AES Section Meeting Reports

Boston - March 10, 2009

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AES Boston Section
March 2009 Meeting
with Ann Kroeber

On March 10th The Boston Section of the Audio Engineering Society along with the Women in Film and Video and the New England Institute of Art hosted a presentation with Sound Designer Ann Kroeber. Her presentation titled, "Capturing Unusual Sounds For Movies & Video Games" was held at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge.

Ann began with an overview of how she first stumbled upon getting into recording and described what led to her passion for "capturing sound". As a self-proclaimed "techno-phobe", she has always kept a very simple approach to the tools she uses for recording. She played numerous examples from her work in film including scenes for the Black Stallion. She described how she was able to pick up the specific sounds of the horse by using a special harness on the horse, equipped with a microphone. Ann gave other examples of her experiences recording animals. She found that her approach to talking to the animals about what she was doing seemed to give her better recording content.

Additionally, Ann described techniques she has used with a special contact mic to capture remote sounds within unique sources like ductwork or appliances such as a refrigerator. Sounds recorded in this manner were used in films such as Dune.

She gave insight into the business by describing the various levels of involvement a sound designer may have with a particular project. These levels could range from submitting raw sound ideas to specific cues using a combination of layers. The evening concluded by fielding questions from the audience about the various topics discussed during her presentation. Everyone attending the event left with a new perspective of the importance and affect sound design has on the visual medium.

Ann Kroeber began her film career at the Office of Radio and Television at the United Nations.
She moved to San Francisco in 1978 and was hired there by Alan Splet to record sound effects for the Black Stallion, which won an Academy Award for Sound Fx Editing. Kroeber was a Sound Fx Recordist and later Fx Editor with Splet on such films as The Elephant Man, Dune, Never Cry Wolf, Wind, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Mountains of the Moon, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Henry and June, The Mosquito Coast, and Dead Poets Society. She was the Production Mixer on Blue Velvet.

She has recorded and or provided sound effects for such films as The Star Wars Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Gladiator, The English Patient, The Horse Whisperer, A Bug's Life, K-19, Polar Express, The Village, Hidalgo, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, etc. She was Sound Designer on Carroll Ballard's Duma and Fx Editor on his Fly Away Home as well as Affonso Arau's Zapata. She has also provided sound effects and sound designed for a number of popular games, including "Lord of the Rings", "Hellgate London" and the recently released "Spore".

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