Newsletter: July 6, 2019

When you’re in high school, sound design can seem so simple. There’s nothing too complicated, after all, about plugging an iPod or computer into a mixing board and cranking up the volume; even if you’re using a program like QLab, it’s still mostly press and play. But that’s not really sound design, of course, any more than high school acting is ...
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How do you make actors heard 50 rows back? How do you make them heard as they sing over an orchestra? How do you make them heard as they mutter conspiratorially to themselves? The answer to all these: wireless microphones. Large theatres (and even many small ones) rely on this technology to make sure audiences hear every word of a performance. Unless something goes ...
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Acoustics are to a sound designer what playing space is to a director: both context and canvas for their artistic work on a show. Just as physical parameters constrain staging, not to mention scenic and lighting design, the acoustic properties of a room shape a sound designer’s choices, both creative and practical. But unlike theatre floor plans or lighting rigs, the aural ...
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Last Halloween in Austin, Shakespeare in the Dark: Macbeth took the stage at the historic and allegedly haunted Driskill Hotel. Adding to the spookiness—and giving special power to its sound designer, Emily Duncan Wilson—the show was performed in pitch blackness, with the audience seated in the middle of moving actors and four audio speakers.
When the show, a co-production of  Read More
Over the last 50 years or so, technology has increased what sound designers are able to do, making their work more integral than ever to telling stories onstage. The job description can range from using microphones as reinforcement in a straight play to balancing singers with an orchestra in a musical. It can mean finding existing music and effects that ...
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One dividing line that’s often posited about narrative art forms might be summed up as visual vs. verbal. It’s a common formulation that film is a visual medium and theatre a verbal one, or at least that each occupies a roughly opposite place on a continuum between those two poles. There are elements of truth in this popular dichotomy, but not a lot, I would argue. ...
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TSDCA was founded two years ago to encourage interest in sound design as a viable profession. Lindsay Jones, a sound designer and co-chair of TSDCA’s executive board, says that for much of his career he didn’t know many other sound designers, and that he did not have mentors in his field. He wants to help up-and-coming designers have a different ...
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It’s a common experience at the movies: You’re sitting in your seat, tense with anticipation, and at a pivotal moment the camera closes in on the hero while the music swells in the background. In films, a musical score is as integral as camera angles and lighting. It emphasizes and undergirds the action, sets the tone for a scene, and even ...
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