effect was barely audible. In Figure 2.3 you can see the erratic sine waves where the wind distortion is and the settings used in the high pass filter. In Figure 2.4 it can clearly be seen where the sound effect was hidden beneath the wind distortion and has been brought out to be much clearer.

The final stage of the “cleaning” was to add a low pass filter to some of the sounds which had high frequency feature. This was the least often used filter, this was because most of the sounds recorded were of lower frequencies. The main use was in balancing the effects of the high pass filter.

Processing - Layering / Looping

The following is an explanation of how the sound effects were originally layered when formed in Reaper, however, these features have since been implemented using the built in Unreal Engine Cue Functions.

Looping

The first sound effect that I layered and rendered was Pedalling_No_Terrain_OS.wav. This sound was a combination of both one-shot sounds and looping sounds. In Figure 2.5 it can be seen where the one-shot sounds are in the first track while the looping snippets are in the second track. This sound effect is a sample of how the pedaling would sound if there is a gradual increase in speed. However, it features no terrain such as gravel etc. These sound effects would be used later in unreal and turned into 3 separate audio cues that could be selected based on the speed of a bike. The one-shot sounds concatenated to a looping wave player with the looped pedaling. These one-shot “Build-up” sounds stop the sudden increase in tempo without the need for a volume fade which makes for a much more realistic sound effect. Although simple in its implementation this sound effect proved the most useful and rewarding.

This feature can be found in the Sound Implementation section under the Advanced Bike Implementation.

Layering:

The next unique type of sound effect implementation involved the first sound effect snippets once again seen in track two of Figure 2.6. Track one was a mixture of different sound effects depending on the effect being created. This sound effect creation was for the braking. As such there are 3 variations of terrain that braking was recorded and implemented on, grass, gravel and concrete. These were also used in a variation of speeds using the different speed levels of pedals and increasing or decreasing the tempo of track one. Track 3 and 4 were the Brake_On_(Terrain)_OS and because the sound was recorded on one side of the bike there is a second track with the sound panned slightly to the left to account for this in the Sound Effect. The variations of terrains and speed of pedaling allowed multiple sound effects to be made from the same recordings.

This sound effect was much easier to achieve in game than in reaper as it just meant fading the pedaling out quickly and playing the braking sound.

3rd Party Sound Effects / Music

All 3rd party sound effects that were obtained over the course of the development process as reference points, for research and use in the game were acquired from sound effect libraries with creative commons licences as well as a few clips from sites like Youtube and Monstercat with standard licencing that required me to get permission from the content creators one example of which can be seen in Figure 2.6

3rd Party References

Bike Crash:
https://www.freesound.org/people/1sticky8/sounds/78483/

Bike Chains:
https://www.freesound.org/people/Eelke/sounds/171025/
https://www.freesound.org/people/JZProductions/sounds/147380/

Gravel Skid:
https://www.audioblocks.com/stock-audio/short-skid-on-gravel-sound-effect.html

Starter Beeps:
http://www.freesound.org/people/Robinhood76/sounds/102829/

Hover Button:
http://www.freesfx.co.uk/sfx/mouseover

Crowd Sounds:
https://freesound.org/people/felix.blume/sounds/214147/
https://freesound.org/people/cognito%20perceptu/sounds/57587/
https://freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/sounds/189831/
https://freesound.org/people/xtrgamr/sounds/243799/

Ambience
http://www.freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/sounds/173031/
http://www.freesound.org/people/crooner/sounds/42860/
http://www.freesound.org/people/crooner/sounds/42539/
http://www.freesound.org/people/GordoH/sounds/321851/
http://www.freesound.org/people/Juan_Merie_Venter/sounds/327665/
http://www.freesound.org/people/dobroide/sounds/24652/
http://www.freesound.org/people/Brendan_Rehill/sounds/153191/
http://www.freesound.org/people/Brendan_Rehill/sounds/153191/
http://www.flashkit.com/imagesvr_ce/flashkit/soundfx/Nature/Forest/bush_rus-kayden_r-8973/bush_rus-kayden_r-8973_hifi.mp3

Birds:

Artist Name: Pegboard Nerds
Artist Social links: http://facebook.com/TheOfficialTristam