Thundercats Episode 7: The Stone Age

Diamonds ain’t got nothing on these stones. This week I discuss the sounds of some über-powerful bling.

When I first approached the sound design for the Sword of Omens, Producer  Ethan Spaulding wanted to make sure the sword had an ever-present magicness to it (yep, it’s a word). It needed a sort of ‘aura’ that would communicate to the audience that this was no ordinary sword. It was Producer Michael Jelenic who suggested it have a similar effect as the glowing on Bilbo’s sword ‘sting’ in the 1977 film The Hobbit. So I looked it up (Thanks YouTube!) and created my own sting-like glow using Digidesign’s own AIR vacuum and some tremolo effects; calling it ‘Sword of Omens Magic Aura.’ It wasn’t until a few episodes in that I realized what we had created. The glow isn’t technically coming from the sword. It’s coming from the stone within the sword, the ‘Eye of Thundera.’ Looks like I’d have to change the name of that file.

TMI moment: Technically, I kept the term ‘aura’ in the file name. 2 reasons: First, i got used to calling it the ‘aura glow.’ Old habbits die hard and most likely a few years from now I’ll be more likely to remember it’s original name. But second, and more importantly (and this could probably go under the unsolicited advice heading) it’s great to name your files with something distinct like ‘aura’ to help when searching your library. There are scores of ‘glows’ in my library, but only one ‘aura’ (at least so far) and finding what you’re looking for quickly and easily can save you time you might not have as well as a lot of frustration.

“Eye of Thundera Glow”
iPhone or iPad? click here

Here comes the point to that story. Along comes episode 7 and BAM, 3 more stones!! Curveball! Well, this time, I knew exactly what I was designing for. Each stone needed it’s own distinct sound to convey it’s special powers. For now (and for the sake of secrecy) I’m going to only identify them only by their color.  But fear not, as Jaga says, the stones are “scattered by the winds across third earth” so it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing more from these little gems as the show moves forward.

Since each stone has a very distinct sound, I thought it would be fun to feature them here:

“Blue Stone Glow”

iPhone or iPad? click here

“Green Stone Glow”

iPhone or iPad? click here

“Pink Stone Glow”

iPhone or iPad? click here

As I mentioned above, all three of these stones were created to convey a certain (secret for now) vibe so I’ll keep the source samples and goals under wraps for now. I can tell you that I would start by layering these samples and after getting a good balance, running them through KORE FX to mask them before rendering them down into a single layer. I then pitched and processed each individually using some of my favorite tools, Waves Doubler and Serato Pitch ‘n Time to give them that magical glowing effect.

Super cool bonus fact! These sounds were designed in such a way that when you layer all three of them together, you get a special chordal effect. I think it’s kind of hauntingly sweet (but I am also a huge sound nerd). Listen for it when Leo puts all three stones on the gauntlet and it glows a bright gold color.

It’s also important to note that since these stones were being featured in some pretty HUGE battle sequences, I purposefully designed them on the higher end of the scale so you will (hopefully) get to hear them at home on your TV even when all kinds of crazy stuff is taking place. Designing sounds this way (to ‘cut through the mix’) is something I mention a lot, but in truth, once you’re on the mix stage and 50% of your work is lost to that muddy middle section of the frequency spectrum, you’ll start getting an ear for designing certain pieces to shine as well.

“Trio of Stones Glow”

iPhone or iPad? click here

What do you think of these new sounds?

As always, thanks for listening for what sounds like Jeff.

Creative Toolkit:

  • Digidesign AIR Vacuum Analog Synth
  • Serato Pitch ‘n Time
  • Waves Doubler
This week’s image comes from the official Thundercats Facebook page

2 thoughts on “Thundercats Episode 7: The Stone Age

  1. I’ve loved the Eye’s sound since I first heard it (though I thought at first it was the sword, yeah). All of these are beautiful, and make me that much more curious about each one.

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