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About Michael Rasbury and Sound Design

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Back   Paperwork Definitions
In this portfolio, links are provided to drawings, photos, and lists in order to illustrate the complexity of the process of sound design. Sound designers use these lists, diagrams, and other illustrations to visualize the design. This same paperwork is also used to communicate the idea with the director, other designers (set, lights, costumes, etc,) crew and at times, the actors. Some of the types of paperwork defined below represent standards within the field of sound design. However, in an effort to be a better communicator, new ways of sharing information about the design are often implemented.

Script with Sound Cues  

Script with Sound Cues
When the script is provided in electronic form, using comments in the margins of the document is a great way of noting sounds beside the text or stage action they are intended to accompany. Once all of the sound cues have been listed in this way, the sound design can easily forward the document to the director and other designers. Some directors prefer to imagine in this context compared to linking a text-based list of sound cues with pages in a separate script.

Cue List   Cue List
This list serves as a record of all sonic events within a production. The cue list is a sort of plan, describing each sound "event" by assigning categories like cue number, duration of cue, location of cue in the script (act, scene, page number, etc.), a line or event in the production that initiates the start of the event, and name of cue. This “plot” of sound events is presented in sequential order. It is used to facilitate discussions between the sound designer, director and other designers. Ultimately, the production’s stage manager will enter information from the cue list into the master script in order to accurately control the playback of the cues within the timeline of the script.

Signal Flow Diagram   Signal Flow Diagram
The signal flow diagram represents the components of the entire sound system. This diagram is conceived and completed early in the sound design process. Given the complexity of multiple-channel sound systems, this diagram is vital to the successful installation of the system, especially if a crew is available to install it. It is also vital to the success of the design, because it represents the “canvas” through which the elements of sound design are ultimately played.

Ground Plan with Sound   Ground Plan with Sound (Speaker Plot)
This drawing is a co-requisite to the signal flow diagram. The speaker plot illustrates precisely where the speakers are located in relation to the stage, seating, lighting, and scenic elements. Combined with the signal flow diagram, this paperwork allows the designer to visualize the placement of each sonic event within the space and its potential audibility. When a sound crew is available for installation of the system, this drawing is vital for proper speaker placement.

Equipment Manifest   Equipment Manifest
The equipment manifest lists each amplifier, speaker, microphone, cable, computer, and signal processor necessary to execute the design. A list like this is useful when building a sound system from a known inventory of sound equipment or when renting sound equipment from another party. Combined with the signal flow diagram and speaker plot, the equipment manifest provides a complete description of the requirements of the sound system.

Microphone Use Spreadsheet   Microphone Use Spreadsheet
This spreadsheet helps the designer visualize the complexity of employing a limited number of microphones to adequately amplify a large cast.

Act/Scene Breakdown   Act/Scene Breakdown
This list serves as a deconstruction of a script into a simpler list of scenes sorted by acts. Often, each listed scene includes important related information like the location of the scene (setting,) characters in the scene, and other facts that may impact sound design choices.

Stage Image   Stage Image
The sound designer's process begins many weeks before a production opens, and often the work is done in another city, miles from the performance space. Surface quality (hard or soft), shape of objects, and surroundings alter sound quality. Some of these details are not reflected in the technical drawings.

Sound Console Settings   Sound Console Settings
When designers incorporate microphones with sound playback equipment, sound consoles are usually involved. Much time is devoted in theatrical technical rehearsals to fine-tune sound quality for a production. Once this design is "set," it is important to keep a record of each fader, potentiometer, and assignment button. This image allows the sound operator to check all console settings prior to a performance, providing consistency.

Equipment Rack Diagram  

Equipment Rack Diagram
This diagram illustrates the placement of important rack-mounted sound gear such as signal processors, equalizers, and amplifiers. Notations about user-defined settings on this equipment can be added to the diagram. This diagram is a useful for other sound technicians on the sound design team.

Mixer Screenshot   Mixer Screen Shot
This image is a screen shot of a "mix" inside of a computer based, digital audio workstation. Though rarely used, they illustrate the complexity of a mix of sounds.