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Sound Designer, The Magician Of Sound
이관우 reporter  |  lkw0488@hanmail.net
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승인 2008.04.05  23:13:59
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   
 
   
 

Right before MBC’s 9 o’clock News Desk begins every night; there is a mobile phone advertisement. In this advertisement, a woman plays music using an electronic sound that plays whenever she pushes the mobile phone button. She is a modern musician named Yoon Bo-ra. Last year, she played music using a mobile phone’s sounds at New York Time Warner Center. After the performance, she was highly evaluated for her ability of sublimating simple electronic sounds into beautiful music.

When we consider the mobile phone, we do not know much about its many sounds. These sounds are made by a sound designer. Therefore, the Chung-Ang Herald (CAH) met Yoon Joong Sam (Department of Composition) who works in Samsung Electronics as a sound designer. CAH interviewed him about the roles of sound designers and sound design.

CAH: You graduated from Chung-Ang University (CAU) department of Composition.
Did you always dreamed of becoming a serious musician?
Yoon: The first reason I began studying music was that I just had to do it. Primarily, I wanted to be a pianist and planned to enter the Department of Piano in university. One day, I took a piano lesson and the music teacher suggested that I study composition. I was interested in the suggestion and I started to study composition. Through studying composition, I felt a great fascination. Playing the piano is like playing the music that other musicians have composed. However, since composition is about writing the whole piece by myself, there is a hidden fascination, which I cannot find in playing the piano. Actually, in the beginning, I learned composition without knowing the difference between serious music and practical music. I just felt that I should do serious music. Then, as I learned Jazz in my junior year, I realized that there was a practical music. After I graduated from university, I was exposed to many people concerned about practical music. Then, I started to work on making practical music earnestly.

   
 
   
 

CAH: Please explain about the roles of a sound designer.
Yoon: Many people think that sound designer is an unfamiliar job. However, we can easily find the work, which sound designers have created. For instance, we hear tramping sounds or eating rice sounds in movies. A sound designer records these sounds and puts the sounds over film. In addition, sound designers create canned sounds on a disc or create sounds for electronic equipment.

CAH: What is the charm in becoming a sound designer?
Yoon: A general songwriter who produces a pop song, when mostly people say a smash hit, the number of disc is a million. When people consider what is called a great success, the number of discs sold to be considered is around a million.
In my case, I am a composer for mobile phone sounds. The more the phones sold with sounds I made, the more people there are, who hear the sounds I have composed. There is a phone, which has a sales volume of 1 billion around the world. Although not all the mobile phone customers, who hear the sound I create, may know who composed the sound, I am proud of myself. I feel a heavy responsibility in that degree.

   
 
   
 

CAH: What sounds do people prefer to hear lately?
Yoon: A few years ago, mobile phone customers liked splendid, fantastic and electronic sounds. However, as society is getting hardhearted, people look for comfortable sounds. Most people want to hear natural sounds that are not manipulated. Therefore, I try to create natural sounds. For example, in the past, when we produced violin sounds, we mixed artificial sounds using a computer. However, lately, we record violin sounds and bring the violinist along.

CAH: Do you put any effort into seeking for various and real sounds?
Yoon: For mobile phones, sound lasts for only a very short period. In that short period, it is difficult to offer differential sensitivity to customers to compare with the sounds of other mobile phone companies. When I invented a wheel turning sound for the UFO phones, I tried to search for high quality and premium sounds. Since I realized the necessity of clear and high quality sounds, I went to Yongsan electronic market. I entered the market where high quality stereo equipment is sold and then recorded all wheel turning sounds I could find and analyzed the sounds one-by-one. As a result, I discovered the similarity between the sounds. The beginning and the ending sound shows analogous frequency. I created a UFO phone sound of a wheel turning based on such a discovery.
Another example is a game called ‘My Pet’ for Anycall mobile phones. It is a game to raise cyber puppies. When I invented a puppy-barking sound which was put in the game, I used a real puppy barking for the sound. However, there was not enough barking sound. Therefore, I needed to record many kinds of barking sounds including the sounds of a puppy being sad, angry and hungry. Although I strived to get as many barking sounds as I could, all the sounds are imitated. Then I used voice artists and mixed the vocal sounds with puppy barking sounds.

CAH: Recently, it has been recognized that vibrations from mobile phones also have a kind of sound. Do you also design them?
Yoon: Lately, one part of what we do is to devise vibration sounds. One main reason we investigate vibration is to minimize the ringing noises in crowds. Therefore, people turn their phones to silent mode using a vibration for most of the time. Although vibration is a sense of touch, people consider vibration a sound as well. Another reason is due to full-screen touch phones’ discovery. This type of mobile phone is manipulated through your sense of touch to a button. Thus, without careful concentration, you may press a wrong button. If we develop a vibration, customers can easily press the right button.

CAH: Tell us about funny episodes you have experienced while creating sounds.
Yoon: The ‘Blueblack phone’ has become a success. It is popular to come out the word ‘Blueblack numerical index’ like ‘McDonald’s numerical index.’ When the phone was developed, it was a super secret project. The sound department was also imposed upon and a heavy burden to keep everything a secret. At that time, I always carried around a voice recorder with me. If a melody popped into my head, I took out the recorder and recorded it immediately. I often forget the melody because I do not have an excellent retentive faculty. One day, on the bus, an idea came across my mind. I quickly picked out the recorder and hummed the melody. After I ended recording the melody and pushed the stop button, I realized I was getting the eye. The sound I hummed was heard by everyone around me. It was my most embarrassing moment.

CAH: Please give some advice to someone who wants to be a sound designer.
Yoon: You may be able to learn some techniques through working in a company related with producing sounds to become a sound designer. Above all, it is very important that ‘Your ears should be opened!’ In case of man’s tramping sound, all the sounds may seem different according to whether a man is walking on a carpet, soil, or walking on a footway. In this way, all sounds of the whole world are very delicate. Sound designers need to be curious about all sounds in the world. Then, you may find your ear being sensitive to all the sounds around you. Pay attention to all sounds which are around you. Be curious about them. Whether sound designer looks for a beautiful sound or not, it belongs to the imagination of the sound designer. Inventing a beautiful sound, which other people cannot create, starts from a fundamental thing.

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