Award-winning sound designer and composer Sean Charles’ audio production can be found throughout numerous premiere video games. Charles has worked with several cutting-edge game development companies—including Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive and Vivendi Universal—earning a reputation for creating incredible detail within the sonic realm of the video game experience.
Charles’ impressive sound design skills have also enabled him to impact the music industry. His work in creating sound libraries has received great acclaim from the production teams for top artists Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera and Prince. A long-time user of M-Audio gear, Sean relies on a wide variety of interfaces, mobile recording devices and plug-ins to create his unique sound palettes.
How has technology aided you in sound creation for various video game projects?
Using instant recall is a major advantage in the fast-paced production environment of video games. A user can have multiple projects on their DAW—with multiple instances of the GForce plug-in suite—and be able to recall them at a later date with the settings retained. Pro Tools has become our weapon of choice in sound creation. As the current standard amongst professional audio circles, it allows us to be compatible with other major studios and the artists/composers we work with during a project.
What audio equipment was used during sound production for The Bourne Conspiracy video game?
For The Bourne Conspiracy, Pro Tools M-Powered was an integral part of the audio production process. While editing sessions, we were fortunate enough to get the stems from John Powell (the composer responsible for music in the Bourne film series) and Paul Oakenfold (the renowned DJ who contributed additional music to the game). We were able to interchange and mix the different sound stems we received from John Powell and Paul Oakenfold. This allowed us to not only recreate the signature Bourne sound, but also to have Paul inject his unique ‘signature style’ dance beats into the game.
Members of the High Moon Studios audio team used the FireWire 410 for editing sound effects, dialogue and music within the game. I use my Ozonic MIDI controller for mobile recording. One of the best-kept secrets is the balanced mic pres in both interfaces—both units sound great, and really create a powerhouse for mobile recording. Along with the GForce plug-ins, I can assign all my effects to the controller’s assignable knobs and faders without having to carry around an external rack.
While you’re out capturing live sound, what does your mobile rig look like?
My personal portable rig consists of a MacBook Pro laptop and an Ozonic controller. The Ozonic gives me gives me everything I need—a tactile interface for my VST instruments, a FireWire audio interface and great mic pres with balanced outputs.
In your sound design work, you incorporate many GForce plug-ins. How have you found them helpful?
I use a number of GForce plug-ins, specifically Minimonsta, Oddity and ImpOSCar. They are like my Swiss army knife for audio production. It’s not uncommon for me to layer some low end using the GForce plug-ins—for example an explosion—to give it a wider, deeper sonic experience. I don’t get the same results while using other sub bass plug-ins. I have always wanted the sounds of the great analog synthesizers but the cost and service have been prohibitive. With GForce software, I can create the sounds of yesteryear while enjoying the stability of today.