The Sound of the Cinematic Overwatch Trailer (via @asoundeffect)| #sounddesign

After a week off (we all deserve some vacation time, right?!), I’m back to share a cool interview with Paul Menichini, Supervisor Sound Designer for Blizzard Entertainment’s cinematic department, that the A Sound Effect blog did: Behind the cinematic sound of Blizzard’s spectacular Overwatch trailer.

In this interview, Paul talks about the sound on the cinematic trailer for the upcoming Overwatch game. For a start, let’s watch it.

As you can see (and hear) it’s a great, very well produced trailer. Crisp image, good soundtracks and great, great sound design. Watching it reminded me about an article I wrote recently here, called “How to Design Supreme Sci-Fi Weapon SFX“, because, of course, the exciting gun sounds of the video.

About that, Paul says:

For the guns we started with the in-game sounds and then heavily sweetened them or replaced them. The sound of Tracer’s Blink (her teleportation) was created by Scott Lawlor on the game team, and is a very cool effect. Alex Ephraim did the VO processing of Winston’s voice. I’m pretty sure it sounds exactly like an ape would sound like if one could actually talk. One of the elements in Reaper’s Death Blossom bullet-bys was a series of processed pig dopplers that Charles Deenen had created some time ago and graciously gave us to use.

We paid an extremely high level of attention to detail on the foley. From the sound of Winston’s suit movement—which took several attempts to get just right—to the extremely subtle and appropriate sound of the metal gauntlet at the end – to the squeaks of the two boys’ sneakers as well as Tracer’s feet — to the sound of Timmy’s hands on the glass case and the leather stretch of Tracer’s jacket during the quiet moments, it all contributed to a soundtrack that is totally believable and lots of fun to listen to.reaper02

Another cool thing about this trailer is it’s also available in Dolby Atomos:

Atmos is SO MUCH FUN. We specifically cut the FX for this cinematic knowing that we would be mixing it in Atmos native, which we took advantage of in certain scenes such as right before Winston crashes through the glass ceiling. The camera POV is facing down from the ceiling and we hear the entire frame of the building rattle overhead. Also, when Widowmaker is swinging around from her grappling hook and firing her machine gun, the bullet impacts and ricos hit all around us depending on where she is aiming her gun. The same sort of thing happens with the Reaper character and his Death Blossom ability. He has a special ability where he can teleport/cloak into a location and start firing a crazy amount of gunshots at once—which necessitated Tim and I cutting hundreds of ricos, bullet hits, bullet bys, and debris in all directions all at once for quite a while.

In several scenes the camera would spin around the room and highlight different characters for a few seconds. This allowed us to really have fun placing their sounds and spinning them all around the room. There is a scene where Widowmaker is perched on a ledge with a sniper rifle, firing at Winston. Our POV has us looking at Winston while Widowmaker is firing from behind us. Normally, in 5.1, we would just put that behind us in the surrounds but in ATMOS you can hear that she is behind and above us. It was fun, nerdy little things like this moment that I loved about the Atmos mix. Another benefit of Atmos is that, since you can be so specific with placement, it is easier to provide clarity between music, FX, and VO. We have some other pieces that we’ve mixed in Atmos as well, but the fun stuff comes into play when the camera POV happens to support (sometimes inadvertently) dramatic placement of sound.

This is a part of the interview. You should read the hole thing. It’s small, but a fun to read article.

I specially think he could have talked a bit more about the technical details on the gun and shooting sounds. Maybe because that was what impressed me the most in this video.

Hope you enjoyed it 🙂

Mauricio Ruiz –

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